High School Powerhouses


Forum devoted to track & field items of an historical nature.

High School Powerhouses

Postby Guest » Sat Aug 09, 2003 1:56 pm

Several earlier threads talked about the John Muir of Pasadena, and Centennial of Compton powerhouse track squads with Muir's dating back to the 30's. In addition to all the sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers at Muir they also had nationally ranked vaulter Mel Hein, Jr. and shot man John Boelter (a distant cousin of mine).

Other longtime powerhouses include Long Beach Poly and Berkeley. I lived in Northern California from 1967 to 1972 and I remember that two schools near T&F News were also powerhouses then. Los Altos and Palo Alto were very strong especially in the middle and long distances. I don't seem to hear too much about them lately. Have they fallen on hard times? Garry, can you help me on this one?

The old Southern League in LA City used to have real sprint powerhouses in the 50's and 60's. When Jefferson, Fremont, Manual Arts, Dorsey, Los Angeles and Washington met in their league champioship they usually eliminated several 9.7 or better 100yd dashmen from advancing to the City Finals because of the depth of sprinting talent. I believe that was part of the reason the L.A. City championship relay was a 8 man X 220yd relay instead of the standard 4 X 220yd relay run in the State Championship. I think some of these schools have in recent times had the same demograhic changes that have reduced other sprint powers like Compton, Centennial of Compton and LA Jordan to also rans.
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Re: High School Powerhouses

Postby jhc68 » Sat Aug 09, 2003 3:55 pm

Compton (in addition to Compton Centennial)used to field some very talented teams. Someone with more memory or archives than me can check my recall: it seems to me that way back when Reynaldo Brown was competing for Compton HS they also had another 7 foot high jumper on campus and a third kid at 6'11+".
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Re: High School Powerhouses

Postby billthedog » Sat Aug 09, 2003 4:15 pm

It is quite impossible for Palo Alto High School to fall on hard times as long as it has illustrious alumni like me, but it's a fact that we haven't heard much from its tracksters lately. It did have an undefeated basketball team lately. But who can match Horine, Kirksey, Dink Templeton, J.K. Norton, Feg Murray, Steers, Omar Cowles, Ron Larrieu, Rink Babka, to say nothing of my classmate Berny Wagner? There are undoubtedly some I have missed.
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Re: High School Powerhouses

Postby Guest » Sat Aug 09, 2003 8:12 pm

Billthdog: And you were famous for what in the last 30 years? The only names you mentioned that I'm familiar with in track are Larieu and Babka and those are both 40+ years ago. My comment is in recent years I don't hear about any star tracksters from Palo Alto or Los Altos which used to have many of them.

By the way anyone out there remember the "fat man relays"? I was at a USC/UCLA dual in the late 50's when USC had the McKeever twins of football fame and their fat man's relay was anchored by Rink Babka who actually made up ground on the famous Rafer Johnson in the 4X110 Relay! At 6'6" and 275 pounds with a 36" waist Rink was an amazing athlete. As I recall he was a JC All America football player at Menlo College when it was a 2 year school. When he went to USC he competed in track only much like other star JC football players like Parry O'Brien and Sim Innis. The only track star that I can remember who also played football at USC at the same time was the late Des Koch ('56 Olympic team discuss thrower).
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Re: High School Powerhouses

Postby jhc68 » Sat Aug 09, 2003 8:36 pm

Earl McCollough, OJ Simpson
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Re: High School Powerhouses

Postby billthedog » Sun Aug 10, 2003 4:26 pm

I thought I acknowledged the recent dearth of Paly tracksters. But this thread started with a remark about high schools whose records dated back to the 30s. And what school can match three world record holders (Horine, Steers, Babka); three Olympic silver medalists (Kirksey [relay gold medal], Norton, Babka); two Olympic bronze medalists (Horine, Murray); two other Olympians (Templeton [also acknowledged by Brutus Hamilton to be the "only one of us (track coaches) with a touch of genius"]), Larrieu); a high-school record holder (Cowles); Fosbury's coach and the nearest approximation we've ever had to a United States national coach (Wagner)?
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Re: High School Powerhouses

Postby billthedog » Mon Aug 11, 2003 7:49 am

Paly: One in the last 30 years I inexcusably neglected -- Carl Florant. Didn't he hold the Cal school record in the high hurdles till this year?
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Re: High School Powerhouses

Postby gh » Mon Aug 11, 2003 7:53 am

No, he only held it for about 5 years before Larry Cowling broke it.
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