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Henry Neal, 1989-1990
Henry Neal won 3 gold medals at the 1990 state track meet setting state records in two events (the 100 meters and the triple jump) and a national record in the 100-meters which still stood in 2005. He later ran at Blinn College where he won 7 national JUCO titles and at Texas Southern and on the pro circuit.
As a junior in 1989, Henry Neal won the Texas 5A 100-meter dash at 10.3 which was the best H.S. time in the U.S. in 1989. As a 5'8" 170lb senior in 1990 he won the 100-meters in 9.9 (hand-timed via a stop-watch) or 10.15 (fully automatic time). His hand-timed 9.9 still stands as a national HS record in 2005 according to the National Federation of State High Schools Association while his 10.15 is listed 2nd all-time by T&FN to the 10.13 run by Derrick Florence of Galveston Ball in 1986. Neal’s 20.2 in the 200-meters was just short of Roy Martin’s 1985 state & national record of 20.0. His (adjusted) auto time of 20.46 is still 4th in history of TX and his 20.2 is recognized by NFHS as the 2nd best ever 200 meters behind only Roy Martin’s 20.13. He also won the triple jump at 48' 08" --a state record since this was the first year of that event (he had jumped 50' 09" at the regional meet). On May 28, 1990, Neal won the 100-meters and 200-meters at the Golden South H.S. track meet in Winter Park FL. His 10.17 in the 100 was just .02 off his TX state meet time and his 200 time was 21.01. He qualified for the USA/Mobil T&F Championships in CA in June of 1990 but failed to make the finals in either sprint.
Neal ran at Blinn Jr. College in Brenham TX in 1991-92 helping Blinn Coach Steve Silvey win the school’s 5th and 6th straight national JUCO team title (Blinn won 15 of 18 events in the 1992 national meet). In his two-year Blinn career he won seven national junior college titles (two outdoor 100-meter titles, two indoor 55-meter titles, two outdoor 400-meter relay titles and one indoor 200-meter title). His 6.15 mark in the 55-meter dash was a national JUCO record as was his 200-meter time of 21.28. His career best at 100-meters was the 10.09 he ran at the 1992 Texas Relays. His 10.09 100-meters at the Texas Relays on April 4, 1992, was also a national junior college record. In 1992 as his Blinn career ended he qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in both the 100 and 200 meters but an injury forced him to pull up in a qualifying heat of the 100 and to pull out of the 200. He did win the 100-meters at two U.S. Olympic Festivals including a 100-meters in 10.22 in 1990.
Henry ran “unattached” in 1992-93 and won the 60Bmeter dash title at the Glasgow Indoor Games in Scotland. He ran for Texas Southern in 1993-94 where he ran an American indoor college record of 5.69 in the 50-meter dash at Hamilton, Canada, on Jan. 14, 1994. Also, his 5.69 at 50-meters ranked him in the top 20 on the all-time world list (ahead of Carl Lewis).
Neal ran on the pro circuit in 1993 and in 1995-1999 training in Greenville under his HS coach, David Gish. Neal was a two-time winner (1994 & 1995) of the 55-yard dash at the indoor Melrose Games in NYC and won four consecutive national 60-meter races during the 1995 professional indoor season. He won eight indoor races on the Grand Prix circuit finishing the 1996 indoor season ranked #6 in the U.S. in the 60-meter dash with a best of 6.57 coming within .02 of the world record. He finished 6th in the USA indoor championships in 1996.
In early June of 1996 Neal participated in the Miami Dolphins mini-camp hoping to make the NFL as a wide receiver. Henry had starred in football at Greenville H.S. in 1988-89 and made 33 receptions (averaging 30 yards per catch and scoring 12 TD’s) in a two-year varsity career. However, he was cut by Coach Jimmy Johnson before training camp began. Since Neal was #6 on the all-time world list for the 50-meter dash (5.63) he would have been the fastest man in the NFL had he made the team. He then ran in the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Atlanta in mid-June but failed to make the finals though he ran 10.14 in the 100-meters. He attempted a comeback in 2004 in an effort to make the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team.
Henry Alvin Neal was born on Oct. 28, 1970, in Greenville TX to William Henry and Ellamae Neal. He and his older sister, Ella Reese, were raised in Greenville by their grandparents, A.J. and Ella Dean Bonner, after their mother died when Henry was three. In 2004 Henry and Camiel C. Neal and their 9-year-old, Elcherri, lived in Pearland TX and Henry was a supervisor with W.W. Grainger Inc. (power tools) in Houston.
Ted Nelson, 1959-61
Ted Nelson of Andrews set three national high school records in 1960-61 in the 440-yd dash and the 440-yd and mile relays. He later set numerous school records at Texas A&M where he completed a 39-year coaching tenure in 2004.
Ted Arnold Nelson was born on Jan. 21, 1943, in Gorman TX to Ed and Dale Nelson. He and his siblings (Jack and Scotty) grew up in Andrews where Ted participated in track and football at Andrews H.S. Ted was in high school in Andrews in 1958-61 when the school won four consecutive state team championships (over Gladewater, 32-28 in 1958; over Gainesville, 71-34 in 1959; over Bay City and Brownwood, 79-45 in 1960; and over Snyder, 64-45 in 1961). Though a mid-sized Texas high school, Andrews set national records in the 440-yd and mile relays and its success in 1958-1961 was responsible for a ranking of 4th all-time in the 101-year history of the state track meet for all Texas high schools in the total number of individual, relay and team championships won.
As a soph in 1959, Ted was 2nd in the 220-yd dash at the state meet and won that event as a junior (at 21.2) and senior (at a 3A record of 20.7) when the event was a “straight-away” (e.g., no curve). He also won the 440-yd dash as a senior in 1961 (at a 3A record of 48.0) after setting a national H.S. record in that event at 46.5 at the regional meet in Odessa. He also ran a 20.4 220-yd dash at the regional. But it was in the relays that Nelson and Andrews really made a lasting mark in the history of Texas track and field. Andrews won the mile relay without Ted during his freshman and soph years but set a national record with Ted (and Johnny Landrum, R.E. Merritt and Larry Shoemaker) at 3:15.2 in 1960 which also stood as the overall state record until 1964. Andrews also set a national record in 1960 in the 440-yd relay (with Nelson, Shoemaker, Darvis Cormier, and Merritt) at 41.5Calso a state record until 1965. Ted was also on the 1959 state championship Andrews 440-yd relay which ran 42.7 and thus won six gold medals at the state meet during his H.S. career. In the summer of 1961 Nelson won the 440-yd dash at 47.2 at the Modesto (CA) Relays competing against college runners.
Ted ran at Texas A&M from 1962-65 and at one time held 13 school records including a 9.4 in the 100-yd dash, a 20.5 in the 220-yd dash and a 46.2 in the 440-yd dash. He was the SWC champion in the 440 in 1964 at 46.2 and was a member of the 1963 Aggie mile relay team that won the SWC at 3:10.7 and the 1965 Aggie 440-yd relay team which won the SWC at 40.7. After college Ted ran for one year with the Houston Striders and was part of their national AAU championship 440-yd relay (including Jim Hines and John Carlos) and mile relay (including Dave Morton) teams.
Ted played football for one year (1965) for the Aggies as a receiver. His one career reception was memorable as it came in a TD drive that defeated #1 ranked Georgia Tech , 14-10.
Ted was a graduate assistant track coach at A&M in 1966 and became a full-time assistant in 1967. He became assistant head coach in 1989 and head coach in 1991 replacing the retiring Charlie Thomas. Nelson retired in 2004 after 44 years at A&M as an athlete/coach, 39 years as a coach and 14 years as head track coach. While at A&M he coached over 100 All-Americans, 14 national champions and 49 conference champions. In 2004 Ted Nelson lived in College Station TX with his wife, Phillis. They have two sons, Max and Thad, and two grandsons, Ingram and Luke.
Frank Pollard, 1975-76
Frank Pollard won four gold medals and scored 42 points at the Class B state track meet in 1976. His 42 points set a modern (post World War II) state record for all classes at the state meet and remained the record until 1993 when Toya Jones scored 45 points. Pollard went on to play football at Baylor and in the NFL from 1980-88.
Frank D. Pollard, Jr., was born on June 15, 1957, in Clifton TX to Frank D. & Katheryn Pollard. Frank grew up in Meridian where he was a football and track star and graduated from Meridian H.S. in 1976. His career at the state track meet began as a soph in 1974 when his 14 points included a 3rd in the B discus at 141' 7" and a 4th in the shot put at 50' 2. As a junior in 1975 Frank won the 220-yd dash at 22.4; placed 2nd in the 100 at 9.9; 2nd in the shot put at 53' 3"; and 3rd in the discus at 142' 3". His 30 points led his Meridian (one-man) “team” to a 3rd place finish in Class B. As a senior in 1976 Frank won the 100 at 9.9; the 220 at 21.8; the shot put at 56' 4" and the discus at 154' 9" and placed 4th in the 440-yd relay. His 42 points led Meridian to a 2nd place team finish behind champion, Big Sandy (59-51). His brother, Tony, won the 1A shot in 1987.
Pollard’s 42 points in 1976 was considered by U.I.L. to be the state record for most points scored in any class beating the 38 by Ken Hall of Sugarland in 1952. Pollard’s record was broken by Toya Jones of Refugio who scored 45 points in 1993. However, the U.I.L. and newspapers ignored the pre-World War II state meets when a different point system was utilized. If one converts the point totals by high point men in the 1905-1945 period, the all-time list of top scorers would be 61 by Willis Edward Maxson of Beaumont in 1912; 60 by Maxson of Beaumont in 1911; 48 by Leo Baldwin of Wichita Falls in 1924; 48 by Marion Lindsey of Timpson in 1917; 48 by Clarence Parker of Ft. Worth in 1907; 45 by Toya Jones of Refugio in 1993; 45 by Max Anderson of Olden in 1936; 44 by Toya Jones of Refugio in 1994; 43 by Mule Frazier of Hillsboro in 1918; 42 by Max Anderson of Olden in 1937; and 42 by Pollard in 1976. Pollard scored 86 points (14 as a soph, 30 as a junior & 42 as a senior) during his three-year career.
Frank played football at Baylor from 1976-79 as a 5' 10" RB. In his junior year he was the Bears’ 2nd leading rusher with 509 yards for a 4.3 average. The Baylor media guide described Frank as “All-American” in track and “fine hurdler” at Baylor. Pollard was drafted by Pittsburg in the 11th round and played with the Steelers from 1980-88. During his 9-year career he rushed for 3,989 yards on 953 carries (a 4.2 average); caught 104 passes for 872 yards (8.4 average); returned 22 kickoffs for 494 yards (22.5 average); and scored 20 touchdowns. Frank Pollard lived in McGregor TX in 2004.
Reuben Reina, 1984-1986
Reuben Reina won a “triple double” at the state track meet for 3 years by winning both the 1600-meter and 3200-meter runs in 1984-86 for San Antonio Jay. As a high school senior he won three national distance championships and went on to run at the University of Arkansas where he was a two-time NCAA champion in the 3,000 meters. After college he was a two-time USA National Cross Country Champion and a member of the 1992 USA Olympic team. He is now an assistant track coach at Arkansas.
As a soph in 1984 Reuben won the 5A 1600-meter run at 4:13.7 and the 3200-meter run at 9:05.5 (a state record). As a junior in 1985 he won the 5A 1600 at 4:10.7 and the 3200 at 9:00.1 (a state record). As a senior in 1986 he won the 1600 at 4:09.5 and the 3200 at 8:58.6 (a state record). Reuben broke the state record in the 3200 three straight years and his state record was broken by Conroe McCullough’s Eric Henry in 1987 at 8:52.2 (a record which held thru 2005). His older brother, Roland, had set the initial state record in the 3200 in 1981 at 9:15.0.
Reuben’s 6 gold in the 1600/3200 ties him with Junior Alafa of Paducah for the most career gold medals in the distance events in the 101 years of the TX state track meet. In the summer after his senior year, Reuben won the mile run at the Golden West Invitational Meet in CA and the two-mile at the Keebler International in Chicago. He was also TX state champion in cross country in 1985 and went on to win the Kinney National H.S. Cross Country championship in 1985 (he still holds the course record there).
Reina ran at Arkansas from 1987-90 helping the Razorbacks to six NCAA team championships (indoors and outdoors) and eleven SWC team championships in track and two in cross country. He was a 7-time SWC champion and an 8-time All-American in track and cross country and was a two-time NCAA National 3000-meter indoor champion (1990-91). He was a member of several USA international teams during his college career.
Reuben continued to run after college as he was the runner-up in the 5000 outdoor championships in 1991; the 1992 & 1994 indoor Grand Prix champion at 3000 meters; the 1993 Olympic Festival champion at 5000 meters in San Antonio; a 4-time champion in the 3000 at the New York City Millrose Games in 1991-95; and the USA National Cross Country champion in 1994 & 1996 and the runner-up in 1995.
Reina continued to compete thru 1998 when he was 3rd at the USA Outdoor in the 10K and 7th in the 1998 Goodwill Games in the 10K. His career personal bests were 1:52.1 in the 800-meters (in HS in 1985); 3:40.81 in the 1500 meters in Belfast N. Ireland in 1990; 3:57.08 in the mile run in AR in 1991; 7:43.02 in the 3000 meters in France in 1991; 13:24.78 in the 5000 meters in Norway in 1991; and 28:31 in the 10K in CA in 1997.
Reuben R. Reina was born on Nov. 16, 1967, in San Antonio TX to Ralph & Emily Reina. He was one of seven children and grew up in San Antonio. Reuben married Joell Marie Olivares in 1993 and the couple has four children, Valerie, Elise, Reuben Antonio and Gabriella. In 2003 Reuben Reina was an assistant track coach at the U. of Arkansas.
Virg Sullivan Rabb, 1918-1919
Smithville’s Virg Sullivan Rabb won the 1919 Class B state team championship by himself and set a state record (for all classes) in the 220-yd dash in 22.4 and a Class B record in the 100-yd dash at 10.4. He later ran track at UT and became a pediatrician.
Virg Sullivan Rabb, III, was born on April 1, 1902, in Smithville TX to Virg Sullivan Rabb, II, and Lillian Rabb. His grandfather, Virg Sullivan Rabb, I, served in the Confederate Army and is featured in the book, The Civil War Letters of Virg Sullivan Rabb, Captain, Company AI, Sixteenth Texas Infantry. One of his ancestors, John Rabb, was part of Stephen F. Austin’s colony that settled in TX in the 1830's and died in 1861 at the age of 63. Virg and his younger sister, Lillian (1908-), were raised in Smithville where Virg graduated from Smithville H.S. in 1920. The Rabb family owned the Rabb Lumber Co. which was purchased by Virg’s grandfather in 1894. The family home at 401 Colorado Road was designated in 2002 as a “Texas Historic Landmark” and was registered with the National Register of Historic Places.
Virg Rabb began his career at the state track meet as a soph in 1918 as he won 3rd in the Class B 100-yd dash. As a junior in 1919 he won four events: the 50-yd dash (5.8); the 100-yd dash (10.4-Class B record until 1922); the 220-yd dash (22.4Bstate record until 1923) and the 220-yd low hurdles (24.0). As a senior in 1920 he won the 220-yd dash (23.8) and was 3rd in the 50-yd dash. Rabb became one of the few athletes to ever be a “one-man team champion” as he scored all of Smithville’s points to defeat runner-up Timpson, 20-11, for the 1919 Class B team championship. He received a silver loving cup as high point man of the Class B track meet. Virg also scored 7 of his team’s 10 points in 1920 as Smithville finished 3rd to Ferris and Santa Anna. Over a 3-year period (1918-1920) he won 5 gold and two bronze medals. He is clearly the greatest track star in the history of Smithville H.S. over the past 101 years as he was the school’s first state champion and the school has won only 6 gold medals (thru 2003) since Rabb won his five gold in 1919-20.
Virg ran track at UT from 1921-1924 and is mentioned in the 1922 UT yearbook, the Cactus, as finishing 2nd in the 220-yd dash at the UT-Baylor dual meet on April 15, 1922. Rabb later received his medical degree from UT and became a pediatrician practicing in Brenham, Tyler and Austin where he also worked at the University of Texas Health Center.
Virg Sullivan Rabb, III, died on Dec. 12, 1984, in Austin, TX and was survived by his son, Virg Sullivan Rabb, IV. He is buried at Austin Memorial Park (his parents and grandparents are buried at Oakhill Cemetery in Smithville). His son, Virgil Sullivan Rabb, IV, (1932-1998), began the Wag-A-Bag chain of convenience stores and lived in Round Rock in his later years. He and his wife, Nancy, gave their house and 20 acres to establish what is now Rabb Park in Round Rock. In 2004 Virg Sullivan Rabb, III, was survivied by his daughter-in-law, Nancy Rabb of Round Rock; two grandsons, Cody Nielsen Rabb of Houston and Cary Kimbell Rabb of Georgetown; a granddaughter, Casi Rabb Helbig of San Marcos; and three great grandchildren.