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Throwback Thursday: 100 Years Ago, Track & Field Selects its Team from “Underclass Meet&#

100 years ago from this week, the Cornell track and field team had a decidedly different method for choosing its members. Forget the recruiting, the coaches luring high school stars to run for the school and the snooping on Athletic.net.


No, in 1917, team selection looked a lot different than it does today. As the 2017 track and field and cross country teams wrap up their fall seasons and prepare for the indoor track season, the 1917 track team was gearing up for its annual “underclass meet” at Schoellkopf Field. Each year, the team hosted the meet for any freshman or sophomore – no experience required – to compete for all he’s worth and earn a spot on the team. Across 11 events, the top two finishers in each competition were awarded spots on the team.

This particular season, most of the scheduled competitors entered the underclass meet with little to no actual track experience. Despite the lack of practice, the students were to vie for top finishes in the 100-, 220-, 440-, and 880- yard dash, as well as the one mile and two mile run, the 120-yard hurdles, the high jump, broad jump and pole vault.

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