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Friday, November 4, 2005

Santee part of 2005 Hall of Fame class

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— Former Kansas University track standout Wes Santee will be inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame on Dec. 1.

USA Track and Field also will induct Roger Kingdom, John McDonnell, Mike Powell, Earlene Brown, Jim Fuchs and Fred Wolcott.

USATF announced the inductees Thursday afternoon in New York, site of the Hall and host of Sunday's New York City Marathon.

The Class of 2005 will be inducted at the Jesse Owens Awards and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, held in conjunction with USATF's 2005 annual meeting in Jacksonville, Fla.

"All of us at USA Track & Field look forward to these all-time greats taking their rightful places in the National Track & Field Hall of Fame," said USATF CEO Craig Masback. "All seven made indelible and unique contributions to the heritage of our sport, and they couldn't be more deserving of this honor."

One of America's finest middle-distance runners, Santee competed in the 5,000 meters in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, although he is best remembered for his success in the mile and 1,500 meters.

During his career, Santee owned the world indoor-mile record on two occasions (4 minutes, 4.9 seconds in 1954 and 4:03.8 in 1955) and the indoor world 1,500 record once (3:48.3 in 1955). He also set the outdoor 1,500 world record at the 1956 Compton Invitational (3:42.8). The three-time U.S. outdoor champion also was a key contender in the legendary chase to run the first sub-four-minute mile.

Known for his versatility, Santee, a Eureka native, had an amazing three-race performance on April 10, 1954, against the University of California at Berkeley, where he won the 880 in 1:51.5, the mile in 4:05.5, and ran a 440 relay leg in 48.0.

As a Jayhawk, Santee won the NCAA outdoor mile title in 1953, the NCAA 5,000-meter crown in 1952, and the NCAA cross country title in 1953.

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