CADILLAC — They’ll honestly tell you they had very little idea what they were doing.
Yet their records have stood the test of time.
Or at least more than 40 years of it.
Bill Bigge (Brethren) and Vanderber (Kalkaska) have the two oldest records at the Cadillac News Track and Field Invitational in the 100-meter dash and high jump, respectively.
Both marks were set in 1975 when the meet was still in its infancy and held on a brand new track at Pine River High School.
The 47th edition of the event will be held Monday at Cadillac’s Veterans Memorial Stadium, making it the oldest newspaper-sponsored meet in northern Michigan.
Bigge, now a resident of Ocala, Fla., remembers that day in early June 1975.
“It was a different world back then,‘ he laughed. “We were used to running on cinder blocks and we were just a bunch of country boys.
“We get to Pine River and they’ve got a brand new school. They had this new (track) covered in rubber. We went down on our hands and knees and were feeling it.‘
Bigge had never used starting blocks either and that meet afforded him a chance to find out what he could really do in what was the 100-yard dash at that time.
“I thought I’ve got no chance,‘ he said. “We had starting blocks at regionals the week before and I popped off a 10.8. I came off the blocks (at the News meet), had push on that rubber and it was a 10.0. I said why wasn’t I doing this three years ago?‘
That time has since been converted to 10.9 seconds for the metric system and is also shared with Cadillac’s Cody Zagers who ran an 11.0 in 2010 with fully-automatic timing.
Vanderber’s high jump record of 6-feet, 7-inches, also set in 1975, still stands, as well. He passed away in 2014 after a battle with cancer.
“Ed was tall and lanky and he was self-taught, too,‘ Bigge said. “He was doing this called the Fosbury Flop that he had researched and none of us had ever heard of.
“We were really awed by him...he just kept going up and up and up. Everything aligned for him that day.‘
Bigge and Vanderber’s records are likely safe this year. McBain’s Garrett VerBerkmoes and Kaiden McGillis are tied at 6-2 atop the high jump listings while Evart’s Kyle Stokes PR in the 100 dash is 11.19 seconds.
Two long-standing distance records could be in jeopardy, though. McBain senior Keegan O’Malley is roughly 6 seconds off the top marks in both the 1600- and 3200-meter runs, set in 1979/2016 and 1981, respectively.
The 400-meter relay could fall, as well, with a good day by the Reed City foursome of Noah Jones, Nick Douglass, Jackson Price and Phillip Jones-Price. They’re seeded at 44.24 seconds, a little than .5 off the record of 43.76, set in 2016 by Reed City.
On the girls’ side, the Cadillac foursome of Heather Eller, Gabi Metzger, Chloie Musta and Kendall Schopierary are seeded at 9:40.51 in the 3200-meter relay. That’s a little less than two seconds lower than the meet record of 9:42.58, set in 2008 by Pine River.
Schopieray, just a freshman, is 16 seconds faster than the meet record in the 3200-meter run, set in 2009 by fellow Viking Kaitlyn Patterson.
The big battle comes in the 1600-meter run with Schopieray and McBain senior standout Klaudia O’Malley. Schopieray’s best is 5:10.01 while O’Malley comes in at 5:11.07.
The final reward from Monday’s meet comes with the awarding of one male and one female scholarship. Scholarships are based on meet performance, academic performance, school involvement and community involvement. Funds for the scholarships come from the meet’s gate reciepts.