Duke Invitational, 1934-1942

Duke University, Durham, NC

The Duke Invitational was the most prestigious meet in North Carolina (and one of the most prestigious in the South) for it's nine-year tenure, annually drawing teams from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Kentucky and Florida (most notably, three-time state champion, Miami High) to Wallace Wade Stadium.

The meet ran from 1934-1942 and ended after the 9th edition because of World War II, but it is connected to the Duke-Durham Relays, which ran from 1948-1971. An article in the Durham Sun newspaper, May 6, 1948, says the Duke-Durham Relays was "...a revival and expansion of the former Duke Invitational Track Meet held in prewar days." The Duke-Durham Relays abruptly ended in 1972, a few weeks before the 25th annual event should have taken place, after Duke school officials announced they couldn't hold the meet because of a scheduling conflict with a campus event.

The meet never returned, ending a run of prestigious high school track and field meets at Duke that spanned five decades and nearly 40 years.

Competing at the Duke Invitational were: Durham's Bob Gantt, who was the biggest future star to compete at this meet (he won 7 state titles in the shot put, discus and javelin, was all-state in basketball and football, and later starred in three sports at Duke University, then played pro basketball in the AAB, which would became the NBA), and Miami High star Jim Bennett, the Florida record holder in the high jump, won two events (high jump and pole vault, 1942) and helped Miami High to three straight Florida state track titles. Both Gantt and Bennett were high scorers at the meet (Gantt in 1939 and 1940 and Bennett in 1942).

Often, North Carolina schools would travel out-of-state to get better competition, driving to Alabama, D.C., Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia to match up against power schools from those areas. This meet allowed state powers and others to stay in state, as top North Carolina programs at the time, Charlotte Central High, Durham High, High Point High, and Winston-Salem Reynolds, battled out-of-state powers Columbia High (SC), Douglas Freeman (Richmond, VA), John Marshall (Richmond, VA), Jefferson (Roanoke, VA), Maury (Norfolk, VA), Newport News (VA), Riverside Military (Gainsville, GA), Miami High (FL), and others on an annual basis.

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1934: Durham, 48.5; Barium Springs, 44.5
1935: High Point 46; Asheville School for Boys, 33
1936: John Marshall (Richmond, VA) 40 1/3; Asheville School for Boys 30 5/6
1937: Maury (Norfolk, VA) 42; Newport News (VA) 32
1938: Maury (Norfolk, VA) 32 11/12; Riverside Military (Gainsville, GA) 30 5/12
1939: Riverside Military (Gainsville, GA) 24.5; Thomas Jefferson (Roanoke, VA) 24
1940: Newport News (VA) 35.5; Durham, 34.5
1941: John Marshall (Richmond, VA) and Maury (Norfolk, VA) 30 (tie for first place)
1942: Miami (FL) 31; Jefferson (Roanoke, VA), 20

1934: Elmo Hackney, Durham, 15 points (3 first places: 100, 200, long jump)
1935: Frank Valier, Asheville School for Boys, 14 points
1936: John Berkson, Asheville School for Boys and Fred Hardy, John Marshall (Richmond, VA)
1937: Dodd, Newport News (VA), 15 points (won 100, 220 and long jump)
1938: Werner Brown, Norfolk (VA), 10 points (won 100, 220)
1939: Bob Gantt, Durham and Paul McMullin, John Marshall (Richmond, VA), 10 points each (Gantt won the shot put and discus; McMullin won the 100 and 120 high hurdles)
1940: Bob Gantt, Durham, 15 points (won the shot put, discus and javelin)
1941: Fred Tucker, Newport News (VA), 12 points
1942: Jim Bennett (Miami, FL) and McLear (Thomas Jefferson, Richmond, VA), 10 points (Bennett won the high jump and pole vault; McLear won the 100 and 120-yard high hurdles)

1934: Elmo Hackney, Durham, 10.2
1935: Sam Southerland, Durham, 10.4
1936: Berkson, Asheville School for Boys10.4 (Rion, Columbia, SC, tied the record of 10.2 in the prelims)
1937: Dodd, Newport News (VA), 10.2 (Walker, Columbia, SC, tied the record of 10.2 in the prelims)
1938: Stewart, Norfolk (VA), 10.3
1939: Paul McMullin, John Marshall (Richmond, VA), 10.0 (meet record)
1940: Pinky Hargrave, Thomas Jefferson (Richmond, VA), 10.3
1941: Stillwell, Boys High (Atlanta, GA), 10.2
1942: Renshaw, George Washington (Alexandria, VA), 10.4

1934: Elmo Hackney, Durham, 22.6
1935: Sam Southerland, Durham, 23.1
1936: Berkson, Asheville School for Boys, 22.5 (meet record)
1937: Dodd, Newport News (VA), 23.0
1938: Werner Brown, Norfolk (VA), 22.5 (ties meet record)
1939: Zaidel, Riverside Military (Gainsville, GA), 22.4 (meet record)

1934: Graham, Goldsboro, 52.6 (state record)
1935: Rosenburg, Asheville School for Boys, 53.1
1936: Walter Sprye, High Point, 52.0 (meet record)
1937: Jimmy Williams, Durham, 51.7 (meet record)
1938: Werner Brown, Norfolk (VA), 50.5 (meet record)
1939: Tom Worthington, Riverside Military (Gainsville, GA), 51.0

1934: Worth, Durham, 2:06.4
1935: James Davis, Goldsboro, 2:01.8 (meet record)
1936: Hardy, John Marshall (Richmond, VA), 2:02.4
1937: Stinson, Newport News (VA), 2:05.7
1938: Stinson, Newport News (VA), 2:03.7
1939: Drewry, Thomas Jefferson (Roanoke, VA), 2:03.7

1934: Holt, Old Town, 4:40.4
1935: Hendrix, Goldsboro, 4:41.8
1936: Hardy, John Marshall (Richmond, VA), 4:36.5 (meet record)
1937: Stinson, Newport News (VA), 4:42.5
1938: Gray, Norfolk (VA), 4:44.0
1939: Alvin Smith, Jefferson (Roanoke, VA), 4:39.9
1940: Alvin Smith, Jefferson (Roanoke, VA), 4:47.9
1941: Alvin Smith, Jefferson (Roanoke, VA), 4:48.3
1942: McKenzie, Salisbury, 4:36.5 (meet record)

1934: Umstead, Durham, 17.1
1935: Potts, High Point, 17.1
1936: Potts, High Point, 16.0 (new record “due to change of specifications)
1937: Moore, Norfolk (VA), 15.4 (meet record)
1938: Loren McKinney, Chapel Hill, 15.3 (meet record)
1939: Paul McMullin, John Marshall (Richmond, VA), 15.3 (ties meet record)
1940: Pinky Hargrave (Thomas Jefferson, Richmond, VA) and MacIntire (Newport News, VA), 15.5
1941: McLear, Thomas Jefferson (Richmond, VA), 15.8
1942: McLear, Thomas Jefferson (Richmond, VA), 15.4

1934: Umstead, Durham, 27.4
1935: Wilson, Durham, 26.9
1936: Rion, Columbia (SC), 22.7
1937: Moore, Norfolk (VA), 22.4 (meet record)
1938: Tillery, John Marshall (Richmond, VA), 23.1
1939: Highfill, Thomas Jefferson (Roanoke, VA), 23.1

1940: Thomas Jefferson (Richmond, VA) (Riner, Wood, Lacy, Pinky Hargrave), 46.2
1941: Maury (Norfolk, VA) (Mapp, Warren, Cato, Westman), 45.3 (meet record)
1942: Miami (FL) (Nettles, Young, Morriss, Kelly), 45.0 (meet record)

1940: Maury (Norfolk, VA) (Westman, McKay, Mapp, Cato), 1:37.2
1941: Maury (Norfolk, VA) (Mapp, Warren, Cato, Westman), 1:34.0 (meet record)
1942: Charlotte Central (C. Simmons, K. Wheeler, B. Simmons, Payne), 1:35.7

1935: Goldsboro (Hunt, McClenny, Monk, James), 3:42.3
1936: Goldsboro (Daughtry, Dees, McClenny, James), 3:36.7 (meet record)
1937: Goldsboro (Daughtry, Dees, Barr, James), 3:35.0 (meet record)
1938: Riverside Military Academy (GA) (Yarbrough, Pitcher, Higgins, Tom Worthington), 3:38.4
1939: Winston-Salem R.J. Reynolds (Bill Thomas, Robert Stockton, Mike Mangum, Dalton Clower), 3:30.3 (meet record)
1940: Central (Washington, D.C.) (Bredbrenner, Morris, Edgerton, Hayden), 3:37.6
1941: Maury (Norfolk, VA), 3:34.7
1942: Jefferson (Roanoke, VA) (Rea, Sexton, Edwards, Walton), 3:35.0

1940: Central (Washington, D.C.) (Thomas, Porter, Zuppa, Hayden), 3:51.1

1934: Elmo Hackney, Durham, 20-10.5
1935: Frank Valier, Asheville School for Boys, 20-6
1936: Houghton, Asheville School for Boys, 20-8
1937: Dodd, Newport News (VA), 21-11.5 (meet record)
1938: Harris, Riverside Military Academy (GA), 21-0
1939: Taylor, Durham, 22-1 (meet record)
1940: Tucker, Newport News (VA), 20-7.5
1941: Tucker, Newport News (VA), 21-5.25
1942: McLear, Thomas Jefferson (Richmond, VA), 21-10.5

1934: Alverez, Elise Academy, 5-3
1935: Frank Valier, Asheville School for Boys and Bill Sams, High Point, 5-8 (meet record)
1936: Brock, Durham and Black, Greensboro, 5-5
1937: Traylor, Boys High (Atlanta, GA), 5-9 (meet record)
1938: Tucker, Newport News (VA), 5-4
1939: Massie, Newport News (VA), 5-9.75
1940: Brasse, Central (Washington, D.C.) and McDermon (Newport News, VA), 5-8.5
1941: Smith, Thomas Jefferson (Richmond, VA), 5-10.25 (meet record)
1942: Jim Bennett, Miami (FL), 6-2 (meet record)

1934: Forte, Barium Springs, 11-0
1935: Hinton, High Point, 9-0
1936: Moore, John Marshall (Richmond, VA), 10-6
1937: Thistlethwaite, Thomas Jefferson (Richmond, VA), 12-2.5 (meet record)
1938: Moore, John Marshall (Richmond, VA), 11-9
1939: Bartles, Newport News (VA), 11-9
1940: Joe Parker, Portsmouth (VA), 11-6
1941: Tucker, Newport News (VA) and McCutcheon, Newport News (VA), 11-0
1942: Jim Bennett, Miami (FL), 12-0

1934: M. Freeman, Barium Springs, 45-10 3/8
1935: Charlie Wood, Raleigh, 45-5.75
1936: Charlie Wood, Raleigh, 49-8 5/8 (meet record)
1937: McLaughlin, John Marshall (Richmond, VA), 50-3 (meet record)
1938: Steve Lach, Altoona (PA), 52-2.75 (meet record)
1939: Bob Gantt, Durham, 52-1.5
1940: Bob Gantt, Durham, 53-4.5 (meet record)
1941: Herndon, Durham, 44-9
1942: Kurtz, Central (Washington, D.C.), 51-5.5

1934: Willard, Kernersville, 107-3
1935: Woody, Durham, 104-0
1936: Minor, John Marshall (Richmond, VA), 118-2 (meet record)
1937: Fentress, Norfolk (VA), 115-7.25
1938: Bob Gantt, Durham, 124-5.5 (meet record)
1939: Bob Gantt, Durham, 122-11.25
1940: Bob Gantt, Durham, 128-1 (meet record)
1941: Ittner, John Marshall (Richmond, VA), 114-0.5
1942: Yancey, Fayetteville, 121-9.75

1934: Oliver, Barium Springs, 157-10
1935: Wylie, Asheville School for Boys, 169-3 (meet record)
1936: Walden, John Marshall (Richmond, VA), 156-1.75
1937: Mauck, Norfolk (VA), 162-0
1938: Nelson Catlett, Hampton (VA), 176-10 (meet record)
1939: Edmonds, Hampton (VA), 165-9
1940: Bob Gantt, Durham, 161-11.5
1941: Bowman, Hampton (VA), 172-1
1942: Currie, Thomas Jefferson (Richmond, VA), 166-0

As far as we know, every year of the Duke Invitational was run on Wallace Wade
Stadium's 440-yard track, before it was converted to 400 meters.

Among the major track meets held in Wallace Wade Stadium over the years were the
1971 Pan African/USA meet ..(more) ..(one more), and the US vs USSR meet in 1974.

All-Time N.C. List

NCHSAA Records | NCHSAA Team Champions

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