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The NCAA visits the wild East
Roy Terrell
June 26, 1961
For the first time in 40 years, the collegiate championships were held on the Atlantic seaboard. Seven records later, everyone—or almost everyone—conceded it wasn't such a bad idea after all
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June 26, 1961

The Ncaa Visits The Wild East

For the first time in 40 years, the collegiate championships were held on the Atlantic seaboard. Seven records later, everyone—or almost everyone—conceded it wasn't such a bad idea after all

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In selecting a site for its annual track and field championships, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has always shunned Eastern Daylight Time as though it were computed on a slow stop watch. The best place to hold a track meet, as almost anyone knows, is in the West, and the farther west the better.

But last weekend, for the first time in the NCAA's 39-year history, the college boys were finally lured east to spend two days running and jumping and throwing things around Franklin Field, which is part of the University of Pennsylvania, which is in Philadelphia—West Philadelphia. By the time they had completed their chores, some amazing results were noted. It didn't snow once. The ivy on the neighboring walls proved to be of a nontoxic variety. All gangs dealing in stolen shotputs had been run out of town, presumably along with Blinky Palermo, and not one California coach was found floating, stop watch stopped, in the Delaware River.

As a matter of fact, it was rather a good meet. There were a number of brilliant races, seven records were set, and the University of Southern California departed with its 21st team championship, right on schedule.

There were complaints, of course, about the old cinder track at Franklin Field, which was first laid down in 1895 and has hardly been disturbed since, except to drag a few spike-scarred bodies away each spring after the Penn Relays. A number of people ran over it very well, however. Dyrol Burleson of Oregon, warming up for his duel with Jim Beatty in the National AAU mile at Randalls Island in New York this weekend, idled along for three laps, then scampered off to disappear from the rest of the field and win in 4:00.5. By running the last quarter mile in 54.7 seconds, the deeply bronzed boy with the strange, scuttling stride broke Ron Delany's NCAA record of 4:03.5 without half trying.

"I really didn't intend to run that fast," said Burleson, who is so much better than other collegians that he is almost ashamed to run against them. "I was trying to keep the pace slow, so our other two milers, Keith Forman and George Larson, would have a better chance." But even though his tactics were successful—Forman finished third behind Bill Dotson of Kansas, and Larson finished sixth—Burleson was a bit disappointed once he heard the time.

"If I had known I was going to come that close," he said, "I'd have run a four-minute mile for these nice people here." Since Burleson has already run three sub-four-minute miles, including the world's best time for 1961 of 3:57.6, this was not entirely conceit. He plans to run 3:56 this summer and 3:54 before another year is out, which would break Herb Elliott's world record and provide as adequate and dignified an answer to the Cambridge philosopher (see page 36) as any American could hope to give.

Two for Frank Budd

Another who ran well was Frank Budd of Villanova, the meet's only double winner. This has been a subpar year for sprinters born in the U.S., but there is nothing subpar about Budd. As a small boy in Asbury Park, N.J., Budd was a polio victim, and he reached college with a right knee and calf considerably less sturdy than his left. To build up Budd's right leg, Jumbo Elliott of Villanova put the youngster on a heavy schedule of exercises, one of which consisted of running up and down the stadium seats. On Saturday, Budd appeared ready to run up the stadium seats and right out of the park. He won the 220 around a turn by three yards over his good Villanova teammate, Paul Drayton, in 20.8 seconds; he won the 100 by more than a yard from Harry Jerome of Oregon in 9.4.

Budd has equaled the world record of 9.3 for the 100 twice this year, and he was happy to win so easily over Jerome, who is from Canada, and who has also run 9.3. His only disappointment was the absence of Dennis Johnson, San Jose State's injured Jamaican sprinter who has done 9.3 four times this year. "I was hoping to get this thing settled," said Budd.

Pat Clohessy, an Australian who is part of the University of Houston's foreign legion, set a three-mile record of 13:47.7, and John Lawler, another Australian who somehow found himself one day attending classes at Abilene Christian College, set a 3,000-meter steeplechase record of 9:01.1. In the absence of Southern California's injured Rex Cawley, Occidental's Dixon Farmer raced off with the 440-yard hurdles in 50.8. Since this is a new NCAA distance for the intermediate hurdles, Farmer's fine performance stands as a record, too.

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