In 1926, Francis “Mule” Hammett of Baton Rouge High broke the state record in the mile run by more than 14 seconds with 4:26.0.
That was one year before Babe Ruth of the New York Yankees set a major league record with 60 home runs in one season.
Ruth’s record would be broken by Roger Maris in 1961. That was also the year Larry Shirey of Class C Sikes lowered the LHSAA record in the mile run to 4:23.4. Edwin Greer of Minden also broke Hammett’s record in 1961 with 4:23.7.
In 1965, when Paul Arsuaga of East Jefferson lowered the state record to 4:22.9, Airline’s John Kipp had the second-fastest time in the state with 4:25.5. A year later, Byrd’s Owen Self became the first LHSAA runner to break 4:20 with a 4:19.4 and Kipp had the second fastest time in the state with 4:22.0.
Self lowered the state record to 4:11.8 in 1967 and Bobby Sahaque of Redemptorist (New Orleans) lowered it to 4:08.4 in 1969, That record stood until Bobby Beck of Salmen (Slidell) ran a 4:07.7 in 1979 – the last year that the mile run was a part of LHSAA meets. The association switched to metric distances in 1980.
In throwing events, Joe Reding of Bossier High was the state’s first 60-foot shot-putter with a toss of 60-3 1/2 in 1963, but he only held the record for a few weeks. Terry Estay of LaGrange (Lake Charles) broke it with 61-4 1/2 in the New Orleans Recreation Department Meet of Champions at the end of the 1963 season. Airline’s Arnold Campbell would put the shot put record in a different ZIP code in the 1980s with a record 65-9 1/2 as a sophomore in 1982, another record 71-9 3/4 in 1983 and a record (that still stands) 74-10 1/2 in 1984. Nobody has come close to that one.
Joe Cage of Neville (Monroe) was Louisiana’s first 200-footer in the javelin throw as a sophomore in 1958, with a 202-5 state record. But Ed Red of Lafayette broke that record with 214-4 3/4 a year later, and Delman McNabb of Lake Charles set records of 217-9 3/4 as a junior in 1962 and 231-1 1/2 as a senior in 1963. Terry Bradshaw of Woodlawn (Shreveport) erased those marks with 244-11, which was also the national record at that time, in 1966. Bradshaw’s state record fell in 1980 when Steve Stockton of Tioga got off a throw of 254 feet.
John Nichols of Winnfield was Louisiana’s first 200-footer in the discus with 205-6 in 1986, breaking a record of 191-2 by Airline’s Steve Cate in 1982. Nichols broke his own record with 212-0 in 1987.
John Green of Natchitoches was Louisiana’s first seven-foot high jumper in 1975, and he’s probably the only one who did it using the old Western Roll technique, going over the crossbar on his stomach. There have been several dozen 7-footers since then, but they all used the Fosbury Flop introduced by Dick Fosbury when he won the Olympic gold medal in 1968.
Hollis Conway of Fair Park and Neal Guidry of Kaplan both cleared 7-2 in 1985 to share the state record, with Conway winning the Class 4A championship and Guidry winning the Class 2A title. The previous record was 7-0 ? by Kenneth Winey of Washington-Lake Charles in 1981. But Mike Ledet of Morgan City cleared 7-3 in 1992 and Billy Green of Ruston raised the record to 7-3 ? in 1993.
Before the LHSAA converted to metric distances in 1980, the record for the 440-yard dash was 47,5 seconds until Andrew Brown of Opelousas lowered it to 47.4 in 1972. Desmond Johnson of St. Augustine (New Orleans) lowered the record to 45.99 in 1995.
Jerry Byrd is the former sports editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune and an award-winning columnist. You can contact him by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org