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 3

(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.

1916—Aware that Ted Meredith had set a World Record of 47.4 for 440 yards just a week earlier, the University of Chicago’s Henry “Binga” Desmond went after the new mark at the Western Intercollegiate in Evanston, Illinois. 

Normally one to run with the competition, Dismond raced the clock this time and equaled Meredith’s time. However, since the track was measured 18 inches from the curb and not the newly accepted (by the AAU and IAAF) norm of 12 inches, his mark was never ratified. Desmond went on to serve in the Army during World War I and enjoyed a long career as a physician in Harlem. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2594046/(Click on “Complete Article”)

Competing at the same meet, future Hall-of-Famer Robert Simpson (Missouri) won the 120-meter hurdles in 14.6, tying his best from the week before at the Missouri Valley Conference meet. Neither mark was ratified as a World Record. Simpson’s brother-in-law was Earl “Tommy” Thomson, the 1920 Olympic gold medalist in the 110-meter hurdles.

1933—Jesse Owens (East Tech, OH) set a National High School Record of 24-11  ¼ (7.60) In the Long Jump at the Senate League Championships in Cleveland, Ohio. The previous mark of 24-10 (7.57) was set earlier in the season by Winfield “Skinny” Whipple (Arkadelphia, Ar). Owens also won the 100-yard dash in 9.7

1957—Just two days after becoming America’s first sub-4-minute miler, Don Bowden lost his U.S. High School Record in the 1/2-mile (1:52.3) to Fordham Prep’s Tom Carroll, who ran 1:50.6 at the NY Catholic League Championships (CHSAA), which were held at Downing Stadium on Randall’s Island.

NY Times  (For NY Times subscribers)


1960—Sharing the pace with László  Tábori, his Santa Clara Valley Youth Village teammate, Jim Beatty pulled away on the last lap to win the 5000-meters in 13:51.7 at the Compton Relays in California (described by Sports Illustrated as the “best meet of the year”) to smash Max Truex’s American Record of 14:03.6.

The Mile featured Australia’s Herb Elliott, the World Record holder in the event (3:54.5). Slowed by a leg injury, Elliott still won the race in 3:59.2, followed by Jim Grelle in 4:00.1. Elliott would go on to win the 1500-meters at the Rome Olympics later in the year, setting a World Record of 3:35.6.

Sports Illustrated Vault:



1972—Two Olympic-Champions-to-be were winners at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon(June 1-3). Bowling Green junior Dave Wottle won the 1500-Meters in 3:39.7 while wearing a cap (“…it keeps the hair out of my eyes”), just as he would a few months later while winning the gold medal in the 800-meters at the Munich Olympics (and absent-mindedly kept it on during the victory ceremony).

USC freshman Randy Williams won the Long Jump with a wind-aided mark of 26-8  ¼ (8.13) and ran the lead-off leg on the winning 440y-relay. He went on to win gold in the LJ in Munich.

UCLA senior John Smith, who won the 400 meters in 44.5 and anchored the Bruins to a win in the Mile Relay, might have been the third Olympic Champion to come out of this meet, but a hamstring injury suffered in a pre-Olympic meet led to his pulling up in the final of the 400 in Munich.

Oregon junior Steve Prefontaine, pressured most of the way by Penn State’s Greg Fredericks (13:34.0), set a Meet Record of 13:31.4 in the 5000-Meters. He would finish 4th in the Olympic 5000.

Oregon State freshman Tom Woods won the High Jump with a clearance of 7-3  ¼ (2.22/Meet Record). 3rd was another freshman, UCLA’s Dwight Stones (7-2/2.185?), who would win the bronze medal in Munich.

UCLA won the team title by 33 points over L.A. rival USC (82-49).



1978—As mentioned yesterday, UCLA sophomore Greg Foster won the 110-meter Hurdles at the NCAA Championships in Eugene (June 1-3), running 13.22 to set American and Collegiate Records. Maryland freshman Renaldo Nehemiah placed second with a World Junior Record of 13.27.

         There were plenty of other highlights in one of the best NCAA meets in history.

         The1500  was loaded with future stars (see below), with UC Irvine’s Steve Scott(3:37.58) winning a fast race over East Tennessee’s Ray Flynn (3:37.66), Wisconsin’s Steve Lacy (3:37.78), Villanova’s Don Paige (3:38.86) and Sydney Maree (3:39.06), and Oregon’s Matt Centrowitz (3:39.29).

         Washington State sophomore Henry Rono ran away from UTEP’s James Munyala (8:24.0-hand), the 3-time defending champion, to win the Steeplechase and set the still-standing Meet Record of 8:12.39 (breaking his own MR of 8:18.63, set in his heat!). He also set a Meet Record of 13:21.8 in his heat of the 5000 but didn’t run the final, which was won by Oregon’s Rudy Chapa (13:35.3).

         USC’s Clancy Edwards set two Meet Records, winning the 100 (10.07) on Friday over Texas A&M’s Curtis Dickey (10.11), and Auburn’s Harvey Glance (10.19), and the 200 (20.16) the next day (6-3). He also ran the 3rd leg on the Trojans’ “winning” 4×100 relay team (6-3). However, Billy Mullins, who ran the 2nd leg, was later declared scholastically ineligible, and the team was stripped of its title.  Mullins had earlier edged Auburn’s Willie Smith in the 400 (6-3), with both being timed in 45.33, but he also lost that title. Finally, the Trojans were stripped of the team title, leaving UCLA and UTEP as co-champions.

Here is a deeper look at the star-studded 1500-meters:

        1.Steve Scott (UC-Irvine-Sr) 3:37.58…set American Records in the 1500(3:31.96/’81, 3:31.76/’85) and the mile

                 (3:47.69/’82). Mile record lasted for 25-years (Alan Webb-3:46.91/07)

        2. Ray Flynn (East Tennessee State-Sr) 3:37.68…set the Irish Mile record of 3:49.77 in 1982…currently the Director

                 of the Millrose Games and an athlete rep.

        3. Steve Lacy (Wisconsin)-Sr 3:37.78…2-time Olympian (1980-1500, 1984-5000/10th)…ran 3:33.99(1500) and

                 3:54.84(mile) in 1980

        4. Don Paige (Villanova-So) 3:38.86…won the NCAA 800-1500 double in 1979…won the 800 in 1980

                 Ranked #1 in the world in the 800 in 1980….had bests of 1:44.29 (’83) and 3:54.19(’82)

        5. Sydney Maree (Villanova-Fr) 3:39.06…won the NCAA 5000 in 1979, the 1500 in 1980 and 1981/set a Collegiate

                 The record of 3:35.30 lasted until New Mexico’s Josh Kerr ran 3:35.01 in 2018. Set a World Record of

                 3:31.24 for 1500 meters in 1983. Set an American Record of 13:01.15 in 1985. Wound up with bests of

                 3:29.77(’85/AR at the time) and 3:48.83 (’81)

        6. Matt Centrowitz (Oregon-Sr) 3:39.29…Set an American Record of 13:12.91 for 5000-meters in 1982. 2-time

                 Olympian (1976-1500, 1980-5000). Ran 3:54.94 for the mile in 1982.


(Distance Finals): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EwxhxwwuTU