Facts, Not Fiction

 
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    Dominiguez HS, Compton Ca 1961 Track Team
    #1
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    I received a new magazine today with a picture of the 1961 Dominguez HS, Compton, CA,
    track team, winners of Southern Calif B Division Championship, all standing at parade rest, four rows high, 25 abreast, 102 identically uniformed athletes by actual count.
    We probably have posters here who are familiar with that time and place.

    Graduating from a rural HS with total enrollment less than100, this staggers my mind.
    Were track teams of this size common?
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    #2
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    Yes, lonewolf, this was very normal in Southern California in the early 1960's. I would say Southern California was the center of U.S. track and field at that time and not just in high school.

    I remember the Los Angeles Coliseum Relays highlighted several top Southern California high schools including the eight-man one mile relay. It was an amazing race to watch with new leaders at almost every leg.

    Some of the schools I remember at the Los Angeles Coliseum Relays were Dorsey, L.A. High, Jefferson, Washington, Fremont, and Manual Arts High. Manual Arts ran the eight-man mile relay in 2:54.6 in 1957.

    Southern California high schools had so many track and field athletes that a lot of schools had Class "C" and Class "B" athletes as well as varsity and junior varsity teams.

    The Los Angeles City Championship meet was always a great meet to see. Today this meet is nothing like it was in the early 1960's. The California State Championships continue to be an excellent meet. It's just that the center of track and field in California has moved out of Los Angeles.

    I would say most Southern California high schools had many athletes out for track and field during this time period (early 1960's). Track and field was a huge sport in those days.
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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleRBar View Post
    Yes, lonewolf, this was very normal in Southern California in the early 1960's. I would say Southern California was the center of U.S. track and field at that time and not just in high school.
    Very nice summary, DoubleRBar. I grew up in a small coastal town in SoCal in the early '60s. Our high school only had just over 500 students (M+F), but 100 boys turned out for track (unfortunately, no girls). Not all the boys lasted past a week, but we retained 60-70. We thought nothing of driving 100 miles each way to see some of the great meets in LA. Those were the days.
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Master403 View Post
    Very nice summary, DoubleRBar. I grew up in a small coastal town in SoCal in the early '60s. Our high school only had just over 500 students (M+F), but 100 boys turned out for track (unfortunately, no girls). Not all the boys lasted past a week, but we retained 60-70. We thought nothing of driving 100 miles each way to see some of the great meets in LA. Those were the days.
    Yes indeed, those were the days. My Orange County town of Tustin had a population of less than 3,000 but we also had over 100 boys come out for varsity and B and C track at the High school.

    And track was big in southern California back in the late 50's and 60's. I remember going to the Coliseum Relays and big Compton Invitation meets and in 1956 the OG trials meet was one of the best track meets ever and then there was the USA vs. USSR dual meet in the Coliseum in 1964...to mention a few.
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    #5
    A few years ago, I was talking to a second- or third-tier Kenyan runner who was writing a book about the number of Kenyans who ended up injured just to get a few medallists. I think he missed the point.

    Pick a sport. How many swimmers to get a Phelps? How many hoopsters to get a Jordan? Back in the day we were shoving runners into a pipeline and produced some successes. My impression (feel free to correct me) is that Kenya pushes 100 runners into their pipeline for every one for the US. A few injury losses do not matter.

    I miss those days of the '50s and '60s. Not only did the athletes have a chance to be Olympians, but they had a chance to continue to compete 50 or 60 years later.
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    #6
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    Thanks, guys,, different worlds.
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    #7
    I must also note the advantage T&F had in those days of being almost the only game in town. As a small school, we had football, basketball, baseball, and T&F (no XC) for the boys, and nothing for the girls. Today that same school (no longer small) has added water polo, soccer, golf, lacrosse, volleyball, tennis, cross country, surfing, wrestling, and swimming & diving, and the girls field teams in all of them.
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    #8
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    Yes, the 8-man mile relay was always the most exciting race of the Coliseum Relays, even if foreign or out-of-state athletes appeared. When a particularly fast kid would make a move running through the field on his leg, the whoops and screams from those in attendance is like nothing I've ever experienced since then. Yep, it was a lot of fun. After the meet lots of folks would go to a restaurant for something to eat and on the way out newspapers were available with results of the meet including pictures. Marvelous time.
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    #9
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    I'm sure some of you still remember "The Los Angeles Times" having front sports page coverage of track and field. It wasn't just the front page with several pages of articles and photographs. They even covered high school track & field. I still have some of those articles and photographs.
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    #10
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    102 boys on a Southern California HS track team in the early 1960's would not be extraordinary. I would bet the photo Lonewolf saw depicted the whole team, though. Not merely the Class B kids.
    I checked one of my old yearbooks from that era and counted over 100 guys including Varsity, Class B and Class C teams.
    I also caught an egregious error in the yearbook: Below a picture of T&FN regular poster "Cannon" (see above) is a caption indicating that he was "...being congratulated by a teammate after running 1 and 7/8ths miles in 8:54"
    The time and distance was correct but it was place in entirely the wrong sport (it was a cross country race) and the "teammate" was really a pretty high profile rival named Dennis Carr !
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