Long jumper Julia Schwan competes during the Tom
Farrell Track and Field Classic at St. John’s University
BY ROBERT ELKIN
The second annual Tom Farrell Track & Field Classic was hosted by his alma mater St. John’s University on Saturday, and for six field events, cross-borough rivals Queens College had tremendous success in all aspects of the meet.
A former track athlete at Archbishop Molloy High School and St. John’s, Farrell won a bronze medal at the 1968 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City.
A member of the St. John’s Athletic Hall of Fame, Farrell turned in some incredible performances, record times and even ran in the Millrose Games. He set a time of 1:49.8 in the indoor 880 yard run which at that time was a new world record. Farrell certainly was delighted to return to his alma mater. Some of the athletes today look to him as a tremendous runner and would like to pass his previous performances.
The Classic also drew past performers from many years ago, Jim Sullivan, Jay Baxter and John McCree, who recently returned to St. John’s as a coach, and Walter Kueffner, an official at many meets. Head Women’s Varsity Coach Jim Hurt along with his staff, were the directors of the classic.
“We honored Tommy Farrell, one of the old time great [runners],” Hurt said during the competition. “He’s been an outstanding runner and has been volunteering for us. We also honored our graduating Seniors.”
Farrell was honored as someone who went to St. John’s University and performed at a high level and who gave back. He has been volunteering at St. John’s for 16 years.
“We had a great meet,” Farrell added. “Our [girls’ varsity team] is getting ready for [future] meets. We wanted an easy meet.”
Sullivan, a former sprinter at St. Johns, attended the Classic because he and Farrell are friends.
Farrell was honored at DaSilva Memorial Field during the course of the meet, a newer facility than the one Sullivan and Farrell competed on.
“I ran on the original track in 1959,” Sullivan said. “But this track is very good.”
“It’s a great meet and it was a wonderful chance for our girls to compete on campus,” added McCree. “The meet was very well organized and I’m happy to be part of it. We did the meet for Tommy Farrell. He is the most accomplished alums and one of the nicest runners you’ll ever meet. We’re happy to be here and support the team.”
Meanwhile, the student athletes from the men’s side are happy to be part of the college’s Club team that is running in meets and training all on their own. They coach themselves.
Some of the athletes performed very well in the all-day meet that attracted about 25 colleges and clubs from the tri-state area. For example, Isobel Batt-Doyle posted a double for St. John’s winning the 1500 meter run in 4:34 and 3000 meter run in 9:58.
“Having a club team for our second year is great,” said John Kuehn, president of the club. “This year we are looking really good. “
There are 50 competitors on the St. John’s club team. Twenty of them competed in the Tom Farrell Classic.
Kuehn said that competing in meets and training are on their own and is fun to do. Hurt, female head varsity coach, helps out when he can and when time permits with the club team.
Now the women’s team will be preparing for championship meets and for some lucky ones for the NCAA Division I meet. The season is almost over for the men’s club team. Some of these athletes will stay in shape for cross country by competing on their own or in road races during their off season.