Becky Drake Cecconi
Becky (Drake) Cecconi was a very successful athlete in two sports while she attended Kingsford High School, gymnastics and track and field. In high school, she was named one of the area’s best track and field athletes among other competitors from Kingsford, Florence, West Iron County, Niagara, Norway, Iron Mountain and Forest Park High Schools. She was named best athlete in the 100 yard dash (11.65 seconds), 440 yard dash (61.3 seconds), and the high jump (5 feet 3 inches). In 1977, the Mining Journal questioned whether she was “untouchable” when she made an 18 foot, three inch long jump at the U.P Finals (still a U.P record). During her senior year at the 1979 U.P. Finals in Marquette, under Coach Marilyn Phillips, the Kingsford Girls Track and Field Team took first place with 59 points, beating out seven other teams. In total, the Kingsford girls won six firsts and Cecconi won three of those: the 100 meter dash (12.7 seconds), the 400 meter dash (1:00.3) and the long jump (5.31 meters). She also placed second in the high jump (149 meters). Cecconi finished her high school track career at the Great Northern Conference Track Championships in Escanaba. The Kingsford Girls took second place overall, but Cecconi won four events and broke three Great Northern Conference records.
Cecconi also competed in gymnastics throughout her high school years. Marilyn Phillips was her coach for this sport, also. Cecconi placed in multiple events in the U.P Girls' Gymnastics Finals every year she competed. Cecconi's freshman year, 1976, the Kingsford girls placed seventh overall. But she placed second in Vaulting, third in Floor Exercise and second as Overall Individual. Kingsford improved as a team by the time the Finals came around in 1977 and placed third. Cecconi placed fifth in the Balance Beam and Floor Exercise, fourth in the Uneven Bars, and second in both Tumbling and Vaulting. She again placed second individually. The team continued to improve, and by the finals in 1978, they placed second as a team to Escanaba in first. Cecconi placed first in Vaulting and Floor Exercise that year, but did not place as an overall individual. In 1979, Kingsford finally placed first at the U.P Girls' Gymnastics Finals. Cecconi placed fifth in the Balance Beam, third in the Uneven Bars, and first in both Vaulting and Floor Exercise. Cecconi also placed first individually, beating Marquette's competitor by over three points.
Images courtesy of Marilyn Phillips