Sports History - A 20 Part Series

Part 6 of 20: The Year Was 1975 

In 1975, as Beaver football was beginning a free fall that would stretch 28 years, two Oregon State sports achieved recognition and remain true landmarks of excellence.

In the modern period, women's athletics at OSU emerged in the early 1970s and was very quick in producing its first world-class athlete, Joni Huntley.

In January 1975, Joni '75, set the American outdoor high jump record at the New Zealand games with a leap of 6-2 1/2, then duplicated the height indoors at a USA-USSR meet to set the American indoor record.

In between, she received the Hayward Trophy as Oregon's outstanding amateur athlete. Her jumping style employed the "Fosbury Flop," invented and perfected by Oregon Stater Dick Fosbury in Corvallis in the 1960s.

Later in the spring of '75, OSU hosted the AIAW National Track and Field Championships, the largest women's intercollegiate track meet held up to that time, with more than 500 athletes from 103 schools competing for medals. Huntley won both the high jump and long jump competitions.

Things would get even better for Joni. At the Pan American games later that year, she won gold with a new Pan Am women's record and for the next 12 years she would compete for her country as a member of the U.S. Olympic high jump team, winning bronze in Los Angeles in 1984.

During her career, she was ranked No. 1 in the U.S. five times and appeared in the Top 10 a remarkable 13 straight years!

The year 1975 also brought national recognition to OSU crew as the women won the Northwest Women's Regionals at Seattle, sweeping national powerhouse Washington in all three events.

Not to be outdone, the men captured their first national title in crew, winning the varsity-4 with coxswain at the 73rd Intercollegiate Rowing Association meet in Syracuse, N.Y.

The five team members were Robert Zagunis, Craig Ambrosen, Tom Dover, David Nealy, and Michael Rollins as coxswain. Zagunis rowed for the U.S. at the Montreal Olympics in 1976.

Earlier, the men's varsity-8 had won the coveted Steward's Cup at the Seattle Regatta, the first time in the seven-year history of the competition the top prize had not gone to Washington.

--By Chuck Boice and George P. Edmonston, Jr.,