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Best Race, Best Field Event

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  • Best Race, Best Field Event

    What is the best race you have ever seen in person on the track? It doesn't have to be a world record, an Olympic final, or an NCAA 100. It could be a high school race. You decide what best means because to you it was a great race, one which you shall never forget.
    Also, what is the best field event you ever witnessed in person? Give your reasons.
    My answer changes a lot, but I'll throw out a couple of answers. Best race: The Olympic Trials 1972 Men's 5,000 final: Pre against George Young. I'll never forget that race. At least I hope I don't.
    Best Field Event: Men's Long Jump Final in 1991 Toyko WC.

  • #2
    Re: Best Race, Best Field Event

    I saw Paul Ering run the anchor on the 1988 4x8 UVA team at Penn. I can't remember what split he ran, but he must have smoked 6-8 guys on that leg. I'll never forget it. Webbs' 3:53 is a close second just for the sheer electricity surronding the event.

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    • #3
      Re: Best Race, Best Field Event

      1981 NCAA indoor championships in Cobo Hall, Detroit. Doug Padilla holding off Solomon Nyambui in the 2 Mile. They both ran the 2nd mile under 4:00 and this was with Padilla running with his left arm only. The right was cocked and beating back Nyambui with his elbow each and every charge Nyambui made, which was many. MJ's Atlanta 200 is a close 2nd. Best field event I ever saw was Carl Lewis at Indianapolis when he jumped the possible and fabled 30+ feet that was raked before the head field judge could make a ruling on the fact that the plasicine had not been marked. Ray, you saw the Lewis/Powell dual?

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      • #4
        Re: Best Race, Best Field Event

        Best story/race. I saw this on video but wasn't there. 1996 2A Washington state meet. My high school needs to win the 4x4 for the state championship. 48.0 anchor is injured during warmup. The only guy to put in is stud distance runner who was second in the 1600 the day before and 15 minutes before the 4x4 started won the 3200 in 9:12. So he gets the final handoff and the lead but loses it around the first corner. Guy who passed him was the open 400 winner that day. Our distance runner pulls even with him around the last corner and manages to pull a little bit ahead on the straight and hold it through the finish. Split was 49.1 Unbelievable to watch especially considering only 15 minutes before he had won the 3200.
        Of course I could also go on about B. Fuller outkicking M. Kiter in front of the home crowd, Kiter leading himself and Lukezic under 9:00 the next year or last year when Lukezic and J. Fayant traded surges the whole 3200 with Fayant finally outkicking him 9:01.51 to 9:01.68. I tell ya if you want to see exciting 3200s come watch the WA state meet.

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        • #5
          Re: Best Race, Best Field Event

          1996 the California high school state meet. Muir versus Morninside in the finals. Muir beat Morningside the previouys week at theState qualifing meet some where around the 3:12-3:13 range. Morningside rearranged their order from fasest to slowest for the finals at state (47, 47, 48, 49). Basically get the lead possible before Muir's anchor gets. Coming into the anchor Morningside's plan goes well, by the time Muir's anchor gets the baton Morningside has a 40-45 meter lead. The muir anchor acceclated the turn and ran the first 200m in about 21 point plus, closing the gap to 25 meters, by the middle of the second turn he closed to 17m. By the time the muir anchor got to the home stretch 10,000 plus fans realized what they were witnessing and whoever wasn;t standing was now. At 325m the gap was now 12m at 350 the muir anchor brought it to 8. The morningside anchor was now beginning to feel the onset of rigormortis and the pressure of being the victim of a once storied track program. 375 meteres the gap was now at 5 meters. 390 the gap was now 2. Both men lean, the finish, the roar of ten thousand, fans running onto the field for the last race of the the high school season. The winner-- Muir,the anchor man ??? let 10, 000 tell you "O--BEA!!, O--BEA!!, O--BEA!!"

          And get this- he was only a sophmore!!
          O.K. the split- 45 and change.

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          • #6
            Re: Best Race, Best Field Event

            I'll toss 2000 OT Men's Shot final in as the best field event. Not by plan, all the focus of the stadium shifted to the shot ring as Nelson, Hunter, Godina, and Bloom battled for three trips to Sydney. Nelson, Hunter, and Bloom threw 72-7 (22.12), 71-9 (21.87), and 70-10 3/4 (21.61) in the final round. Bloom had struggled all day until his last round pop pushed Godina to 4th.

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            • #7
              Re: Best Race, Best Field Event

              Sorry, Bubba, but I think Roy, who started this thread, got it right. The best field event was the men's LJ in Tokyo in 1991.

              I'd have a much tougher time singling out a running event, but two that come to mind immediately are the women's 100m hurdles final at the 1984 Olympic Trials and the men's 400m hurdles at the Rome World Championships in 1987. Indoors, I'd first mention the 600y at the 1970 AAU Indoor Championships, where Martin McGrady beat Lee Evans and set an indoor record that stood for decades.

              But there are so many more incredible events, both track and field, that I've seen in the 50+ years that I've been going to meets that it is really impossible to pick a single "best." It might be fun someday to re-read the T&FN accounts of every meet I've ever been to and compiling a list of faves. Just doing that would probably take a week. It would be a wonderful excercise, but it wouldn't fit in well with my day job.

              Speaking of which . . . .

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              • #8
                Re: Best Race, Best Field Event

                I can't remember the exact details, but the most exciting race I ever saw was the '80 or '81 NCAA Championship 4x400, which was won by Tennessee. I was in high school at the time and watched it on TV. It's probably what got me hooked on track and field -- especially Tennessee track and field.

                I've never read a written account of this race and I've never seen it again, but this is how it went to the best of my memory. Tennessee was in 7th place as Volunteer runner Anthony Blair took the baton to run his anchor leg. He started picking off people on the back stretch, then on the last turn, and then on the straightaway. There was one runner left to pass (I believe he was from Kansas). Right at the finish line, Blair either dived over the line or collapsed from exhaustion -- I don't know which -- and nipped the Kansas runner as he (Blair) crashed onto the track.

                To someone who loves track and field and loves Tennessee, that was about as good as it gets. I get a lump in my throat every time I think of that heroic effort by Blair.

                There is an awesome, giant picture of Blair right before he dived over the line in Stokely Athletics Center at Tennessee. One of the best track pictures I've ever seen. Blair's eyes are as wide as saucers, and you can tell he's starting to lose his balance. The emotion of the whole moment is captured in that picture.

                If anybody else happens to remember this race, I'd love to read about any other details of it, after all these years. Please correct me if any of my recollection of this race is wrong.

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                • #9
                  Re: Best Race, Best Field Event

                  I only saw Tokyo on TV. I saw Sacto live, which makes a huge difference. Though I remember staying up until the weeeeeee hours of the morning to watch the Powell and Lewis duel. It was truly awesome.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Best Race, Best Field Event

                    1987 WC Men's 400M Hurdles. Moses, Harris, Schmid. Anticipation had been high as Moses' long streak had finally come to an end. Was he finished? Would there finally be a new champion? And what about the European Schmid? Would he come back? It was all settled in 47.46 seconds. Moses was still king!
                    Pat Matzdorf's 7 6 1/4 breaking Brumel's official record, 7 5 3/4, and Ni Chih-Chin's never accepted 7 6, at Berkeley CA , July 3, 1971.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Best Race, Best Field Event

                      Kerry Saxby (Aus) in the 1987 World Cup 10K walk. She did the last 2.5 kms with her eyes rolled back in her head with the effort of trying to catch the Chinese walker. Gutsy.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Best Race, Best Field Event

                        to Billvol,

                        Yes I remember this race. Tennesee was "out of the race" then Blair went after it from the handoff. That same picture of Blair coming to the finish I saw in TNF mag for the meet summary. I don't remember how the Vol finished overall in the team standings but the that 4x4 was undoubtedly the ultimate finish to always a great meet.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Best Race, Best Field Event

                          to Billvol,

                          Yes I remember this race. Tennesee was "out of the race" then Blair went after it from the handoff. That same picture of Blair coming to the finish I saw in TNF mag for the meet summary. I don't remember how the Vol finished overall in the team standings but the that 4x4 was undoubtedly the ultimate finish to always a great meet.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Best Race, Best Field Event

                            OK, just to show you guys how much we love you (and to convince you to keepyour issues of T&FN forever) (and why you should be a sbuscriber if you're not (hey, nobody said WE couldn't make commercial announcements!), here's the tale from Austin '80:

                            <<4 x 400

                            No other event caused as much conversation or provided as much excitement. Consider that Arkansas, at 3:05.95, was the slowest qualifier, and that after the first two legs of the final had been run, it was the only team out of contention.

                            Baylor broke on top with a fast-finishing 46.7 opener from frosh Bill Hartson. A 45.4 by Mike Ricks claimed the lead for Kansas after two stages. A 45.7 by Vance Vaughn put Baylor back in front after three, but not by much, as 5 teams began the last leg within a second of each other.

                            Tennessee, which spent most of the race as just another of the teams in the middle of the pack, suddenly came to life as Anthony Blair began his drive.
                            While the others had started their chase early and were now slipping back, Blair began his at the end of the backstretch after having fallen to 7th.

                            With exceptionally adroit footwork, Blair made his way through the pack, broke to the outside for the homestretch and bulled his way through the headwind.

                            At the tape he thrust his right shoulder forward in a lean and caught letting-up Kansas anchor Deon Hogan by mere inches.

                            Hogan, successful in his attempt to hold off Baylor's Chris Clarke, had that in mind and eased off at the tape. Having run the open 400 barely 50 minutes earlier, Hogan was asked if the heat had bothered him in the relay. "Not until the end, and then I almost passed out," he revealed. "1 didn't realize anyone was coming up on me. I turned around and it was just Baylor and us. Blair came out of nowhere. I felt I could have held him off, but I just didn't see him."

                            Tennessee spokesman AIbertus Home said, "We were pretty sure we could win. We had 4 guys who were fresh and ready to run. Some of the other teams had runners who were in 6 or 7 races, but we were still strong enough to win."

                            The big difference, though, was Blair. He ran the night's fastest leg, 45.1, and did it under the most difficult conditions, having to circumnavigate his way around 6 other runners in the last 200m. /Dave Johnson/>>

                            ps--the author was T&FN's statistician at the time and is now, of course, the esteemed director of the Penn Relays

                            gh

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                            • #15
                              Re: Best Race, Best Field Event

                              Ni's height was the same as Matzdorf's so he did not "break', he tied him. Both were 2.29 m.

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