Editor's Note: With the approach of the Penn Relays, we thought we'd take a look back at Pennsylvania T&F history. Last fall, while covering XC, we met Craig Lowthert (through e-mail), the son of one of the best middle distance/distance runners of his time, and the nephew of his father's twin, who was also an incredible T&F athlete. Here, in photos and highlights, is their running story, and the legacy they created that has been passed on (pun intentional) to their children and grandchildren. If you know of a T&F or XC family that we should feature on PennTrackXC, let us know. We'll see if we can catch up with them sometime soon. - Don Rich, Publisher
The Lowtherts of Pennsylvania. A running history.
Clyde helps Pottsville set a school record at the Penn Relays in 1951.
Clyde and Ray Lowthert of Pottsville are twins. Runners. And part of Pennsylvania Track & Field lore.
The two made state history on the track and off, on the trail. Running times that, at the time, ranked nationally. And putting Pottsville on the map with success at the Penn Relays.
Clyde and Ray ran in the late 1940's and early 1950's in High School. Clyde and his wife have six children, Cheryl, Clyde, Jr., Cathy, Cindy, Craig and Carole (see a trend here?).
Ray and his wife have three children. Debbie, Diane and Donna. And while alliteration apparently runs in the family, so does running. But more on that in a moment.
First, the legacy.
In T&F, both Clyde and Ray were studs. (No point in mincing words.)
In 1951, Clyde went 1:58 flat, the second fastest in the US that year. A guy in California went 1:57.1. This was on cinders kiddies. Not Mondo. Not banked. Cinders. The same stuff they used on roads.
Clyde was in good position after the first lap at the state 800 (above). Clyde winning 800 states in 1951 (below).
That year, Clyde won the State Championship in the 800. He won the Cross Country title, too. For 2.1 miles, the time was 11:10. In 1950, his junior year, he had been 2nd in Cross and 3rd in the 800.
The injury-free Clyde thought he'd test his talent at the Eastern Championships at Seton Hall. His 14:37 3-mile was good enough for 7th place.
Clyde was offered scholarships to the University of Miami, Penn. Penn State and Villanova. He chose Miami, but moved back after a year to get married.
On October 21st 2001, Clyde was inducted in to a local chapter of the state hall of fame.
Clyde and Ray, as evidenced by the following results, were successful at a level others can only dream of.
For example, Ray finished 2nd with a 4:30 in the mile behind Lehighton's Lemont Smith, who won in 4:28. As a senior, Ray was 4th in the Mile. Ray held the school mile record from 1951 until 1980 when Clyde's son, Craig, broke it with a 4:29.
Here are a few of their results, along with key competitors.
1949 State X-C meet in State College
1. Ted Pszybyszewski Ambridge
2. Clyde Lowthert Pottsville
3. Robert Hellen Williamsport
4. Robert Gross Ambridge
5. Donald Delligatti Connellsville
Ray was 14th his Junior year in XC.
1950 State X-C meet in State College
1. Clyde Lowthert Pottsville
2. Bob Gross Ambridge
3. Wally Giordana Mt. Lebanon
4. Ray Lowthert Pottsville
5. William Liddic Williamsport
Mt. Lebanon won the team title with 69 points (200 runners)
1950 Eastern X-C Championships at Seton Hall College. 3-mile course.
1. Fred Abbington Chatham NJ 13:46
8. Clyde Lowthert Pottsville 14:16
9. Ray Lowthert Pottsville 14:17
There were 325 runners Team Champ was Bishop Loughlin NY
Ray (above) was 4th at the 1950 State XC Meet, 9th in the 1950 Eastern States meet, 4th in the 1950 State Mile, and 2nd in 1951.
Clarence Smith, Norristown, takes the 1950 880 in 2:00.9. Springfield (Montco's) John Blood was second at 2:01 flat, with Clyde 3rd, .4 back.
A dual meet, Clyde and Ray are on the left.
1950 State 880 in St College
1. Clarence Smith Norristown 2:00.9
2. John Blood Springfield (Mont Co.) 2:01.0
3. Clyde Lowthert Pottsville 2:01.4
1950 State Mile
1. Dan Sommer Altoona 4:31.4
2. Don Fryer Chester
3. Dave Mattshaw Springfield
4. Ray Lowthert Pottsville 4:32.4
5. Gordon Price Coughlin Wilkes-Barre
1951 State 880 in State College
1. Clyde Lowthert Pottsville 1:58.3
2. Joe McKean Clearfield
1951 State mile
1. Lamont Smith Lehighton 4:30.0
2. Ray Lowthert Pottsville 4:30.1
The State Record for 880 in 1951 was 1:57.0 by Dick Belyea of Upper Darby (1938)
At the Penn Relays 1951, Clyde ran 3:16 for the 1320 leg in the DMR. Pottsville finished 5th overall in 11:06.
And guess what, Clyde and Ray's kids took to the sport and excelled as well. Their performances are detailed below.
Clyde Jr: ran 1:59 in 880 in 1972.
Craig (Clyde's son) and Donna (Ray's daughter) at the 1980 Dist XI Cross Country Championships, where both would finish first.
High School: Dist XI Track champ in 1980 mile - 4:29 & 880 - 1:59
Dist XI X-C champ in 1980 15:18 3 miles (Hidden Valley GC)
State X-C 1980 28th
Dist XI Track champ 1981
3200m State meet 1981
1600 4:18.4 6th (SR)
3200 9:46 10th
College: Millersville Univ 1500m record 3:50.0 (1985)
Ran 1500m at the NCAA II championships 1985
1200m...3:01.8 (indoors) DMR
Ray has 3 children: Debbie, Diane, & Donna
Dist XI X-C Champ 1980 18:30 3 miles
State X-C 1980 27th
Clyde's grandchildren are all graduates of Pottsville high school.
1. Kurt & John Ruch (Cheryl is married to Jack Ruch)
Dist XI champ in shot put
State medalist w/ best throw of 54'10
Dist XI champ in shot put
State medalist w/ best throw of 59'10 3/4 (SR)
Both are graduates of West Point
2. Chris Lowthert (Clyde Jr is married to Dorrie Shaw)
Schuylkill League X-C champ
Schuylkill League 3200 champ
He is a graduate of Moravian College. Ran X-C & track.
3. Scott, Mike, & Katie Stank (Cathy is married to Terry Stank)
Dist XI High Jump Champ 6'5"
Dist XI 300m IH Champ :39.3 (SR)
Long Jump 23'1" (SR)
Dist XI Discus Champ 124'9" (SR)
300m Hurles :46.0 (SR)
4. Eileen & PJ McGeever (Cindy is married to Pat McGeever)
AAU National 800m Champ 13-14 age group 2:19
Dist XI X-C Champ
State X-C 3rd place AAA
Best times 1500m 4:52
1600m 5:18 (SR)
800m 2:18 (SR)
She is a graduate of Arizona State University
Dist XI 800m 3rd place 1:59.0.
And who knows where the family will excel next?
Clyde and Ray. Thanks for the memories. You've helped make PA Track, Field and XC what it is today.