04/16/1979 at 01:00 AM EST
Canzetta "Candy" Young, 16, is beginning to challenge the notion that Joe Namath is the greatest athlete ever to come from Beaver Falls, Pa. This winter the high school junior ran the 60-yard hurdles in 7.5 seconds, .03 better than the world record set in 1975 by Deby LaPlante, now 26. Candy's track career started only two years ago when the Beaver Falls High track coach, Karlin "Butch" Ryan, spotted her loping around the track. "How many ninth-graders do you know who can run the 50-yard dash in 5.6 seconds?" he asks incredulously. The daughter of a Pentecostal preacher and one of nine children, Candy maintains a 3.6-average and hopes to attend either UCLA or Tennessee State and major in mathematics and engineering. Her mother, Gertie, a part-time janitor at the school, encourages her daughter but warns, "Your legs are going to give out after a while, so get some sense while you're at it." To finance Candy's travel to track meets (costs so far total $6,000), the Beaver Falls Tribune has started a Candy Young Fund. Coach Ryan's hope for Candy is threefold: "I want her to stay healthy, get a college scholarship and represent her country at the Olympics—in that order."
Clint Strong didn't look as if he knew from blues or dues when he was introduced last year to Paul Guerrero, an ex-drummer with Woody Herman and Charlie Barnet turned head of the percussion department of Dallas' Richland College. "I really didn't want to hear the kid," Guerrero admits, but he surrendered to the pressure of Strong's father, an Arlington, Texas housing official. "Clint suggested All the Things You Are, and we took off. Man, what a surprise! He's terrific." Since then Clint, now 14, has been featured in top Dallas jazz events like tributes to Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker. He has also held his own in combo with ex-Blood, Sweat and Tears arranger-saxophonist Bill Tillman and jazz veterans like clarinetist Buster (One O'clock Jump) Smith and saxophonist Louis Hubert. Five years ago Strong learned the basics of guitar in two weeks and was soon outplaying his instructor. He mastered the lead guitar (versus the easier-to-play rhythm instrument) in only 18 months. Although the eighth-grader has yet to develop his own style, buffs have begun comparing him to the late Wes Montgomery. Weekends, Strong gigs with Guerrero's jazz group when he is not tied up with the Nichols Junior High School marching band. There, he plays sax, "but not," Clint shyly admits, "very well."