Walt Murphy is one of the finest track geeks that I know. Walt does #ThisDayinTrack&FieldHistory, an excellent daily service that provides true geek stories about our sport. You can check out the service for FREE with a free one-month trial subscription! (email: WaltMurphy44@gmail.com ) for the entire daily service. We will post a few historic moments each day, beginning February 1, 2024.

This Day in Track & Field–February 21

by Walt Murphy’s News and Results Service  (wmurphy25@aol.com), used with permission

1925—Long before the baseball team came onto the local sports scene, the Senior “Mets”, the Championships of the Metropolitan AAU Association, was an important fixture on the NY City indoor T&F circuit.

Ugo Frigerio cartoon, from 1920s

At first, Italy’s Ugo Frigerio, the winner of 3 gold medals at the 1920 & 1924 Olympics, refused to participate in the special 4-mile racewalk, claiming that he should have been allowed to select his competitors, much like Paavo Nurmi had done in his many races in the U.S. He finally relented after being told the race would go on without him, and went on to win the event in 30:01.4.

Jackson Scholtz, by Wikepedia (public domain)

Jackson Scholz, the 1924 Olympic Champion at 200-Meters, won the 300y in 33.4, and Fordham’s Johnny Gibson won the 600y in 1:16.0. Gibson would go on to set a World Record of 52.6 in the 440y-Hurdles in 1927.

Loretta McNeil anchored the Millrose A.A. to a win in the Women’s 440y-Relay and would win a silver medal in the 1st Olympic Women’s 4×100 in 1928.

4th in the 1000y was 32-year-old Abel Kiviat, the silver medalist in the 1500-Meters at the 1912 Olympics.

Finland’s Ville “Willie” Ritola had come to the meet hoping to challenge the World Record in the 2-mile, but wasn’t allowed to compete because he didn’t meet the Met AAU’s residency requirements!

The meeting was held at the 102nd Engineers Armory in Washington Heights, the same facility that’s in use today.

(For Subscribers): https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1925/02/22/104166153.html?pageNumber=93




1953Villanova’s Fred Dwyer (Mile/4:08.1) and Penn State’s Ollie Sax (600y/1:10.4) set Meet Records at the IC4A Championships in Madison Square Garden, with Manhattan College, with George Eastment at the helm, winning its 3rd straight team title.

The front-running Dwyer, who had earlier won the Mile at the U.S. Indoor Championships, got the 10,000 fans in attendance excited when he hit the ¾-mile split in 3:04.8, raising hope that he would break the World Record of 4:05.3, but the quick pace took its toll near the end of the race.

Dwyer would have a long coaching career, guiding Marty Liquori to a sub-4 mile at Essex Catholic(NJ) H.S. and Manhattan College to the team title at the 1973 NCAA Indoor Championships.

Tom Courtney, a future Olympic gold medalist in the 800-Meters (1956), anchored Fordham to a win in the 2-mile relay.

Columbia’s Al Thompson won the Shot Put (51-9  ½ [15.78+]) after finishing 2nd in the 35-pound Weight Throw in the afternoon.

Thompson, who passed away in 2021, was a dentist for more than 50 years, treating many members of the NY City T&F Community (including myself-WM). His was one of the few medical waiting rooms that featured Track & Field News among its collection of magazines!

There was a controversial outcome in the 60-yard dash. It was a blanket finish among Manhattan’s trio of Joe Schatzle, John O’Connell, and Lindy Remigino, the 1952 Olympic champion at 100-Meters, and Seton Hall’s Bob Keegan. The order of finish was left to the judges to decide after the Bulova Phototimer jammed! The problem was that the judges differed on the finish order. The consensus among most observers was that the winner was Schatzle, with O’Connell beating Keegan for 2nd, but Referee Dan Ferris made the bizzare decision to award the win to Keegan after a “process of elimination”, even though Keegan hadn’t been picked in the top 4 by any of the judges! Ferris would later admit that “Maybe we did make a mistake”!

For Subscribers:

Meet Report: https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1953/02/22/93395864.html?pageNumber=212





19595 World Records were set at the U.S. Indoor Championships in Madison Square Garden.

Ireland’s Ron Delany, a Garden favorite, had to chase down Hungary’s István Rózsavölgyi on the final lap to win his 4th straight U.S. Indoor title (at a time when international athletes could compete in the meet). His winning time of 4:02.5 bettered his own World Indoor Record of 4:03.4. Rozsavolgyi finished 2nd in 4:03.9, the fastest non-winning time in history at the time.

17-year-old Boston University freshman John Thomas, who had become the first man to clear 7’ in the High Jump indoors at the Millrose Games earlier in the season, raised his World Record to 7-1  1/4 (2.165), a mark that was higher than the Outdoor Record (7-1 [2.16]). Thomas would eventually win 7 U.S. Indoor titles.

Bill Dellinger, before he was an Olympic bronze medalist, University of 1955 Oregon yearbook, U of Oregon Sports. Bill competed in the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Olympics. He is also a US military veteran.

      Bill Dellinger won the 3 miles in 13:36.9 to break Greg Rice’s 17-year-old mark of 13:45.7, and Parry O’Brien improved his WR from 61-8 ½ (18.805) to 62-1 ¾ (18.94). Bob Backus won his 6th straight title in the 35-pound Weight Throw with a WR toss of 66-2  ¾ (20.18+) at the Squadron A Armory in the afternoon.

      The meet drew a standing-room-only crowd of 15,789.


For Subscribershttps://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1959/02/22/89119133.html?pageNumber=192