Walt Murphy is one of the finest track statisticians 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–June 17   

(c)Copyright 2024-all rights reserved. It may not be reprinted or retransmitted without permission.
By Walt Murphy’s News and Results Service (wmurphy25@aol.com), used with permission.

1922Illinois’ Harold Osborn tied for first in the High Jump with Notre Dame’s Johnny Murphy, the defending champion, at the 2nd NCAA Championships held in Chicago. Osborn would win Olympic gold in the High Jump and the Decathlon in 1924 and is a U.S. Hall of Fame charter member.

Georgetown’s Bob LeGendre won the Long Jump (24-3 [7.39]) and went on to win the  bronze medal in the Pentathlon at the 1924 Olympics

Two winners who were Olympic medalists in 1920 were the Penn State duo of Larry Shields (Mile), the bronze medalist in the 1500, and Harold Barron (120y-Hurdles), the silver medalist in the 110m-Hurdles.

Grinnell’s Len Paulu (9.9) won the 100-yard dash for the 2nd year in a row and also won the 220y (21.8).

Cal-Berkeley (28-1/2) won the team title over Penn State (19-1/2)



Glenn Cunningham, probably race in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Please note scars on legs from fire injuries as a child. Photo courtesy of Peter F. Murphy, JR. Copyright 2024 by Kansas Historical Society, all rights reserved.

1933–At the NCAA Championships, held at Stagg Field in Chicago, Indiana’s Chuck Hornbostel edged Kansas’ Glenn Cunningham in the 880y, both timed in 1:50.9. It was the second of Hornbostel’s three NCAA titles in the event. Cunningham won the Mile in 4:09.8, and Marquette’s Ralph Metcalfe won the 100y (9.4) and 220y on the straightaway (20.4).

LSU, with only 5 men on its squad (including two future Hall-of-Famers), won its first team title, edging perennial

powerhouse USC, 58-54 (Top 6 scored 10-8-6-4-2-1).

            The Tigers’ scorers

            Sophomore Glenn “Slats” Hardin–won the 440y (47.1/Meet Record) and the 220y-Hurdles (22.9)

                        Former World Record holder in the 400-Meter Hurdles; 2-time Olympic medalist (1932-silver, 1936-gold)

                        Member of the Hall of Fame

            Senior Jack Torrance—won the Shot Put (52-10 [16.10]), 3rd in the Discus (147-7 [44.98?])

                        Former World Record holder in the Shot Put. Member of the Hall of Fame

            Senior Al Moreau—2nd in the 120y-Hurdles, 6th in the 220y-Hurdles

            Senior Al Gordy—tied for first in the Pole Vault  (13-11 [4.24]/Meet Record])

            Sophomore Nathan Blair—4th in the Javelin (195-6 [59.58?])


Ruth Laney Featurehttps://countryroadsmagazine.com/art-and-culture/people-places/1933-lsu-track-team-stuns-nation/

LSU’s 1sthttps://lsusports.net/news/2008/6/9/1477612.aspx

1933—Jesse Owens (East Tech,OH) set National High School Records in the 100y (9.4) and 220y (20.7) at the National Interscholastic Championships, which were held concurrently in Chicago with the NCAA Championships (see above).

A Young Owenshttps://sports.jrank.org/pages/3574/Owens-Jesse-Athletic-Success-Teenager.html


1939–There was much anticipation for the Mile at the 6th Annual Princeton Invitation, witnessed by 28,000 fans. England’s Sydney Wooderson had taken away the World  Record from Glenn Cunningham in 1937 and both were in the field, along with previous Princeton winner Archie San Romani. But there was a slow early pace, taking away any thoughts of a new record, and then Wooderson fell, recovering enough to finish 5th in the race, which was won by Chuck Fenske in 4:11.0. Cunningham finished 2nd (4:11.6), followed by San Romani (4:11.8), Blaine Rideout (4:12), and Wooderson (4:13).

Given the slow early pacing, the race turned into a sprint for home in the last 220-yards, with Wooderson in the lead. Considered by some to be the greatest runner of his time, Wooderson “apparently had decided to put all his reliance on his sprint finish, forgetting that the others could sprint too”. Wooderson, complaining after the race that Rideout had forced him to stumble on the curb, was soon out of contention.

John Quigley, a 19-year old senior at NY’s De La Salle Academy, upset Archie Williams, the 1936 Olympic champion at 400-meters, to win the 440y in 47.6 (around 1 turn).


NY Times: https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1939/06/18/112696522.pdf?pdf_redirect=true&ip=0


1939Among the winners at the NCAA Championships in Los Angeles were Pittsburgh’s John Woodruff in the 880y (1:50.7), USC’s Lou Zamperini in the Mile (4:13.6), and Notre Dame’s Greg Rice in the 2-Mile (9:02.6). USC won the team title with 86 points, almost double the score of runnerup Stanford (44-3/4).

            Woodruff was at the center of a controversy that involved Princeton, the host of the Princeton Invitation (see above), and AAU Secretary Dan Ferris. Woodruff had entered both meets, and NCAA coaches accused Ferris and Princeton officials of pressuring Woodruff to skip the NCAA meet in favor of competing at Princeton, They denied the charges, saying they were fine with Woodruff’s decision to compete in L.A. (From the NY Times)

Rice’s Fred Wolcott (14.3) won the 120y-Hurdles over Wisconsin’s Ed Smith (14.5), who was at the center of a racial controversy earlier in the season.

Wisconsin was scheduled to compete in a tri-meet with Notre Dame and host Missouri. The Badgers’ Tom Jones had coached at Mizzou before World War One, and two of his former pupils now coached the track teams at Missouri and Notre Dame. The meet  was to be accompanied by a banquet to honor Jones and his former runners.

            Two weeks before the meet was to take place, Missouri officials requested that Wisconsin not bring Smith, an African-American, since local customs prohibited racial integration. When appeals to Missouri to allow Smith to compete failed, Wisconsin (and Notre Dame) refused to participate and the meet was cancelled. More at: https://uwbadgers.com/news/2009/2/12/Celebrate_Black_History_Month_Ed_Smith.aspx


NY Times-Woodruff(for subscribers): https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1939/06/17/93930965.pdf?pdf_redirect=true&ip=0

1950 Notable winners at the 1950 NCAA  Championships in Minneapolis  included Morgan State’s George Rhoden in the 440y (47.2), Wisconsin’s Don Gehrmann in the Mile (4:12.4), USC’s Dick Attlesey in the 120y-Hurdles (14.0), Yale’s Jim Fuchs in the Shot Put (56-11 3/16), and Stanford’s Bud Held (216-8 5/8 [66.05]), who won the Javelin over UCLA’s Cy Young (211-1/4 [64.31]).  USC won the team title.


1961–Villanova’s Frank Budd won the 100y over Oregon’s Harry Jerome (9.4-9.5) and the 220y over teammate Paul Drayton (20.8-21.2) at the NCAA Championships, which were held at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.

Other Highlights:

New Mexico’s Adolph Plummer won a photo-finish in the 440y over Abilene Christian’s Earl Young (46.2 for both).

Future Hall-of-Famers Dyrol Burleson (Oregon/mile-4:00.5), USC’s Dallas Long (Shot Put/63-3  ½ [19.29]), and John Thomas (High Jump/7-2 [2.185]) were all winners in their respective events.

Occidental’s Dixon Farmer, who has been a PA announcer in the sport for years, won the 440y-Hurdles in 50.8.

USC (65) won the team title over Oregon(47).


Sports Illustrated Vault(Pre-Meet article with Earl Young on the cover):


Hall of Fame Bios:

Burleson(2010): https://www.usatf.org/athlete-bios/dyrol-burleson


Thomas(1985)Currently unavailable


1967—The NCAA Championships in Provo, Utah, came to a close, with Southern Cal  breaking their week-old world record in the 440-yard relay, running 38.6 with a lineup of hurdler Earl McCullouch (who had won the 120y-hurdles[13.4] on Friday), Fred Kuller, O.J. Simpson, and Lennox Miller.

There were plenty of other stars on hand, with San Jose State’s Tommie Smith winning the 220y (20.2), Kansas’ Jim Ryun the Mile (4:03.5), Washington State’s Gerry Lindgren the 3-Mile (13:47.8) and 6-Mile (28:44.0/6-15), USC’s Bob Seagren beat teammate Paul Wilson to win the Pole Vault (17-4 for both), and Texas A&M’s Randy Matson  the Shot put (67-9  ¼[6-16]) and Discus (190-4).

USC had lost to UCLA in their annual dual meet earlier in the season and finished 2nd to Oregon at the PAC-8 Championships, but dominated the team scoring here, more than doubling the score of runnerup Oregon (84-40).

(See June 15 for an earlier report)



NCAA History

Past Champions(Through 2022)                                                      




T&F News


1967Three National H.S. records were set at a windy Golden West Inv. in Sacramento. Bill Tipton (Pontiac Central,MI) won the 180y-Hurdles on a turn in 18.3 (he also won the 120y-Hurdles in a wind-aided 13.4); Karl Salb (Crossett,AR) won the Shot Put with a toss of 69-8 (21.23) to break Dallas Long’s 9-year old mark of 69-3 (21.10+); and Joe Kurzrok (Mt.Vernon,NY) won the 330y-Hurdles in 37.3.

            Other potential records were negated by excessive aiding wind, with Jerry Proctor, already the NR holder at 25-7 [7.79], winning the Long Jump with a leap of 26-5  ¾ (8.07), and Bill Gaines (Mullica Hills,NJ), a day shy of his 19th birthday, winning the 100y-dash in 9.3.  Enjoying Gaines’s effort was honorary referee Jesse Owens, who ran 9.4 as a prep in 1934.

            Essex Catholic (NJ) provided two winners, with Marty Liquori  winning the Mile in 4:08.0 and Mark Murro, who had set a National Record of 252-8 (77.01?) earlier in the season, taking the Javelin with a throw of 247-4 (75.38?). (From T&F News)

1970–Germany’s Wolfgang Nordwig jumped 17-10  ½ (5.45) in Berlin to break John Pennel’s World Record in the pole vault (17-10  1/4[5.44m]).

WR Progression: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Men’s_pole_vault_world_record_progression

“Human Mile”

1977(June 18)/1978(June 17)–The late Mike Cohen knew very little about track and field when he became the Sports Information Director at Manhattan College, but it didn’t take him long before he fell in love with the sport and freely offered unsolicited advice to head coach Fred Dwyer. He eventually became the Public Relations person at Yonkers Raceway and saw an opportunity to promote the sport, as well as bring some attention to the Raceway, where normally horses trotted their way around the 1/2-mile oval. The first “Human Mile” took place on this date and was won by Mark Belger in 4:00.5, with Matt Centrowitz 2nd in 4:01.3, followed by Ron Speirs (4:02.5), Fordham’s Jim De Rienzo (4:08.1), and Ireland’s (and Arkansas’) Niall O’Saughnessy (4:08.5). Belger’s parents and other family members were on hand to watch him run his first mile since his high school days. Peter Gaughn, who was the pacer through splits of 58, 1:57, and 3:02, had said the track was “lightning fast” after a workout.

1978–The 2nd edition drew another good field and the track’s odds-maker presented the following line (just for fun–there was no betting): Ray Flynn 5-2, Sydney Maree 3-1, Belger 4-1, Centrowitz 8-1, Great Britain’s Chris Stewart 8-1, Byron Dyce 8-1, Mike Roche 12-1, and Bob Snyder 15-1. Flynn, who won the race in 4:00.0 over Maree and Centrowitz, remembers, “Running 1/2-mile laps seemed to take forever”.

The race was televised live on WPIX in NY and it marked my debut as an on-air commentator. Host Spencer Ross gave the race a big buildup, turned to me and said, “Here to give us a rundown on each runner is our expert, Walter “MURRAY”. He corrected himself when we came back from a commercial, but the damage had been done—some of my “friends” still call me by that name. To make the evening even more memorable, my performance was so riveting that I was relegated to a behind-the-scenes role in TV ever since!

St.John’s’ Ross Donoghue would win the 3rd edition in 1979 in 4:00.8.

From Pretoria to Yonkers-Maree: 



1979—Craig Virgin set an American Record of 27:39.4 for 10,000 meters at the U.S. Championships in Walnut, California. He broke Steve Prefontaine’s previous mark of 27:43.6, set in 1974.

Steve Scott won an exciting 1500, pulling away from Don Paige (3:37.4) in the homestretch and setting a Meet Record of 3:36.90.

A loaded Women’s 1500 was even more exciting than the men’s race, with Francie Larrieu(Smith) barely edging Mary  Decker after a homestretch duel (4:06.6-4:06.8). Next was Julie Brown (4:09.4) and American Record holder Jan Merrill (4:11.1) was 4th. Larrieu doubled back to also win the 3000 in a close finish over Merrill (8:53.8-8:54.0).

Larry Myricks (27-2w [8.28]) won the Men’s Long Jump (6-16) over recent H.S. grad (Willingboro,NJ) Carl Lewis     (26-6  1/2w [8/09], who was just two weeks shy of his 19th birthday. The two would engage in a great rivalry for the next dozen years and both would wind up in the National Hall of Fame.


Mike Fanelli’s Report on the 10khttps://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10226982408561965&id=1106642135

Results(Top 3)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1979_USA_Outdoor_Track_and_Field_Championships

1980–WOW!–The U.S. Junior Championships, held on the University of Tennessee’s Tom Black Track in Knoxville, provided a showcase for many of the sport’s eventual legends. Finishing 1-2 in both the Men’s 100 and 200 were Carl Lewis and Calvin Smith, both future world record holders and Olympic/World Champions. Two of the best 1/2-milers in U.S. history matched up in the Women’s 800, with 17-year old Joetta Clark beating 16-year old Kim Gallagher, 2:04.52-2:05.98. Carol Lewis won the 100-meter Hurdles in 14.20 but was only 4th in what would turn out to be her best event, the Long Jump. The event’s winner was the great one, Jackie Joyner-Kersee (20-1 [6.12]). Lance Deal, who would become one of  the best hammer throwers in the world, won the Men’s Discus (187-4 [57.10]).


1984—Things started to heat up on the 2nd day of competition at the U.S. Olympic Trials in the L.A. Coliseum (June 16-24), with athletes filling in the Olympic slots in 4 events.  (with eventual Olympic medals)

Carl Lewis (10.06/Gold), Sam Graddy (10.21/Silver), and Ron Brown (10.23) made the team in the Men’s 100-


UCLA’s Jackie Joyner (Silver/not yet Kersee) set an American Record of  6520 points to lead Jodi Brown and Cindy Greiner onto the team in the Heptathlon.

Mike Conley (57-5 [17.50]/Silver)led the way in the Men’s Triple Jump, and was joined by Al Joyner (56-4  ¾ [17.19]/Gold) and Willie Banks (56-2  ¾ [17.14]).

Making the team in the Hammer Throw were Bill Green (240-3 [73.24]), Jud Logan (237-9 [72.48]), and Ed Burke (235-7 [71.82]), who made his 3rd Olympic team 20 years after making his 1st in 1964 (also competed in 1968).

Finishing 2nd to Edwin Moses (47.58/only Moses had ever run faster) in his semi-final race, Danny Harris ran 48.02 to set a World Junior Record in the Men’s 400-Meter Hurdles (since broken).