Grads return as volunteers
Athletes bring their expertise back to the track
The high school's new track is bringing alumni back.
At the recent invitational track meet held in Tonganoxie, most of those timing the races were former Tonganoxie High School track participants.
Jackie Quarles-Coleman, Lawrence, Shelly Clark Hunter and Debbie Shoemaker Krivjansky, all graduates of the class of 1983, reminisced about their high school athletic days, during which Bill Shaw, now girls track coach, was one of their coaches, along with Phil Lobb and Phil Williams.
The women agreed that Shaw hadn't changed much since they were in school.
"He still stresses a lot," Quarles-Coleman said, laughing. "He was always totaling the points, before the race even started."
Hunter agreed, "He always told us what we needed to do to win."
One thing that hasn't changed much, they agreed, was Shaw's energy level.
"He's still all over the track today," Quarles-Coleman said.
And Hunter added, "But he's probably slowed down a little bit."
These three women were members of a winning track team.
"We took league champs all four years of high school," Quarles-Coleman said.
That was during the days when girls' athletics weren't pushed as much as they are now.
Quarles-Coleman recalled, "We wanted to play football and to try the javelin, but they told us no."
Nichole Salmon, a 1990 graduate of Tonganoxie High School, bantered with Shaw at the track.
In high school, she participated in the open 800, the two-mile relay and the 100-meter hurdles, Salmon said.
Shaw joked, "There were 17 events, and she did nearly every one."
Some of the others who helped time the events were Jilinda New White, another member of the track team who graduated in 1983, her sister, Shauna New Gilmore, Lenexa, class of 1991, and Becky Coffin Wolfe, McLouth, a 1993 graduate.
Wolfe said it was fun to come back to school to help with the events.
"It's really neat that they finally have the track facility to hold regionals here," she said.
Shaw said the new track has been a dream of his for a long time.
In fact, tacked to the bulletin board in his classroom is a small piece of rubber, the type that coats the track.
"I used to keep that up there because it was as close as I could to a good track," Shaw quipped.
And now because of this nice new track, the school not only held an invitational track meet, but it will be holding Friday's regional track meet, as well.
And again, Shaw will rely on volunteers to run the meet.
"It takes about 70 workers to pull off a track meet," Shaw said. "This group of former students really gives us a good base, along with the faculty help. This will give us a quality meet."
Besides running a smooth-sailing track meet with the help of volunteers, Shaw, who has taught and coached in Tonganoxie since 1971, said an added benefit is it gives him the opportunity to see former track team members.
"It's renewing old acquaintances," Shaw said. "I just like seeing these people again that's just fun."