It’s true that you can find the vast, vast majority of the mountains of prep track and field information, statistics and records online these days. But hardcore fans of the high school T&F scene know that if you really want the deep, definitive annual and all-time marks, you need to annually invest in a little 68-page paperback book simply called High School Track 2019 (or any previous year). That book is the work of Jack Shepard, now 84, of Westminster, California… and the work he’s done with the numbers, the lifeblood of the sport, for more than 50 years has made him a legend in contributions to the sport.
Shepard attended his first meet with his father, an AAU track official, as a 6-year-old child in 1941. He was allowed to hold the finish line tape. As do many passionate track nuts, he first started his love affair with sports numbers as a boy in other sports like baseball. While continuing to follow his father to meets, and eventually becoming an official himself, Shepard came to realize that track and field kind of stood alone in terms of its immersion in numbers, stats and results.
As he got more involved in the sport, Shepard began to migrate from the field to the press box and announcers booths, helping as a spotter and spending more time with the results and stats. As he moved past graduation from Occidental College into adulthood, and his network in the T&F community grew, he developed an association with Track and Field News. He was working a full-time job in the oil industry, but got part-time gigs compiling results and rankings with the publication. He became the Boys HS Editor of T&FN and then, in 1980, began compiling and publishing High School Track. He since has compiled a prep track statistics historical and annual database like no other.
Shepard worked full time for Texaco Oil until 1996, and since has in retirement been able to focus more and more on his track stats labor of love. He’s now been the Boys HS Editor for nearly 50 years and is coming up on year 40 for High School Track.
Did You Know?
In 2015, Jack Shepard received the Doug Speck Award for Excellence and Innovation from the NSAF.