This Saturday, Fred Kerr, a 1955 West York grad, will be inducted into the Pennsylvania High School Track and Field Hall of Fame, in a ceremony to be held at the Penn State indoor multisport facility.
Kerr was a two-time double winner in the PIAA Class B 880 and mile runs. In both instances he ran a faster time than the Class A winner. A Scholastic Coach All-American for the mile as a senior, he twice broke the state record in the event, running 4:23.0 and 4:22.4. That latter time set a PIAA B meet record, which stood for ten years.
In the half-mile, Kerr's best of 2:00.2 at the state meet his senior year missed the meet record by only two-tenths of a second and placed him third on the state list for the year.
Prior to his four PIAA gold medals, Kerr was runner-up in the mile twice and in the half once. He earned a track scholarship to Penn State. He also was a co-captain and two-year starter at linebacker and running back for the Bulldogs football team and was the top-seeded wrestler at districts as a junior, was ranked as No. 5 on GameTimePA.com's list of West York's Greatest Athletes.
We caught up with the now 77-year-old about the honor.
Q. How does it feel to get inducted into the hall of fame for your sport? A. First of all, it was a real surprise because I wasn’t aware there was such a thing as a track hall of fame. Second, to know that I would be remembered after 59 years, it’s a great pleasure to be recognized for something that occurred so long ago. It’s a great honor to be inducted with so many stand-outs. I am very proud of that. It was quite a surprise, quite an honor and something I really appreciate.
Q. How long did you continue to run after Penn State? A. I went into the Army (was ROTC in college)and had a chance to participate for the Army track team for a short period of time. That was really the end of my competitive running, 1961. After my children had grown, it gave me the time to start running and jogging again and I did that for 20-25 years before the knees began to give out. I gave that up in favor of the NordicTrack and other exercises … Now I walk and do indoor stretching and exercises to stay in shape to enjoy life as best as I can.
Q. Have a favorite memory? A. I can remember running outdoors doing roadwork and people would say ‘Fred Kerr you are crazy.’ It was unusual for people to get involved so heavily in a single sport. It was unusual to have somebody who would dedicate so much time and energy into it. I enjoyed the competition. That is what I look back on.
Q. How special is it having former coach Herb Schmidt present the HOF award? A. Herb was the first person outside of the house that I called after I got the phone call. The first person that entered my thoughts was Herb. Herb was a prime supporter of mine, along with a group of other adults in West York … He’s always been a great friend and great supporter.