The Obscure Sprinter


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

The Obscure Sprinter

Postby Texas » Tue Nov 25, 2008 4:18 am

I'm sure you've noticed my interest in the obscure. That.."who?"..seems to intrique me. Not sure the why however..ha~~~! I guess that's why them old primitive blues interests me. That world is full of.."who?" Cats that recorded "a" record then..poof!!!!!!!!!! Then here comes some Brit doing a cover of one of those old.."who?"..and only guys like myself know it's just a cover of an old blues tune.

Anyway...

Francis Baldwin was out of Dallas Baptist, while there he ran a 9.2, it even got him a picture in T&FN. Where did he go? Yes the classic fifteen minutes then...poof!!!!!!!!!!! Remember when Jordan Vaden stunned us all with his sub20.00? Remember that...who? Now it appears he's...poof!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Right now there is a guy at NC A&T, he'll be a junior in 2009. In 2008 he ran a 10.18. Yet he is currently an obscure talent on the national scene. Now he might stay that way. His 10.18 was probably windy and he might just fade away. Look at the yearly lists in T&FN and you'll find so many...who? Some cat who ran a solid time then...poof!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Where do they go, what happens?

I've mentioned this before (oh well) it remains a mystery to me. What happened to Cal State sprint champs/JC stars Alvin Mahn (Edison of Fresno) and Bill Cowings (Fowler). I saw Mahn run while at Fresno City then....poof! Cowings was the school record holder in the 100/200 at COS (Visalia JC) when I was there. A 9.5/20.5 guy in the 60's. Then he took off for Texas Southern and...poof!!!!!!!! I have no doubts most of you reading this have similiar memories. That local star who just....poof!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh yeah....

Calesio Newman being the obscure NC A&T sprinter.

I guess the classic example would be the Carter Suggs story. While in HS he ran a slew of 9.3's then off to East Carolina and..yep...poof!!!!!!! What happened to Carter Suggs? Then there was Cyriil Wyatt at Illinois. I guess Obea Moore would also fit. Another..?????...would be Mel Clipper. What happens?
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Postby gh » Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:32 am

The answer is simple for most, particulalrly if you're talking the hand-timing era. Lots of bad timing, chances of rolling starts in small meets and false wind readings. No other event has more opportunties to generate fake marks than the 100.
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Postby Texas » Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:51 am

I hear ya as far as times go. Then there's..

1960 Cali Championships

1 Bill Cowings Fowler 9.7
2 John Peters Jordan 9.8
3 Hubie Watson Jordan 9.9
4 Tom Webb Pleasant Hill 9.9
5-T John Lacey Fontana 10.0
5-T Tim Russell Lakewood 10.0

1963 Cali Championships

1 Alvin Mahn Edison 9.6
2 John House Muir 9.7
3 Travis Williams Ells 9.7
4 Tommie Smith Lemoore 9.7
5 Jerry Williams Berkeley 9.8
6 Julius Wheeler Manual Arts 9.8

gh the next time you get bored, could you check in your archives there at T&FN and see what you got on Cowings and Mahn?
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Postby jhc68 » Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:06 am

John House was the real deal, but apparently he had even more problems than talent.
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Postby Texas » Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:14 am

jhc68 wrote:John House was the real deal, but apparently he had even more problems than talent.


It's that sort of thing that interests me. So what did happen to House? As we look at the names up there, obviously Tommie Smith jumps out at us. We all know his story. Then there's Travis Williams. He'd run a 9.3 while at Contra Costa and another one while at Arizona State. He was also a footballer and would become one of the greatest kick returners in NFL history. He'd score 6 times on kick returns, one year averaging a gaudy 41 yards a return. Played with the Packers and Rams.
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Postby DexterDanner » Tue Nov 25, 2008 2:56 pm

All of you Xavier Carter worshipers should stop hyping him...cuz it would just hurt his legacy if he ends up on a forum like this...let's just be a little bit more rational and realize that he's got a great range of talent, but still has yet to prove himself...so lets just treat him like a regular track Joe for now...when he gets into a Championship final...that's when we should hype him...not now...or not yet.
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Postby bambam » Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:37 pm

Texas wrote:
jhc68 wrote:John House was the real deal, but apparently he had even more problems than talent.


It's that sort of thing that interests me. So what did happen to House? As we look at the names up there, obviously Tommie Smith jumps out at us. We all know his story. Then there's Travis Williams. He'd run a 9.3 while at Contra Costa and another one while at Arizona State. He was also a footballer and would become one of the greatest kick returners in NFL history. He'd score 6 times on kick returns, one year averaging a gaudy 41 yards a return. Played with the Packers and Rams.


And per Distant Replay, the long after sequel to Instant Replay, Travis Williams ended up a homeless person and died on the streets.
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Postby eldrick » Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:46 pm

DexterDanner wrote:All of you Xavier Carter worshipers should stop hyping him...cuz it would just hurt his legacy if he ends up on a forum like this...let's just be a little bit more rational and realize that he's got a great range of talent, but still has yet to prove himself...so lets just treat him like a regular track Joe for now...when he gets into a Championship final...that's when we should hype him...not now...or not yet.


19.63 is in the record books - 2nd fastest alltime when he ran it

he heeds no hype

injury has delayed his progress
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Postby Texas » Wed Nov 26, 2008 2:25 pm

bambam wrote:
Texas wrote:
jhc68 wrote:John House was the real deal, but apparently he had even more problems than talent.


It's that sort of thing that interests me. So what did happen to House? As we look at the names up there, obviously Tommie Smith jumps out at us. We all know his story. Then there's Travis Williams. He'd run a 9.3 while at Contra Costa and another one while at Arizona State. He was also a footballer and would become one of the greatest kick returners in NFL history. He'd score 6 times on kick returns, one year averaging a gaudy 41 yards a return. Played with the Packers and Rams.


And per Distant Replay, the long after sequel to Instant Replay, Travis Williams ended up a homeless person and died on the streets.


That's a great example of what I'm talking about. We know his story. How about the Carter Suggs story? What about the James Jackson story or the DeMario Wesley story?
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Postby tandfman » Wed Nov 26, 2008 3:12 pm

Texas wrote: How about the Carter Suggs story?

I believe he became a teacher at Tarboro (NC) High School, his alma mater.
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Postby wineturtle » Mon Dec 01, 2008 5:21 am

Texas wrote: How about the James Jackson story?

He became a teacher/coach at Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn NY, his alma mater.
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Postby Texas » Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:08 am

tandfman wrote:
Texas wrote: How about the Carter Suggs story?

I believe he became a teacher at Tarboro (NC) High School, his alma mater.


What happened at East Carolina as a once stud HS sprinter?
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Postby Texas » Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:10 am

wineturtle wrote:
Texas wrote: How about the James Jackson story?

He became a teacher/coach at Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn NY, his alma mater.


I'm talking about the Cali James Jackson who was beating Leamon King in the 54 Cali HS Championships. A 9.4 as a high schooler.



1954 - EDWARDS STADIUM, BERKELEY; SATURDAY, MAY 29

1 James Jackson Alameda 09.6
2 Leamon King Delano 9.7
3 Bill Swisshelm Santa Ana 9.9
4 Dick Dorsey Santa Monica 10.0
5 Ronald Giardina Castlemont 10.1


1 James Jackson Alameda 21.2
2 Leamon King Delano 21.3
3 Bill Swisshelm Santa Ana 21.9
4 Everett Jackson Manual Arts 22.0
5 Dick Dorsey Santa Monica 22.0
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Postby tc » Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:48 pm

The Alameda James Jackson ran one year in junior college, then joined the Air Force and left track forever.
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Postby Texas » Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:36 am

tc wrote:The Alameda James Jackson ran one year in junior college, then joined the Air Force and left track forever.


A high schooler running a 9.4 and he ends up at a JC then out of track..????? Just seems wrong.
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Postby dukehjsteve » Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:38 am

If he went to a JC, he probably was not an academic blue chipper. If he left JC after 1 year to join the Air Force, he probably was considerably less than an honor roll student at the JC. And after being in the Air Force, it is time to move on into normal non-military adulthood. Does not seem unusual at all.
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Postby Texas » Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:50 am

dukehjsteve wrote:If he went to a JC, he probably was not an academic blue chipper. If he left JC after 1 year to join the Air Force, he probably was considerably less than an honor roll student at the JC. And after being in the Air Force, it is time to move on into normal non-military adulthood. Does not seem unusual at all.


I seriously doubt the track world has seen that many Rhodes Scholars. I'm pretty sure a 9.4 guy could have ended up somewhere like a San Francisco State/Sacramento State/U of San Francisco.
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Postby tc » Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:55 am

Jackson had family responsibilities that may have outweighed his desire to run. As a high schooler, he went to class, participated in sports, then worked nights as an elevator operator in Oakland.
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Postby Texas » Wed Dec 03, 2008 9:26 am

tc wrote:Jackson had family responsibilities that may have outweighed his desire to run. As a high schooler, he went to class, participated in sports, then worked nights as an elevator operator in Oakland.


Ok there we go, now that would explain things. Which is what I was trying to dig up.
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Postby dukehjsteve » Wed Dec 03, 2008 9:57 am

Speaking in general, whenever we wonder "what happened to", especially in the first few years after HS, it is easy to forget that just like all of us, these kids have families, spouses/significant others, many times children, parents, unique circumstances, the whole nine yards.
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Postby Texas » Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:06 am

dukehjsteve wrote:Speaking in general, whenever we wonder "what happened to", especially in the first few years after HS, it is easy to forget that just like all of us, these kids have families, spouses/significant others, many times children, parents, unique circumstances, the whole nine yards.


Sure! The deal is we track freaks see....Marion Sims 9.3 Laney. Then watch him run a dead heat with fellow Laney-ite Micky Matthews who was also a 9.3 guy who would run for Kansas, then wonder where did Marion Sims end up? He just vanished. I've love to know what happened to guys who did have the gift but for some reason or another did nothing with it.
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Obscurity

Postby Chibcha » Sun Dec 07, 2008 8:09 pm

Texas, I haven't seen the name "Julius Wheeler" in years. Wow! I think he went to Manual Arts High in Los Angeles. I think he held the LA Schools 100 yd mark for a long time--probably until the Ronnie Ray Smith ascendancy in 1966. Speaking of obscurity, just curious: would you happen to know why Charles Moch, a sprint marvel in Junior High and High School ( I think at LA High School), never made a splash at levels beyond? Thanks.





[quote="Texas"]I hear ya as far as times go. Then there's..

1960 Cali Championships

1 Bill Cowings Fowler 9.7
2 John Peters Jordan 9.8
3 Hubie Watson Jordan 9.9
4 Tom Webb Pleasant Hill 9.9
5-T John Lacey Fontana 10.0
5-T Tim Russell Lakewood 10.0

1963 Cali Championships

1 Alvin Mahn Edison 9.6
2 John House Muir 9.7
3 Travis Williams Ells 9.7
4 Tommie Smith Lemoore 9.7
5 Jerry Williams Berkeley 9.8
6 Julius Wheeler Manual Arts 9.8

gh the next time you get bored, could you check in your archives there at T&FN and see what you got on Cowings and Mahn?[/quote]
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Re: Obscurity

Postby Texas » Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:05 am

Chibcha wrote:Texas, I haven't seen the name "Julius Wheeler" in years. Wow! I think he went to Manual Arts High in Los Angeles. I think he held the LA Schools 100 yd mark for a long time--probably until the Ronnie Ray Smith ascendancy in 1966. Speaking of obscurity, just curious: would you happen to know why Charles Moch, a sprint marvel in Junior High and High School ( I think at LA High School), never made a splash at levels beyond? Thanks.





Texas wrote:I hear ya as far as times go. Then there's..

1960 Cali Championships

1 Bill Cowings Fowler 9.7
2 John Peters Jordan 9.8
3 Hubie Watson Jordan 9.9
4 Tom Webb Pleasant Hill 9.9
5-T John Lacey Fontana 10.0
5-T Tim Russell Lakewood 10.0

1963 Cali Championships

1 Alvin Mahn Edison 9.6
2 John House Muir 9.7
3 Travis Williams Ells 9.7
4 Tommie Smith Lemoore 9.7
5 Jerry Williams Berkeley 9.8
6 Julius Wheeler Manual Arts 9.8

gh the next time you get bored, could you check in your archives there at T&FN and see what you got on Cowings and Mahn?


Familiar with Moch but like Cowings and Mahn he just...poof!!!!!!!!!! I can see you get where I'm coming fom here. So many of these guys who show early promise and potential then....?????...nothing. You gotta wonder...what happened?
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Postby Chibcha » Tue Dec 09, 2008 9:40 pm

What happened to most of these guys after illustrious high school track and field records is unknowable. It's never been an interest to check JC records to see if, for example, Julius Wheeler or Charles Moch or the other guys that you name, continued track careers after high school. Let's face it, there is an unlimited range of reasons. Just we will not know unless someone comes to this Forum and provides additional information.

I have not explored the Track and Field News site. I will when I have the chance. I did want to mention that the Helms Foundation (?) in Southern California has high school and junior college track and field records posted on the internet. Brings back names from yesteryear. I was impressed by the records of Forest Beaty from Glendale Hoover. I remembered seeing his name in the past. Don't know if his sprint career went beyond high school.
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Postby tc » Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:11 pm

Julius Wheeler ran 9.8 as a sophomore at Manual Arts in 1962, 9.6 as a junior and 9.7 as a senior, when he was hampered by a hamstring problem. He never set an "official" LA City 100 record: Hubie Watson's windy 9.5 in 1959 was the accepted record until Phil Underwood resolved the issue in 1966 when he blew away Ronnie Ray Smith by three long yards with a legal 9.5 on a very slow track. Charles Moch was an age-group star who managed a 9.6 in the 10th grade but was soon undone by a bulky body. He played football on one of the best teams in City history the next year, then popped a hamstring and (as far as I know) never ran again. Bill Cowings ran 9.6 and 20.4 (straight) in JC in 1963, when he was state champion in both sprints. He was supposed to attend Texas Southern the next year (the Year of Grambling), but I don't know that he ever made it. He worked as a ferry boat attendant on Puget Sound for many years before retiring back to California. Alvin Mann (correct spelling) reached his career pinnacle at the 1963 State Meet, when he won two events. Like the House twins, his T&F biography ended there. And Jerry Williams, who was fifth (between Wheeler and Mann) in that 100, ran at San Jose State, worked as a long-time police officer, and is the father of the current general manager of the Chicago White Sox.
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Postby dukehjsteve » Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:16 am

Chibcha wrote: I was impressed by the records of Forest Beaty from Glendale Hoover. I remembered seeing his name in the past. Don't know if his sprint career went beyond high school.


Going from memory only, Beaty went to Cal and was a solid but not sensational quarter miler. I think they won the mile relay in the NCAA meet.
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Postby Texas » Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:18 am

Chibcha wrote:What happened to most of these guys after illustrious high school track and field records is unknowable. It's never been an interest to check JC records to see if, for example, Julius Wheeler or Charles Moch or the other guys that you name, continued track careers after high school. Let's face it, there is an unlimited range of reasons. Just we will not know unless someone comes to this Forum and provides additional information.

I have not explored the Track and Field News site. I will when I have the chance. I did want to mention that the Helms Foundation (?) in Southern California has high school and junior college track and field records posted on the internet. Brings back names from yesteryear. I was impressed by the records of Forest Beaty from Glendale Hoover. I remembered seeing his name in the past. Don't know if his sprint career went beyond high school.


Forest Beatty did run for Cal, a multi faceted talent since he could also run a solid 400m. He was somebody who for sure should have been bigger than he ended up.
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Postby Texas » Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:29 am

tc wrote:Julius Wheeler ran 9.8 as a sophomore at Manual Arts in 1962, 9.6 as a junior and 9.7 as a senior, when he was hampered by a hamstring problem. He never set an "official" LA City 100 record: Hubie Watson's windy 9.5 in 1959 was the accepted record until Phil Underwood resolved the issue in 1966 when he blew away Ronnie Ray Smith by three long yards with a legal 9.5 on a very slow track. Charles Moch was an age-group star who managed a 9.6 in the 10th grade but was soon undone by a bulky body. He played football on one of the best teams in City history the next year, then popped a hamstring and (as far as I know) never ran again. Bill Cowings ran 9.6 and 20.4 (straight) in JC in 1963, when he was state champion in both sprints. He was supposed to attend Texas Southern the next year (the Year of Grambling), but I don't know that he ever made it. He worked as a ferry boat attendant on Puget Sound for many years before retiring back to California. Alvin Mann (correct spelling) reached his career pinnacle at the 1963 State Meet, when he won two events. Like the House twins, his T&F biography ended there. And Jerry Williams, who was fifth (between Wheeler and Mann) in that 100, ran at San Jose State, worked as a long-time police officer, and is the father of the current general manager of the Chicago White Sox.


Great stuff..thanx!

At my old JC (COS-Visalia) there was a picture of Cowings and his school records of 9.5/20.5 were listed. I knew about his Texas Southern situation then he just vanished.

I saw Mann (have seen it spelled Mahn) run a couple times while at Fresno City. He was beating Sam Davis who was a legit 9.6 guy and a future Speed City-ite at SJS. Hard to believe talents like Cowings/Mann....poof!!!!!!!!!
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Re: The Obscure Sprinter

Postby trkcoach53 » Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:51 am

I know this thread is quite old but I do what became of Julius Wheeler. I coached 2 of his children in age group track in Carson, CA.

One of his daughters ran for Hawthorne on the 4 x 1 team that held the national record for years. He also had a son that ran for Gardena.

Julius went to East Los Angeles Community College, ran track but due to lack of dedication in the classroom, was drafted and wounded in Vietnam (shrapnel in the legs). When I met him he was working for Pac Bell and as previously stated I coached his daughters in age group. He was a very supportive parent for our track club. He used to run the parent/coach relays with us. Still quick back in the 80's.

Today he's retired and still resides in Carson with his spouse.

I recently heard that Ronnie Ray Smith, also of Manual Arts, and a former Olympian is having many health issues.

:o)

:o)
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Re: The Obscure Sprinter

Postby Jackaloupe » Tue Dec 25, 2012 11:50 am

Charles Lincoln Lindsay (RIP) was not only a champion LJ'er (State or CIF?) but Student Body Pres. of Manual Arts HS. It was always my notion that he'd jumped > 25 ft. in HS, although he dropped down to 24-ish at USC, while dominating Frosh/JC meets in 100/220.

Charles was my best pal at USC, even a cultural mentor: a Math Major deeply interested in Philosophy and the Arts, he was also a pal of Jazz phenom Charles Lloyd, who even then was already composing for Chico Hamilton. I'd say Charles's maturing breadth of interests likely contributed to his "planing off" as regards T & F. He was an early exponent of (pre-computer) Math-modelling of the Stock Market, forming his own company after moving to what was then waay out in The Valley, to the spanking new Westwood Village (which he certainly helped integrate early on).

Years later, I ran into his first wife, an Eartha Kitt lookalike, at the DC Airport; she was escorting their daughter, Alison, to Howard U. in DC.
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