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Monday, July 10, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 157 

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Former UH track legend Hilton dies

Cougar Sports Services

In a season that saw numerous accolades and awards, the Cougar Track and Field family was stricken with tragedy Tuesday, July 4,when former UH track and field star Leonard Hilton passed away after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

The Cougars' storied track and field history has much to owe to Hilton; he was a four-time letterman from 1967-1971, was a member of the 1972 United States Olympic team and two-time American champion in the mile in 1973 and 1975.

Hilton's numerous achievements include being the first native-born Texas to run a sub-four-minute mile and having been the anchor (last) leg of the Cougar relay team that set a world record in the indoor distance medley relay in 1970.

A native of Hillsboro, Texas and an alumnus of local Austin High School, Hilton also became the first UH runner to break the four-minute barrier.

Hilton went on to shatter that mark a stunning 32 times during official competitions.

His lone Olympic appearance, in 1972, was as a member of the 5,000 meter team.

Hilton battled US track and field icon Steve Prefontaine in the 5,000 before eventually succumbing and securing third.

After his track days were over, Hilton went on to earn his degree in engineering from UH and later served as vice president of operations with Kinder Energy and Enron Corp. He was diagnosed with cancer in spring of 1999.

He is survived by his wife Christie and their two foster children, Elsa and Gabriella Castellon Quisbert.

In lieu of flowers, the family has established the Leonard Hilton Scholarship fund at UH.

Contributions may be sent to the Leonard Hilton Scholarship Fund, 1922 W. Bell, Houston, Texas 77019.
 

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