McMillen Adapted, Set 1500 MR In 1952

Celebrating A Century of NCAA Track & Field Championships

McMillen Adapted, Set 1500 MR In 1952

June 14, 1952

Bob McMillen of Occidental made a major change in race tactics for the 1500 meters at the 1952 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Berkeley, California.

McMillen set a record pace in the NCAA mile in 1951 only to finish second while Warren Druetzler of Michigan State claimed victory.

This time, with the race held at 1500 meters due to the Olympic year, McMillen stayed well back – he was in last place after two laps. With 500 yards to go, he had moved up to sixth place.

Then, McMillen pushed the pedal to the floor.

“He burst past the pack inside of 30 yards and caught everyone except [Georgetown’s Joe] LaPierre completely unprepared,” reported Track & Field News co-founder Cordner Nelson.

McMillen’s strategy worked. He pulled away to a meet-record win in 3:50.7, worth about the same as the meet record in the more commonly held mile (4:08.3). LaPierre was second in 3:52.1.

Less than two months later, McMillen employed a similar strategy at the Helsinki Olympics, finishing with the silver medal in an American record of 3:45.2 – just 0.1 seconds behind the winner. It was his second Olympics, having competed in the steeplechase in 1948 before entering Occidental.

posted: April 9, 2021
1921-2021
The NCAA's First Championships

The NCAA and collegiate track & field will mark a momentous milestone in the spring of 2021 -- the 100th anniversary of the NCAA Championships and with that, the NCAA Track & Field Championships. In June 1921, the University of Chicago hosted the first track & field championships in NCAA history.

This point can’t be emphasized enough: Not only was the event the first for NCAA track & field, but the first championships for any sport under the sponsorship of the NCAA.

To celebrate, over each of the next 365 days, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) will celebrate moments, student-athletes, and coaches that have made a century’s worth of championships special. From humble beginnings to important historical milestones to the modern-day, collegiate track & field has evolved with the American society.

The 2021 edition of the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships begin with preliminary round action on May 27-29 in Jacksonville, Fla., and College Station, Texas. The championships final site and culmination of the celebration is slated for June 9-12, 2021 at the newly rebuilt Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Memorable Moments
Mikkola Set Javelin MR With Huge Win

Esko Mikkola was a two-time JT winner at the NCAA DI Outdoor T&F Championships. When Mikkola won in 1998, he set a MR of 81.86m (268‑7) and won by 17 feet!

Little Made Big 400H History
June 11, 2016

Shamier Little won three consecutive 400H titles at the NCAA DI Outdoor T&F Championships between 2014 & 2016. Little became the No. 2 performer in collegiate history with her 53.51 winner in 2016.

Ellerbe Won After Film Review In 1939

Mozelle Ellerbe won back-to-back 100-yard dash titles at the NCAA Outdoor T&F Championships in 1938 & 1939. His victory in the 2nd year was confirmed by a film review.

McCullouch Ran Legendary Times At NCAAs

Earl McCullouch of Southern California won back-to-back 120H titles at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships and was a member of a WR-setting quarter-mile relay team.

Walton Started It All In The 800

Delisa Walton won the first women’s 800 at the NCAA DI Outdoor T&F Championships in 1982. Walton is the mother of Ebonie Floyd, who finished 2nd in the 2007 100.

Gipson, Ugen Made Long Jump History

Whitney Gipson & Lorraine Ugen were the first teammates to win women’s long jump titles at the NCAA DI Outdoor T&F Championships in consecutive years (Gipson in 2012; Ugen in 2013).