In 1959 the Senior Hill took a trip to Philadelphia to take in the full flavor of the USA-USSR International Track Meet at Franklin Field. The kids were so enamored with what they saw that Mickey Rothstein decided they deserved a full blown track and field meet of their own and so was born the annual Saginaw Invitational.
As we are apt to do at Saginaw this was done with all the bells and whistles as Upper Field was striped with a quasi-regulation 440 yard oval with staggered start lines, colorful flags and buntings, a judges podium overlooking the finish line, and all the field disciplines accounted for from hurdles to shot put to the speed walk.
The Senior Boys and Girl’s Camps were split into two teams-named after the famous track stars Jim Thorpe and Jesse Owens-and there were rules and regulations that made this a proper track and field competition.
Counselor captains from both camps were designated whose responsibility it was to sift and sort the line-up card and make event assignments. The prep for The Invitational included intensive learning of the techniques of running hurdles, putting the shot, flinging the discuss, passing a relay baton, and running a steeplechase.
No question the centerpiece of this event was the competition for the Decathlon and Pentathlon champions for boys and girls respectively. The Pentathlon grew to seven events in the early 1972 so technically it was a Septathlon from that point on.
The Decathlon in 1966, as you can see in the detail of The Invitational Program above, was a nail biter to the end between Denny Berman and Ricky Schendell. Contrary to expectation Denny won all three of the “strength” events-javelin, shot put, and discus-by spending the prep time learning proper technique in all three. But Schendell dominated the running events winning all four, including the final 400 meter dash to close the 200 point gap and tie for the title at 3800 points.
1959 Jim Korman
1960 Harvey Forman
1961 Wayne Selnick
1962 Bruce Sklar
1963 Sandy Lipstein
1964 Eddie Lenkin
1965 Jay Schlossberg
1966 Denny Berman-Rick Schendell
1967 Gary Gerson
1968 Brian Redman
1969 Paul Sherr
1970 Mike Holzman
1971 Robbie Gettinger
1972 Jeff Davis
1971 Susan Weinstein
1972 Suzie Burka
1974 Beth Resnick
(Note: If you know any other Decathlon or Pentathlon winners to fill out this list please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org)
Preparing upper field was no piece of cake but the meticulous application of geometry and field chalk made the whole day feel authentic. The physical demands of running the final stretch of the dashes and hurdles uphill was another story.
In the end there were spoils for the winners-both team and individual accomplishments were acknowledged.
Even though annual events like these were a home grown affair they were done with a thoughtful and thorough approach that made them something we looked forward to every year.