Hall of Fame Inductee - Russ Merkel
A 1944 Quincy High School graduate, Merkel earned All-State honors in
track and also was a key player in football and basketball. He lettered
in football as a freshman and played halfback in 1943 and 1944, but
missed most of his final season because of an injury. He also lettered
in basketball in 1934-44. Merkel was a three-year standout in track,
however, excelling in both the high and low hurdles. He won the district
championship in high hurdles and placed fifth in the state meet in the
120-yard high hurdles as a junior. World War ll interrupted his senior
year in both basketball and track when he enlisted in the Navy. Merkel
entered the University of Iowa in the fall of 1946, where he played
football and ran track. He participated in the Big Nine indoor
championships as a freshman, and was fifth in the conference in the low
hurdles as a sophomore. He set several Iowa records, and set the Big
Nine record in the 70-yard low hurdles in 1949.
He was undefeated in high and low hurdles in competition in 1950.
Merkel capped off his indoor career by finishing second in the 60-yard
low hurdles in the prestigious Chicago Daily News relays in Chicago
Stadium, to Harrison Dillard, the world record holder in the event.
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