YAKIMA, Wash. -- In the early years of Zaepfel Stadium’s emergence as one of the state’s prominent track and field venues, Yakima Valley Community College also used the facility for its home meets. And while YVCC built a powerful men’s program in the 60s, including several Junior College state championships, it’s who visited here that proved historic.
YVCC hosted mostly two-year schools but often faced freshman teams from Washington State (called Coubabies) in various meets, including the long-running Fruit Bowl Invitational.
In 1965, international teenage sensation Gerry Lindgren, who placed ninth in the 10,000 at the 1964 Olympics as an 18-year-old, came to Yakima as a WSU frosh a day after winning the two mile in 8:38.9 at the Coliseum Relays in Los Angeles. A crowd of nearly 3,000 came out to watch Lindgren, on very short rest and jet lag, win the mile in 4:13.9 and two mile in 8:59.8.
YVCC’s Wayne Badgley, a native of New Zealand, was second to Lindgren in the two mile and later swept the JC state distance races in 4:14.1 and 9:15.8. Badgley went on to Abilene Christian and became a 2:18 marathoner.
In 1967, WSU brought its freshman team to Yakima again and produced some more huge marks. Rick Riley bettered Lindgren’s mile time at 4:12.4, and John Van Reenan, a 6-7, 270-pound thrower from South Africa, heaved the shot 59-9 and discus 170-0. The college implements are much heavier than high school.
Also in ‘67, Yakima hosted the JC state meet and Shoreline ran the 4x440 in 3:18.8.
These college marks (mile, two mile, 4x440) are technically superior to the stadium records listed today but I have opted to keep the records exclusive to high school athletes.
— Scott Spruill