THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Tales from the old-timer
Issue Date: April 3, 2013
M&O Track Meet- 1943 - The Bob Heinz Miracle
Track as a sport for high school athletes has something for everybody - the fast guys can do the dashes, good runners can do the 400 yard and mile, heavy kids can throw the shot put, and acrobatic kids can do the pole vault, high jump and broad jump competition.
I had gone out for track from 10th grade through my senior year, pole vaulting and high jumping.
Bob Heinz didnt go out for track, or any sport, until his junior year, when he took up the mile run, and he turned out to be a real find for Coach C. A. Schacht - a late bloomer.
Lena High School had the only real track facility in the M&O Conference, with a nice track and fine facilities for the jumping events along with the shot put.
In my senior year I came in second in the high jump at about 56 and in the pole vault at 10 10.
Peshtigo had no real track, and the milers practiced by running south on Ellis Avenue to the Thompson Boat Company, about 1/2 mile, and then turning around and running back to French Street.
We did have a pole vault rig, but it only went as high as about 10 feet and six inches. This was before the advent of the flexible pole. The boys nowadays go much higher, as high as 15 feet.
But back to Bob Heinz. He entered the mile run, and loped along casually on the Lena track at the M&O meet to about the half-mile distance then turned it on and began passing up guys like they were standing still. He passed runners from Lena, Coleman, Crivitz and Suring, with his long, skinny legs pumping along like he was being chased by a swarm of bees.
We could hardly believe what we were seeing - Bob was fantastic in how he was accelerating on that track! He passed them all but one, but ran out of distance, so came in 2nd.