Sport: Track & Field
Born: April 10, 1932
Died: January 27, 2000
Town: Mays Landing
Aeriwentha Mae Faggs was born April 10, 1932 in Mays Landing and grew up in Queens. Mae attended Bayside High School, where she became a champion sprinter despite her diminutive 5’2” frame. In 1948, she qualified for the U.S. Olympic team in the 200 meters, but failed to make the finals in London. In 1949, as a member of the New York City PAL team, she won her first of six 220-yard AAU indoor titles.
In 1950, Mae became one of the first female athletes in the U.S. to receive a full college when she was recruited for the Tennessee State by track coach Ed Temple. Her success with the Tiger Belles, as well as her leadership, drew more talent to the program, including Wilma Rudolph.
Mae returned to the Olympics in 1952. She fell short of the finals again in the 200 meters, but did make the finals in the 100, where she finished sixth. Mae did not go home empty-handed, however. She was a member of the 4x100 relay squad that won a thrilling victory on the final leg.
In 1954, Mae was the AAU 200 meters champion. In 1955, she was a member of the winning 4x100 team, and also won silver in the 200 meters. She won both the 100 meters and 200 meters at the 1955 and 156 AAU championships. Her time of 10.8 seconds in the 100 in 1955 set a world record. Mae returned to the Olympics in 1956 and was a member of the 4x100 relay team, which won a bronze medal. She became the first American track athlete to participate in three different Olympics.
Mae married Eddie Starr and became a teacher at Lockwood Wayne High School in Cincinnati. She became an administrator at Princeton High School in Sharonville, OH and also coached the track team. In 1989, Princeton High won the state track & field championship. Mae was inducted into the Track & Field Hall of Fame in 1976. She passed away in 2000 at the age of 67.