Reusse: Como Park track coach overcame hurdles, now coaches them

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 6, 2014 - 12:41 AM

Marvin Rouse encountered obstacles as a black track competitor in the late 1950s. Now he coaches hurdles in St. Paul.


Marvin Rouse, left, says his latest protégé, Como Park sophomore Trevon Clay, is a natural at the three-step technique. He’ll compete Friday in the preliminaries at the state meet.


CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Marvin Rouse has developed two state hurdles champions at Como Park High School. Niles Deneen was a winner in the state meet in 1994 and Aaron Larson in 1986.

The hurdles are a running discipline that takes a special talent, and Rouse always is on the lookout for a young athlete with a chance to excel.

Como Park’s track team still was working inside the gymnasium in the long spring of 2013 when Rouse took note of Trevon Clay.

“I talked to Trevon about the hurdles, and he was willing to give it a try,” Rouse said. “I showed him the three-step technique, and he picked it up right away. He was a natural.”

The three-step technique is required to clear the tightly placed barriers in the 110-meter high hurdles. The 300-meter intermediate hurdles require more stamina and are more forgiving with technique.

Now a sophomore, Clay won the hurdles events in last week’s Section 4AA meet and will be in the preliminaries of both Friday in the state meet at Hamline.

Clay was asked on Thursday how much credit Rouse, his 75-year-old coach, deserves in making him a hurdler.

“I was a sprinter … the 100 meters,” Clay said. “He taught me everything I know about hurdling. I enjoy this challenge.”

Trevon finds himself in a melting pot of a school at Como Park, with 1,400 students in four grades from five continents.

“We don’t have any students from Australia or Antarctica,” said Roy Magnuson, Como Park’s head track coach. “We have the other continents covered. We have 400 students from Southeast Asia and 150 from East Africa.

“The greatest thing I’ve seen in a school was at the Sadie Hawkins Day dance, where we had young women wearing their hijab, but also cowboy vests and boots.”

This acceptance of mixed backgrounds is a bit different from what Marvin Rouse encountered as a young man of the 1950s.

He grew up in Elmira, N.Y. He was the star running back at Elmira Free Academy for three seasons, while an athlete one year his junior, Ernie Davis, started at end.

Davis got the ball as a senior, and the recruiters descended on Elmira. Davis followed Jim Brown to Syracuse and, in 1961, became the first black player to win the Heisman Trophy.

He was the No. 1 selection in the 1962 NFL draft. He was diagnosed with a then-incurable form of leukemia; he never played in the NFL and died in 1963.

“Ernie and I grew up together; our families were always close,” Rouse said. “Some of his high school friends were among the pallbearers. I was one of them.

“Ernie’s death was hard for all of us to deal with … hard for the whole city of Elmira.”

Rouse wound up at Winona State in faraway Minnesota after high school. He competed in football and track, and gained a degree in sociology.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


NY Mets - LP: J. Familia 6 FINAL
Miami - WP: A. Ramos 9
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 7 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 0
Boston - LP: B. Badenhop 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: G. Balfour 4
Minnesota - WP: P. Hughes 6 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 4
Pittsburgh - LP: G. Cole 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Maness 5
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Turner 4
Detroit - WP: D. Price 12 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Kluber 1
Seattle - LP: C. Young 1 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Hammel 6
San Francisco - WP: J. Affeldt 4 FINAL
Colorado - LP: C. Friedrich 2
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Ross 3
San Francisco - LP: S. Romo 9 FINAL
Colorado - WP: L. Hawkins 10
Washington - WP: G. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Los Angeles - LP: R. Hernandez 4
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 3 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 4
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
(10) Baylor 45
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
Louisville 31
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Indiana 84 FINAL
Chicago 86





question of the day

Poll: How many fantasy football teams do you draft?

Weekly Question


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters