BY JAMIE KEMPTON
The Rockland County Track & Field Hall of Fame will honor eight new members during its ninth annual induction ceremony on Saturday, May 19, beginning 6 p.m., at the Minisceongo Golf Club in Pomona.
The class of 2012 includes former Suffern coach Joe St. Lawrence and Cliff Faist, Spring Valley class of 1948, both of whom are posthumous honorees; Travis Jackson, a 1952 Suffern graduate; Thad Wilson, Nanuet class of 1969; Calvin Crosslin, a 1983 Ramapo alumnus; Mike Schroer, Clarkstown South class of 1992; Meghan Howell, a 1999 Suffern graduate; and Jodi (Schlesinger) Salsberg, Clarkstown South class of 1999.
St. Lawrence led the Mounties to six Rockland PSAL championships and six Section 9 titles (including one in cross country) from 1945 to 1964. He was a trailblazing coach who advanced the development of the triple jump, pole vault and other events, was among the first County coaches to bring his teams to indoor track meets and the Penn Relays, and was a catalyst in helping create equal athletic facilities for schoolgirls. He also played a key role in the revival of state intersectional competition.
Faist was a three-time County mile champion and two-time Section 9 titleholder who lost only once to a Rockland County runner over a three-year period. He placed fourth in the mile at the 1948 New York State meet in 4:38.0 and set a County meet mark that year in 4:40.5.
Jackson established a County record in the 440-yard dash, 52.5 seconds, which stood for 10 years until being broken by a Suffern runner that he coached. He was a two-time County champion and two-time Section 9 runner-up, and qualified for the State meet three times. Jackson later earned renown as an educator and human rights advocate.
Wilson was a six-time County champion in the 120-yard high hurdles, 180 low hurdles and 880 relay and set County records in both hurdle races, 14.9 and 19.4, and as part of Nanuet’s 880 relay, 1:31.1. He was the first Rockland hurdler to break 15 seconds in the high hurdles. For the past 10 years Wilson has excelled in masters age-group competition, capturing six straight national titles in the 100-meter hurdles, four world championships spanning the 55-59 and 60-64 age groups, and setting a world record in the 100 hurdles and 4×100 relay.
Crosslin won the 1983 State indoor long jump title with a leap of 23 feet 5 ¾ inches, No. 2 on the all-time Rockland list. He finished second in the State 55-meter hurdles in 7.52, fourth-best by a Rocklander. He also won seven County titles in the hurdles and long jump, four Section 9 crowns, and clocked 54.0 in the 400 hurdles, missing the State sophomore record by one-tenth of a second.
Schroer was the 1992 national scholastic indoor 800-meter champion in 1:52.55, third-best by a Rocklander, and the 1992 national outdoor bronze medalist in 1:51.78, No. 5 all-time. He was a six-time State runner-up and holds the County 600-meter record, 1:21.09. At Georgetown, Schroer was an eight-time All-America selection. He was an Olympic Trials semifinalist at 800 meters in 2000 and quarterfinalist in 1996, and his personal-best time of 1:46.54 is tops among Rockland post-collegians. Last year he won the world outdoor masters 800-meter title for the 35-39 age group.
Howell was the 1999 State Class A 1,500-meter champion. She earned 16 Rockland County track titles and three more in cross country. She swept three straight County crowns in the indoor and outdoor 1,500 and 3,000 and also won five Section 1 titles. Her outdoor 1,500 time of 4:36.9 was a County record and is still fourth-fastest by a Rocklander, and her indoor times of 5:03.47 for the mile and 2:39.9 for 1,000 yards are No. 3 all-time.
Salsberg was a three-time national scholastic triple jump champion and seven-time New York State titleholder, six in the triple jump and one in the long jump. She won four straight State outdoor titles in the triple jump, holds the meet record of 41-4 ¼, and held the meet record at outdoor nationals with 41-10 ¾. She was a three-time Junior Nationals medalist, two-time Golden West Invitational medalist, 14-time County champion and 13-time Section 1 Class A winner. At Duke, she set school records in the indoor and outdoor triple jumps.
For ticket information visit the hall of fame’s website at www.rctfhalloffame.org.