While writing about the History of girls Redwood Empire 3200m I had this line in it.
“The next week at the 1979 NCS 3A Tera Linda’s Robyn McSwain beat Flint 11:05.2-11:05.5 but Flint would win the NCS Meet of Champions with a 11:04.9.”
My site covers the four leagues in four counties. But just south of that is Marin County which competes in the NCS Redwood Track Regionals and they often come up to our Invitationals. So we have a lot of history with them.
Being a 1978 grad I always get excited when I see stuff about my competition era. So this couple really caught my eye.
Redwood High’s Rod Berry was one of Northern California’s greatest distance runners.
As a junior he placed second to Eisenhower’s Frank Assumma in the 1977 State meet 2 Mile as they clocked 8:52.9-8:53.4.
Berry’s time is one of the ten fastest of that century and is equal to about 8:50.54 for 3200m. Berry was the NCS MOC champ that year also at 9:05.3.
The 1978 NCS MOC meet was a biggie for us as Piner’s Armand Moreno would break the Redwood Empire record with a 9:14.0 but because of the quality of the field he would be 5th.
1978 MOC 2 mile: 1st Steve Strangio, Mission San Jose 9:06.1, 2nd Berry 9:06.8, 3rd Wentworth, Livermore 9:09.0, 4th Mark Conover, Miramonte 9:09.4, 5th Moreno.
The next week at state Berry would match up with these plus one of the best high school distance runners this nation has ever produced.
That would be Burbank’s Jeff Nelson. The two would battle all the way to the tape with Nelson edging Berry for the championship with both clocking the same 8:59.3. Back in 5th place was Mark Conover the 1988 Olympic Trials marathon champion.
The next year, 1979, Nelson would win the state 2 mile again in 8:47.4 after having broke the national record at 8:36.3 in May.
As mentioned in that same 1979 year Robyn McSwain was battling Ukiah’s Dana Flint.
Flint would win the 1979 MOC meet but McSwain would win it the next year in 10:41.5.
In between McSwain placed 21st in the Footlocker National Cross Country Championships.
The story goes that in 1980 there was a new couples race with each running two miles. Robyn, only a high school sophomore, really wanted to win so she called college runner Berry. That’s brave. Long story short today they are married.