1978 Boys Track
2 Mile Relay Team- IHSA State Champions
Coach Dick Hobb’s retirement year was one to remember as the 1978 2 mile relay team had several accomplishments along the way. The team won 13 of 14 first place finishes that year, which included, Georgetown Invitational, Hoopeston Relays, St Joe Relays, Rensselaer relays, County, Conference, District, and State. The team set 5 records that year including the Hoopeston relays, St Joe relays, the County meet, the District meet, and the all-time school record which still stands today.
The team went to the IHSA state track and field meet in Charleston, Illinois in 1978. They consisted of, in order of running:
- Senior- Eric Haughee
- Sophomore- Ken Collins
- Sophomore- Jeff Stipp
- Senior- Harry Gudeman
At the district meet, which was the meet to qualify for state at the time, they set a new district record with a time of 8:13 which put them in the number 1 position going into next week’s state meet.
At state, on prelim, or qualifying day, it seemed that everything that could go wrong did for the team. Gudeman came up with a nervous stomach, but overcame and felt better by race time. Additionally, in the first exchange between Haughee and Collins, a runner stepped on the back of Collins foot causing him to lose his shoe. Despite running his leg with only one shoe, his time was only a couple of seconds slower than his normal time. Stipp followed up with a time of 1:59 and Gudeman came through with a 1:56 split respectively, for a time of 8:03. This time was very close to the school record that was set 1976. After the race, Collins had a blood blister on the outside of his foot and some bruised toes. The team and coaches were still hopeful of breaking the 8 minute mark in the finals, despite the injury to Collins, but knew it would be a challenge. They had the 3rd fastest time going into the finals behind Robinson and Rockridge with only about 1 second standing between the 3 teams.
On the day of the finals, as the team was traveling to the meet, in the course of conversation, Gudeman who was the anchor leg, told Stipp who ran the 3rdposition, that if Stipp could get the team within striking distance, he would give a winning effort to be state champions. After very respectable legs from Haughee and the injured Collins, Stipp got the baton in a challenging 8th position and several yards behind the competition. After his leg, Stipp handed off to Gudeman in a virtual 3 way tie for first place. Gudeman delivered on his promise by winning the state by only a stride. Stipp ran his best time of the year, with a 1:56 split, as did Gudeman with a split of 1:55 respectively. The team broke the 8 minute mark with a time of 7:59 and also brought home a state champion first place finish. The team ended the year not only with the fastest time in the area and a school record, but a state first place finish.
Coach Hobbs passed away the following January of 1979 where the team came together once again serving as pallbearers for the coach’s funeral. Also serving as coaches and major contributors for the team’s success, with training and support, were Coach Quentin Ryder and Bob Doty.