When was the last time the 100 yard dash was ran as a high school track & field event? Why is it no longer a high school event? These questions are often overlooked when the topic of “Who is the fastest high school sprinter from Pasadena?” comes up.
Nevertheless, we think we know the answer.
In order to be considered the fastest…or just fast, you had to complete the 100 yard dash in under 10 seconds. Not many could do it. Those who did provided us a glimpse of what their futures in track & field at the world class level would be. For example, take Jesse Owens– his best recorded time in the 100 yd dash in 1933 was 9.4. The rest is history.
However, Owens 9.4 was slower than Mel Patton’s 9.3 world record in 1948. Frank Budd’s 9.2 official world record in 1962 set a new benchmark for the 100 yard dash.
How did Pasadena kids do in the 100 yd dash?
CIF State/Master’s record books tells us that between 1913 and 1936, Mickey Anderson of Muir was the only individual from Pasadena to run a 9.7 in the 100 yd dash. Only 1 individual in the entire state of California would run faster than him (9.6) during this period. Pasadena High’s Bob Poytner would match that mark 20 years later in 1956…again, only one kid in the entire state would run faster (9.5) than Mr. Poytner.
On the world level, it would seem that the kids from Pasadena were literally seconds away from a world record. Keep in mind, Owens, Patton and Budd were all in their 20’s when they set their respective records. Could these kids really compete with these grown men…professional athletes?
The first kid from Pasadena, CA that challenged the world ranking in the 100 yard dash was John Muir High School alumni - John House.
In 1963, during this kid’s senior year in high school, he beat all of the best CIF sprinters….easily. Walter Opp, famed John Muir Track & Field Coach who coached nearly all of the Muir’s top track athletes, would describe his protégé, as being the best.
Best? In high school….or in the world?
“House Hits 9.5” was the headline in the March 2, 1963 edition of the Pasadena Independent. His mark would tie the state record of 9.5 set in 1956. No one from Pasadena had done so.
On May 11, 1963, John House’s 9.2 in the 100 yd dash at the CIF Prelims tied the world record. His 20.4 in the 220 yd dash that same day would be two-tenths of a second off the national record. Unfortunately, his marks were allegedly wind-
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