Jim Rex was tearing it up on the track for Roseburg.

Dick Heard was dynamite in the discus ring for Douglas.

Colleen Wigle was a sprint and jump phenom at Riddle.

Pitchers Terry Cornutt and Barry Baker were a lethal 1-2 punch for the Roseburg baseball team.

The Roseburg boys tennis team continued its state championship reign.

It was the spring of 1970, and what a spring it was on the Douglas County sports front.

Digging into history from 50 years ago was quite a treat for a local scribe. During this unprecedented time of no spring sports because of the coronavirus pandemic, I wanted to look back at some great athletic accomplishments in the year Richard Nixon was the U.S. president and The Beatles broke up.

Jim Robinson had some outstanding track and field athletes on his RHS boys team, none better than Rex.

Rex successfully defended his 220-yard dash crown at the Class A-1 state meet at Hayward Field, clocking a wind-aided time of 21.5 seconds. He beat a star-studded field that included Woodrow Green of Jefferson and Rick Eatmon of Adams.

Rex ran 9.9 in the 100, but it was only good enough for fourth. The 440 relay team of Mike Satran, Mark Pearson, Donn Wassom and Rex finished fourth (44.0). Greg Hunnicutt finished second in the javelin (218-6) and Steve Russell was fifth in the discus (161-4).

The Indians, who won the 1969 state title, tied for fifth in the team standings with 28 points.

In the A-2 state meet at Bell Field in Corvallis, Heard set a new meet record in the discus (184-2) — one of three state titles he would win in the event. He took second in the shot put (52-2 1/4).

Steve Hopkins of Canyonville captured the 880-yard run (1:58.2) at the B state meet in Pleasant Hill. He set a meet record in the prelims (1:57.9).

The Roseburg girls turned in a good season, winning the District 6 meet in Grants Pass with 108 points.

Robin Hanberg won the 440 (1:03.1) with a meet record. Arleta King (100, 11.8), Leslie Brown (880, 2:27.7), Terri Moats (100 hurdles, 17.0) and Connie Stritzke (long jump, 16-0) all finished second. The 440 relay quartet of Moats, Hanberg, Sherry Decker and King took second (52.0).

Wigle led the Riddle girls to a runner-up team finish at the A-2/B state meet in Springfield with 36 points. She won the long jump (18-6 1/2) and 440 (59.9, meet record), finished second in the high jump and ran the anchor leg on the runner-up 880 relay.

Betty Rust of Glide placed second in the discus (119-6 1/2). Mildred Daugherty of Douglas finished third in the shot (43-5 1/2) and fourth in the discus (110-5).

Steve Petrie picked up Umpqua’s lone win at the Oregon Community College Athletic Association meet in Eugene with a victory in the discus (151-5).

On the diamond, Don Severson’s Roseburg team missed postseason play after finishing 24-8 overall and tying for second in the Southern Oregon Conference at 12-8.

Cornutt (8-4 record, 0.70 earned run average) and Baker (7-3, 0.24) each pulled their load on the bump. They only allowed one hit in a doubleheader sweep of Ashland at Finlay Field, Cornutt tossing a no-hitter with nine strikeouts in the opener and Baker hurling a one-hitter with seven strikeouts in the nightcap.

Joining those two on the all-conference first team were catcher John Noel (.360), second baseman Ed Eaton (.339), third baseman Scott Centers (.381) and outfielder Norm Hardy (.275). Shortstop Winston Tucker and outfielder Jim Davidson were second-team selections.

Bob Rowe’s South Umpqua Lancers won the Umpqua Valley League championship and advanced to the A-2 state semifinals before losing 6-4 to Regis in Riddle.

Pitcher Tom Bay was a standout for S.U. and was one of five Lancers voted to the UVL All-Star team. The others were infielders Cal Poncho and Doug Stevenson, outfielder Aaron Clarkson and catcher Larry Neis. Clarkson led the team in hitting.

The rest of the UVL all-league team included infielder Mike Avery, catcher Charles Begley and outfielder Dan Sikstrom of Sutherlin, pitcher Dennis Lawrence, infielders Harold Roady and Mel Cooper and outfielder Terry Harris of North Douglas, pitcher John Johnson, infielder Mitch Loper and outfielder Jerry Rainwater of Riddle, and infielders John Melvin and Don Heil and outfielder Ben Dozhier of Glide.

Avery, a second baseman, received all-state honors.

Reedsport won the Coast League title and lost to Central Linn 6-3 in the A-2 quarterfinals. Glendale finished first in the Bico-B and fell 3-1 to Harrisburg in the quarters.

It was a banner season for Roseburg tennis.

The Roseburg boys edged Sheldon and won their fifth straight A-1 state title in Corvallis. The doubles team of Bill Benson and Jim Sevall won the championship. Roger McKee was denied of his second straight state crown in singles, losing to John Williams of Wilson in three sets.

This qualifies as a dynasty — the Indians won or shared 10 state championships in a 14-year span from 1960-73 under legendary coach Al Hoffman. They won 95 consecutive prep duals from 1965-71.

On the girls’ side, Patty Nevue and Heather Wilson won the state doubles crown and the Tribe took third in the team standings. Maureen Barry was the district runner-up in singles and earned a state berth.

In golf, the Roseburg boys finished second in the district tournament. Duke DeBernardi, who carded a 75, and Mike Waterfield, who shot 77, made the All-District team.

The Pacific Racing Association was just getting its season started in the spring. Jay Eaton (stock cars) and Vern Dykstra (modified) set track records in their classes during a program.

And pro wrestling — when Portland Wrestling was hot — came to Roseburg High School. The battle royal featured Cowboy Frankie Laine, The Claw, Karl Von Steiger, Kurt Von Steiger, Tony Borne, Lonnie Mayne, Beauregarde and Pepper Lopez.

Tom Eggers can be reached at teggers@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4220.

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Sports Editor

Tom Eggers is the sports editor for The News-Review. He can be reached at teggers@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4220.

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