Looking ‘Em Over with Fred Digby
Originally published in The Morning Tribune in New Orleans on June 5, 1933
When the Louisiana State University track team goes to Chicago two weeks hence, the attention of the entire athletic world will be centered on the greatest team ever sent into national competition by a Southern school.
The Tigers will meet the greatest collection of track and field athletes in America in the National intercollegiates and the Southern California and Michigan teams, winners of the I.C. 4-A and the Big Ten championships, respectively. Folks in the Far West, Middle West and East are familiar with the doings of the Trojan stars and the Wolverines.
Some of them will recall “Slats” Hardin, who finished second to the Irishman, Tisdal, in the 400 meters hurdles in the Olympic games, and received credit for the world’s record when he skipped over the low sticks without kicking one over.
But to the rank and file of track fans there’ll be several newcomers who will command attention. In this group are Jack Torrance, Nathan Blair, and Al Moreau.
These three and Hardin form a quartette to compare with any two track and field men now at any one school. They’ll make the bands play Dixie – if they’re any bands at the collegiate meet.
Hardin shapes up as L.S.U.’s best bet in the Nationals. He is just about unbeatable anywhere in three events – the 400 meters hurdles, the 400 meters run and the 200 meters hurdles. The first listed event isn’t on the collegiate program so “Slats” will confine his activities to the 400 meters or 440 yards run ad the 200 meters or 220 yards hurdles.
He’ll run anchor on the L.S.U. relay team, too, if Coach Moore decides to take such a team to the games.
Hardin can run the quarter in 47 flat. Five watches caught him in this time at the Southeastern Conference games. He wasn’t pressed so it’s possible that no runner – that goes for Ben Eastman – can beat “Slats” on the flat unless able to do world’s record time.
The low hurdles are duck soup for the Tiger. He stepped down in 23.4 seconds in 200 meters hurdles in the A.A.U. meet at least 25 yards between him and the nearest competitor at the finish. The world’s record is 23 seconds flat held jointly by Brookins and Taylor and made years ago.
Considering that Hardin wasn’t pushed at all and that he ran over a “dead” track, one doesn’t need to stretch the imagination to see “Slats” as a cinch to equal – if not better – the best mark in this event with such competition as he’s likely to get at Chicago.
Newest Star Is Blair
Nathan Blair is the least known of the Tiger quartette, yet he is by way of being one of the up and coming L.S.U. athletic stars. Blair hails from Sicily Island, La., and in his high school days was a runner and pole vaulter.
Nathan is quite some shucks as an all-around athlete. “Biff” Jones only wishes Bernie Moore would let Blair play football. And he starred on the crack L.S.U. basketball team last fall. Chicago will see Blair as a javelin thrower. A shortstop on the baseball team, Nathan has what the boys call a “whip” and he throws strikes across the diamond.
He threw the javelin 202 feet 6 5/8 inches Saturday and broke a record made by Douglas Grayden when that Georgia Tech athlete was at Little Rock High. The old record was 200 feet 2 inches and has stood for a half dozen years.
Blair was over 190 feet with every throw in the A.A.U. meet and after breaking the record called it a day. That he can do 210 feet is the opinion of Coach Moore.
The Big Ten record, established two weeks ago, is 208 feet and the winning toss in the I.C. 4-A meet was 205 feet. So you can rate young Blair among America’s best javelin throwers. Perhaps, after this Chicago meet, he’ll rate the best.
Where Jack’s Best
Jack Torrance will be the biggest athlete in the Chicago games. He’s in a tough spot since the best Far West and Mid-West athlete do better in the hammer and discus. But in the shotput Torrance will ask no favor from any man now in college. Or out.
“Baby” Jack broke the recognized American shotput record in the Tulane-L.S.U. dual meet weeks ago with a performance of 52 feet 8 ¼ inches. Lyman of Stanford bettered his mark by one-quarter of an inch in the I.C. 4-A games.
Whether or not Lyman is at Chicago, Torrance is strictly the shot putter to beat, because he is improving with every performance.
Saturday, the big Tiger broke the Southern A.A.U. record with a toss of 48 feet 9 ¾ inches. And did it with an ankle swollen twice its normal size, due to a sprain suffered in a basketball practice a few days before.
Torrance had the greatest day in Southern sports history when he won four first places in Saturday’s games. No athlete has ever performed that feat in a championship in this part of the country. In winning the 56-pound weight, “Baby” Jack broke the record made by Gilbert Ritchie, one time all-around champion, at Birmingham, Alabama, in 1913 – exactly 20 years ago.
It’s Moreau’s Last Bid
Moreau rounds out the star Tiger quartette. He is the most formful hurdler the South has ever seen and this doesn’t except Percy Beard who is still winning in the East.
Moreau hasn’t been beaten in the high hurdles in a collegiate championship meet in three years. Lacking the high speed of Keller, the great Ohio State hurdler, Moreau may not be able to win at Chicago.
In Saturday’s meet, Moreau won the 110-meter hurdles in 14.6 seconds. The world’s record is 14.4 seconds held jointly by Beard and Keller and the late George Sailing. Moreau has done 14.4 several times for the 120 highs. Under ideal conditions as to track and competition he might repeat it in the National collegiate.
This will be Al’s last collegiate competition and it would be a fitting ending to a grand career in athletics if he could turn the trick and beat Keller in the bargain.
From the four Tiger athletes – Hardin, Torrance, Blair and Moreau, the South in general and Louisiana in particular will get some nation-wide advertising, June 16-17.