California has a rich history in Track and Field that includes a state meet that dates back to 1915. To this day, California is one of the few states whose annual state final features no divisions which will determine the best of the best in the sport. Looking back in the history of the sport of Track and Field in California, you will find some of the best athletes and coaches in the nation.
Along with those athletes and coaches, some very influential people have also been a huge part of the sport by promoting the sport from behind the scenes. One such person is Jack Shepard (Photo is courtesy of Jack Shepard), a man who still produces his High School Track Annual which started out in 1979.
Shepard got his start in the Track and Field world as a 6-year-old in 1941 as an on-the-field helper for his dad, who was an AAU official in Southern California. Although his first job was to hold the string at the finish line, his passion for track stats was ignited during that first experience. Shepard eventually became an official himself but his greatest contributions to the high school Track and Field world was his meticulous collection of the top marks during each year.
The photo below taken at the 2005 Arcadia Invitational is courtesy of Keith Conning who is standing on the far left. Next to him and moving to the right is Bob Jarvis, Jack Shepard, Jim Spier and AJ Holzherr.
Shepard has been the Boys HS editor for Track and Field News since 1968. In 1979, Shepard became the publisher and editor of his High School Track Annual which is 68 pages of heaven to a Track and Field historian and statistician. Inside you can find the best marks for the previous season for outdoors and indoors for both boys and girls. The best part of each annual may be the all-time lists that feature a who's who in HS track history.
While there have been many great athletes that have performed throughout Jack's involvement in the sport, his personal favorite athlete of all-time is Jim Ryun. Shepard believes that the greatest record of them all is Michael Carter's shot put mark from the 1979 Golden West Invitational. In the past two seasons, Shepard has also noted that Mondo Duplantis and Sydney McLaughlin are two of the greatest high school athletes in history and their performances may not be surpassed for a very long time.
Shepard was inducted into the 2019 National High School Track and Field Hall of Fame as part of its 2nd class. That is quite an honor for someone who wouldn't be listed in his own publication but is such a big part of our sport in his own unique way.
Below is an example of Jack's work and if you do not get one before each season, you are really missing out on one of the great deals of the century: $12, including shipping and handling!