Where are our record-breaking track stars?
With NIC-10 athletes in the major leagues (Jake Smolinski), the NFL (Dean Lowry), the NBA (Fred Van Vleet) and having played in the Masters and U.S. Open (Brad Benjamin), we’ve had quite a run of transcendant athletes.
In my role as editor of the NIC-10 Sports History Book, I’ve been concentrating on rebuilding conference track records. Looking at how long some of them have stood, it’s clear that it’s been a few years since a groundbreaker blew through the conference.
Here’s a look at the NIC-10 conference meet records:
100 meter dash: Gerald Bell, 1972, Auburn, :10.40.
200 meter dash: Bob Packard, 1936, Rockford, :21.00.
400 meter dash: Leroy Dixon, 1981, Freeport, :47.50.
800 meter run: Rick Gasparini, 1986, East, 1:53.0.
1,600 meter run: Gordy Smith, 1982, East, 4:16.20.
3,200 meter run: Dan Gilchrist, 1975, East, 9:15.00.
110 meter high hurdles: 3 tied for record, last done by Loren Common, 1989, East, :14.20.
300 meter low hurdles: Nick Wright, 1993, Guilford, :38.30.
400 meter relay: East, 1989, :41.70.
800 meter relay: East, 1989, 1:27.80.
1,600 meter relay: East, 1989, 3:22.10
3,200 meter relay: East, 1984, 7:55.80.
High jump: Don Western, 1978, Harlem 6-8 1/2.
Pole vault: Nate Plager, 1993, East, 16-6.
Long jump: Jamell Ivory, 1984, Freeport, 22-11 1/4.
Triple jump: Stretch Robinson, 1981, East, 46-10.
Shot put: Reggie Harris, 1984, East, 62-3.
Discus: Richard Behling, 2005, Harlem, 181-8.
As you can see, there has been only one conference meet record set this millennium and just three since 1990.
I did a double-take when I saw that Bob Packard still held a record. Of course, Packard remains perhaps the greatest track athlete ever produced by the NIC-10. He qualified for the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin in the 200 meters. There he won his first meet but missed out on the finals when he finished fourth in his semifinal.