The 1953 Boys’ Spring Track Team
A thirteen-year drought came to an end when the 1953 Spring Track team completed the first undefeated season since 1940 on their way to becoming New Jersey Prep School champions. Along the way, Coach George Weed’s “thinlyclads” crushed Blair 98 ½- 18. They scored a 62-55 victory over national indoor champs Lawrenceville and won their first-ever victory over Hill. Standouts included Captain Bob Russell, Tom Perks and Dave Wahlstad. Russell, a “continual winner in the high and low hurdles, the 100-yard dash and the broad jump, smashed two-point records and came close to breaking a hurdles record. With over 151 points for the spring season and 222 more for the combined winter and spring seasons, Bob broke Tupper Eaton’s 1951 spring record of 120 points and the school winter-spring mark.”
1953 boys' spring track team

First Row: Griffin, Gilbert, Kauffman, Mangles, D’Amico, Davidson. Second Row: Cox, Downes, Kirby, Perks, Russell, Pepe, Hoagland, Wahlstad, Nelson. Third Row: Mr. Weed, Eichler, Greenberg, Ressler, Marsh, Sarafin, Miller, Acklen, Homer, Mr. Marshall. Fourth Row: Fendley, Palm, Schutte, Klein, Hettich, Grimaldi, Carroll, Gelfman. Fifth Row: Stivers, Ulivi, Gottlieb, Hansen, McGrew, Taggart, Abelow, Hunt.

Perks, undefeated in the shot, discus and javelin, “broke the shot put record in the meet against Lawrenceville with a toss of 54’ 4 ¾”, over one-half a foot further than ‘Tiny’ Thomson’s heave of 53’ 7 ½” in 1951.”  He went on to win all three field events at the state meet. Meanwhile, Wahlstad was undefeated in seven meets at the pole vault. John Cox and Frank Davidson added to the depth of the team with wins in the 440 and 880, Dick Kauffman in the mile and Charlie Pepe in the high jump.                                                                               

The N.J. Headmasters and Coaches Invitation Tournament, run in a heavy downpour, epitomized the strength and depth of this remarkable team. Peddie defeated eight teams, including St. Benedict’s, defending champion, and Lawrenceville, five-time winner, to take the state title. Peddie scored 69 7/10 points against second-place winner Lawrenceville’s 49 7/10 and St. Benedicts’ third-place showing of 34 1/5. Thirteen different men scored points for Peddie, four of whom won seven of the 13 first places and became state champions in their specialties.

“In the 880-yard run, Frank Davidson put on a beautiful last second spurt to break the tape in 2:07.3, ahead of Ron Hibbart of BMI. Bob Russell splashed through the mud in the 220 low hurdles and the broad jump to earn two first place medals and lost a close first in the 120 high hurdles. Sam Hoagland took a first in the pole vault with a 9’6” jump.”

The 1953 Spring Track & Field team is a cornerstone in the Golden Age of Peddie Athletics.

5 members of the 1953 Track Team inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in 2018