The Halstead Connection
Halstead’s Conrad Nightingale Invitational Track meet was inaugurated in 1970 in honor of Conrad Nightingale, a 1968 Olympic performer, and a native of Halstead. Nightingale was raised on a farm northwest of Halstead, attended the Halstead public schools and graduated in 1963. In high school he was a successful and versatile athlete participating in three sports: football, basketball, and track for four years. His achievements in each of the three sports were noteworthy. However, he achieved his greatest success and recognition in track, where he distinguished himself by setting a new record for the mile run on his way to a first place finish in the 1963 KSHSAA State Track Meet.
After graduating from high school, Nightingale attended Kansas State University on an athletic scholarship in track. While he was there, he received national attention as one of the nation’s most accomplished distance runners. In 1966, Nightingale won the Big Eight Outdoor Track Championship with a mile time of 4:00.90, a meet record, and the College Athletic Association mile with a time of 4:03.40. In the Spring of 1968, he anchored the Kansas State distance medley relay team to a world record of 9:44.60; his time for the anchor was 4:01.10.
In July of 1968, Nightingale competed in the Olympic trials for a position on the USA 3,000-meter steeple chase team, and won the right to represent our nation in the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.