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The following article on the high hurdles was written by H. L. Hillman, track coach at Dartmouth. Hillman, who trained Earl Thomson, the intercollegiate record holder, calls attention to the remarkable speed shown by Thomson in his record breaking performance, a performance which he thinks will not be equalled for several years.
According to the Dartmouth mentor, Leighton Dye, of Southern California, should lead the field in this year's meet with Ray Wolf, of Penn, and Charles Moore, of Penn state, close at his heels.
Athletes of nearly two score American colleges who will start competition in the fiftieth annual I. C. A. A. A. A. track and field championships on Friday all realize the merit of the record which half a century of competition has produced for the 120 yard high hurdles. Back in 1920 Earl J. Thomson of Dartmouth flew over the high barriers in 14 2-5 seconds and that mark, made at Philadelphia, will be very hard to lower. There is a possibility that it will be equalled but I doubt if it will be lowered for many years and I also believe that with accurate timing it will not even be equalled for a long time.
It will take an athlete of Thomson's type to make such a performance and the hurdler will have to have similar conditions to make possible the chance of equalling this record. The day Thomson made the record he was in his best physical condition; he had an exceptionally good bunch of hurdlers to force him; the day was ideal for a record-breaking performance.
In 49 meets the high hurdles have been won by athletes from 14 colleges, including Yale, 16; Columbia, 6; Dartmouth, 5; Penn, 5; Princeton, 4; Harvard, 3; Wesleyan, 2; Lehigh, 2; Cornell, Michigan, Amherst, Stanford, Penn State and Southern California, 1 each. Yale in the old days had a monopoly in the high hurdles but in recent years it has changed so that any college may turn out a winner.
Early Hurdling Crude
Hurdling has changed considerably since the first Intercollegiate meet in 1876, at which time there was practically no technique and there was little time spent to perfect the form: the record then being 18 1-4 seconds. H. Mapes of Columbia was the first college athlete to negotiate the distance in better than 17 seconds, his performance in 1889 being 16 4-5 seconds. L. H. Williams of Yale in 1891 was the first college athlete to do better than 16 seconds in the Intercollegiate Meet, doing that year 15 4-5 seconds. In 1895 Steve Chase of Dartmouth did 15 4-5 and later did 15 3-5.
Alvin Kraenzlein of Pennsylvania, probably one of the best hurdlers ever developed in America, did 15 2-5 in the big meet and later in another competition did 15 1-5 seconds. John Garrels of Michigan did 15 1-5 in this meet in 1907. Murray of Stanford did 15 seconds in 1916 and Thomson of Dartmouth did 14 2-5 seconds in 1920. Thomson also did 14 4-5 seconds in the I. C. A. A. A. A. meet and Dye of Southern California did 14 4-5 last year at Philadelphia.
Dye to Defend Title
The leading aspirants for this year's title are Leighton Dye, Southern California, who should repeat this season, Ray Wolf of Pennsylvania should be well up and if Charley Moore of Penn State can get going he has a fine chance of defeating Dye. Ray Haas of Georgetown is a fast runner but his technique is not good enough to defeat any of the above hurdlers. Murphy of Boston College, Little-field of Bowdoin, Wells of Dartmouth and Bullard of Yale all have possibilities.
The tall, fast athlete with lots of power and a strong competitor is the real type of high hurdler. An athlete who competes in the high and low hurdle event at the I. C. A. A. A. A. meet needs plenty of stamina as he may be compelled to run from 6 to 10 heats and finals in the two day competition and in each heat and final he must run faster than the preceding one. As a matter of fact the ordinary hurdler will do better by specializing in one event as should be elect the two competitions, by the time he reaches the final he will have a difficult undertaking to place in the event.
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