On This Date in College Track & Field History: March 20
The track and running world has come to a screeching halt in an effort to battle the spread of COVID-19. In an effort to fill the void I’m taking a deep dive into my various archives and pulling up what I find in the history of college track and field.
1999, Sacramento, CA: UCLA swept the men’s and women’s competition in the first USTFCCCA-supported quadrangular of the season. The men’s scores were UCLA 225, Cal 206, Washington 168, UC Irvine 65 and the women’s scores were UCLA 227, Washington 179, Cal 176, UC Irvine 70. From 1998 to 2001, the USTFCCCA used funds provided by the USOC to offer travel grants to teams competing in dual, triangular, and quadrangular competition. It led to a massive increase in those kinds of meets, which once again fell off the radar once the money dried up.
1993, Houston, TX: Blinn Junior College was the dominant team at the Texas Southern Relays, winning twelve men’s events. The two-day attendance total was announced as 16,000, likely driven up by the appearance of a Santa Monica Track Club 4×100 relay team featuring Olympic and World champions Joe DeLoach, Leroy Burrell, Mike Marsh, and Carl Lewis. Burrell is now the head coach at the University of Houston and Lewis is one of his assistants.
1987, Houston, TX: TCU won the men’s 4×200 at the Texas Southern Relays with a time of 1:20.59, which put the Horned Frog squad #8 on the all-time world list.
1982, Brownwood, TX: Abilene Christian’s Billy Olson broke the American outdoor pole vault record at the Bluebonnet Relays with 18-8.75/ 5.70. While officially an AR, Olson’s own indoor AR of 18-10/5.74 was better.
AP wire story
1971, Eugene, OR: Steve Prefontaine tied the collegiate 2-mile record of 8:33.2 at Oregon’s home opener. That the sophomore tied the record was a big deal to the 3,200 in attendance, but how he did it was more impressive. “He was supposed to stay behind the first mile,” said coach Bill Dellinger. “But we told him he could run the second mile as fast as he wanted to.” Pre followed those directions and ran a ridiculous negative split: 4:28, then 4:05. His second mile was faster than the day’s winning time in the mile.
Eugene Register-Guard article
1965, Santa Monica, CA: UCLA’s Bob Day broke the collegiate 2-mile record with 8:35.3 in a triangular with UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly.
AP wire story
1965, Pullman, WA: Washington State freshman Gerry Lindgren broke the one-and-a-half mile record with a run of 6:34.0 at the 23rd annual Indoor Invitational. 3,000 fans crowded into Hollingbery Fieldhouse for the meet.
Spokane Spokesman-Review article
1937, Indianapolis, IN: Michigan won the 4th annual Butler Relays but a Buckeye was the star. Ohio State’s Mel Walker broke the world indoor high jump record with 6-9.75.