The family of Wes Santee recently presented the Clark County Historical Society in Ashland with Santee’s National Track and Field Hall of Fame Ring for them to display.
David Wesley Santee was an American middle distance runner who competed mainly in the mile and 1,500 meter events.
Santee was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2005. In the 1950s, it was predicted Santee would break the four-minute-mile mark. Santee just missed breaking that mark, his fastest career miles were 4:00.5, 4:00.6, 4:00.7, 4:01.2 and 4:01.3, the best by an American in his day.
He was born on March 25, 1932 in Ashland. In 1950, he graduated from Ashland High, for which he was a two-time state champion in the mile run and a state champion in cross country. Following high school, Santee accepted an athletic scholarship and attended the University of Kansas in Lawrence.
Santee set the world record in the indoor mile record twice (1954 and 1955), the indoor 1,500-meter (1955) and the outdoor 1,500 meters in 1956.
The Helms Foundation named him the nation’s most outstanding athlete in 1953. This award was presented to the University of Kansas during the 2011 Kansas Relays.
Santee passed away Nov. 14, 2010 in Eureka, after a battle with cancer.
Family members who presented the National Track and Field Hall of Fame Ring include his wife Doris, of El Dorado and sons Spike and Bob Santee, both of Lawrence.