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Author Topic: Junior high mile relay  (Read 477 times)

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Junior high mile relay
« on: April 20, 2018, 08:09:02 am »
One more of these and I'm done.

     The most success Booneville enjoyed in track during my time there was the junior high team of 1968. We had speed, several good field event men, and an outstanding stable of quarter-milers. Our mile relay team set a school record that stood a long time. It may even have stood all the way to the changeover to metric; I am not sure. The members of the team were Rick Ray, Gary Thomas, Bill Cobb and myself.

   Rick (now Dr. Rick Ray, optometrist in Booneville) had the quickest feet I have ever seen (which really helped him as a football running back). In most meets, we would have a ten-yard lead on the field by the end of the first leg just because of Rick. After we placed fifth against all the big schools at the Ramsey meet, I remember Coach Burnett saying later how the other coaches were asking, “Who is that kid from Booneville?”

   I have lost track of Gary. He had some serious medical issues, and the last I heard he was living in Florida. For a while Bill Cobb was a mounted policeman in Little Rock. Usually the two of them would give me a big lead going into the anchor lap, and I did not have to work very hard. (Bill could probably run a faster quarter than I could, and I am really not sure how I ended up with the anchor lap.)

   In that meet early in the season at Ramsey we were competing directly against them and Darby, Van Buren, and a bunch of other big schools. But we won our heat and placed fifth overall, serving notice that we were a factor in the relay in western Arkansas. In the open quarter, I ran my best race of the year and set a school record with 56.7.

   As usual, we won District without too much trouble and qualified for State. At state the other guys gave me a lead going into the anchor lap. However, just like in the mile run my senior year at District, I ran into the state 880 champion, and he passed me on the back straight. (I think he may have been from McCrory.) Back in those days they had a junior high Meet of Champs, and we thought we had qualified for that, since we were only one second behind the winners. However, Charleston and another team in another heat squeezed into that second ahead of us, and we finished fourth. It was a disappointing finish to a really good year.

   I do not remember what our best time was in the relay - somewhere around 3:40 to 3:45, I think - but it stood as the school record for years. The thing I will remember most about the year is Rick Ray way out ahead of the pack coming down the stretch on the first leg, time after time. He was amazing.

   One other little detail about that year: it is strange how much certain songs become cemented in our minds with certain events in our lives. “Cry Like A Baby” was a big hit that year, and peaked at #2 on the charts in April, right in the heart of track season. For years after that, when I would hear that song it would make me feel like going for a run.

   One other thing I remember about that year is that it was one of the really outstanding seasons in Arkansas track history. Little Rock Central was a powerhouse in those days. Philip Herndon was a nationally-ranked high hurdler, and they also had a mile relay team that was in the national rankings. But the big attention was on the season-long duel in the 100-yard dash between Henry Basey of Horace Mann and Carl Lowe of NLR. In the state meet they both ran 9.6, and in the Meet of Champs Basey got his time down to 9.5, with Lowe finishing second at 9.6. Lowe set the overall state record in the 220. Coach Bryan probably has the time.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2018, 08:13:39 am by MICHAELSPAPPY »

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Re: Junior high mile relay
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2018, 01:05:30 pm »
Thank you for all these you have written. I have enjoyed reading them.... And not going to lie. You write pretty well in my opinion. Your stories flow very well to where I can read them with interest and easy on the eyes. Maybe you can author your own book one day  ;D

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Re: Junior high mile relay
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2018, 10:56:03 pm »
Agreed.  Been enjoying the stories.


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