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Look Back: OU’s National Freshmen Record 440 Relay

 

Wayne Long-High School sprinter and All-American 1968, 60 yard dash – University of Oklahoma-Photo  Credit: OU

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This 2009 photo of three of the 1966 OU Freshmen 440 yard relay team that tied the National Freshmen record of 40.7 (twice). They beat the varsity (1966 Big 8 champions-OU) one week after they had won the Big 8 meet, and their time was one-tenth of a second faster than the (OU varsity) Big 8 championship time. Left to RIght: Coach Martin, Wayne Long, Glen Long, Mike Gregory. Missing is Rip Van Winkle. The Long’s are from OKC, Van Winkle and Mike Gregory from Midwest City. All lived within five miles of each other in high school.

Travel back in time to 1965. Track field at Murray State College in Tishomingo OK; a fine spring Saturday afternoon. A high school track meet hosted by the junior college, bringing the finest track speedsters in the state together for a run off. In fact, a trio of three of the fastest high school dash men in the country, including twins from one inner-city high school in Oklahoma City, Glenn and Wayne Long, and the fastest white kid in Oklahoma High School history, a two-time State Champion at the distance of 100 yards, a kid named Rip Van Winkle. In all, the three had dominated the track scene from their sophomore days and all three had multiple State Titles before their senior year.

At a time when the World’s Record for the 100 yard dash was held by the great Bob Hayes at 9.0 seconds (and also the future holder of the 100 meter record at 10.0), the trio would pushing the limits of the 100, with all three timed at various meets in their high school careers at 9.5, non-wind aided.

The three would line up for the most significant race in Oklahoma high school track history.  As their schools didn’t compete in the same state division, this race against each other was rare. All three were state champions and high school All-Americans as juniors.

As a footnote, the Long brothers were black, Van Winkle, as already mentioned, white. At the time it was believed that “white” men couldn’t be fast, or at least, not as fast as a black man.  Fact was that all three, in the time of racial inequality, of blatant racism across the county, with the  historically significant events of Dr. Martin Luther King to follow, the three lived within five miles of each other and were friends in every respect. (They would all attend the Univ. of Oklahoma after high school to win Big 8 individual championships, both as team mates on relay teams and as individuals in dash events.)

As each runner set himself in the blocks of the 100 yard dash, the thousand or so true track fans were to witness high school greatness. At the gun the Long twins and Van Winkle didn’t give an inch and after 100 of the fastest ever yards, all three were clocked (non-wind aided) in running the fastest 100 yard dash in Oklahoma history, with Glen Long breaking the tape for the win. With that, all three ran a 9.4 100, when the State record had been previously set at 9.5 by all three. A .4 off the world record and a .2 off a future and still high school record set in 1971 by Pharnell Raines in Florida (at 9.2).

Rip Van Winkle was the most decorated Oklahoma trackster of his time is alive and kicking. Of the  Long twins Wayne has passed but Glenn is, like Rip, alive also. The day belonged to the trio in the greatest 100 yard dash in state history. The greatest day in Oklahoma track and field for my money. And yes, I was there.

The Records and Titles:
Rip Van Winkle:
220 yard – State Champion 2A: 1963, 1964, 1965
100 Yard – State Champion 2A: 1963, 1964, 1965
100 x 4 Relay – State Champion 2A: 1965
Member of the State Track & Field Championship Team (Midwest City – 1965 Class 2A Highest class in the State)
Glen Long:
220 yard – State Champion A: 1964, 1965
100 yard – State Champion A: 1964, 1965
Glen and Wayne Long:
200 x 4 Relay – State Champion A: 1964, 1965
100 x 4 Relay – State Champion A: 1964, 1965
400 x 4 Relay – State Champion A: 1964, 1965
Members of the State Track & Field Championship Team (Douglas High School-Okla.City – 1963, 1964. 1965 Class A)NCAA All-Americans 60 yard dash, Univ. of Oklahoma:
1967 Glen Long; 1968 Wayne Long
NCAA Freshman National Champions, 1966:  440 relay, Tied the National record twice in the season; Beat the varsity Big 8 champs, Oklahoma Sooners in  a race off.  Glen Long, Wayne Long, Bobby Gregory (American Indian) and Rip Van Winkle

About Fred Pahlke

Fred Pahlke, an Oklahoma native has viewed over 10,000 sporting events in his 65 years. A season ticket holder of the Oklahoma City Thunder, former season tickect holder for the Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma City University Chiefs/Stars, he is an expert in both professional and college basketball and football. A high school athlete at Classen High School in basketball and tennis, he played amateur tennis after high school in the Missouri Valley Tennis Association. A graduate of Oklahoma City University, he taught in the public schools for 6 years before becoming a building administrator in the Oklahoma City Public Schools for 31 years, 28 as the Principal of various schools in the district. He has guided various high school and college athletes in his time as an educator and coach. Fredsportsextra has recorded 101, 410 article views in its first ten months, from August 2015 through May 2016.

9 Responses to “Look Back: OU’s National Freshmen Record 440 Relay”

  1. R Scott Griffin
    September 19, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Great article. One of the long lost sports stories of OKLAHOMA.

    • September 19, 2017 at 5:39 pm

      Thank you R Scott. Appreciated.

  2. November 22, 2019 at 2:10 am

    I was there at Tish..Rip Van was a friend to our team Madill, lclass B state champs ’64, Rip Van finished 3rd and only trotted across finish line…we asked why he quit…”well boys, when the Longs beat you outta the blocks…you’re just a trotter”!! In Pauls Valley, he had a 40 yd lead in last leg of mile relay, slowed down and waited for Anadarko guy to catch up, patted him on butt with the baton, hollered beep beep and won by 20 yards. They drove to PV in Rip Vans car without the coach and said they were keeping all the trophies they won. At state meet in Duncan, Rip got the anchor 440 relay about 25 yards behind Guthrie, he looked like he was shot out of a cannon and won by a yard at the finish…Coach said it was a 9.0 leg…Greatest runner I ever saw!!! Wish him all the best , I was a teammate of Cline Johnson who went to OU in ’66…..GREAT MEMORIES. Madill WON 34 CHAMIONSHIPS in track from ’64-’66, my team.

    • November 22, 2019 at 12:02 pm

      Thanks for finding my article Dr. May. Your remarks are one of the reasons I write this blog.

  3. RobertL Martin
    October 25, 2020 at 7:51 pm

    I ran track for Tish in the middle 60s (2 mile, mile and 880 and not fast). OK had spectacular track meets during that time. There was a guy from Hale in Tulsa and I think Gary Rose from Capital Hill that kept breaking each others state record. Cline Johnson (especially the 880) and Nick Durant from Atoka were super in their races. Nelson from Wynnewood (played football for Dallas). Also some super guys in the field events.
    Then there were the Longs and Rip Van. The best part of that meet (remember Tish had maybe the last grass track in the state) was Rip Van
    losing his hat in one of the early prelims of the 100 about half way down. He stopped went back and retrieved his hat and still won!!!!
    Incredible…

    • October 25, 2020 at 9:23 pm

      thanks for the post…..Nelson from Wynnewoood…..played for Dallas…..are you referring to John Nelson, Okla. City Basketball player? The man that could jump over a VW bug?

      • RobertL Martin
        October 26, 2020 at 6:28 pm

        Yes, could not remember his first name. He was big and ran hurdles. I shared lunch with him one time at a meet. He ate like a bucket of fried chicken while I had my customary peanut butter sandwich so I would not throw up. A guy from Ada I think still owns the state record in the shot put.
        I think maybe it was Larry Rose instead of Gary and possibly held the mile record for decades. Jim Ryun was running during the 60s I think. Good
        times.

  4. Charles Dee Blew
    November 21, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    I stumbled across this article looking for Winkle’s and the Longs’ names. I graduated in 1965 as well and was a huge sports player and fan. I remember seeing these three in a track meet that the state used to hold after the season that would bring all track stars together regardless of class. I think that I saw this meet in Taft stadium, probably in the spring of 1965 after the track season. Glen ran a state record 21.1, I believe, that day in the 220. I think maybe the meet was called “tournement of champions.” Anyway, thanks for this article! It was a great read and it helped me find their names. I was thinking, mistakenly, that Winkle graduated from Northwest Classen.

    • November 21, 2020 at 7:30 pm

      thanks for reading my article….appreciated.

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