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So when the question is asked, who are the 10 best athletes in the history of Longhorn Sports why is no individual who specializes in track not listed? I don’t have the answer, but I can make an educated guess why and that guess is not flattering to the Longhorn Nation.
Track is rooted deeply in my past and is still my favorite sport because of lessons learned while a participant. Track forces individuals to confront personal character flaws, demons, personal weaknesses, and insecurities. Jesse Owens Says about mental toughness "The Battles That Count Aren't the Ones For Gold Medals. The Struggles Within Yourself - The Invisible, Inevitable Battles Inside All Of Us - That's Where It Is At." Patti Sue Plumer agrees saying “ Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it's all about."
I have experienced the invisible struggles that have exposed my flaws, challenged my soul, and uncovered my insecurities. My senior year in high school I set personal best time in the 100, but finished Last in my heat. As a 17 year old boy, I was surprised when I was happy finishing last, but this epiphany help me re-calibrate my definition of success for my life journey. It is ok to celebrate finishing last if it is your personal best.
The dedication of Memorial stadium is on November 27, 1924 with a victory over A & M and the first Texas Relays is March 27, 1925.
Theo Bellmont (AD) and Clyde Littlefield start one of the greatest tradition in UT Sports. The competitive drive for the Longhorns at the Texas Relays is to track what Texas-OU game is to football. An event that brings out the very best in the Longhorns.
Clyde was part of Longhorn sports as a student athlete and football and track coach from 1912- 1961. Clyde is in the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, Longhorn Hall of Honor, and twice was named SWC Coach of the Year. As an athlete Coach Littlefield earned 12 letters in football, basketball,and track. He was All SWC in football twice and played on three unbeaten basketball teams, but track was his truest love. He never ran on a losing track team. Lost only one hurdles race in his career and tied a world record in the high hurdles.
Theo Bellmont- a consummate promoter- by the sheer power of his will makes the first Texas relay a huge success with 391 athletes and 4000 fans. The Austin American said it is the "greatest athletic event ever held in the Southwest."
The Texas Relays were so popular that in 1925 that 391 athletes and 4000 fans attended. Competition in the "College" level was added in 1926.
Jim Reese from Texas wins the mile. This portends great things in the future for Jim.
In 1927 Notre Dame, Iowa State, and Michigan State attend the Texas Relays. 13 Texas Relay records were broken. Austin was now on the "National" map.
The University of Mexico presented the Tarahumara Indians who ran from San Antonio to the texas stadium (89 Miles). Illinois, Michigan State, Iowa State, and Missouri attended the relays . Texas won very few medals.
Lola Cuzarare wins the race of 89 miles
The relays had 4 classifications : university, college, jr. college, and high school. There was also some competition for well known athletes for special exhibition performance.
Due to the depression from 1932 - 1935 the Texas Relays are cancelled.
March 27th , 1931 more than a 1000 athletes from 16 states . The Texas relays were important to the middle of the country - Kansa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Chicago, Marquette, Oklahoma, Drake, Nebraska, and Northwestern.
1932 the Longhorn accountants asked for a curtain call on the Texas relays due to the depression. The Texas relays were suspended for three years. ``
Mac Umstattd, Fred Ramsdell, Bill Seay, and Morris Barefield.
On April 5, 1941 the Texas Relays was as important as the Drake and Kansas relays. It was one of the best Longhorn teams ever winning the Texas Relays, SWC, and celebrating two All Americans. Texas set one world record and finished first in 5 events . Carlton Terry won the 100 and Fred Ramsdell was second. Jack Hughes won the triple crown in the Javelin throw. Barefield, Seay, Umstattd, and Ramsdell won several relays. The Texas relays exceeded 10 of 15 common events at the Drake and Kansas relays.
1944- Because of the war effort the 17th Texas relays team attendance was way down. Most of the competition came from the air force, naval air stations, and army installations. Ralph Ellsworth won the 100 and anchored the victorios 440 and 880 relay teams.
1947- Longhorns win 5 of 8 relays this year setting two Texas relay records. Perry Samuels, Parker , Charley Tatom, and Allen Lawler led the relay way for the Horns.
From 1925-1976 the big name national and international stars are the draw that attract fans. In 1977 this changes. Cleburne Price feels it is no longer necessary to promote "bill board" names to attract fans. Open Events will continue to be part of the Texas Relays, but Collegiate competition is the future for the Texas Relays. Price feels that the quality of competition in the college and University ranks is good enough to draw fans. The "college format" will be the future of the Texas Relays. He was right.
In 1958 California and Stanford particpate in the Texas Relays for the first time.
In 1963 women events are added to the Texas Relays.
Dave Morton MVP 1968
photos compliments of Rey Moreno
In 1976 with the conversion to metric-measurement, many new records are set.
A Texas Relays clock was presented to All four Relay winners.
Actual baton used in the mid-70’s .
Rey Moreno says “First place winners received a Texas Relays watch during Cleburne Price coaching period ( sorry no picture). In 1975 the watch was a gold digital Texas Instrumentals watch . Watches we presented @ all major Relays, including Kansas and Drake.
1977 Texas Relays
Photos compliments of Rey Moreno
1978- photos compliments of Rey Moreno
1979 Texas Relays photos compliments of Rey Moreno
1980 Texas Relays
1981-1983 Texas Relays
Teams from UCLA, Florida, Florida State, Kansas, Minnesota and many more attending the Relays . Approximately 2000 athletes representing 200 schools competed.
In 1983 the Texas Relays awards its first women's heptathlon championship.