Need Some Help Here, Folks

As you undoubtedly know, I think scored competition should be a very important part of college track. With rare exceptions (such as relay-heavy meets like Penn or pro-heavy meets like Mt. SAC), I think all college meets should be scored. And I think dual meets have a special place in all of this.

One thing I think is special about a dual meet is a rivalry. To me, rivalries are the most important part of college sports. I mean, the Rose Bowl is a great spectacle and the Final Four is huge too, but when people talk about must-see things in college sports, they talk about Ohio State versus Michigan, Auburn versus Alabama, Duke versus North Carolina. There’s tradition and history to rivalries, which is something special that sets college sports of every stripe apart from the pros. And there’s that most important thing of all, “sports hate”, loathing your rival with an all-consuming passion.

I’m currently doing some very heavy lifting in terms of research about dual meets, both statistical and historical. One thing I’m working on is identifying the great dual-meet rivalries in college track. I know some of them, but I don’t know all of them.

There are the obvious rivalries, many in the Pac-12 (USC-UCLA, Cal-Stanford, Washington-Washington State, Arizona-Arizona State) and the Ivy League (Harvard-Yale and many others). Army-Navy is a big one, of course. Two modern-day rivalries with a shorter history than you’d think are Lafayette-Lehigh (just 45 editions total between indoor and outdoor) and Ohio State-Michigan (only 40 outdoor editions).

So here’s where I need help. What other dual-meet rivalries are there in track and field?

What I’m looking for is rivalries that are heated and not temporary. If it’s no longer active, that’s OK — Oregon versus Oregon State was a great rivalry. The recent LSU versus Texas A&M dual meet series does not qualify because it has only been going for two years. Big school or small doesn’t matter to me. What matters is if there’s a dual-meet series with both history and hate.

If you have a good one, put it in the comments.

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24 Responses to Need Some Help Here, Folks

  1. Kevin Liao says:

    UC Davis and Sacramento State have an annual dual called the “Causeway Dual” named after the I-5 causeway that separates the two schools. Not sure about the history, though.

  2. Jay T. says:

    As a youth in Eugene, OR, I was resentful of the UCLA Bruins because they could come to Hayward Field and beat the UO Ducks that I thought so much of.

    In the 1970’s, Washington State University had a different way of building a fine track team. Rather than developing local talent, they brought in some fine foreign runners to headline their team. Because of that, there was some rivalry with the UO.

  3. AM says:

    Not a dual meet, but Dickinson College, Franklin & Marshall College and Gettysburg College have been competing in The Little Three Meet since 1947. The meet has been held every year but 1972 and 1973 due to weather and scheduling conflicts. To date Gettysburg and F&M are tied with 25 wins and Dickinson has 15. Dickinson has won the last four contests. The women’s meet started later in 1977. The Gettysburg women lead the series with 16 wins, Dickinson has 9 and F&M has 6 (the results of the meet from 1979-1982 are unknown and there was no meet in 1984). For the three teams it is the only outdoor meet, besides the Centennial Conference Championships, where winning the meet is a priority. There is also a cross country version of the meet that has been contested 46 times for the men and 31 times for the women.

  4. Pingback: Oregon track & field rundown: Remember the way John Chaplin turned the WSU-Oregon dual meet into a war? | United States Society

  5. Howard Banich says:

    As a member of the 1973 – 1977 Oregon track team, by far the biggest dual meet was against UCLA, especially when they came to Hayward Field. I looked forward to that dual meet more than any other, and I wasn’t the only one – there were around 9000 fans in the stands for the Oregon-UCLA dual.

    Sure, the dual against Oregon State was big – we had to win for state bragging rights – but beating UCLA gave us PAC 8 bragging rights. Next to the PAC 8 and NCAA Championships it always felt like the UCLA dual was biggest meet of the year.

    It was also the first dual meet resurrected for either school in the past few years so obviously they both thought highly of their rivalry – too bad they couldn’t fit it into their schedules this year. Honestly, I’m surprised you didn’t think of the Oregon-UCLA dual as one of the top two dual meets of all time. The only other one to compare was USC-UCLA.

    • To me, as a fan, I always loved when either UCLA or USC came to Eugene because they were the “big dogs” of the PAC 8. Also, having Chapin and the Wazoo team come to town with those awesome African long distance runners always guaranteed an exciting meet when they ran against the great Oregon distance guys.

  6. I grew up in springfield, and went to every U of O track meet they had aat Hayward Field.The meets there wqere scored whether dual or multiple team meet. Scoring throws a dramatic and emtional feel to each event, and goes all the way from star athletes to the kid who comes out every day and works his butt off even t hough he has little chance of winning his event. But, when one point is needed the crowd turned to that kid who they rooted for loudly to come across the finish line to win just one needed point. I’ve seen that many times over the years, and I miss it today. Scoring meets showcases both the stars and the also-rans. Bring back the dual meets. Even the athletes would love the dual meets.

  7. Krambo says:

    I’m not a huge track guy. Never ran, don’t go to meets, things like that. But I love my Ducks…and Olympic track…and whenever I saw the Oregon vs UCLA dual meets on TV, I’d ALWAYS watch. Even more so than the NCAA Championships. It would be amazing to have more of these throughout the year! Especially in this athletic downtime.

  8. Paul says:

    If you go through the archives at my site, you’ll find some stuff on the UW/WSU dual meet, including a piece I wrote two years ago on athletes’ memories of the meet.

    If I ever get enough money to retire comfortably, one of my life’s goals is to write a book about the UW/WSU meet–that’s something I’ve told both Linda Chalich at WSU & Mike Bruscas at UW I want to do. Obviously, John Chaplin must be a part of any book documenting the history of this meet!

  9. Bob Innes says:

    The Duck fans assume the greatest dual meets occurred in Eugene, but that was not always the case. In 1968 the Beavers had a great team that included Dick Fosbury in the high jump and defeated the Ducks in Corvallis by a point.

  10. Pingback: Oregon track & field rundown: Remember the way John Chaplin turned the WSU-Oregon dual meet into a war? | Eugene OR DIRECTV Service

  11. Luke Syverson says:

    As a former coug, we were always big on the duals and were usually the highlight of the season. Besides the WSU-UW meet, the WSU-Oregon one was always bigger, even in the 90’s. Cocah Chaplin and Coach Sloan made sure we knew it and the history.

  12. Red says:

    Here’s an interesting old cross-Atlantic rivalry with a peculiar twist: the Harvard/Yale vs. Oxford/Cambridge meets.

    • Maserda says:

      Yeah, every two years, Harvard and Yale team up to go against Oxford and Cambridge (alternating venue, last year it was held at Cambridge UK and next year it will be at Harvard).

      Whenever O-C comes over to the USA, they also compete against Cornell and Penn in tri-meet the weekend before the HY/OC matchup (Cornell and Penn compete as separate teams, unlike Harvard and Yale which actually will have mixed relay squads).

  13. Larry H says:

    Oregon-UCLA was always big time. As others have said, UCLA was the “big dog” of the conference. Oregon-Oregon State was ok, but the Oregon State facilities had a high school feel. There is nothing to compare with Hayward Field.

  14. Well, I am probably in the minority here, but since the early 90’s I maintained that the day of the “real dual meets” were going the way of the white buck shoes. With the number of scholarships that Oregon, UW and WSU had back in the mid-60-70-and 80’s they could have great meets. Currently, with the number of venues it is impossible to have a quality meet when the number of scholarships each team has causes the entry of 6-2 h.j., 9:55 sc, or a 145′ jt. If one school has a 7’4″ scholarshiped high jumper and the competing schools has a 6′ and a 6’s high jumper …what kind of competition is that? Now if the coach of the 7-4 high jumper takes this athlete to big meets he will compete against all the other schools 7’+ jumpers…now that is competition!! I loved dual meets but I am sorry to inform you they are gone!

  15. Bob Buell says:

    I coached the Oregon State distance runners in the 1974 OSU-Oregon men’s track dual meet at Eugene. Oregon State won a come from behind victory 87-76 before 8,000 fans. It was Oregon State’s last victory over the Ducks. Randy Brown’s second in the 3 mile sealed the victory. It was a great ride back to Corvallis! As in 1972, the Ducks took the last two places in the mile!

  16. Reflecting back to my coaching days with Berny Wagner in 1967-1968 it was one of the best days of my life. Berny gave me the opportunity to serve as his assistant having come from coaching at Beaverton High School. Replacing John Chaplin as Berny’s assistant was a pleasure as was getting my masters degree from OSU. Coach Wagner was the main driving force in enabling me to get the head coach position at Spokane Falls and then after 6 years on to the University of Idaho. Without Berny’s driving force, I would not be where I am today….damn you Berny I have been a Real Estate Broker for the past 10 years after 25 great years at Idaho….just kidding. Berny Wagner affected a great many lives and especially mine. Thank you Berny where ever you are.

  17. Dan Fulton says:

    I was a high school senior watching from the stands at Hayward when the Beavers beat the Ducks back in that classic dual meet in 1974. The 3 mile was more like Roller Derby with Jose Amaya and Randy James going at it and Paul Geis falling back to try and distract Randy Brown. But Brown kept his cool and sealed the meet with his second place finish. And then the Beavers won the mile relay and one of the runners put the baton on his middle finger and saluted the Hayward fans with a victory lap. Now those were the good old days!

  18. John Radetich says:

    As a member of the Oregon State varsity track team from 68-70, I know for a fact what a great rivalry we had with Oregon. For those who can remember that long ago (or were even alive), we had some knock down, drag out fights with the Ducks. In 68 we beat the Ducks 80-65. In 69 we beat them 91-63. In 69 we won all of our dual meets, but beating the Ducks was always the most satifying victory. We could always count on a good crowd at either venue that appreciated good efforts by both teams. The dual meet season put a premium on having a balanced team with a lot of depth. We had to get up for every meet, not just the big meets. Berny Wagner had us ready to go for every meet. No one left the track until the final relay event was over. The golden years of track and field dual meets are now but a memory. I certainly miss them.

  19. John Radetich says:

    Upon further thinking, I can recall an even greater rivalry. I attended the Russia vs USA track meet at Stanford back in 62 when I was only 13 and a budding high jumper. This was the height of the cold war and both sides were pumped. This particular matchup lasted for over 15 years, but many have said that this was the greatest meet ever, aside from the olympic venues. There were over 150,000 spectators for this two day meet held in the perfect Californian sunshine. Aside from all the other stellar matchups, I watched Valery Brumel set the high jump record with a jump of 7’5″. This was off of a grass (yes grass) takeoff, landing in sawdust and using the straddle technique. I still think he is the man. What jumper today could jump off of grass and land in sawdust? That meet set me off on an incredible journey as 11 years later I broke Brumel’s indoor high jump mark. This was the first world record for the flop, which my teammate Dick Fosbury developed in the middle 60’s. Back to the dual meet. When the meet was over, the teams were supposed to walk around the track in different directions, but they all got together and walked arm in arm for a victory lap. The US men won, the women lost, but I don’t really think anyone was thinking about the final score as this specific meet was a once in a lifetime event.