7. Track and Field


Track and field athletics were started on June 21, 1873 with Princeton’s Caledonian Games, the first American collegiate track meet.  George Goldie, director of the gymnasium, organized the contest, which continued annually until 1947.  Princeton’s first dual meet occurred in 1876 against Columbia, though perennial meets against this school and Cornell, Yale and Harvard did not begin until the 1890s.  In the summer of 1933, Princeton hosted a meet between combined teams of Princeton-Cornell and Oxford-Cambridge in which two competitors—New Zealand Rhodes scholar Jack Lovelock and Princeton’s Bill Bonthron ’34 (pictured here)—both broke the world record for a mile run with times of 4:07.6 and 4:08.7, respectively.  This record and others were surpassed the following year at the Princeton Invitational Meet, which became an annual Reunions event for the next seven years.  By 1937, the six fastest outdoor miles in history had been run in Palmer Stadium.  The completion of Jadwin Gymnasium in 1969 brought about an expansion of the indoor track program at Princeton, and in 1998, the outdoor track and field team received its own facility—the state-of-the-art, 2,500-seat William Weaver ’34 Stadium, located between Jadwin and Princeton’s new football stadium.