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This Day in Track & Field–May 14

(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.

1881–Lehigh defeated Lafayette in their first dual meet.

From Wikipedia: “The first joint athletic track and field event held between the two institutions was on May 14, 1881, on the grounds of the Lehigh University Athletic Association. The meet consisted of fourteen events; Hundred Yards Dash, Half-Mile Run,  Throwing the Hammer, Running High Jump, 440 Yards Dash, Mile Walk, Putting the Shot, Running Broad Jump, 220 Yards Dash, Mile Run, Pole Vaulting, 120 Yards Hurdle Race, Bicycle Race, Standing High Jump, and Tug of War. Lehigh emerged with a decisive victory, winning ten of the fourteen events.

     As a sign of the intense rivalry that would develop between these two schools, an article in Lafayette’s student newspaper, the Lafayette College Journal, called the loss a “defeat in our recent contest with Lehigh University, -a defeat, too, doubly humiliating, coming, as it did, from an adversary in every other respect our inferior.”


1885/1887—Penn’s Billy Page became the 1st American to top the 6-foot barrier in the High Jump, clearing 6-1/4 (1.835) in Philadelphia. On the same date two years later, he cleared 6-1(1.855), also in Philadelphia. He set a total of 8 American Records in the pre-AAU era and won 3 IC4A and 3 U.S. titles (1885-1887).


1910—Harvard beat Yale, 52 ½-51 ½, on its home track as D. P. Ranney beat F. A. Reilly by inches to get 2nd place in the final race of the day, the 220y, to win the meet for the Crimson.


1966—19-year-old Bob Seagren set the first of his four World Records (and the first of his seven American Records) in the Pole Vault, clearing 17-5  ½ (5.32) at the West Coast Relays in Fresno, CA. Fred Hansen set the previous record of 17-4 in 1964 (ratified as 5.28/17-3  3/4).

Seagren had a Hall-of-Fame career, including a gold medal at the 1968 Olympics.

WR Progressionhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Men%27s_pole_vault_world_record_progression




1966—Washington State sophomore Gerry Lindgren ran 12:53.0 for 3 miles in Seattle to smash his own American Record of 13:04.2, which was set in 1965.



1967—Germany’s Kurt Bendlin scored 8319 points (8235 new tables) in Heidelberg to break Russ Hodge’s World Record of 8230 (8120). He would win the bronze medal at the 1968 Olympics.



WR Progressionhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decathlon_world_record_progression

Jan Merrill, Tatyana Kazankina, Montreal 1976, photo by Mark Shearman

1977-Jan Merrill ran 4:30.98 at West Point to break Francie Larrieu’s American Record (4:31.69) in the mile. Merrill-Morin was a finalist (8th) in the 1500 meters at the 1976 Olympics.


1993—Tennessee freshman Lawrence Johnson, who would become better known for his exploits in the Pole Vault, won the Decathlon at the SEC Championships at his home facility in Knoxville. His score of 7576 still has him in 5th place on the All-Time U.S. Junior/Under-20 list.

“LoJo” went on to win gold in the Vault at the 2001 World Indoor Championships and silver at the 2000 Olympics and 1997 World Indoor Championships, and held the Collegiate Record of 19-7  ½(5.98) from 1996 until LSU freshman Mondo Duplantis cleared 19-8  ¼ (6.00) at the 2019 SEC Championships.


2006— UCLA senior Chelsea Johnson won the Pole Vault at the PAC-10 Championships in Eugene,OR, with a clearance of 15-1 (4.60) to break the Collegiate Record of 15-1/4 (4.58), which was set by Florida State’s Lacy Janson earlier in the year. Janson would beat Johnson to win the NCAA title in June.



2010—The IAAF Diamond League made its debut in Doha, Qatar. Among the highlights:


100-Asafa Powell (JAM) 9.81w

800-David Rudisha (KEN) 1:43.00

5000-Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) 12:51.21

400 Hurdles-Bershawn Jackson (USA) 48.66

Shot Put-Christian Cantwell (USA) 71-7  ¼ (21.82)


400-Allyson Felix (USA) 50.15

1500-Nancy Langat (KEN) 4:01.63

100 Hurdles-Lolo Jones (USA) 12.63w

High Jump-1.Blanka Vlašić (CRO) 6-6 (1.98), 2. Chaunté Lowe (USA) 6-6 (1.98)

Results: https://doha.diamondleague.com/programme-results/results-archive/




2011—Arkansas’ Tina Šutej, a Junior from Slovenia, set a Collegiate (and National) Record of 15-1  ½ (4.61) in the Pole Vault at the SEC Championships in Athens, GA. UCLA’s Chelsea Johnson set the previous mark of 15-1 (4.60) 5 years earlier on this same date(2006).

2011—Oregon freshman English Gardner won the 100 at the PAC-10 Championships in 11.03 to set an American Junior/Under-20 Record (now #9).


2012—Columbia’s Kyle Merber ran 3:35.59 at Swarthmore College to set an American Collegiate Record for 1500 meters (since broken). It was the fastest time run by a college student since Villanova’s Sydney Maree (South Africa) set the overall CR of 3:35.30 in 1981. The current record holders are Notre Dame’s Yared Nuguse (3:34.68/2021) and Alabama’s Eliud Kipsang (Kenya-3:33.74/2022).

Merber has contributed to three World Relay Records:

4×800(i)-7:11.30   NJ*NY TC  2017  Boston University

(Joe McAsey 1:49.1, Kyle Merber 1:47.1, Chris Giesting 1:47.4, Jesse Garn 1:47.7)

4xmile(i)-16:12.81  NJ*NY TC  2017 NY’s Armory  (since broken)

(Donn Cabral 4:05.0, Ford Palmer 3:59.9, Graham Crawford 4:08.6, Kyle Merber 3:59.3)

Distance Medley-9:15.50  USA (2015 World Relays)

(Kyle Merber 2:53.6, Brycen Spratling 46.0, Brandon Johnson 1:44.7, Ben Blankenship 3:51.2)

Now retired from competition, he spent the last few years publishing The Lap Count, and now he’s joined Michael Johnson’s team that promises to revolutionize the presentation of the sport!