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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