Byrl Thompson

Byrl Thompson - Athlete Class of 1945

Described by Manny Cohn, who was himself a darn good athlete from Minneapolis South in the late 40's and early 50's, "Byrl was a man among boys. I'd see him walking on the campus at the U of M (where he was a multiple Big Ten Conference Champion in the discus) and he just stood out. He has to be one of the first people to go into the Southwest Hall."

No problem Manny, he was a unanimous choice.

While at SW, Byrl set a National High School Record for the discus when he threw the thing 176 feet, 4 inches on April 27, 1945 at the Aberdeen Relays in Aberdeen, South Dakota. That year he also was Minnesota State Champion in the discus and shot put. The year earlier he finished first and fifth respectively at the State Meet.

To really appreciate his winning discus throw at the '45 State Meet, just consider that his throw back then was more than three feet further than the Minnesota State Champion threw in 2014. That is incredible! Byrl also played football at Southwest for a couple of years before deciding to concentrate on the discus.

At the U of M, Byrl was a two-time All-American in addition to winning multiple Big Ten Titles. For his efforts he was inducted into the U's Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2000.

Along with other U.S. track and field notables like Jessie Owens, Wilma Rudolph and Ralph Boston, Byrl is also in the Drake Relays Hall of Fame.

From 1946 through 1949 Byrl finished in the top five at the U.S. Track and Field Championships, including 2nd place in 1948 and 3rd in 1947.

Following his well decorated U.S.A. track and field career, Byrl moved to Chile where he worked in engineering for a number of years. While there, he became the only American to become National Champion in that country.

Byrl grew up at 54th and Queen (which at that time was one block from the boonies) and now lives in Seeley Lake ,Montana with his long time wife, and Washburn High grad, Lucile.

The couple has two children, a daughter, Shelley and son, Byrl Jr., who was Montana's State High School Discus Champion and an All-State football player. Obviously that acorn didn't fall far from the tree.