Track and Field at Plymouth State University
|The following text is from PANTHER PRIDE A History of Intercollegiate Athletics at Plymouth State College, by Michael I. Moffett (©1990)|
The development of a track and field program at Plymouth State College during the late 1960s by Paul Arold was a reflection of PSC’s growing Department of Physical Education. More and more students were showing more and more interest in developing different types of athletic skills.
Under Arold’s direction, track and field became a popular spring sport, with upwards of 40 individuals eventually participating.
The PSC program fielded participants in numerous running events, such as the 100, 200, 400, 800, 1500, 5000 and 10,000 meter races, as well as the 400 meter hurdles and the 110 meter high hurdles. There were 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relay teams. Other events included the pole vault, high jump, long jump, triple jump, shot put, discus toss, hammer and javelin throws.
Up to eight meets a season were held, including the annual New England State College Athletic Conference meet, where PSU usually fared quite well.
Gerd Lutter became coach in 1970 and his teams represented PSC well, aided by many fine student-athletes who participated in track.
Lutter recalled that many football players excelled at various events, and that the spring track and field program complemented the autumn football program. Student-athletes from other teams also participated on the PSC track and field team. Basketball great Bill Haubrich, for example, was MVP of the 1974 team. In 1986, Haubrich became the first track and field performer to be inducted into the PSC Hall of Fame.
Some track and field stars became standouts even though they had not participated in similar events prior to coming to Plymouth. Mike McDonnell is a good example of such an athlete. Under Lutter’s tutelage McDonnell was soon pole vaulting over 13 feet, while also excelling in the sprinting and jumping events to become PSC’s all-time leading track and field scorer.
Two runners who enjoyed fabulous careers were Dave Stevens and Dave Severance. Stevens excelled in the sprints, and became PSC’s first track and field All-American in 1977, when PSC compiled a 12-4 record as a team. Severance was a longer distance runner who became PSC’s second and last track and field All-American in 1978. Stevens’ record in the 800 meters was an impressive 1:52.49. Severance held records in the mile run (4:18), the 3 mile run, the 6 mile run, the 5000 meters and the 10,000 meters.
“Dave Stevens epitomized all the positive qualities one would look for in a student-athlete,” recalled Lutter. “And he was a wonderful competitor, who lost only two races in his entire career.
Severance would become PSC’s first-ever New England champion, winning the 10,000 meter race over all challengers in 1978. Severance would eventually be inducted into the PSU Hall of Fame in 1988.
Lutter turned the coaching duties over to Rich Gonsalves in 1979. The Panthers enjoyed another successful season, despite having fewer candidates for positions on the track and field team. Due to participation considerations and other factors, PSC’s track and field program was discontinued prior to the 1980 season.
PLYOUTH STATE TRACK AND FIELD RECORDS 1979
|50 yards||Alan Wool||5.3|
|200 meters||Mike Avellino||21.8|
|220 meters||Mike Avellino|
|100 yards||Alan Wool|
|440 yards||Joe DiRico||50.6|
|400 meters||Joe DiRico||51.8|
|880 yards||Dave Stevens||01:53.5|
|800 meters||Dave Stevens||01:52.5|
|1500 meters||Ronald Fullerton||04:25.6|
|Mile run||Dave Severance||04:18.2|
|2 mile run||Bob Rindfleish||09:20.1|
|3 mile run||Dave Severance||13:59.9|
|5,000 meters||Dave Severance||14:46.1|
|6 mile run||Dave Severance||29:24.0|
|10,000 meters||Dave Severance||29:55.1|
|45 yard hurdles||Mike Giguere||5.8|
|60 yard hurdles||Steve Jacques||6.7|
|50 meter hurdles||Ernie Hewett||8.1|
|440 yd inter. Hurdles||Bruce Pilspanen||57.8|
|High Jump||Tom Pappageorge||6’4”|
|Pole Vault||Mike McDonnell||13’3” (1)|
|Mike McDonnell||13’0” (0)|
|Shot put||Bill Stumpf||44’7-1/2” – 45’1” (1)|
|Long jump||Ken Potter||22’8-1/4” – 21’11-1/4” (1)|
|Triple jump||Mark Erb||44’7” (0)|
|Bill Hembrich||44’0” (1)|
|Hammer throw||Walter Smith||119’0”|
|Discus throw||Steve Nelson||137’4”|
|440 yd. relay||Mike Avellino|
|880 yd. relay||Mike Avellino|
|Mile relay||Brian Geode|
|Sprint Medley relay||Ken Potter|
|Distance Medley relay||Joe DiRico|
|2 mile relay||Dart Bigg|