In 1975, a lean, wide-smiling letterman from Oak Grove began running his way up the record books at Northwest. Vernon Darling claims rights to the school’s best cross country 10K time, was part of the record-holding indoor medley team relay and owner of the second best time in the 3000-meter steeplechase. This All-America Cross Country and Track and Field distance runner was just the third individual to ever earn that distinction while at Northwest – a feat he accomplished three times throughout his career. An MIAA Champion for the 1-mile and two-time MIAA Champion in the 3000-meter steeplechase, Darling’s perseverance and hard work allowed him to leave his mark on the track and on the course before graduation in 1979.
Darling not only helped build an impressive individual track and field legacy during his time as a Bearcat, but still today the Darling family name continues to have a presence with Northwest Athletics. Ryan, his son, is a senior and currently the top runner for the Bearcat cross country team. In addition he also had success as a distance runner for the Bearcat track and field team.Today, Vernon is a chemical engineer for DOW Chemical and currently stationed in England.