Three California legends added to National HS T&F HOF

This past December, the National High School Track and Field Hall of Fame announced their third class which included three California legends, Francie Larrieu, Charlotte Cooke, and Jerry Proctor. All three athletes competed primarily in the 60s and their marks, as you will see below, stand up as being outstanding at the national level to this day.

Francie Larrieu was a Fremont HS (Sunnyvale) '70 grad (photo from Fremont HS yearbook). One of the most talented high school runners in history, Larrieu still holds the fastest 1500m time by a Central Coast Section athlete as she tied the American record at that distance with her 4:16.8 effort following her junior year. That converts to about 4:35.7 for 1600m. You can read about that race at this LINK in her letter to CCS historian Hank Lawson. Larrieu also had a best of 2:05.9 in the 800m and her 1500m time stood as the California record until it was surpassed by Jordan Hasay, Mission Prep, in 2008 (4:14.50). When Larrieu was in high school, she competed for the Santa Clara Valley Track Club and then the San Jose Cindergals since Cross Country and Track and Field were not options for girls at that time. She competed against boys during her first two years of high school although was not considered an official competitor. 

Following HS, Larrieu trained with the UCLA team although she did not receive a scholarship despite being a national caliber runner. She went on to qualify for five Olympic teams (1972, 1976, 1980, 1988 and 1992). Her best finish was a 5th place in the 1988 Olympics 10000m race and was the flag bearer for the US team in 1992 as she competed in the marathon. Her older brother Ron ran for Palo Alto HS and was the state champion in the mile in 1956 with a time of 4:20.1. He competed in the 10000 meters in 1964 which was the same year that Billy Mills was the improbably gold medalist. Ron finished in 24th in that race.


Charlotte Cooke attended St. Mary's Academy in Inglewood and graduated in 1966. To this day, Cooke is still the 3rd fastest California HS runner in the 800 with a time of 2:03.8c (from 880). The only track athletes that have recorded a faster time are Amy Weissenbach of Harvard Westlake HS (2:02.04) and Mary Decker of Orange HS (2:02.29). Cooke competed for the Compton Track team and set multiple national and American records in both the 400 and 800. She also had a best of 53.1c in the 440 and 10.8 in the 100-yard dash. In July following her senior year, Cooke competed in the Amateur Athletic Union national championship in Frederick, Maryland and won the 880 in 2:05.0 and just an hour later, completed a most impressive double by winning the 440 in 53.4.
Photos courtesy of

Jerry Proctor (photo to the right is courtesy of, Daily News-Post, May 19, 1967) competed for Muir HS and graduated in 1967. In the long jump, he had a best of 26-0.75 which still stands as the 3rd furthest long jump In California history. The top two jumpers are James Stallworth of Tulare HS (26-4.75) and Ken Duncan of McClatchy HS (26-2.25). Proctor became the first long jumper in history to jump over 26 feet both indoors and outdoors. His indoor mark of 26-2 lasted for 22 years until Dion Bentley of Penn Hills in Pittsburg set the current indoor mark of 26-6.5 in 1989. Jack Shephard, the preeminent high school track and field historian said this about Proctor, "The one thing I can say about Jerry Proctor is that I think he is the greatest HS long jumper- ever, even though his indoor and outdoor HS records have been surpassed." Proctor was also an outstanding hurdler who held the 2nd fastest time in the 180yd hurdles. In total, he set 9 national records during his high school career. He competed at the 1968 Olympic Trials in the long jump as an 18-year-old only to finish in 5th place to just miss representing the US at Mexico City.