Sites & Dates Of The U.S.
National Women’s Championships

U.S. MEN HAD their first national championships meet in 1876, but it wasn’t until 1923 that the women followed suit. Here’s a listing of the sites and dates of those meets, which were held separately from the men’s meets through 1975. Thumbnail descriptions of each meet, as written by Bill Mallon & Glen McMicken, are in the process of being posted.

1923
(September 29, Newark, New Jersey; Weequahic Park)
This was the inaugural women’s national championship, held under the auspices of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), which had voted to assume control of women’s track & field in late ’22. It was perhaps held in response to the Women’s World Games, a pseudo Olympics that was first held in Paris in ’22. There were 10 events contested at the AAU, with the 50 and 100y sprints, the 60y hurdles, and a 4 x 110y relay, while on the field they competed in the high jump, long jump, shot, discus, javelin and baseball throw. The baseball throw was a staple of the women’s AAU, and would be contested through the ’57 edition, but is not listed in our compilations here.
The winners were names that mean little to modern track & field fans, and no woman won more than one event. Elinor Churchill won the baseball throw with a toss of 234-5¾ (71.47), which was considered a World Record for the event. Newark’s home team, representing the Prudential Insurance Athletic Association, won the team competition.
1924
(September 20, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Forbes Field)
The second edition of the meet was held at a structure mostly famous as the Pittsburgh Pirates’ home field 1909–70. The same 10 events were contested as in ’23, with Frances Ruppert repeating as the 100 champion and Hazel Kirk repeating in the hurdles. Roberta Ranck of the Philadelphia Turners won the discus after having triumphed in the javelin in ’23. As in the first year, no one won more than one event, which would not occur again until ’62. The Prudential Insurance Athletic Association of Newark, New Jersey, repeated for the team title.
1925
(July 11, Pasadena, California; Paddock Field)
The meet went to the West Coast for the first time, but the star of the meet was a woman from Chicago. Helen Filkey was the first woman to win multiple events at a women’s nationals, claiming victory in the 100, 60 hurdles and long jump. Due to the rules in place, women were limited to competing in only three events, which likely allowed Elta Cartwright to triumph in the 50y sprint. There were no repeat champions.
This was the first nationals appearance for local star Lillian Copeland from the Pasadena Athletic & Country Club, who won the shot, was runner-up with the baseball, and placed 3rd in the discus. Copeland would compete in the discus at the ’28 and ’32 Olympics, winning silver and gold, respectively. The discus the women threw in the AAU 1923–27 was one of 2¾lb. (1.255kg), rather than the international standard of 1kg (2.2lb).
1926
(July 09–10, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Sesquicentennial Stadium [subsequently renamed Philadelphia Municipal and then JFK)
The meet returned to the East Coast, making its first appearance in Philadelphia. It was also contested over two days for the first time, although this would not become somewhat standard until the ’50s. Lillian Copeland was the star of the meet, repeating as shot champion, and winning the discus and javelin. Helen Filkey repeated her victory in the hurdles, and Elta Cartwright repeated in the 50. The program was expanded slightly as a 220 was added, won by Frances Keddie of the Northern California Athletic Club. In late August the second Women’s World Games were held in Gothenburg, Sweden, but the United States did not field a team.
1927
(September 03, Eureka, California; Albee Stadium)
The meet returned to California, this time in the north. The program was again expanded with the addition of the 800m, the only event held at a metric distance. The race was won by Marcelle Barkley in 2:36.6. The 2-lapper would also feature on the ’28 program, but after its appearance at that year’s Amsterdam Olympics, when IOC officials were aghast at women supposedly collapsing after the race, it was removed from the Olympic program and also from the AAU, not to return until ’58.
Lillian Copeland won her third consecutive title in the shot and second consecutive in the discus while Elta Cartwright added her third straight victory over 50y (and also won the 100) and Helen Filkey did likewise in the 60 hurdles. Margaret Jenkins of the Northern California Athletic Club won two throwing events, the baseball and javelin throws. The level of performance was improving as 6 American Records were set, and meet records were set or equaled in every event except the 50 and baseball throw.
1928
(July 04, Newark, New Jersey; City Field)
The meet returned to Newark, where the inaugural championships had been held, although it was held at City Field, a new site. The meet doubled as the Olympic Trials. The program was the same as ’27 with 12 events contested, although only the 100 and 800, 4×1, high jump and discus were Olympic events. The 100 and 800 were contested over metric distances, but the 50, 220 and 60 hurdles were still held Imperially.
Elta Cartwright was the star of the meet, winning the 50, 100 and long jump, but she would only get to compete at the Amsterdam Olympics in the 100, where she failed to make the final. Betty Robinson was 2nd to Cartwright in the 100, but would win gold in Amsterdam, and added a second gold in the 4×1. Heley Filkey-Warren won her fourth consecutive title in the 60 hurdles, but the that was not an Olympic event in ’28 and she never competed at the Games. Lillian Copeland won her fourth straight shot championship, and was 2nd behind Maybelle Reichardt in the discus, which was contested for the first time with the international implement of 1kg (2.2lb). Copeland would better Reichardt in Amsterdam, winning silver behind Poland’s Halina Konopacka, while Reichardt could place only 7th, failing to make the final.
1929
(July 27, Chicago, Illinois; Grant Park Stadium)
The first 6 editions of the meet had flipped between coasts, but in ’29 the event made its first appearance in the nation’s heartland. The 800 was removed from the program after IOC officials had been upset at the appearance of the women after the Amsterdam final in 1928 and removed it from the Olympic program. Helen Filkey-Warren won her fifth straight—and final—title in the high hurdles, contested over 80m for the first time. Betty Robinson had been 2nd in the ’28 century at the AAU but then won gold at Amsterdam. Here she won both the 50 and 100. Rena MacDonald had placed 15th in the discus at the ’28 Olympics, but was only 4th at the AAU Meet, also placing 2nd in the shot; here she won both throws. She would repeat as shot champ in ’30 and ’35.
1930
(July 04, Dallas, Texas; SMU Stadium)
1930 marked the first Nationals appearances of two of the most dominant athletes in the meet’s history – Stella Walsh (née Stanisława Wałasiewicz) and Mildred Ella “Babe” Didrikson (later Zaharias). Walsh won 3 events — the 100, 220 and long jump, while Didrikson won the baseball and javelin throws, with both at American Record distances. For Walsh these were the first of 34 individual AAU outdoor titles she would win 1930–51. Rena MacDonald repeated as the shot champion. In the 80 hurdles, Helen Filkey-Warren was looking to win her sixth consecutive title, but fell and did not finish as Evelyne Hall won.
Walsh, who was Polish but settled in the U.S. in Cleveland, would go on to win 3 events (60, 100, 200) at the 3rd Women’s World Games, held in Prague in September. The United States selected a team, including Didrikson and Filkey-Warren, but eventually no American team went.
1931
(July 25, Jersey City, New Jersey; Pershing Field)
1931 saw the return of Stella Walsh and Babe Didrikson, who together had won 5 events the year before. Didrikson starred again, winning the 80 hurdles, long jump and baseball throw. In both the hurdles and baseball throw she set ARs, and with 296-0 in the baseball throw, the mark would never be bettered at the AAU meet, and is presumably still an AR — and probably WR — as of 2021.
Walsh repeated in the 220 but placed 3rd in the 100, behind Eleanor Egg. After two straight titles in the shot, Rena MacDonald was dethroned by Lillian Copeland (who had won the event in 1927–28) and also won the javelin. In the discus, Walsh was in the outfield and returned the discus back to near the ring for the athletes to use again. Unfortunately, one of her throws struck a local spectator, James McBride, and Walsh was arrested for this, although nothing eventually came of it. She would not return to the meet until ’39, as she returned to her native Poland for a few years.
1932
(July 16, Evanston, Illinois; Dyche Stadium)
The meet was held at the Northwestern University track and doubled as the Women’s Olympic Trials, as it had in ’28. There was little to speak of besides the performance of Babe Didrikson, who entered 6 events and won them all: 80 hurdles, high jump (at an AR height), long jump, shot, javelin and baseball throw. Babe was the entire “team” for Employer’s Casualty Athletic Association of Dallas and led that club to the team title. Didrikson would also star at the Los Angeles Olympics in August, winning the hurdles and javelin and taking a disputed silver in the high jump after a jumpoff against teammate Jean Shiley.
1933
(June 30, Chicago, Illinois; Soldier Field)
The meet repeated in greater Chicago. Babe Didrikson was not present, having turned to golf after her ’32 Olympic triumphs, and Stella Walsh was not there, either, as she was back in Poland. In their absence the meet was somewhat wide open, but history was made in the 50m as Louise Stokes won, the first Black female national champion.There were two repeat winners, as Olive Hasenfus defended in the 200 and Ruth Osborn repeated in the discus. Catherine Rutherford was the only double individual champion, taking the shot and baseball throw, although Annette Rogers won the 100m and led the Illinois Women’s Athletic Club to victory in the 4×1. The Illinois club also won the team title, led by Rutherford and Rogers.
1934
(meet not contested)
No women’s AAU was contested outdoors. The meet was originally scheduled to be held in San Francisco, but the organizers opted out of their commitment, citing financial reasons. An indoor meet was conducted in Brooklyn on April 14. Since the inaugural meet in ’23, this was the only time the women’s nationals were not contested until the C19 pandemic year of 2020. The fourth and final Women’s World Games were held in London in early August, and the U.S. had a few competitors, but they were far from the nation’s top athletes as no American woman won a medal, and it is unclear how they were chosen for the meet.
1935
(September 14, Bronx, New York; NYU Ohio Field)
After a year’s absence the meet returned and was held in New York City for the first time even though the city had been a frequent men’s host. The program was the same as it had been since ’29. Louise Stokes defended her title from ’33 in the 50 while future Olympic star Helen Stephens made her first appearance at the nationals and won the 100 and 200, setting an American Record of 11.6 in the 100. Rena MacDonald won the shot, her third title in the event after winning in ’29 & ’30.
1936
(July 05, Providence, Rhode Island; Brown University Stadium)
Once again the meet served as the Olympic Trials. They were held under perfect weather conditions as Helen Stephens presaged her Olympic heroics by winning the 100, shot and discus. She would go on to win golds in Berlin in the 100 and 4×1 and finish 8th in the discus, but did not contest the shot. Annette Rogers won the high jump and finished 2nd to Stephens in the 100. Rogers had won the 100 at the ’33 meet, her only previous title. She had competed at the ’32 Olympics and won gold in the 4×1 and would repeat that performance in Berlin, while placing equal 6th in the high jump and 5th in the 100.
1937
(September 25, Trenton, New Jersey; Trenton Central HS Field)
As with many post-Olympic years, ’37 was somewhat of a down episode as no meet records were set or even equaled. Helen Stephens did not compete. A 16-year-old unknown, Claire Isicson, won the 50 and 100, and finished 4th in the long jump. She would repeat in the 50 in ’38 and feature at the AAU through ’41, but never got an Olympic chance. The other double winner was a German émigrée, Gretel Bergmann, who won the high jump and shot. Best known as a high jumper, Bergmann had been among the top Germans in ’35 & ’36, but she was Jewish and was not chosen for the ’36 German Olympic team. She elected to leave home at the end of ’36, probably wisely, and lived in the U.S. for the remainder of her life. She would repeat in the high jump at the ’38 AAU, but that was the last time she would appear at the meet.
The other notable victory was in the team competition, won by the women from Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute, an historically Black College (HBCU). This would be the first national team title for the Golden Tigers, but it was only a prelude, as they would win the team competition in 14 of the next 15 years, 1937–51, failing to win only in ’43, when they finished 2nd.
1938
(August 07, Naugatuck, Connecticut; Recreation Field)
At the last minute was moved several miles down the road when Waterbury was unable to host. Catherine Fellmeth won the shot and discus, and Lula Mae Hymes of Tuskegee won the 100 and long jump. Four repeated their victories from ’37 — Claire Isicson in the 50, Gretel Bergmann in the high jump, Hymes in the long jump, and Rose Auerbach in the javelin. Tuskegee won the 4×1 and also won the team title for the second consecutive year, starting its long winning streak.
1939
(September 03, Waterbury, Connecticut; Municipal Stadium)
Waterbury was to have hosted the ’38 meet but had to bow out. The meet did come to Waterbury in ’39, and was held 2 days after Germany invaded Poland, considered the start of World War II. The big news was the return of Stella Walsh, as she had been absent since ’31. She would win the 200 and the long jump, her fifth and sixth of 34 individual AAU outdoor titles she would win 1930–54. Catherine Fellmeth won the shot and discus for the second consecutive year, and she would win both events again in ’40.
Olive Hasenfus won the 100, her third AAU title after the half-lappers in ’32 & ’33. She had been on the US Olympic relay teams in ’28 and ’36, although she never competed. Dorothy Dodson was not well known when she won the javelin, but it would be the first of her 11 consecutive titles in the event. Alice Coachman won the high jump title, the first of her 10 in a row. Tuskegee captured its third consecutive team title and won the 4×1. The only meet record was set by Walsh in the long jump with 19-4.8. With war on the horizon, the level of interest had to be down as the athletes had to know a ’40 Olympics was unlikely.
1940
(July 06, Ocean City, New Jersey; Municipal Recreation Field)
Most of the world was at war in 1940 but the AAU meet would continue to be held throughout WWII. Stella Walsh was back and defended her titles in the 200 and long jump, and Catherine Fellmeth won her third consecutive shot/discus double. Alice Coachman defended in the high jump, her second of 10 consecutive, and Dorothy Dodson won the javelin, her second consecutive of 11 straight. Tuskegee won its third straight 4×1 title — on its way to 5 straight — and also won the team title for the fourth straight year. A new sprint star appeared in Jean Lane of Wilberforce, who won the 50 and 100, and she would return in ’41 to win the 100 and 200.
1941
(July 05, Ocean City, New Jersey; Municipal Recreation Field)
Stella Walsh won 2 events, as usual, but no sprints this time, as she triumphed in the long jump and discus. Catherine Fellmeth won her fourth consecutive title in the shot, but was denied her fourth straight in the discus by Walsh. Alice Coachman (high jump) and Dorothy Dodson (javelin) also won again, in the midst of their long streaks, 10 for Coachman and 11 for Dodson. Jean Lane defended her title in the 100 and surprised Walsh to win the 200 as well. The meet was hampered by poor weather that caused the schedule to be rearranged.
1942
(July 04, Ocean City, New Jersey; Municipal Recreation Field)
Ocean City hosted for the third consecutive year. By now, the United States was in the war, and gas rationing kept the fields small. Stella Walsh won 3 events, the 200, long jump and discus, and likely would have won more but rules of the era limited women to entering only 3 events. Alice Coachman and Dorothy Dodson continued on their win streaks – Coachman her fourth of 10 in the high jump, and Dodson her fourth of 11 in the javelin. Coachman also won the 100 and helped Tuskegee win the 4×1 and the team title, its sixth consecutive.
1943
(July 15–August, Lakewood, Ohio; Lakewood HS Track)
The meet moved to a less-than-auspicious high school track. Stella Walsh won 3 events, as she had in ’42, taking the 100, 200 and long jump. She led her team, the Polish Olympic Women’s Athletic Club, to the team title over Tuskegee, which had won the last 6 crowns (and would also win the next 8, 1944–51). Alice Coachman was a double winner, taking the high jump, her fifth consecutive, and the 50. Frances Gorn won her first AAU titles by doubling in the shot and discus, which she would also do in ’45.
1944
(July 08, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Fager Field)
William Penn HS was the venue as Stella Walsh won another 3 events — the maximum allowed — for the third straight year, taking the 100, 200 (her sixth consecutive) and long jump. Alice Coachman (HJ) and Dorothy Dodson (JT) also won their sixth consecutive titles. Both added other victories with Coachman defending in the 50 and Dodson winning her first shot title. Hattie Turner of Tuskegee won the discus and baseball throw, and led by Coachman and Turner, Tuskegee returned to win the team title. They had won 6 straight 1937–42, and this victory marked their first of 8 in a row, for a streak of winning 14 of 15 AAU team championships.
1945
(July 08, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Fager Field)
Harrisburg hosted for the second straight year, and little else had changed. Stella Walsh won both the 200 and long jump, amid long winning streaks in both events — 7 years in the 200 and 8 in the long jump. Dorothy Dodson won her seventh straight javelin title, on her way to 11 in a row. Alice Coachman won 3 events, repeating in the 50 (third of five consecutive), winning the 100 for the second time (’42) and winning her seventh of 10 consecutive high jump titles. Lillie Purifoy triumphed in the 80H after winning in ’42 and ’44. Behind Coachman and Purifoy, Tuskegee easily won the team competition, its second in a row.
1946
(August 04, Buffalo, New York; All-High Stadium)
The level of competition in the first post-war meet seemed down a bit as no meet records were set or equaled. Both Alice Coachman and Dorothy Dodson won 3 events. Coachman defended her titles in the 50, 100 and high jump, while Dodson won the javelin — her eighth consecutive — adding titles in the shot and discus. Stella Walsh was also back in the half-lapper, winning her fifth of seven straight, plus her eighth consecutive long jump crown. A new name appeared who would feature in coming years, as Nancy Cowperthwaite upset 2-time defending champion Lillie Purifoy in the 80H.
1947
(June 28, San Antonio, Texas; Alamo Stadium)
For the first time since ’26 the meet was contested over 2 days. Local papers called Alice Coachman, Stella Walsh and Dorothy Dodson the Big 3 of women’s track and field, and they continued their dominance. Walsh continued her win streak in the half-lapper (1942–48), but lost the long jump after 8 straight wins, while Coachman did likewise in the high jump (1939-48) and won her fifth consecutive — and final — title in the 50, although she was upset in the 100 by Tuskegee’s Juanita Watson. Dodson won the javelin for the ninth straight year — and would continue the streak through ’49. She also added a title in the shot, which she had previously won in ’44 and would repeat in ’47. Nancy Cowperthwaite was a repeat winner in the 80H. As in ’46, no meet records were set or equaled
1948
(July 06, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Houseman Field)
Back to a single day, the AAU was likely an afterthought for many of the competitors, as the Olympic Trials was to be contested a week later. This was the first time that the women contested separate meets for the Trials and Nationals. Stella Walsh won 3 events, the 100, 200 and long jump, but she would not compete at the ’48 Olympics for her native Poland. Her 200 victory was No. 7 in a row and No. 11th. The 11 victories in remains a U.S. women’s national best as of 2020, although later equaled by Dorothy Dodson (javelin ’49), Walsh herself in the long jump (’51), and Maren Seidler (shot ’80). Dodson won her tenth straight in the javelin and was 2nd in both the shot and discus. She competed in all three events at the Olympics, just missing the podium in the javelin when she placed 4th. Frances Kaszubski won the shot and discus crowns.
Alice Coachman won her 10th straight title in the high jump and she would go on to triumph in London, the first gold medal ever won by a Black woman in any sport. Mickey Patterson was 2nd in the 200 behind Walsh. At London she would win a bronze, the first medal by a Black woman, but it was somewhat controversial. Films and autotimes of the finish exist and she actually finished 4th behind Australia’s Shirley Strickland although Patterson received the medal. Coachman and Patterson were the only two U.S. track women to medal in London.
1949
(August 12–13, Odessa, Texas; Bronco Stadium)
The big news was that Stella Walsh was back but she did not win any events. Her half-lap win streak ended at 7 as she finished 2nd to Nell Jackson of Tuskegee, who set a meet record, winning in 24.2. Walsh also lost in the long jump, trailing Chicago’s Mabel Landry and Bernice Robinson of Washington Park in Chicago. The other meet record set was by Robinson in the 80H, running 11.9 to break the ’31 mark of 12.0 set by Babe Didrikson and equaled in ’36 by Anne Vrana-O’Brien. The only double winner was Tuskegee’s Juanita Watson, who recorded victories in the disparate events of the 50 and the baseball throw. Dorothy Dodson won her final title in the javelin throw, her eleventh cnsecutive, still a women’s record as of ’20. Her 11 titles in one event has only been equaled by Walsh in the 200 (1930–48) and long jump (1930–51), and by Maren Seidler in the shot (1967–80).
1950
(August 26, Freeport, Texas; Hopper Field)
With Stella Walsh now 39 and Dorothy Dodson not competing in the javelin, many of the events were open for new and younger athletes. The only double winner was another veteran, Frances Kaszubski, who won the shot and discus, her fourth consecutive title in the latter. Also repeating were Jean Patton in the 100, Nell Jackson in the 200 and Mabel Landry in the long jump. There was a new event contested, but it was not held at the main AAU Championships. For the first time women contested a national title in the pentathlon, which was held on October 15, in Queens, New York, and was won by Walsh. For the first few years (1950–54) the 5-eventer was not the international one and consisted of the long jump, javelin, 60, discus and 200. It was scored by an unknown table, and under that format, Walsh would win all 5 titles.
1951
(August 11–12, Waterbury, Connecticut; Municipal Stadium)
Stella Walsh returned to win the long jump for the 11th time, equaling the record she held in the 200/220, and Dorothy Dodson in the javelin. It was Walsh’s last victory at the main AAU meet, her first having come in ’30. There were two double winners, with Amelia Wershoven winning the shot and baseball throw, and Mary McNabb triumphing in the 50 and 100. Frances Kaszubski won the discus for the fifth consecutive year. She had also won the shot put in ’48 and ’50 and would end her career with 7 titles.
For only the second time, after ’48, an individual point winner was proclaimed, this time won by Nancy Cowperthwaite-Phillips, who had won the 80 hurdles, was 2nd in the long jump and tied for 2nd in the high jump. Another unusual event was the 280m shuttle hurdle relay, which was won by a team from Tuskegee. It was only held at the AAU 4 times, 1951–54. Tuskegee also won the team title for the 14th time in the last 15 years, having missed only in ’43. For the second year, an AAU pentathlon was held outside of the main meet, this time, on July 14 at Berkeley, and it was won again by Stella Walsh, who would win it 1951–54.
1952
(June 29, Waterbury, Connecticut; Municipal Stadium)
As in ’48, the AAU did not double as the Olympic Trials, the Trials would be held a week later in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The big story in Waterbury was Catherine Hardy, who won the 50, 100, and 200, the first time that any sprinter won all three of the short sprints at the AAU. It would also be the only time this would occur, as the shortest dash (50 or 60m) would be dropped from the program after the ’59 meet. Hardy equaled the American Record of 6.4 in the 50, and also won the individual point title with her three victories. There were two repeat champions — Marion Boos of the New York Police Athletic League won the high jump, and Amelia Wershoven won her third consecutive shot championship. Outside of the main meet, Stella Walsh won her third straight title in the unusually formatted and scored pentathlon, which was contested on October 05 in Houston.
1953
(July 25, San Antonio, Texas; Alamo Stadium)
San Antonio hosted for the second time, its first having come in ’47. The only double winners were Amelia Wershoven in the shot and javelin, and Mabel Landry in the 50 etres and long jump. Landry won the individual point title, as she also placed 3rd in the 100. This was the last time an individual overall champion would be proclaimed. Landry and Wershoven were also repeat champions, Landry in the long jump, and Wershoven in the shot, her third consecutive title. They were joined by Janet Dicks and Marion Brown, who defended titles in the discus and baseball throws. The meet suffered from post-Olympic year doldrums as no meet records were set or equaled. The AAU pentathlon was again contested outside of the main meet, on October 18 at Berkeley, and it was won for the fourth consecutive year by Stella Walsh.
1954
(July 30–31, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Fager Field)
Mabel Landry of the Chicago CYO was the only double winner, defending her titles in the 50 and long jump. The only other repeat champions were Barbara Jones in the 100 and Marion Brown in the baseball throw. For the first time, the shot was changed from the 8lb (3.64 kg) implement to the international 4kg (8.8lb), and it was won by Lois Testa, who threw 41-11¾ (12.79) for a meet record, although it did not better the mark of 42-3 (12.88) set by Rena MacDonald in ’29 with the lighter implement.
Three relay events were contested, with the standard 4×1, the 280m shuttle hurdle relay for the last time, and the 4×2 relay, for the first time. Tennessee State, which would soon take over as the powerhouse of women’s track & field from Tuskegee Institute, won its first title in the 4×2. Stella Walsh won her fifth consecutive pentathlon, which was held on October 09 in her hometown of Cleveland. This was her 34th — and final —individual outdoor championship in a career that had begun at the ’30 meet.
1955
(June 17–18, Ponca City, Oklahoma; Blaine Stadium)
By now, the women had another international to compete in, the Pan-Am Games, but these were staged in March, so qualifying was based on the Indoor Nationals, held in Chicago earlier in March, with a discus and javelin conducted outdoors as qualifying events. For the main meet there was no change to the program, but the level of competition was high, as 6 meet records were established and Mildred McDaniel set an American Record in the high jump by clearing 5-6½ (1.69). Mae Faggs of Tennessee State won the 100 and 220, both in MR time, while defending her half-lap title. The only other repeat winner was Karen Anderson in the javelin throw.
Tennessee State won the team title, its first of 6 in a row, and it would win 12 of the next 15 team competitions. A pentathlon was again contested outside of the main meet, on 15 October at Morristown, New Jersey. For the first time, it was contested with the international standard (for the era) of shot, high jump, 80 hurdles, 200, and long jump, and using the 1950-52 IAAF scoring tables. Barbara Mueller won with an American Record of 3539 in what is considered the initial AR for the standard 5-eventer.
1956
(August 18, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Franklin Field)
As in ’48 & ’52, the Nationals and the Olympic Trials were conducted separately, with the Trials a week later. Both were held in mid-August, a full 3½ months before the Melbourne Olympics. Despite the concurrence of events the level of competition was high in Philadelphia, with 3 American Records and 6 meet records broken. The American marks were set in the long jump by Margaret Matthews (19-4/5.89), Earlene Brown in the shot (44-11¾/13.71), and Pam Kurrell in the discus (140-11/42.95.
Kurrell and Mae Faggs were the two double winners, as Kurrell also won the baseball throw. Faggs defended her titles in the 100 and 200, winning her third straight half-lap crown. The other repeat winners were Bertha Díaz of Cuba in the 80H, Mildred McDaniel in the high jump and Karen Anderson, who won her third consecutive javelin title. Faggs (200), Margaret Matthews (long jump), Brown (shot), and Anderson repeated a week later at the Olympic Trials. The pentathlon was on October 27 in Pasadena, California. Barbara Mueller defended her title, winning in an American Record of 4138, which shattered her mark from the ’55 meet.
1957
(August 10, Shaker Heights, Ohio; Shaker Heights HS Field)
There was no change in the program, although change was in the air, as this would be the last time that the baseball throw was held, and in ’58, the 800 would finally be returned to the program. It had last been held in ’28. Since 1923, no WRs had been set at the Nationals, but at Shaker Heights a WR of sorts was established in the javelin by Marjorie Larney. The official WR was 182-0 (55.48) by Nadezhda Konyayeva of the Soviet Union. Larney threw 187-8 (57.20), but it was done using the Basque spinning technique, which would soon be banned, and it was never submitted for ratification.
Barbara Jones was the only double winner, capturing the 50 and 100. Margaret Matthews and Earlene Brown defended their titles in the long jump and shot. Olga Fikotová-Connolly won her first discus title, less than a year after her storybook marriage to Hal Connolly after they had met at the Melbourne Olympics.
1958
(July 04–05 July, Morristown, New Jersey; Memorial Field)
The meet served as a qualifier for the USA-USSR dual in Moscow later that summer. There were also significant program changes. The 880 was finally reinstated to the program. The 440 was a new addition and the baseball throw was eliminated, never to return. The 880 became controversial when it was “won” by Lillian Greene in what would have been an American Record 2:26.4. However, Greene was disqualified by meet referee Frances Kaszubski for being paced in the last half-lap by a teammate running alongside her in the infield, and the title reverted to Flo McArdle. The DQ was not overturned but strangely it was ruled that Greene would qualify for the Soviet dual. Greene went on to place 3rd in that meet setting an American 800 Record 2:19.4.
Earlene Brown won her third consecutive shot title, adding a victory in the discus. The other double winner was Margaret Matthews, who won her third straight in the long jump, and also triumphed in the 100. Marjorie Larney defended her javelin crown, this time throwing in standard technique. Cuba’s Bertha Díaz won her third title in the 80H after winning in ’55 & ’56.
1959
(June 28, Cleveland, Ohio; John Adams HS Field)
As international competition was becoming more common, the Nationals served as the qualifying meet for the Pan-Am Games, which would be held in Chicago in late summer. There were no significant changes in the program, but the shortest sprint, previously always held at 50m/y, was extended to 60m. But it was a one-time change as the event was contested for the last time. Earlene Brown defended her titles in the shot and discus, winning her fourth consecutive shot title. Isabelle Daniels also won two events, taking the 60 and 200. Margaret Matthews won her fourth straight long jump title. Wilma Rudolph won her first crown, taking the 100. Led by Rudolph, Daniels and Lucinda Williams, Tennessee State won the 4×1 and crushed the competition in the team event.
1960
(July 09, Corpus Christi, Texas; Buccaneer Stadium)
Since ’48 the AAU and OT were held separately, the Trials following by a week. In ’60, they were at least held in geographic proximity, with the AAU in Corpus Christi and the Trials in Abilene. Wilma Rudolph was the star of both meets, presaging her Olympic heroics, winning the 100 and 200 at both meets, and anchoring Tennessee State to victory in the AAU 4×1. She set an AR of 11.5 in the 100 and a WR of 22.9 in the 200.
Earlene Brown won her fifth consecutive title in the shot, setting her up for the Rome bronze. Marjorie Larney won her fourth consecutive, and fifth overall, javelin title. After competing at the ’52 and ’56 Games, she would shockingly miss the Olympic team when she finished 4th at the Trials. The pentathlon was still outside the main meet, this time on August 05 in Emporia, Kansas. It was won by Jo Ann Terry in an AR 4249, breaking Barbara Mueller’s 4138 from the ’56 edition. Terry had also won the 80H at the main meet.
1961
(July 01–02, Gary, Indiana; Gilroy Field)
This was the biggest meet to date: historian Louise Tricard noted that 51 clubs took part, crushing the record from the previous year, when there 22, and the competitors increased from 206 to 264. Wilma Rudolph was back and was the main media story after her Rome heroics, but she competed in only the 100y, where she won easily, running 10.7 in the semis and 10.8 against a strong wind in the final. Earlene Brown won the shot and discus, her sixth consecutive shot title, and her third national crown in the discus, after winning in ’58 & ’59. After 6 straight team titles, Tennessee State had only a small contingent in Indiana, not even running the 4×1. They were easily defeated by the Mayor Daley Youth Foundation, 88–44.
1962
(July 07–08 July, Los Angeles, California; Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum)
The meet finally moved out of small stadiums — often high school tracks — and was promoted all the way to an Olympic venue. Wilma Rudolph returned to win her fourth consecutive title in the 100 and led Tennessee State to victory in the 4×1. It would be her last AAU appearance. Her Tigerbelles again won the team competition, after their 6-year run had been halted in ’61 by the Mayor Daley Youth Foundation. Starting here the Tigerbelles would 5 of the next 6, and 6 of the next 8, titles. Overall, their record would be 12 team titles in 15 years, 1955–69.
Earlene Brown won her seventh consecutive shot title. Willye White and Cherrie Parrish defended their crowns in the long jump and 80H. In the 880, Leah Bennett of Hawai‘i broke the American Record with 2:12.3, bettering her metric mark of 2:12.8 set a week before in a dual against Poland. For the first time since ’23 and ’24 there were no double winners.
1963
(July 06, Dayton, Ohio; Welcome Stadium)
The Pan-Am Games had come and gone, held in São Paulo, Brazil, in late April and early May. The AAU Indoor had been the Pan-Am qualifying meet, with a discus and javelin throw held outdoors in Columbus, Ohio, in late March.
There were two double winners in Dayton: Edith McGuire won the 100y and long jump, and Sharon Anne Shepherd won the shot and discus titles. Earlene Brown competed but finished 3rd in the shot, ending her streak of 7 consecutive victories. She would return in ’64 to win her eighth, and final, crown. The Knott sisters, Suzanne and Sandra, won the 440 and 880, with Suzanne defending her title in the 440 and equaling the American Record of 57.0 in the process. One small change in the program was the addition of the 220 low hurdles, conducted as an exhibition event.
The pentathlon was conducted in Cleveland later in the week, and was held over two days for the first time. Pat Daniels won her third straight title in an AR 4261, breaking the mark of 4249 set by Jo Ann Terry at the ’60 AAU.
1964
(July 10–11, Hanford, California; Neighbor Field)
The AAU and Olympic Trials were again conducted separately, but at least there was a 3-week gap between the meets, with the AAU followed by the Trials on Randalls Island in New York on August 06-08. As in ’23, ’24, and ’62, there were no double winners. Repeat winners from ’63 were Sandra Knott in the 800, Rosie Bonds in the 80H, Eleanor Montgomery in the high jump, and Sally Griffith in the 200H, although that event was not considered official. Earlene Brown won her eighth, and final, title in the shot.
Ranae Bair set an AR in winning the javelin with a 173-4½ (52.84), breaking the mark of 170-9 set by Gloria Wilcox earlier in the year. The other AR was in the pentathlon, which would be an Olympic event for the first time. It was still not contested at the main AAU meet, but was held only a few days later, in Burlingame, California, and Pat Daniels recorded 4644, bettering her mark of 4603 from the Pacific AAU. Daniels would also win the Olympic Trials and better her AR in Tokyo with 4724 in placing 7th.
1965
(July 02–03, Columbus, Ohio; Whetstone HS)
There were several changes to the program. The 1500 was finally added. The 200H was now considered an official event, and the high hurdles were run over 100m for the first time, although it would revert to 80m in 1966–68 before returning to 100m permanently in ’69.
There were two double winners, with Marie Mulder winning the inaugural 1500 (with initial American record of 4:36.5) and doubling back in the 800, while Lynn Graham won the shot and discus. Wyomia Tyus, Edith McGuire, and Janell Smith defended their 100, 220, and 440 titles, while Eleanor Montgomery, Willye White, and RaNae Bair did likewise in the high jump, long jump, and javelin. Pat Daniels also won her fifth consecutive pentathlon crown (in a streak of seven), but it was still contested outside the main meet, this time on June 25 in Lafayette, California.
1966
(June 30–July 02, Frederick, Maryland; Thomas Johnson HS)
The women again returned to a high school track. Three ARs were set, with Charlette Cooke running 880y in 2:05.0, Doris Brown winning the 1500 in 4:20.2, and Cherrie Parrish-Sherrard running 10.7 in the 80H. Cooke also won the 440 in 53.4, better than Janell Smith’s listed AR of 53.7, but Cooke had run 53.3 a few weeks earlier. Besides Cooke’s 440/880 double, Wyomia Tyus won a double in the 100/220.
A half-dozen successfully defended their titles: Tyus in the 100, Parris-Sherrard in the 80H, Eleanor Montgomery in the high jump, Willye White in the long jump, Lynn Graham in the shot, and RaNae Bair in the javelin. For Montgomery it was her fourth consecutive title, and she would extend the streak to 5 in ’67, while Tyus (100), White, and Bair won consecutive victories in their events.
The pentathlon was held a month later in Millbrae, California, and was originally won by Denise Paschal, defeating Pat Daniels. Paschal had been held up by a car accident and was an hour late for the meet. She was allowed to make up the hurdles and shot put, but after the event finished, Daniels protested, and it was upheld. The competition was re-run on August 14, and this time Daniels won for her sixth straight championship.
1967
(July 01–02, Santa Barbara, California; La Playa Stadium, Santa Barbara CC)
This was a Pan-Am year, and for the first time there were separate trials for the team, on July 15. The biggest news was the 100 mark of 11.1 set by Barbara Ferrell, which tied the WR set in ’65. After 44 years, this was the first WR set or equaled at the women’s AAU, other than some early marks in the baseball throw.
Three other ARs were surpassed at the main meet, with Charlette Cooke running 52.5 in the 400, Madeline Manning recording 2:03.6 in the 800, and RaNae Bair bettering her own listed AR in the javelin with 196-3 (59.82), although Barbara Friedrich had recently recorded 192-11 (58.81) and 198-8 (60.55), so Bair’s mark would not be recognized. The pentathlon was still held outside the main meet — Hayward, California on June 25 — but Pat Daniels won her seventh straight title. Daniels recorded 4824 for her fifth AR. She had also won the long jump at the main meet.
For Bair, this was her fourth consecutive victory in the javelin. Other defenders were Cooke in the 400, Patty van Wolvelaere in the 200H, and Eleanor Montgomery, who won her fifth straight victory in the high jump. A newcomer, Maren Seidler, won the shot, but she would be heard from again.
1968
(August 17–18, Aurora, Colorado; Aurora Stadium)
In the Olympic year, AAU officials reverted to contesting the AAU and Olympic Trials only a week apart. The AAU pentathlon doubled as the Olympic Trials for that event and was held in Columbia, Missouri, on the same dates as the Trials. An open event, it was won by Taiwan’s Chi Cheng, as 7-time champion Pat Daniels-Winslow finished 2nd.
In the 100, Margaret Bailes equaled the WR of 11.1 in both the semi and final, which had also been equaled at the ’67 AAU by Barbara Ferrell. There were no double event winners. Defending champions who repeated were Mamie Rallins in the 80H, Patty van Wolvelaere in the 200H and Maren Seidler in the shot put. Except for Bailes’ marks, the level of competition was down a bit as the women prepared for the Olympic Trials in the following week.
1969
(July 05–06, Dayton, Ohio; Welcome Stadium)
The highlight was the AR 5-11 (1.80) set by Eleanor Montgomery in the high jump. It was her sixth — and what would be final — title overall. Barbara Ferrell was the only double winner, taking both sprints. The only repeat champion was Willye White in the long jump, as she won her eighth title in the event going back to ’60. She would also win in ’70 and ’72, for 10 in all. Although she did not defend. A new face was Kate Schmidt, who won the first of her eventual 7 javelin titles.
Tennessee State won the team title for the 12th time in 15 years, ending a period of dominance that extended back to ’55, and which included win streaks of 6 (1955–60), 3 (1965–67), and 2 (1962–63). The 3000 was added to the program.
1970
(July 04, Los Angeles, California; Drake Stadium, UCLA)
The big change in the program was that the women raced a 3000 for the first time, which was won by Beth Bonner in 9:48.1. Another addition to the program was the 4×4, held for the first time.
Mamie Rallins defended her 100H title, running 13.4 to equal her own AR. Taiwan’s Chi Cheng was the only double champion, winning the 100 and 220, the former in an MR 10.2. Willye White won her ninth long jump title, and third consecutive. Lynn Graham won her fourth shot victory, after wins in ’65, ’66 & ’69. She would win again in ’71. Carol Frost likewise defended her discus crown, her fourth after having won in ’66, ’67 & ’69. Outside of the main meet, Pat Daniels-Winslow won her eighth pentathlon, after having won seven consecutively 1961–67.
It was not sponsored by the AAU, but in October, the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) held a women’s marathon, which could be called the first women’s national marathon championship. It was won by Sara Mae Berman, ahead of only 3 other finishers.
1971
(July 10, Bakersfield, California; Bakersfield College)
Although the men’s meet remained in yards, the women’s was contested mostly over metric distances, but oddly the 3000 was replaced by a 2M, won by Doris Brown-Heritage, and the relays were held at Imperial distances. A walking event was added to the program for the first time. Another addition was the 4 x 880, as there were now four relays held, 4 x 110, 4 x 440, 4 x 880, and the 880 medley.
There were no double winners. Four defended their titles from ’70: Cheryl Toussaint in the 800, Pat Hawkins in the 200H, Lynn Graham in the shot put (her fifth and final title in the event), and Sherry Calvert in the javelin. The major mark in the meet was by the Atoms TC and Sports International, both running a WR of 3:38.8 in the 4 x 440, with Atoms TC winning the race narrowly. It should be noted that it was far inferior to the metric best of 3:30.8.
1972
(July 01–02, North Canton, Ohio; Kent State–Stark)
The AAU and Olympic Trials were again held separately, with the Trials held in Frederick, Maryland, on July 07–08.
Ghana’s Alice Annum was the big star of the meet, as the only double winner, taking the 100 and 200. The New York Times incorrectly noted that she had broken Wilma Rudolph’s meet record in the 200 with 23.4, not stating that it was wind-aided. Pat Hawkins won her fourth straight title in the 200H, while Filipina Josephine de la Vina defended in the discus and Sherry Calvert repeated her javelin victories from 1970–71. Maren Seidler won the shot, which would begin a streak of 9, 1972-80. She had also won the event in 1967–68.
The 5K walk was added to the program. The pentathlon was not held at the main meet, but was conducted at Los Alamos, New Mexico, on June 23–24 and doubled as the OT, which included foreign performers. The leading American was Jane Frederick in 3rd.
1973
(June 22–23, Irvine, California; UC Irvine)
The program changed slightly as the 200H was dropped, never to return, and the 400H was run for the first time. The meet served to select teams for a European tour and to compete against the Soviet Union.
Francie Larrieu defended her title in the mile/1500 as the mile was contested for the first time. It would be held again in ’74 and those are the only two times the women ran the mile at an outdoor U.S. national. Maren Seidler won her fourth shot put crown and second in a row. The only double winner was Mable Fergerson in the 220/440. Jane Frederick won her first of seven pentathlon/heptathlon titles, although it was again held outside the main meet, this time a week earlier, but also in Irvine.
1974
(June 28–29, Bakersfield, California; Bakersfield College)
This was the last time the women’s nationals would be conducted primarily over Imperial distances. Newspapers made much of Debra Sapenter’s equaling the WR for 440y, with 52.2, but it paled in comparison to Irena Szewińska’s WR of 49.9 for 400m. Mary Decker, still not quite 16, won her first national championship by taking the 880 in 2:05.2 over Robin Campbell. Four defended their titles from ’73: Patty van Wolvelaere-Johnson in the 100H, Martha Watson in the long jump, Maren Seidler in the shot and Kate Schmidt in the javelin, with all four setting meet records in the process. Ghanaian Alice Annum also set an MR in winning the 220 in 23.1, although Wilma Rudolph had run 22.9 for 200m in ’60.
1975
(June 27–28, White Plains, New York; White Plains HS)
6 ARs were equaled or broken at one of the highest quality nationals to date (along with Jane Frederick setting an AR in the pentathlon a week earlier in Los Alamos, New Mexico).
Frederick could also be said to be the only double winner as she won the 100H at the main meet. Fully 7 athletes defended their ’74 championships: Debra Sapenter 400, Julie Brown 1500, Lynn Bjorklund 3000, Joni Huntley high jump, Martha Watson long jump (her third straight), Maren Seidler shot (fourth straight), and Kate Schmidt javelin (third straight).
The ARs came from Sapenter with 51.6 in the 400, Madeline Manning-Jackson – 2:00.5 in the 800, Debbie Esser with 57.3 in the 400H, Lisa Metheny – 6:46.6 in the 1500 walk, Kate Schmidt threw the jav 209-7 (63.88), and Jane Frederick recorded 4676 in the pentathlon.
1976
(June 10–12, Westwood, California; Drake Stadium, UCLA)
This was the first staging of a combined men’s/women’s nationals. The women responded well to the bigger stage with American Records being rung up by Arthurene Gainer (57.24 in the long hurdles), high schooler Kathy McMillan (22-3/6.78 in the long jump) and Kate Schmidt (218-3/66.52 in the javelin). Schmidt’s mark left her behind only WR holder Ruth Fuchs on the all-time list.
1977
(June 09–11 June, Westwood, California; Drake Stadium, UCLA)
No fewer than 5 national records tumbled. The shortest of them went to sprint doubler Evelyn Ashford thanks to her 22.62 in the 200. Also claiming new standards were Peg Neppel in the 10,000 (33:15.1), Sue Brodock in the 5K walk (24:10.1), Mary Ayers in the 400H (56.61) and Lynn Winbigler (187-2/57.06) in the discus.
1978
(June 08–10, Westwood, California; Drake Stadium, UCLA)
For the first time since 1940–42 (Ocean City, New Jersey) the same site hosted the women’s meet 3 years in a row. Outstanding-athlete honors went to Jodi Anderson, whose 22-7½ (6.79) claimed the American Record in the LJ. Brenda Morehead set a 200 AR of 22.60 in the semis, but was no match for defending champion Evelyn Ashford in the final. Maren Seidler won her seventh shot title in a row. The women’s walk was doubled in distance, from 5K to 10.
1979
(June 15–17, Walnut, California; Hilmer Lodge Stadium, Mt. SAC)
There were ARs galore at one of the finest nationals ever. The 100H stood out in the record department, starting with a record 13.07 by Deby LaPlante in the semis. In the final, she lowered her new standard all the way to 12.86. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania high schooler Candy Young claimed World Junior Records in each of the three rounds.
But that was far from it in rewriting all-time U.S. bests. Also entering the books were Evelyn Ashford (10.97 semi), Mary Shea (32:52.5), Sue Brodock (24:07.6 & 50:32.8) and Maren Seidler (62-3¾/18.99 & 62-7¾/19.09).
1980
(June 13–15, Walnut, California; Hilmer Lodge Stadium, Mt. SAC)
With the mean-little Olympic Trials just a week away, this one was somewhat lacking in excitement. There were no records and only Francie Larrieu (1500), Sue Brodock (both walks) and Maren Seidler (No. 9 in the shot) successfully defended.
1981
(June 19–21, Sacramento, California; Hughes Stadium, Sacramento City College)
With OT participation having hampered ’80 results, there were only 4 successful defenders. Although there were no records broken, the level of marks was high, with 7 nation-leading performances being chalked up. And one of them, by Stephanie Hightower in the 100H was a yearly world leader.
The only double winner was Evelyn Ashford, at 11.07/22.30. The 200 time was amazing, coming as it did with a 4.2 headwind. It was the fastest mark ever on U.S. soil. The pentathlon was replaced by the heptathlon
1982
(June 18–20, Knoxville, Tennessee; University of Tennessee)
With 4 winners — 200, HJ, SP, DT — the foreign presence was notable. In the obscure-record department, the Wilt’s AC foursome of Brenda Morehead, Jeanette Bolden, Alice Brown and Arise Emerson ran history’s fastest 800 medley, 1:36.79. A mainstream AR went to Stephanie Hightower, who tied the 100H best at 12.86.
Evelyn Ashford repeated in the 100, her 10.96 rating as the fastest U.S. low-altitude time ever. Merlene Ottey PRed at 11.07 behind her and followed up — in Ashford’s absence — with the fastest 200 ever on U.S. soil, 22.17.
1983
(June 17–19, Indianapolis, Indiana; Carroll Stadium, IUPUI)
With spots for Team USA’s trip to the first World Championships up for grabs, the quality of performance was uniformly high (“PRs tumbled like tenpins,” wrote T&FN, even if it wasn’t a wall-to-wall recordfest.
The biggest names were doublers Evelyn Ashford and Mary Slaney (Decker, at the time). A strong headwind slowed the 100, but with a friendlier breeze in the half-lapper Ashford ripped off the fastest time ever on U.S. soil, 21.88.
Presaging her successful Helsinki double to come, Slaney won the 1500 in an AL 4:03.50, then less than an hour later stepped back on the track for the 3000. The result was an 8:38.36, the fastest ever by an American on U.S. soil. Judi St. Hilaire became the first national 5000 champ.
1984
(June 07–09, San José, California; San José City College)
With the OT slated for the next week only 4 defending champions showed up but there were outstanding marks nonetheless. There were 3 double winners, only one of them American, Kim Gallagher in the 800 and 1500.
Valerie Brisco-Hooks became the first American to break 50, her 49.83, giving her a healthy 0.62 winning margin in the 400. Adding hurdles to the mix, Judi Brown covered a lap in an AR 54.99.
1985
(June 14–16, Indianapolis, Indiana; Carroll Stadium, IUPUI
Jamaica’s Merlene Ottey (Ottey-Page at the time) was brilliant in the short sprints, starting with an MR 10.94 in the 100 semis. Her 10.98 in the final gave her a stunning 0.23 margin of victory over Pam Marshall. Marshall—whose 22.39 made her the No. 8 American ever, was also the 200 runner-up as Ottey’s 21.93 moved her to No. 6 on the all-time world list.
Overall, 8 events were won with year-leading U.S. marks, with Maryanne Torrelas claiming an AR in the 10K walk. Wendy Brown became the meet’s inaugural triple jump champion.
1986
(June 18–21, Eugene, Oregon; Hayward Field, University of Oregon)
Women got to contest a nationals at legendary Hayward Field for the first time. With Evelyn Ashford still bouncing back from maternity, Pam Marshall took over the short dashes after a pair of runner-up finishes in ’85. The 100’s wind was an illegal 2.9 as her 10.80w rated as history’s No. 3 performance under all conditions. The wind was 2.2 as Marshall followed up with a 22.24w win.
Jane Frederick won the multi for the ninth time. The triple jump debuted, with Wendy Brown producing history’s farthest mark, 45-2½w (13.78). Two of the four scheduled relays were canceled.
1987
(June 25–27, San José, California; Jaguar Stadium, San José City College)
The multis were staged in the two days before the main meet, with Jackie Joyner-Kersee totaling 6979—history’s No. 3 performance—in absolutely destroying the field. JJK wasn’t done, though, returning to win the long jump at 23-4½ (7.12), the longest outdoor mark ever on U.S. soil (not including the wind-aided 23-9½/7.25 she had stretched out to in the hept).
With the triple jump still largely a U.S. endeavour, Sheila Hudson set a “WR” of 45-5¼ (13.85). In the 10K walk Maryanne Torrelas lowered her AR to 47:23.8. Long past their due date, relays disappeared from the program.
1988
(June 16–18, Tampa, Florida; Pepin-Rood Stadium, University of Tampa)
The final nationals not to be rolled in with the Olympic Trials was shy on big moments. Sheila Echols was the standout, scoring a rare 100/LJ double. It was the first such combo since Edith McGuire in ’63.
Jan Wohlschlag cleared 6-5½ (1.97) to move to =No. 3 on the all-time U.S. high jump list. She finished her day with a good shot at an AR 6-7½ (2.01).
1989
(June 13–17, Houston, Texas; Robertson Stadium, University of Houston)
“I was just hoping for a PR today. I didn’t know that the American Record was in each,” said Sandra Farmer-Patrick after running 53.75. Some 15 minutes later husband David Patrick took to the track for his half of a family double in the event. It was some manner of revenge for Sandra, who had been DQed after crossing the line first in the previous year’s OT semis.
The only other AR in a year shy on major marks was by Lynn Weik in the 10K walk. It was the first time the women had been in Texas for their nationals since Corpus Christi in ’60.
1990
(June 12–16, Norwalk, California; Falcon Stadium, Cerritos College)
Despite a dearth of records (the only AR was by Debbi Lawrence in the 10K walk) and not much rewriting of all-time lists the meet did feature a lot of exciting competition.
Only two of ’89’s winners were able to repeat: Sheila Hudson in the TJ and Connie Price-Smith in the discus. Price-Smith also won the shot to become the meet’s only double winner and the first American woman with a shot/discus combo since Lynn Graham in ’65.
1991
(June 12–15, Randalls Island; Downing Stadium )
There were familiar faces galore as 13 members of the Rome ’87 WC team earned spots for Tokyo. Yearly world leaders went to Carlette Guidry (100), Lillie Leatherwood (400), Kim Batten (400H) & Jackie Joyner-Kersee (hept). JJK also won the LJ to become the meet’s only double winner.
Opening eyes in 4th in the 200 was 15-year-old HS soph Marion Jones, whose 22.76 set both American Junior and national prep records in the 200.
1992
(June 19–24 & 26–28, New Orleans, Louisiana; Tad Gormley Stadium)
The meet was like the weather: hot-hot-hot. Yearly U.S. leaders were produced in no fewer than 10 events: the 200, 800, 1500, 2000St, 3000, 100H, 400H, TJ (an American Record 14.23/46-8¼ by Sheila Hudson), SP & Hept.
There were two double-winners: Gwen Torrence in the 100/200 and JJK in the LJ/Hept. PattiSue Plumer was close to a pair, winning the 3000 and finishing just 0.32 out of gold position in the 1500. The hammer was added as a non-Championships event.
1993
(June 15–19, Eugene, Oregon; Hayward Field, University of Oregon)
No stranger to doubling, Jackie Joyner-Kersee won her fifth titles in both the LJ and heptathlon. Also capturing a pair of crowns were local favorite Annette Peters, in the 1500 & 3000 and Connie Price-Smith in the shot & disc.
JJK’s heptathlon score was a yearly world leader, as were the winning marks put up in the 400 (Jearl Miles) & 400H (Sandra Farmer-Patrick). Additional U.S.-leading performances were reached by Peters in the 3000, Lynn Jennings in the 10K, JJK in the LJ, Price-Smith in the discus & Donna Mayhew in the javelin.
Familiar faces dominated the action as a hefty 10 winners from ’92 successfully defended.
1994
(June 14–18, Knoxville, Tennessee; Tom Black Track, University of Tennessee)
Continuity was big, with 7 defending champions being successful. There were a pair of American Record setters, Teresa Vaill in the 10K walk (track) and Sheila Hudson a tie in the TJ. Also setting yearly U.S. leads were Regina Jacobs (1500), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (100H), Connie Price-Smith (shot), Donna Mayhew (javelin) and Kym Carter (heptathlon).
JJK (long jump) and CPS (discus) added wins in second events. It was JJK’s LJ win No. 5, and first hurdle win, to go with 5 Hept crowns. As for Price-Smith, it was shot title No. 5 and discus title No. 6 plus the fourth time for her to notch double golds.
The 3000 was contested for the final time and the pole vault was staged on an exhibition basis.
1995
(June 14–18, Sacramento, California; Hughes Stadium, Sacramento City College)
Newcomers need not apply as only 4 of the 19 winners hadn’t previously stood atop the podium. The familiar faces (with total wins): 100 — Gwen Torrence (2), 200 — Torrence (5), 400 — Jearl Miles (2), 800 — Meredith Rainey (2), 1500 — Regina Jacobs (5, in a row), 10K — Lynn Jennings (5), 100H — Gail Devers (3), 400H — Kim Batten (1), 10W — Teresa Vaill (1), PV — Melissa Price (1), LJ — JJK (7, 6 straight), TJ — Sheila Hudson (6), SP — Connie Price-Smith (6, 4 straight), JT — Donna Mayhew (5, 4 straight), Hept — JJK (6).
Torrence was the only double winner. Yearly U.S. leaders were put up by Chryste Gaines in the 100 heats, Jacobs (also a WL), Devers in the heats (also a WL), Vaill & Edie Boyer in the discus.
1996
(June 14–17, 19 & 21–23, Atlanta, Georgia; Centennial Olympic Stadium)
The biggest news was perhaps not a win, but a loss. Not since the ’83 Nationals — when Jane Frederick turned the trick — had any American beaten Jackie Joyner-Kersee in a heptathlon. Here, Kelly Blair-LaBounty trounced the WR holder by 8+ seconds in the 800 to win by 3. Bothered by a bad hamstring, 8 days later JJK took just a single long jump but won at 23-1¼w (7.04) for her eighth in a row.
Track events generally shined, with yearly world leaders being put up Gwen Torrence (100), Carlette Guidry (200), Meredith Rainey (800) & Kim Batten (400H). American leaders went to Blair, plus Gail Devers (100H) & Stacy Dragila (pole vault). For Dragila, the vault was considered to still be a “developmental” event, but she nonetheless claimed her third AR of the year.
1997
(June 11–15, Indianapolis, Indiana; IUPUI Stadium)
Once upon a time there was a sprint prodigy named Marion Jones, who was our HS Athlete Of The Year as a soph and junior in ’91 & ’92. But she morphed into a college basketball player and basically disappeared. Until here, where she emerged as the year’s fastest runner, break 11-flat in all 3 rounds. For good measure she threw in a PR in winning the LJ.
Jones’s 100 was one of four yearly world leads established, joined by Jearl Miles-Clark (400), Melissa Morrison (100H) & Kim Batten (400H). Another quartet added yearly U.S. leaders: Inger Miller (200), Amy Acuff (HJ), Jones (LJ) & Kelly Blair-LaBounty (hept). Connie Price-Smith continued to dominate the shot, winning her sixth in a row and No. 8 overall. The vault finally became an official Championships event, with superstar-to-be Stacy Dragila winning by a foot.
It was a meet devoid of records, but the headlines all belonged to Jones, as they would for many years to come.
1998
(June 17–21, New Orleans, Louisiana; Tad Gormley Stadium)
Having dominated the ’97 meet, Marion Jones crafted even more headlines in ’08 as she won a 100/200/LJ triple. That made her winner of such a trifecta since another later-to-be-controversial figure, Stella Walsh did it in ’48. Jones’s 10.72 in the 100 gave her a whopping 0.17 margin of victory. In the semis she had claimed an =WL with her MR 10.71.
The only other WL of the meet went to long hurdler Kim Batten, with ALs racked up by Jearl Miles-Clark (800), Suzy Hamilton (1500), Sheila Hudson (TJ) & Kelly Blair-LaBounty (hept).
1999
(June 24–27, Eugene, Oregon; Hayward Field, University of Oregon)
No triple for Marion Jones this time around, as she had a 100 Wild Card and passed on that one. No double either, as it turned out: she successfully defended her 200 crown but saw her LJ technique fall apart and ended up 2nd to a PR by Dawn Burrell.
The only successful double was by Regina Jacobs in the 1500 and 5000. Jacobs also claimed the yearly world lead in the shorter of the races. Gail Devers’ 100H win was wind-aided, but rated as the year’s fastest all-conditions time. Yearly American leads were claimed by Libbie Hickman in the 10K and Michelle Rohl in the 20W. This was the first time the longer walk had been part of the Nationals, and as women continued to gain parity, the steeplechase was a title event for the first time.
2000
(July 14–17 & 20–23, Sacramento, California; Hornet Stadium, Sacramento State University)
The T&FN story was headlined “Marion’s 5-Gold Dream Stays Alive,” after Ms. Jones won an OT triple, setting her up to add both relays to her 100/200/LJ individual quests for glory in Sydney. As part of her Sacto trifecta she claimed the yearly world lead in the 200 and yearly U.S. lead in the long jump.
In a meet chock-full of high-level marks, 3 claimed WLs: Gail Devers 100H, Sandra Glover 400H & Stacy Dragila. Dragila claimed a WR in the vault, while the Devers win came in AR time. Also joining the AR club was Michelle Rohl in the 20W. Also putting their names in the AL lists were Deena Drossin in the 10,000 and Seilala Sua in the discus (with the longest throw in 14 years). In the notable-totals department, Connie Price-Smith won shot title No. 9 in a row and No. 11 overall.
As for Jones, she went on to win 5 medals alright, but “only” 3 of them were gold (100, 200, 4×4) to go with a pair of bronzes (4×1, LJ).
2001
(June 21–24, Eugene, Oregon; Hayward Field, University of Oregon)
It was time for another star whose career would turn south to craft a notable triple. Regina Jacobs became the first since Kim Gallagher in ’84 to win an 800/1500 double. The third leg of her triple wasn’t golden but came very close as she couldn’t quite run down Marla Runyan. The 5000 was a little less than hour after the 800. “Why not?” mused Runyan beforehand. “She’s crazy enough to try it.”
There were no world-leading marks, but U.S. pacers went to Chryste Gaines (all-conditions 100), Jacobs (800), Lisa Nye (AR in the steeple), Deena Kastor (10,000, as Drossin), Sandra Glover (400H), Michelle Rohl (20W) & DeDee Nathan (hept).
Jacobs wasn’t the only doubler, Seilala Sua winning a pair of titles in the shot and disc.
2002
(June 21–23, Stanford, California; Cobb Track & Angell Field, Stanford University)
Marion Jones was back in her familiar self as double dash champ. Her half-lap win was her fifth in a row. For Regina Jacobs, it was “only” No. 4 in a row in the 1500, but No. 11 overall. They were just a pair of a half-dozen repeaters, being joined by Marla Runyan (5000), Gail Devers (100H), Sandra Glover (400H) & Stacy Dragila (PV, 4 in a row).
Devers also claimed the only year-leader, being joined atop the U.S.-lead list by Jacobs, Elizabeth Jackson (steeple), Runyan, Joanne Dow (20W), Tisha Waller (HJ), Teri Steer (SP) & Serene Ross (javelin AR).
2003
(June 19–22, Stanford, California; Cobb Track & Angell Field, Stanford University)
With Marion Jones sitting the year out for childbirth, the top-sprinter mantle passed to another soon-to-be-disgraced speedster, Kelli White. White crushed the competition, starting with a world-leading 100 that beat Torri Edwards by 0.20. Her gap over Edwards was 0.23 in the 200.
In a year with a lot of new blood there were only 6 defenders: Regina Jacobs (1500), Marla Runyan (5000), Gail Devers (100H), Stacy Dragila (PV), Yuliana Perez (TJ) & Shelia Burrell (hept). Perez was the only one of the group under 30. Jacobs, Devers & Dragila are all working on streaks of 5 straight. Jacobs could also claim 12 overall wins.
2004
(July 09–12 & 15–18, Sacramento, California; Hornet Stadium, Sacramento State University)
Before the meet even began, the BALCO investigation played a big role, as ’03 champions Kelli White and Regina Jacobs were both DQed on drug charges.
Marion Jones, the big star of the ’00 OT, was nothing like that dominant self, although she did win the long jump with the year’s farthest U.S. mark, her best since ’98. As for the dashes, she was 5th in the 100 and didn’t show for the 200 semis.
The meet featured just a single world-leading mark, that by Sheena Johnson in the 400H. There were plenty of U.S. leaders though: LaTasha Colander (=100), Allyson Felix (200), Ann Gaffigan (AR steeple), Deena Kastor (10,000), Tisha Waller (HJ=), Jones & Tiombé Hurd (AR long jump). At 18, Felix became the youngest member of the Athens team.
2005
(June 23–26, Carson, California; Home Depot Center)
Yearly leaders were the order of the day as no fewer than a dozen women put up list-topping marks.
Three of them — Allyson Felix 200, Sanya Richards 400, Lashinda Demus 400H — were of the world-leading variety. Nine were ALs: Lisa Barber 100, Treniere Clement 1500, Elizabeth Jackson steeple, Shalane Flanagan 5000, Michelle Perry 100H, Teresa Vaill 20W, Erica McLain TJ, Kristin Heaston SP, Erin Gilreath HT. Additionally, the Vaill and Gilreath marks earned American Record status.
Only 5 of the previous year’s OT winners successfully defended: Felix, Vaill, Stacy Dragila (PV), Gilreath and Kim Kreiner (JT). Dragila ran her winning streak to 7 years.
2006
(June 21–25, Indianapolis, Indiana; Carroll Stadium, IUPUI)
No one knew at the time, of course, but Marion Jones’s apparent equaling of Evelyn Ashford’s record of 5 century wins was soon to be wiped out by drug violations.
The sole American Record claimant of the meet was Kim Kreiner, who ran her winning streak to 3 years in a row. Other successful defenders were Sanya Richards (400), Joetta Clark (800), Treniere Clement (1500) and Lashinda Demus (400H).
Richards and Demus claimed the only world-leading performances, with U.S. leaders going to Chaunté Lowe (Howard at the time) (HJ), Rose Richmond (LJ), Jessica Cosby (HT), Kreiner and Gi-Gi Johnson (hept).
100H champ Ginnie Powell became the event’s first NCAA/USATF double winner in 19 years.
2007
(June 20–24, Indianapolis, Indiana; Carroll Stadium, IUPUI)
A pair of 1-lappers claimed the meet’s only world leaders, Dee Dee Trotter sans hurdles, Tiffany Ross-Williams avec. Additionally, there was only a single U.S. pacer, Jenny Simpson (Barringer at the time) in the steeple.
There were plenty of new faces atop the podium as only 4 — Treniere Clement 1500, Ginnie Powell 100H, Jenn Suhr (Stuczynski at the time) PV, Shani Marks TJ — successfully defended. For Clement it was 3 in a row. Amy Acuff won her sixth overall high jump title.
2008
(June 27–30 & July 03–06, Eugene, Oregon; Hayward Field, University of Oregon)
It took vaulter Jenn Suhr (Stuczynski at the time) a while to get going; she watched no fewer than 66 other vaults before she picked up her pole for her first attempt. She needed 3 tries at her opening height, but subsequently confirming her superiority, she won by more than a foot in raising her own American Record to 16-1¾ (4.92).
That was the only field AR. The only AR on the track was by Anna Willard in the steeple. Joining Suhr and Willard as yearly U.S. leaders were Brittney Reese (LJ), Michelle Carter (SP) and Aretha Thurmond (DT). There were also a pair of world leaders: Hyleas Fountain in the hept and Lolo Jones all-conditions 100H.
Shani Marks (TJ) joined Suhr as a winner of 3 straight with other successful defenders being Allyson Felix (200), Tiffany Ross-Williams (400H) and Fountain.
Perhaps the most popular performer in the meet was young Californian Jordan Hasay, who made the 1500 final at age 16.
2009
(June 25–28, Eugene, Oregon; Hayward Field, University of Oregon)
x
2010
(June 23–27, Des Moines, Iowa; Drake Stadium, Drake University)
x
2011
(June 23–26, Eugene, Oregon; Hayward Field, University of Oregon)
x
2012
(June 22–25 & June 28–July 01, Eugene, Oregon; Hayward Field, University of Oregon) (Hammer in Beaverton on June 21)
x
2013
(June 20–23, Des Moines, Iowa; Drake Stadium, Drake University)
x
2014
(June 26–29, Sacramento, California; Hornet Stadium, Sacramento State University) (Shot staged downtown on June 23)
x
2015
(June 25–28, Eugene, Oregon; Hayward Field, University of Oregon)
x
2016
(July 01–04 & 06–10, Eugene, Oregon; Hayward Field, University of Oregon) (20W in Salem on June 30)
x
2017
(June 22–25, Sacramento, California; Hornet Stadium, Sacramento State University)
x
2018
(June 21–24, Des Moines, Iowa; Drake Stadium, Drake University)
x
2019
(July 25–28, Des Moines, Iowa; Drake Stadium, Drake University)
x
2020
(The meet, which was also to act act as the Olympic Trials, was scheduled for July 19–22 & July 24–28 at Eugene’s new Hayward Field, but canceled by the COVID pandemic.)
2021
(June 18–21 & June 24–27, Eugene, Oregon; Hayward Field, University of Oregon
2022
(June 23–26, Eugene, Oregon; Hayward Field, University of Oregon
2023
(July 06–09, Eugene, Oregon; Hayward Field, University of Oregon