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  • Wes's 72nd birthday

    Thursday is Wes Santee's birthday: born March 25, 1932. Few today remember just how great--and how exciting as a performer--he was. A short career overview (all mile times unless otherwise noted):

    1952:
    -NCAA 5000 champ, in collegiate record time (14:36.3)
    -AAU 1500 champ, 3:49.3, 3rd fastest in meet history
    -made US Olympic team at 5000

    1953:
    -May 23: 4:06.3 (collegiate record) and 1:50.8 in less than an hour
    -June 5: 4:02.4, demolishes US record (4:06); the fastest mile ever outside Sweden
    -June 20: 4:03.7 at NCAA meet, shatters previous meet record of 4:08.3
    -July 23: US 1500 record of 3:44.2

    1954:
    -Feb. 15: mile in 4:04.9 on 220 flat clay track
    -Feb. 27: 4:06.5 on 12-lap track
    -April 17: 4:03.7 at Kansas Relays
    -May 8: collegiate 2-mile record of 8:58.0
    -May 29: 4:01.3 (2nd fastest of all time)
    -June 4: sets WR 1500 of 3:42.8 enroute to 4:00.6 mile
    -June 6: first man to beat Mal Whitfield at 880y in 3 years
    -June 11: beats Josy Barthel in 4:00.7

    1955:
    -Jan. 29: indoor WR 4:03.8
    -March 25: 4:04.6 on 12-lap track
    -April 1: lowers personal and US mile best to 4:00.5
    -June 3: 4:01.2
    -June 24: wins AAU mile in 4:11.5 at altitude (Boulder); ran last 220 in 25 secs, last lap in 54.3

    Etc. We'd be ecstatic for someone of this relative quality today...

    Wes will be honored at this year's Kansas Relays in Lawrence, Kansas. If you're in the region, please come.

    I'm helping with what we hope will be a full athletic biography of Santee. If anyone has information or vintage stories, I'd welcome input. Thanks. (Email: [email protected]).

  • #2
    Re: Wes's 72nd birthday

    Don't forget he was also the 1953 NCAA Cross champion.

    And for those who wonder why his career stops so suddenly: he was banned by the AAU on professionalism charges.

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