September 2014

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29 J on Reimer was surprised to receive news of his induction into the National Iowa Varsity Club Athletics Hall of Fame 47 years aer running his final race as a Hawkeye. "I know my performance had been good and the times have stood up over the years, but this is an honor you don't expect," said Reimer, a University of Iowa track and field student- athlete from 1965-67. "It has been 45-50 years now, so it was almost a shock." Reimer was one of six individuals inducted Aug. 29 at the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Convention Center along with Don Hatch (men's gymnastics), Nate Kaeding (football), Bruce Kinseth (wrestling), Jeanne Kruckeberg (cross country/track and field), and former women's cross country/track and field head coach Jerry Hassard. Reimer prepped at George High School in northwest Iowa -- a school that sponsored only baseball and basketball until 1962. Track and field was added during Reimer's sophomore year and football a year later. Reimer stumbled upon hurdles set up in the gym one aernoon, and the rest is history. "e new football coach they hired to start the program, even though it wasn't off the ground yet, had set up hurdles on the basketball floor, 10 yards apart," said Reimer. "I could do the three steps and was quick through them. at sparked my interest." During his senior year of high school, Reimer qualified in four events at the Iowa Class B track state finals. He finished with 21 points, winning three running events and placing third in the long jump. He led George to the team title by himself. "At the end of the meet, my coach told me to pack up because we had a long drive back home to northwest Iowa," said Reimer. "I had heard over the intercom the team standings and they kept saying George High School is in front with 21 points and there were two teams at 20. "ere was one guy vaulting in the pole vault in the last event of the day, and if he had cleared the height, they would have tied. He failed, so we won the track meet, and I got big publicity all over the state." Reimer received scholarship offers for football and track combinations throughout the state. Minnesota offered him a half scholarship on word of mouth from his head coach, but then came a call from University of Iowa head track and field coach Francis X. Cretzmeyer. "Cretzmeyer liked taking kids off the field and making them into athletes," said Reimer. "I fit his profile of what he liked to see in a high school athlete -- a kid that had a lot of talent, but had little coaching and experience. He could take a kid like me and make something out of them. We hit if off right away." Reimer credits the belief Cretzmeyer showed in him as a big factor in developing into an elite college runner. "(Cretzmeyer) didn't push in a hard way, but he pushed in a suggestive way that these are the things you can do and you might as well do it if you can," said Reimer. "I believed it. He made me believe I could do it, and as a result, I ended up doing it." Reimer earned All-America honors in the 440-yard hurdles as a sophomore and was a three-time Big Ten outdoor champion, winning the mile relay, 330-yard and 440-yard hurdles. e victory in the 330-yard hurdles is one of his favorite memories as a Hawkeye. "When I won the 330-yard intermediate hurdles, at the time, it was published in the Big Ten that it was a conference record for that event," he said. "at event has never been run again, so to this day, I hold the Big Ten record for the 330-yard intermediate hurdles." In 1967, Reimer was an All-American in a pair of events, including the mile relay, where he was part of a quartet that won Big Ten indoor and outdoor titles, set NCAA and Big Ten records, and claimed the USTF Federation championship, posting a time of 3:13.1. "By the end of the year, coach decided he was taking us to the USATF Federation meet and that was the only event we were going to run," said Reimer. "It turned out we turned in a healthy performance. At the time we were a half second off the world record. "e performance we put together with Fred Ferree, Carl Frazier, and Mike Mondane in the mile relay was unbelievable. We were unbeatable in that race." During his final year at Iowa, Reimer was draed to serve in the Vietnam War. is forced him to shelve his running shoes to focus solely on his education. "My only chance (to forego active duty) was to get my education and degree," said Reimer. "e company I was working with told me they were going to fight the dra and see what we can do. I went into the steel industry, and they said it was an essential civilian occupation." Looking back, the decision is still one that is hard for Reimer to swallow. He believes, with additional training, he could have been an Olympian in the 1968 Games in Mexico City. "If I had a little more time to work on the 400-hurdles alone, I am confident I could have made that team," said Reimer. "It's hard to tell what I would have done in Mexico City, but I didn't get a chance to go because I was draed and I had to report for duty in June, 1968." Reimer looks back fondly of his time at Iowa, and the Hall of Fame honor is a bonus. "e UI has done wonderful things for me," he said. "I got a degree in engineering and acquired a useful talent that I could take out and earn a living that has done well for me. I met my wife in college, and we've been married 46 years. "I have a wonderful set of memories that I was able to generate with my teammates, and I've had an interest in following Iowa track all along. My experiences at Iowa were wonderful, and anything above that is icing on the cake."

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