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1956: The Larry Miller Track Story

In 1955 and 1956 Milford Twp had no track team as such. However, there were some fellows in Milford High School who were renown for their speed afoot.

Coach Ev Cochrane was, by now, known for his enthusiasm for “pick up” games and sporting events. He had probably expressed his opinion concerning the speed of some of the Milford lads to the Colo track coach. It was the sort of discreet challenge that the Colo coach could not resist and he probably looked forward to a match as a training event for his team. Now Colo had a very formidable track team and was very deservedly proud of one of their fellows in particular who was setting records in the shorter distances. Some of these records stood for years.

Gary Thompson and Dale Hughes
Talk about Milford and Roland
1956 Des Moines Tribune Photo

Gary Thompson talks with an old friend, Dale Hughes Ď55 (left) who looked him up before the basketball game when the Iowa State Cyclones Basketball Team played Oklahoma at Norman, Okla. The two played against each other in high school when Thompson was at Roland and Hughes was at Milford. Hughes went to Oklahoma to study geology. Gary was three times All State at Roland and three time All American at ISC.

Jurine Borton (1956), who was a great admirer of Thompson, had the option to select the Number 24 for her uniform, and so, for Milford girlís basketball and also for Iowa Wesleyan, she was number “24”. That was Garyís number when he played at Roland.

The Milford “team” traveled the 15 miles to the Colo facility. This was the first time the Milford fellows had been on a “real” track, and the first time any of the guys had run using starting blocks, etc. The main event was the 100 yard dash and the real feature was a three way competition between the Colo star and our own Larry Miller Ď56, and Duane Brodie Ď56.

The Milford performers were clad in blue jeans, punctuated by stocking feet or bare feet while the Colo celebrity was in the latest track shoes and speedy looking apparel. Again, the Milford lads had never used starting blocks and didnít bother themselves with them this time.

Well, at the finish line, it was Larry Miller-first; the Colo star-second; and Duane Brodie finished a close third. Many would like to have heard the conversation between the two coaches after the meet. Iím sure the Colo coach found the words- My man slipped-coming into the banter-- or more likely-- My man was bumped. Anyway, itís a great story of how the Milford country boys met and conquered the well known athletes of the “big” school.

Larry was the class valedictorian and has become an avid golfer as of late and scored a “hole-in-one” on two different golf courses in Ames.

In 1958 he was the speaker at the Milford Twp Athletic Banquet.

In a bit of irony, Larry has had hip problems as an adult and had 5 hip operations contributed to by many hours on his feet as a postal employee.

Larry had one son, Larry Jr, who was the IHSAA 1982 State Golf Champ from Ames HS. Larry Jr was killed in a climbing accident in Utah on 26 Feb 1997.

In the early fifties, a few Milford students caught the Roland bus at the Hughes farm and went to Carrís Pool in Ames for Red Cross swimming lessons.

Page 116 of 354

© 2012 Mark Christian
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