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Pictures of KU Track and Field Teammates

Pictures and data on some of the men who ran at Kansas University during the 1950's.

These are pictures of some of the athletes who competed at KU during the time I ran at KU who made their mark as some of the best athletes ever to compete at Kansas in any sport....... except me.  "smile"

RAY WYATT--- 1957 Big Seven Indoor 440 Champion in :48.8, third-fastest clocking in meet history... Came back to anchor Mile Relay in :49.6 on the 147 yard Kansas City board track... reached career low of 47.2 around two turns for third 1957 Big Seven Outdoor... Fifth 1956 Big Seven Outdoor, :48.9. Ran :48.1 for third 1955 AAU and CCC... Contributed: 48.7 No. 2 leg for 1956 Big Seven Out Door Mile Relay Championship;: 48.2 for the 1957 Champs....Latter tied school record and set conference record of4:12.6...... Wyatt also anchored 4:12.6 burst to win Kansas Relays in :47.8....Hit career low in unofficial: 47.0 in bringing Drake Relays entry home third.... Led off 1957 Drake Relays Distance Medley Champions at 48.4....Set school indoor 600 yard record, 1:12.6 at the Chicago Times Relays in 1957. Fifth 1958 Big 8 Indoor.
LOWELL JANZEN..... No runner in Kansas track history improved more from his high school days than did Lowell Janzen, spare half-miler out of York, Neb. A 2:02.1 runner as a schoolboy, Janzen graduated owning the swiftest clocking ever recorded by a BigSeven runner anywhere, 1:48.3 for fourth in the1957 NCAA at Austin. This was six-tenths faster thanWes Santee's second behind Mal Whitfield in their1953 famous match at Turku, Finland. These are the only two open clockings under 1:50 ever recorded by runners from this conference. Furthermore, Janzen graduated in possession of more fast races (under 1:5206) than any half-miler in league annals. This does not include unofficial relay clockings, in which he twice was caught below 1:50. He ran legs on five championship baton teams at Texas, Kansas and Drake, anchoring two of them. He twice was Big Seven Outdoor 880 champion and bagged the Indoor title once. He won the Central Collegegiate conference twice, and thrice helped Kansas to conference cross-country championships. He set Michigan State field house record of 2:13. for 1000. He ran No. 3 for the Jayhawks' record-setting (:3:12.6) Mile relay quartet in the 1957 conference meet at Lincoln, thus showing remarkable range from 440 through three miles. Janzen also carved the rare distinction of reaching the NCAA half-mile finals thrice. He was bowled over on the first turn as a sophomore in 1955. He ran sixth as a junior before his aforementioned fourth behind a record run by California's Don bowden as a senior. He was third in the NAAU a week later.
PICTURE OF THE GRAND SLAM SQUAD OF 1956. 1st row.... (left to right) Bob Lida, Clark Mock, Larry Tharp, Bob Cormack,Bob Smith, Paul Baker, Verlyn Schmidt, Earl Eblen, Bob Brooks. 2nd row.... Bob Cannon, Jan Howell, Gene Blasi, Bill Nieder, Coach Bill Easton, Kent Floerke, Al Orter, Dave Tams, Grant Cookson. 3rd row.... Ass't Coach Jack Warner, Lowell Janzen, Les Bitner, Harry Solter, Captain Dick Blair, Bob Franklin, Bernie Gay, Tom Rupp, Ray Wyatt, Harold Hein, manager. 4th row.... Bob Nicholson, Frank Mastin, Larry Stroup, Jim Londerholm, Al Frame, Dave Freeman, Jerry McNeal, Louie Stroup, Larry Frisbie and Bob Lewis. Absent John Parker.
WES SANTEE---There is little left to be said about Wes Santee and the records he established in the 1950's. For those of us who know Wes and were privileged to know him at KU, his accomplishments will always, in our minds, make him the greatest college track and field star of his generation. From 1952 through 1956 he recorded 48 mile runs under 4:10, with the fastest being 4:00.5 in 1955 at the Texas Relays, then the American Record. Everyone in the world thought Wes would be the first to break the 4:00 minute record in the mile, but it was done by Roger Bannister in England, May 6,1954. However in 1954 Wes posted two mile races under 4:01. Wes set the World Indoor record in the mile at the Boston AAU meet in 1954 at 4:03.8. Not only was Wes a great miler but also a great half miler. While at the University of Kansas Wes won three Indoor and outdoor mile titles, two indoor half mile titles and one out door title. He set an NCAA meet record in the mile in 1953. He twice won NAAU mile titles and, as a sophomore, set a record of 14:36.3 in the NCAA 5000 meters. He held the open mile records at Texas, Kansas and Drake. He was NCAA cross-country champion in 1953. During a three-year period, 1952 through 1954, he ran on 23 championship relay teams on the Texas, Kansas and Drake circuit. He anchored four winners at Drake alone in 1954. Eight of these flights set meet records, three of the eight set world records. Since this track page is dedicated to those of us who ran at the University of Kansas during the 1950's, Wes Santees accomplishments are long remembered. Wes was a great ambassador of track and field and those of us who know him of track and field and those of us who know him are proud to have called him "team mate",
BILL NIEDER Olympic champion and world record holder in the shot put, William H.Nieder first stepped into the national spotlight while a senior at LawrenceSchool in 1952. A prep All-American football player, the 6-foot-four-inch, 240 pounder was recruited by over 100 colleges. He wasthe first high school boy to put the 12-pound shot over 60 feet when he recorded a 60'-9 3/4" heave in 1952. Later, he became the first collegian to surpass 60 feet with the 16-pound shot. A severe knee injury in his first varsity football game at Kansas in 1954, ended his football career and led Nieder to concentrate on track where he became one of the finest shot putters in history. As a senior at KU, he won the silver medal at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. Four years later, in Rome, he won the gold medal with an Olympic record of 64'-4 3/4". Ironically, Nieder nearly missed the 1960 Games after finishing fourth in the U.S. Olympic Trials, but he was named as a replacement for an injured teammate. He defeated the two-time defending Olympic Champion and world record holder, Parry O'Brien of California and Dallas Long to lead a 1-2-3 American sweep of the event. Nieder twice set the world record in the shot, the second time a mammoth 65'-7" effort at the 1960 Texas Relays that broke his own mark by 21 inches. Neider finished his career at Kansas with the 28 best puts in Big-Seven Conference history and he won five conference championships. Twice he won the Texas-Kansas-Drake Relays triple crown. Inducted into the University of Kansas Hall of Fame. Charter Inductee KSHOF 1961 Won 1960 Olympic shot put in 1960 after finishing second in 1956 games All-American high school football player at Lawrence The first high school boy to put the 12-pound shot over 60 feet The first collegian to put the 16-pound shot over 60 feet Set the world shot put record two times Finished his career with the 28 best shot puts in Big-SevenConference history Twice won the Texas-Kansas-Drake Relays triple crown
AL ORTER, CLASS OF 1958 (RIP 2007)
AL OERTER: the man with the golden discus. Al Oerter was born on September 19, 1936. Originally a collegiate athlete from the University Of Kansas, he came to be a dominant figure in the Olympic Games. The first Olympic athlete to win four gold medals in the discus throw in four consecutive Olympics, Oerter will go down in history as one of the most enduring Olympians of all time. He achieved his remarkable feat in1956, 1960,1964 and 1968, despite being plagued by injuries in the last two Games. With each of his victories in the Games, Oerter set a new Olympic record. He was the first to land his discus more than 200 feet with his first record of 61.10 m. A casual but remarkable throw of the discus outdistancing others on the track team got Oerter a track scholarship at the University Of Kansas. He also won six national Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) titles. A word of advice from a fellow competitor led to another Olympic gold for Oerter in 1960. Oerter was pitted against his own teammate Richard "Rinka" Babka, who was ahead by 15 inches in the final round. Before Oerter's fifth throw, Babka noticed a flaw in Oerter's way of throwing and gave him a hint. Oerter acknowleged his friend's advice and rectified his throw, in the process, winning his second gold creating a new world record. Ironically, Babka had to be content with a silver. Orter is still grateful to "Rink"as he calls him. Oerter's best throw while setting a world record was 62.94m in 1964 in Tokyo. He had dislocated a cervical vertebra and torn a cartilage in his lower rib cage. Doctors had advised him to stop training six days before the competiton. But in the qualifying round, Oerter discarded his neck brace and ignoring terrible pain, hurled the discus to an Olympic record distance of 60.54m. His best Olympic throw was 64.78m in 1968 at Mexico. Then 36, Oerter was in fourth place and needed a big throw to win a gold. He made it-with a 212' 6" throw. In 1980, Oerter was an alternate in the U. S. team, which boycotted the Moscow Olympics. At 47, he missed the 1984 Olympic Trials due to a strained Achilles tendon. For 26 years Oerter worked as a computer specialist for Grumman.Aircraft Corporation. Later he worked for Reebok. Elected to the U S Hall of Fame in 1983, Oerter was recently hailed by ESPN as one of the top athletes (at number 68) and Olympians of the Century. In 1996, Oerter was an honorary torchbearer in the Centennial Olympic Games.