Running Circles Around the Big Guys

Quentin Brelsford ’48 on Oct. 21, when his 1946 men’s cross country team was honored as part of the inaugural Team of Distinction. Brelsford is wearing his original school cardigan.

Your “Bishop Battles” article about the cross country team of the late 1940s brought back a lot of fond memories. After Quentin Brelsford ’48 won the national championship, he almost became a folk hero with his collegiate success.

He was a sportswriter’s dream: returning war hero, almost too humble, the little college runner against the big university boys. He and his beautiful new wife lived in “Vet Village” with their classmates from Ohio “what?” University from “where?”

The pressure was on our track coach and athletic director, George Gauthier, to showcase this new self-taught phenomenon to the track world. Our coach had to parade Quent in front of the world at the big indoor meets of the Midwest. He was running against the big boys.

There was a problem, though. How does little Ohio Wesleyan University afford to send Quent all over the country? Here’s the solution: OWU fills up the station wagon and takes along three other guys to run the mile relay against the other small-college relay teams. At the races, the public-address system announcers even blasted out, “And now, the mile relay team event featuring Ohio Wesleyan University, anchored by the great national cross country champion Quentin Brelsford!”

I ran in the No. 3 spot because I was the slowest of the four of us. But I handed off the baton to “the great Quentin Brelsford.” We won a lot of races. We got a few medals and we got our egos inflated, all because of “the great Quentin Brelsford.” We also gave sportswriters a lot of material to write about that little college in Ohio. Quent put us on the map!

The other runners on that mile relay team were Gene Blackburn ’48, the Ohio Conference 440-yard dash champion from Delaware, Ohio; Dick Hiler ’49, the Ohio Conference 800-yard champion; and me, Bob Gardner ’51, the Ohio Conference 100-yard and 220-yard champion. We were pretty good, but the star of the show was Quentin Brelsford. No ifs, buts, or doubts about it.

Bob Gardner ’51
Dublin, Ohio

70th Reunion a Highlight

You are surely to be congratulated on the magazine of OWU. In May, my daughter drove me to my 70th class reunion. It was one of the highlights of my life. I got to head the parade of classes in a golf cart with my daughter in the back seat. I was the only one there from my Class of 1947. You and the rest of OWU really rolled out the red carpet for all the alumni. I am very proud of OWU and glad to be an alumna of it. Thank you, OWU.

Marilyn S. Nelson ’47
Joy, Illinois

Spirit of Community Lives On

I just wanted to take a minute to tell everyone involved in this magazine how much I enjoyed the Fall edition. My son Jax Harville ’20 is a sophomore at OWU. We love the history, community, and lifestyle more than we can explain.

Thank goodness he is already going there; after reading the “OWU I Do” and the “Dear older me...” articles, we all would have deeply regretted any other choice. This school is so special, and your magazine does an incredible job of explaining why. Thank you for the excellent read.

Jodi Harville P ’20
Marion, Ohio

Six Degrees of OWU

The Griffiths in their senior yearbook picture, taken in the fall of 1977 on the lawn of University Hall, and today.

Since my husband, Bruce Griffith ’78, and I are one of the many couples to meet at OWU, I read your recent “OWU – I Do” feature with interest. I was perusing the story of Janet Wallace Lapp ’55 and Robb Lapp ’54, when I was brought up short. The surprising sentence simply stated, “On Saturday (1955), we were married by my father in Littleton, N.H., in the Methodist church he served.” As it happens, Bruce and I were married in that same church in 1978!

I was born in 1956 in Littleton and lived there until my marriage. My family attended the Littleton Methodist Church, where my mother was the organist for over 30 years. Although I have no personal memory of Rev. William Wallace, I remember his name from conversation. My much older sister suggests that unless the Lapps had an organist friend who played at their wedding, it is extremely likely that my mother (Mary Roberts) did the honors, and that Rev. Wallace almost certainly performed my infant baptism the next year!

Elaina Griffith ’78
Greer, South Carolina

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