Miler Doug Smith, 1968 Central High school track

Doug Smith was a talented distance runner for strong Central High School track and field teams in the late 1960s. He set records that still stand today.

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SIOUX CITY | Doug Smith is arguably the greatest track and field athlete in city history.

Smith was a talented distance runner for strong Central High School track and field teams in the late 1960s.

Running on old cinder tracks and in the years before the conversion from yards to meters, Smith set city records in the mile (4:12.6) and 2-mile (9:09.0) that still hold today.

Smith opened his running career by setting a national freshman record in the mile in 4:15.5. Smith had to get a special exemption from the city to compete as a freshman as ninth-graders were not at the high school and we’re not eligible to compete on the varsity squad.

Smith won three consecutive state titles in the mile his sophomore through senior seasons. Smith helped the Little Maroons of coach Mark McLarnan capture team state championships as a sophomore in 1966 and as a junior in 1967. Central missed out on a potential third straight state title in 1968 due to a disqualification in the medley relay, finishing third.

Smith also won three straight Drake Relays titles in the mile, where he established his city mark of 4:12.6 as a senior in 1968.

Central dominated the 2-mile relay, winning four straight Drake Relays titles in the event (1965-68) and a pair of state titles (1966, 1968) as the foursome of senior Bill Adams, sophomore Steve Koson, junior Greg Coons and senior Steve Gerkin established the city record with a 7:47.7 in 1966, a time that still ranks second on the all-time Iowa high school charts.

Relay wins in the 440 and medley, along with Gerkin’s individual state title in the 880, aided the 1966 state title team. The Maroons won the 880 relay and medley in the 1967 title run.

Smith ran on four cross country teams that won state titles, winning three individual state titles. Coming in an impressive run where the Maroons captured eight state titles in an 11-year span. Coach Ray Obermiller coached the first six of those before coach Bob Provose was at the helm for the 1966 and 1967 seasons.

Central athletes won 18 Drake Relays titles before the school closed in 1972, including an impressive double in 1958 from Jim Moore, anchoring the medley and 2-mile relay teams to victory.

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