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This Day in Track & Field-May 7

(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.

1898—Yale’s Raymond Clapp set an American Record of 11-6 (3.50) in the Pole Vault on his home field in New Haven. Clapp was the IC4A Champion in 1898 and 1899.


1904—Vassar’s Fanny James set an American Record of 13.0 in the 100-yard dash at the school’s annual field day in Poughkeepsie, NY.


1966—Track & Field News called it “The greatest performance in the history of track & field” after San Jose State’s Tommie Smith ran 19.5 on the straightaway at an All-Comers meet on his home track to set World Records for both 200-Meters and 220-Yards. The magazine used the Portuguese Scoring Tables, which assigned points to performances across all events, as the basis for its claim.

1976—Among the winners at the Heptagonal Championships in Kingston,RI (May 7-8) were Princeton’s Craig Masback (1500/3:51.3), Penn’s Dave Merrick, who edged Army’s Curt Alitz in the 5000 (14:04.0 for both), Penn’s Harold Schwab in both hurdles (14.3/52.0), and Harvard’s Mel Embree in the High Jump (7-3 [2.21]). Penn won the team title in a runaway, beating Navy 83-1/3-40.

The PA announcer for the meet was ESPN’s Chris Berman, who was a junior at Brown University at the time!



1978—American Records were set at the Pepsi Inv. at UCLA by James Butts in the Triple Jump (56-5  ½ [17.21]) and Patty van Wolvelaere in the 100-meter hurdles (13.21). Finishing 2nd to Butts was future Hall-of-Famer Willie Banks.

(55-11  ¼ [17.05]).

In a battle of future greats, UCLA’s Greg Foster won the 110 hurdles with a personal best time of 13.34, narrowly beating Maryland freshman Renaldo Nehemiah, who set a World Junior Record of 13.37 (since broken).

Other notable winners in this high-class meet were Washington State’s Henry Rono (3000-7:43.0), UCLA’s Evelyn Ashford (200-23.00), Al Feuerbach (SP:68-11  ¼ [21.01]), Mac Wilkins (DT: 227-11 [69.46?]), Francie Larrieu (mile-4:31.0), and Joni Huntley (HJ: 6-2 [1.88]).


1988–Jackie Joyner-Kersee ran 12.70 in Modesto, California, to break Gail Devers’ American Record (12.71) in the 100-meter hurdles.

2005—A day before he turned 19, Galen Rupp ran 28:15.52 for 10,000 meters at the Twilight meet in Eugene to break the official American Junior Record of 28:32.7, set by Indiana prep Rudy Chapa (Hammond H.S.) in 1976. Rupp’s mark was intrinsically inferior to when 19-year-old Gerry Lindgren, a freshman at Washington State at the time, ran for 6 miles at the 1965 U.S. Championships. He lost a photo finish to Billy Mills in that race, but both were given credit for a World Record of 27:11.6.

On the other side of the country, Harvard frosh Lindsey Scherf set the current AJR in the Women’s 10,000, who ran 32:51.20 while finishing 2nd at the Heptagonal/Ivy League Championships at Columbia University.  The previous mark of 32:52.5 was set 26 years earlier (1979) by Mary Shea, a senior at Cardinal Gibbons H.S.(NC).