UC track & field "Did You Know?"

Oliver Nikoloff
Track & Field |

Jan. 2, 2013

1.     The first UC track and field team was fielded in 1892, second only to football.

2.     Ralph Belsinger was the first African-American student-athlete at UC, running on the track team from 1911-15 and nicknamed “eight stride.”

3.     The first UC conference championship team was in 1918, winners of the Ohio Intercollegiate Cross Country Championships.

4.     Oliver Nikoloff was the longest tenured track & field coach at UC (1918-1959).  During World War II the Bearcats did not field a team so Coach Nikoloff trained soldiers for the U.S. Army instead.

5.     Ralph Bennett was the fastest American at the 220-yard dash in 1926, running 21.3.

6.     London Gant held the UC javelin record (193’ 0”) for 33 years until Bob Brickweg broke it in 1967 (200’1”).

7.     Ted Corbitt, called the father of American distance running, wrote his autobiography, Corbitt, in 1974.

8.     Cornelius Lindsey was the first Bearcat to score a point in the NCAA although he was not considered an All-American (high jump, 1968).

9.     Bill Schnier served as the head men’s cross country and track & field coach (1980-2013), the second-longest tenured T&F coach at UC.  He was also the women’s head coach (1981-83) and (1996-2001).

10.   The first women’s track & field team was started in 1981 but discontinued in 1983 due to a recession.

11.   Dr. Henry Winkler served as the 23rd president of UC (1977-84), transitioning UC from a city college to a state university and saving it from near bankruptcy.  He was the only UC president to have been a UC graduate (1938).  He was also a member of the track & field team, running the 440-yard dash in 49.4.  He died in December 2012, at age 96.



12.   Jim Schnur was the only UC track & field Hall of Famer to be inducted as both an athlete and a coach.      

13.   The current women’s track & field team began in 1996.

14.   Scott Keane earned the Walter Byers Award in 1996 as the nation’s top student athlete.

15.   Men’s track & field has won 18 Jimmy Nippert Awards going to the graduating senior male who is outstanding in athletics, academics, community service and campus life.

16.   Women’s track & field has won seven Helen Norman Smith Awards going to the graduating senior female athlete who is outstanding in athletics, academics, community service and campus life.

17.   Men's and women’s track & field have won five Jean Stephens Awards going to the person who has demonstrated loyalty, academic excellence and character.

18.   Chris Reis was the only three-time NCAA cross country qualifier (2000, 2001, 2002).

19.   Miriam Merrill was UC's first female track & field All-American, placing in the weight throw in 2001.

20.   Men’s track & field has won 15 conference team championships in history, 12 in the past 20 years.

21.   Since 1980 UC has recorded 136 individual conference champions for men.

22.   Since 1996 UC has recorded 24 individual conference champions for women.

23.   UC has had 26 All-Americans:  19 men and 7 women.

24.   Eric Finan was our first cross country regional winner in 2010.

25    The top UC finisher at the NCAA cross country championships was Ron Stapleton’s 23rd in 1971.

26.   UC has been affiliated with nine separate conferences:   Ohio Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1896-1909),  Ohio Athletic Conference (1910-25),  Buckeye Conference (1925-37),  Mid-American       Conference (1946-53),  Missouri Valley Conference (1957-70),  Metro Conference (1975-91),  Great Midwest Conference (1991-95),  Conference USA (1995-2005),  BIG EAST Conference (2005-Present).

27.   Since 1980 the UC men’s cross country record is 1250-1097 (.529) against Division I opposition and 1044-109 (.898) against all other divisions and NAIA.

28.   Since 1980 the UC men’s indoor track and field record is 216-90 (.709) against Division I opposition and 37-3 (.941) against all other divisions and NAIA.

29.   Since 1980 the UC men’s outdoor track and field record is 549-183 (.751) against Division I opposition and 284-9 (.984) against all other divisions and NAIA.

30.   The first All-Americans in each of our three sports were:  Ron Stapleton (cross country), Al Lanier (indoor track, long jump), Al Lanier (outdoor track, long jump), Mimi Merrill (indoor track, weight throw) and Ashley Wilhelm (outdoor track, heptathlon).

31.   UC has enjoyed four Olympians:  Ted Corbitt (1952 marathon),  Lewis Johnson (six-time Olympic television announcer),  David Payne (2008 silver medalist, 110-meters hurdles) and Mary Wineberg (2008 gold medalist, 4x400-meters relay).

32.   UC has five Drake Relays champions:  Al Lanier (long jump, 1972),  shuttle hurdle relay (Brandon Hon, David Payne, Garry Cutright, Jim Ramstetter, 2002), James White (long jump, 2004), Terrence   Somerville (110-meters hurdles, 2011) and the shuttle hurdle relay (Dailyn Moore, Mario Cannon, Steven Mitchell, Terrence Somerville, 2011).

33.   UC has two Penn Relays champion:  4x800 collegiate champion (Matt Daggy, Jason Riegelsberger, Shane Heikenfeld and Kasey Kist, 1999) and Ian Jarman (hammer, 2008).

34.   The oldest men’s outdoor track & field record is the 4x800 relay:  7:28.54 (1969).  Dan Mock / Dave Udovic / Chuck Roberts / Jim Calloway.

35.   The oldest women’s outdoor track & field record is the distance medley relay:  11:59.12 (1999). Svetlana Toulissova / Mary Danner / Michelle Bosse / Angie Kist.

36.   The top men’s all-time best track & field team was the Conference USA championship team of 2004.  The top women’s all-time best team was the BIG EAST Conference indoor runner-up team of 2012.

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