A Look in the Mirror - 20 Years Ago
Early to late May 1987
By Doug Speck - DyeStat.com
Early May through mid-May action twenty years back was headlined by the always tough Texas State Meet. Qualifying meets along the way to the Lone Star Championships featured some great marks, with Nugent Cotton (Furr, Houston) the #5 Prep Long Jump under any conditions with a towering 26-04.5 wind aided at the Regional level. Eric Henry (McCullough, The Woodlands - leading in left photo by Don Gosney - Jack Shepard's HS Annual) headed a great distance group at that school, with Coach Dan Green's troops knocking down the one year old National Prep Distance Medley Relay record of 9:56.3, set by Jesuit of Sacramento, a year earlier in 1986, by three seconds to 9:53.31! McCullough was made up of Scott Cramer (1:54.5 880), Steve Harris (50.0 440), Danny Green Jr (3:05.6 1320) and Eric Henry (4:03.1 anchor). Henry was the most dominant athlete at the Texas State title meet, racing 4:09.4 for 1600m for a 5A win and 8:52.2 for 3200 meters! Ninth grader Donald Marshall (Grand Prairie) was the 5A Sprint titlest at 10.65 and 21.16, with the youngsters amazing at the bottom end, as soph Marlin Cannon (South Oak Cliff) was 46.51 to take the 5A 400 and was on a 3:10.7 4x4 winning group. Chris Barnes (Silsbee) was 20.80 to take the 4A 200, with Nugent Cotton (Furr, Houston) 24-06 to take the 4A Long Jump title. Kyle Henderson (Karnes City) had the best 2A mark at 16-09 for the Vault, with a 17-01.5 seasonal best. On the Girls' side at the meet, Cinnamon Sheffield (South Oak Cliff) was a 14.0 5A 100 meter Hurdles winner, with double winners at the 4A level, Yolanda Phillips (Stephenville) 19-05.5 LJ and 39-05.5 TJ, and 5A also with Laura Vasquez (Edinburg) 2:10.7 800 and 5:01.8 1600, and fine all-arounder Trevaia Williams (Smiley, Houston) with a 54.7 400 and 5-08 High Jump win.
Florida State Meet action in 1987 had Charles Johnson (King, Tampa) a four-time 4A winner, with 14.1 120 Yard Highs, 38.01 330 Yard Intermediates, 24-04 Long Jump, and 47-08.5 Triple Jump. Keith Strong (Lake Gibson, Lakeland) was 10.47 and 21.35 in the sprints to headline the 3A Meet, with Tyrone Kemp (Bucholz, Gainesville) a 4A 400 winner at 46.78.
Mississippi's George Kersh (left by Victor Sailer - Jack Shepard's HS Annual), who had been named the Track & Field News Prep Indoor Athlete of the Year, as he took down the National 880 Yard (1:51.26) and 1000 Meter (2:23.85) records, continued strong outdoors, racing a 48.1 440 yard and 1:49.7 880 yard double in his state meet, setting up a special June for himself at the Golden West Invitational we will report on in the future.
Around the country, Jason Pyrah (Willard, Missouri) had an amazing distance triple in State at 1:51.25 (800) - 4:03.54 (1600) and 9:07.48 (3200m). During a lengthy open career Pyrah was twice an Olympian (1996-2000), and was tenth in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games 1500 meter final. Super Arizona soph, and eventual Olympic bronze medalist at 200 meters in 1992, Michael Bates (Amphitheater, Tucson) was 10.70 (100) - 21.22 (200) and 13.84 (110 Meter High Hurdles) in a big state meet triple. Carmelita Williams (Lincoln, East St. Louis, Illinois) won three individual events, the 100 (11.91), 200 (24.14), 400 (54.36), and anchored the winning 4x400 (3:51.95) squad at the AA level.
Out in California some good field event action was taking place, with Brent Burns (Acalanes, Lafayette) 17-04.5 to lead the prep Pole Vault list through late May, and Percy Knox (Antelope Valley, Lancaster) 25-05 in the Long Jump. Madette Smith (Quartz Hill) 20-11 Long Jump and Jackie Anderson (Mt. Miguel, Spring Valley) 41-00.25 Triple Jump led the Girls in the horizontal jumps through late May. Louisiana's Janet Hill (Washington, Shreveport) was 167-09 to lead the country in the Discus.
Brent Burns (Acalanes, Lafayette, CA - PV) - Percy Knox (Antelope Valley, CA - LJ)
Madette Smith (Quartz Hill, CA - LJ) - Jackie Anderson (Mt. Miguel, Ca-TJ - Don Gosney photo)
Janet Hill (Washington, Shreveport, LA - Kirby Lee photo)