EDITOR'S NOTE: The following story appeared in the June 7, 1986 edition of The Post-Journal, the morning after Jamestown native Karen Bakewell won the 800 meters at the Division I NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Indianapolis. With the USA Track & Field Region 2 Junior Olympics, hosted by Region 2 and the Chautauqua Striders, beginning today at Strider Field, it's only appropriate that we highlight the accomplishment of Bakewell, a Striders alumnus.
She did it.
Karen Bakewell, a Jamestown native representing Miami (Ohio) University, broke the meet record in the 800 meters Friday night at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Indianapolis.
Jamestown native Karen Bakewell, right, edges Tina Parrott for the win in the 800 meters at the NCAA Track & Field Championships in Indianapolis in this 1986 file photo.
Photo courtesy of Miami (Ohio) University
See BAKEWELL, Page B2
From Page B1
Her time of 2:00.85 was just ahead of crowd favorite Tina Parrott of Indiana. Bakewell and Parrott, timed in 2:01.02, were both under the old meet record of 2:01.20, by Claudette Groenendaal of Oregon in 1985.
Bakewell, who finished third in the qualifier in 2:02.77 Wednesday night, becomes the second local product to earn Division I All-American honors within the last year. Frewsburg's Shane Conlan was named to several All-American teams as a member of the Penn State University football team.
Ironically, Bakewell, a sophomore at Miami, hadn't run the 800 meters in a competitive race until mid-March.
Since then, she's literally taken off, capped by Friday night's record-shattering performance.
One person who wasn't surprised by her performance was her father, Gene, who watched from the stands.
''We just felt based on what the coach (Rich Ceronie) said, she had that type of race in her,'' Gene Bakewell said.
He noted that her daughter's strategy was to ''go out with the pack and at the end of the 300 meters give a little acceleration and pull three meters ahead of the group.''
And that's what she did, holding off Parrott in the last 100 meters.
Her father explained that many observers around him figured that his daughter wouldn't be able to hold the lead.
''The people around us thought she might be the pace-setter up to 700 meters,'' Gene Bakewell said. ''Then they thought she would 'die' and the girls from Indiana (Parrott) and Texas (Karol Davidson, who finished fourth in a time of 2:02.83) would pass her.''
No such luck.
''The fact is, she never died,'' the proud father said. ''She just kept right on going.''
... Into the record books.
Her winning time was 3 seconds faster than her previous best, which she set earlier this year at the Jesse Owens Classic at Ohio State University.
''The coach says (her faster time) is the fact she's running with great athletes that make her run to her capacity,'' Gene Bakewell added.
He noted that he had a chance to speak with his daughter ''just briefly because there were so many reporters around her.
''She was just very happy,'' he said.
Another person who was very happy was Ron Graham, executive director of the Chautauqua Striders, who started working with Bakewell when she was in junior high school.
''I was up in Buffalo for the state qualifier and I was thinking about Karen Bakewell and I said, 'I know she's going to win it.' ... I just had a hunch she'd win it.''
Kent Sherrington, Miami's assistant sports information director, said Friday night that Ceronie told him Bakewell would win.
''He told me, 'You better believe it,''' Sherrington said. ''He knew she could do it.''
And so it goes for Bakewell, who said last week that her ultimate goal is the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.
But for now there are plenty of people quite proud of her accomplishment Friday night.
The NCAA championship highlighted an outstanding spring for Bakewell, who has been part of a track resurgence at Miami.
Not only did the Redskins win the Mid-American Conference championships - two years after finishing ninth - but Bakewell was named the MAC Athlete of the year. In the conference meet, she won the 400 meters and the 800 meters, was second in the 200 meters and anchored the 1,600-meter relay, which finished second in a school-record time.
At the Jesse Owens Classic, in which only the top eight 800-meter runners were invited, Bakewell finished second in a school-record time of 2:04.18.
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Twenty-seven years later, Bakewell's performance on that June evening still ranks 12th all-time in the history of the NCAA championships. The top time belongs to Suzy Hamilton of Wisconsin, who ran 1:59.11 on June 1, 1990.