Running Shots


Ralph Gamez (Berkeley) Class of 1966
Ralph Gamez (Soph, #11) start Ralph Gamez frosh '62 Ralph Gamez and Mike Ryan '63

Ralph Gamez promtly set a (then) frosh class mark of 9:41.0 for 2-miles at Foothill HS (1962).

(Above) As a Sophomore, the 5-7, 112lbs. Gamez races the fastest 2M in history by an American 15 year-old with a 9:20.08 snipping a half-second off the record of 9:21.3 set last year by Mike Ryan of Wilcox high school.

The next month (Dec. 7, 1963, above), Junior standout Mike Ryan (Wilcox) sets a National Prep 2M mark with a 9:09.8 clocking in the Nat'l postal meet besting the time of 9:11.5 set by Jim Ryun last month (Nov). Second is Gamez who sets a National soph record and world mark for 15-year olds with a 9:13.2 (moves to 4th on the all-time U.S. prep list)!! Gamez knocked .6 off the soph record set by Jim Ryun over the summer, All-Comers (8/7/63, Ryun's last race as a sophomore).

At the time: Fastest one-two finish in prep annals for 2M!!

1963 All-Northern Cal XC

The honorary l963 All-Northern California High School cross country team (Name, Class, School).

Front row, from left, are
Joe Biber (Sr. Buchser), Jim Bruce (Sr. Pleasant Hill), Gunar Liepins (Sr. Pleasant Hill, Sr.), Craig Reynolds (Sr. San Leandro).

and back row lineup from left,
Ralph Gamez (Soph. Foothill), Rich Kay (Sr. Miramonte), Larry Trujillo (Sr. Tennyson), Martin McCann (Jr. Carlmont), Ken Howard (Sr. St. Ignatius), Mike McCann (Jr. Carlmont), Mike Ryan (Jr. Wilcox), Andy Vollmer (Jr. Downey), Bill Bradfield (Soph. Carlmont).

# # # #

Mike Ryan, 16 year-old junior, from Wilcox high in Santa Clara who is considered the best distance runner ever developed in Northern California high schools was named cross country athlete of the year. Ryan was undefeated & won his second NCS individual crown (a repeater from the 1962 All-NorCal team.

Ralph Gamez, set the international 15-year-old record for two miles, was ranked second behind Ryan on the NorCal Team.


Examiner Holiday Inv Article 1963

12/27/63 - Examiner Indoor -Ralph Gamez is invited to run the 2M at the Cow Palace.

Lindgren charges to the front followed by young Ralph Gamez
The sophomore takes third (9:29.7), behind Jim Ryun (East, a junior -9:22). The winner -Gerry Lindgren (Rogers, a senior). Lindgren runs 9:00.0, shattering the national indoor record by 21.9 seconds, and even 9.8 seconds under the outdoor standard. Lindgren laps ALL eight runners (nipping Ryun at the line) during his 22 lap race around the 160-yard oval.


**The following spring Gamez ran a 4:21.5 mile. The sophomore, on the verge of greatness -his career came to a screeching halt -dismissed from the track team and then expelled from school, for disclipinary reasons.

--(Junior year) The same thing happened again. In September, Gamez was at Marina high school... and after 4 weeks was suspended for 3 days -kicked out for wearing black socks in P.E.

Berkeley track coach Rich Hacker ran into Gamez one day, upon learnig he was out of school, exclaimed: "Enroll at a school so you can compete!"


Ralph Gamez (Berkeley) Ralph Gamez (Berkeley)
(Mid Feb.) Ralph's mom had transferred him to Berkeley high school for a fresh start. Gamez was ineligible to run Cross Country and a few weeks of track-because of the transfer = no Postal Meet two mile times. After waiting the CIF's 90 day transfer rule, on April 5th Gamez opened his season running the mile for Coach Hacker and the Yellowjackets, 4:17.1.


1965 -The 47th Annual CA State Meet -Bakersfield's Memorial Stadium

-Ralph Gamez competes in a new state meet event -The Two-Mile.

Ralph Gamez state 2M start Ralph Gamez has broken away Ralph Gamez cruising Ralph Gamez leading Ralph Gamez finish

The race started with a 66 first lap. Ralph realized there was no one to push the pace (Originally, Gamez wanted to break nine minutes) Ralph took off leaving the field far behind hitting the half at 2:10, and 3:15.6 at three quarters. The fast early pace quickly demolished the highly-touted opposition as Gamez lead by 100-yards as he came past the mile post in 4:25 (wanted a 4:28)! Gamez cruised the last lap in 68.2 to handily win the First State Meet two-mile in 9:12.9, in his Black Socks!! The Jacket junior, competed in stifling 90-degree heat, as 7,500 fans cheered him across the finish line. Runner-up Kim Ellison (Los Angeles' Birmingham HS)- 9:22.0.

The fast early pace in the heat proved too fast for Ralph to approach Gerry Lindgren's (Then) national prep outdoor mark of 8:56.4.



Senior Year -1966

**Coach Hacker, Ralph's Track Coach junior year and Cross Country Coach senior year resigns from the track program. For Ralph's senior season, he's virtually without a coach, no mentor, no one to help about college etc.

During the off-season Gamez grew a beard. Jack Rocker, who took over as head coach believed a neat appearance is just as important to a track team's image as good times. Shave it off, he told Gamez and other bearded team members when practice began. The others complied, but Gamez rebelled, allowing the beard to flourish , as a matter of principle. No shave, no track suit was Rocker's response. "It was for his own good, as well as the teams" said Rocker. Gamez who has missed six weeks of practice and one meet, applied razor to beard, and reported to practice. But Rocker still wasn't satisfied. "His hair is still pretty long," said coach Rocker. If Gamez has his hair cut to Rocker's satisfaction he would be able to begin and compete March 31st!!!


Ralph Gamez clean shaven Ralph Gamez leading
Gamez, the defending state two-mile champion, opens his season with an unimpressive 9:44.4 since losing the shave-and-a-hair-cut hassle at Berkeley high, while the competition was shaving seconds off their previous marks.


Ralph Gamez racing Ralph Gamez winning Ralph Gamez finish Lindley Gamez NCS D1 finish
Gamez next races a 9:36.9 (2M) and in a month improves to a 9:30.6.

(R-NCS Div I -Pic)

Castro Valley Invite. Gamez knocks 3 seconds off his best mile running 4:17.3... but is bested by Ernie Lindley (Mt Eden)- 4:16.9. Lindley ran 9:20.8 (2M) earlier in the week).


Ralph Gamez

Mid May-

Rapidly approaching top form Gamez races a 9:15.5 (2M) an improvement of over 15 seconds.

Romero and Gamez duel Distance Medley

West Coast Relays- Distance Medley-Anchor

Pete Romero (Reedley) a junior, the Nations #2 two-miler (9:11.8) and Calif. No. 2 miler (4:12.5), makes up approximately 22-yards on Gamez by burning a 59-flat 440(a little faster than he's accustomed to)! Romero's mile - 4:13.9, seals the win for Reedley. Gamez anchors Berkeley with a 4:17.5 for 2nd.

Gamez NCS D1 start Gamez starts fast Gamez big lead Lindley passes Gamez Lindley Gamez NCS D1 finish

North Coast Section (NCS) Division I - 2-mile

Ralph Gamez (Berkeley) charges to the fore churning a 4:29.7 mile. Ernie Lindley (Mt Eden) along with the second pack race past the mile at 4:38. It looks like a one man race for Gamez as builds up a huge lead (40 yards) through 6 laps.

Battling strong headwinds, Gamez shows signs of the fast early pace. Lindley began to make up lost ground during the fifth lap and took the lead for the first time on the final curve of lap 7. Spurred on by the screaming crowd, Lindley managed to hold off the defending state champion's last bid over the final go-around. -Lindly-9:20.6, Gamez-9:21.0.

After Two Loss' in a row, Gamez decides to work on his kick. He started working out twice a day. After working out at school -then after dinner, Gamez runs 20 220's in the evening, about 8:00 o'clock p.m. Basically doing 220's with a warm up and warm down mile run before and after. Sometimes he would run 220's up the hills (streets).


Gamez stays with pack Gamez starts last lap Gamez laps last place

**The next week - NCS Finals.

Gamez roars back with a sensational 9:05.2, making a shambles of what was supposed to be a three-man battle, wins the right to defend his state title!!

Gamez, beaten by Lindley last week, ran a different race staying off the pace in second for the first four laps (4:37) before stepping on the gas, opening up a lead of 35 yards, reeling off laps of 67, 68, 69 and closing with a 63.7!! Ralph put together miles of 4:36.5 and 4:28.7, hacking off more than 6 seconds off his PR!! Lindley, 6.2 seconds back, gradually moved up from 4th to 2nd (9:11.4) chopping more than 9 seconds off his best.

The defending state two-mile champion now rates as the one to beat in next week's state final.


1966 - The 48th annual - CA State Meet at Cal Edwards Stadium, Berkeley, Sat June 4th - 13,000 sun-soaked spectators.
Gamez with pack Lindley hangs with Gamez Gamez wins 2nd state title
Gamez wins 2nd state title

Ralph Gamez, Berkeley's sole entry in the big meet, became the 5th fastest U.S. prep two-miler in history, blitzing to a 9:01.6 state CIF meet & stadium record in successfully defending his state meet 2-mile title. Lindley stayed on Gamez' shoulder for 6 laps before Ralph broke away in the 7th lap and sprinting away the last 660 yards to thwart Pete Romero's late race charge.

Gamez' lap times: 62.3, 70.4, 69.8, 70.1, 70.0, 68.9, 67.1, 63-flat!! (4:32.6/4:29).

1) Gamez-9:01.6 (new CIF Meet Record, old mark, 9:12.9 by Gamez, 2) Pete Romero (Reedley)-9:05.2, 3) Ernie Lindley (Mt Eden)-9:05.8.

Tim Danielson (Chula Vista) Tim Danielson (Chula Vista), also successfully defended his title in the mile, becoming the fastest prep miler in the nation clocking 4:07.0 ( Meet & Stadium record).

That Monday following State, 10th period-P.E., Ralph was approached by the coach. There was no congratulations -just to surrender his uniform and clean out the locker, that the season was over and Ralph was no longer representing Berkeley High School. Ralph mentioned he was approached by someone at the state and invited to run at the San Diego Invite and Golden West Invite, and needed a uniform. Ralph was told that he was on his own and that he did not represent Berkeley High School anymore period! The Coach even said that class (10th period P.E.) was over for him. Gamez did get an "A" for P.E.

-With no coach, and Berkeley High's P.E.-Athletic Department did not return calls, Gamez didn't get to run the mile against Tim Danielson in San Diego. Danielson would would become the second prep to dip under 4 minutes in the mile with a blistering 3:59.4!

Danielson would run the Golden West Invite...


Golden West Invitational - 2 mile

Danielson and Gamez, both two-time CA state champions. Danielson the mile in his junior (4:08.0) and senior (4:07.0) seasons and Gamez the two-mile titles 9:12.4 and 9:01.6. Niether really pressed in their races, Danielson crushing the opposition by over 50 yards at his recent state mile ('66). This race will be 2 miles.

Danielson and Gamez duel 2M

Danielson and Gamez followed Spokane runners Dan Clark (University) & Dave McCallum (East Valley) laps: 66, 67 (2:13), 69 (3:22), 70 (4:32.5)...

Danielson went to the front on the fourth lap and led the remaining laps with Gamez in close pursuit. Laps:70 (5:42), 68 (6:50), 68.5 (7:58.5)...

Danielson, the second prep to better four minutes the week previous, had too much kick as Gamez ripped a 58.4 to stay second!! Danielson's last lap was 56.9!!

1) Danielson...8:55.4

2) Gamez...8:56.9

Both run sub 9 minutes the third and fourth time it was ever done by preps!!

Tim Danielson capped his high school career with a double victory at Golden West, named as the "Outstanding Performer" in the meet. Outkicking Gamez in the sensational duel in the 2M and came back later in the program to win the mile in 4:07.0!

The Chula Vistan's performance was more outstanding than the fabled Jim Ryun of Wichita, Kans. -the previous year when Ryun scored a double win in the two-mile and mile (9:04.0 and 4:04.3).

Danielson's competitive record over his last two track seasons was also noteworthy -he never lost a high school race during that time which ranged from 440-yards (50.2) to 2M. He was also timed a 10.2 in the 100 and sped 1:52.3 880 early in the season.


Ralph Gamez SJS Ralph Gamez SJS finish Ralph Gamez SJS racing Ralph Gamez SJS finishes mile
Ralph Gamez SJS Sophomore Ralph Gamez at San Jose State.


FULLERTON, Calif. (July 9, 2011) - Ralph Gamez talks about the epic invitational two-mile race with Gerry Lindgren and Jim Ryun at the Cow Palace in 1963.

(R) Gamez points at the photo of the start of the race;
"Shoot, as you can see, Gerry took off like a bat out of hell, Ryun fell down at the start (I didn't know that till after the race). I didn't know what was going on. I took third. I don't remember much but I didn't have a coach like Gerry and Jim. Oh well," Ralph Gamez.

Photo: Art Cendejas

Ralph Gamez points to epic race


Photos/Details - Courtesy of Ralph Gamez

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