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Lynxette Cross Country Program Celebrates 30 Years of Success!
2016 marks 30 years of the Lynxette Cross Country program. 30 years of Lynxettes that have lined up to run 2 miles in heat, rain, snow, mud and gusty Panhandle wind. They have all understood what it meant to go to WORK!
That WORK has produced 5 State Championships, 8 State Medalist Teams, 11 State Qualifying Teams, 7 Regional Championships and 16 District Championships. That same WORK has landed the Lynxette Cross Country Program a 7th Ranking among Texas Running’s Top Cross Country Programs of All-Time of All Classifications.
The 2016 Lynxette Pack wants to celebrate these past 30 years of accomplishments, all the while, adding their own to the impressive list! Their team t-shirts reflect the past and their motto reflects their desire to add their own legacy…WATCH US WORK!!
We hope to highlight a past Lynxette Cross Country Team every week of our season with pictures from their season…so join us, Spearman, every week as we remember the sweat, tears and smiles of all Lynxette runners!
**If you have been a part of the Lynxette XC program, we would love to hear from you! Please contact Starla Whiteley at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynxette Cross Country 1986 The year it all began! Coach Richard North began the Lynxette Cross Country program with six brave runners: Laci Lasater, Nancy Ivey, Carly Shieldknight, Heather Murrell, Ginger Pearson and Cacy McGill. Coach North didn’t know that within two years of starting the program, he would lead the Lynxettes to the first of the program’s five State Championships. Coach North has coached in several Panhandle schools and is respected among the coaching ranks in this area. He is now a coach at Perryton High School. He shared the information below about the 1986 team.
“We had a good group of sophomores and freshmen that had been really successful in track, so some of them were gung ho when I suggested we give cross country a shot. Others were a little apprehensive when they found out it was two miles long. We went to our first meet in Borger at some kind of chemical plant there. None of our girls had ever seen a cross country meet. There were big globs of foam or soap-like bubbles floating in the air. They moved their meet to the football field the next year. I remember long bus rides leaving before dawn to go to places like Plainview and Hereford. We were fairly competitive all year long and ended up getting to run at regionals because no one else in our district had a team. I think we finished fifth and were very pleased. The team was made up of pleasant and hardworking girls. None of us had any idea where this would end up taking us and how quickly we would get there.” Coach Richard North.
1988 State Cross Country Champs!!
In only its third season as a sport at SHS, cross country already has a strong tradition with a 3rd place State Meet finish in 1987 and now a 1988 STATE CHAMPIONSHIP. This team was coached by Richard North and led by two Seniors, Krista Kirkland and Heather Murrell (both were named All-State Runners). Other members included Shannon Holton, Haley Shieldknight, Nancy Ivey, Michelle Cook, Carly Shieldknight and Suzanne Sanders.
Krista Kirkland-Gerlich remembers the following from the 1988 State Championship season: “In just our 3rd year of having a cross country program, we did it…we won it ALL! From running hills at Gibner Ranch to the sand beds of Palo Duro Creek, Coach North got creative and upped our game. He made us stay hungry and focused. We had such good team chemistry and from seniors to freshmen we all wanted the gold! I remember our parents decorated our hotel rooms at Regional and State with "one shining moment" and we had it! 1988 State Champs....we started something that lives on stronger than ever today! So proud of that!!”
Haley Shieldknight-Shields fondly remembers her teammates from 1988: “What I remember the most about the 1988 State Cross Country Champions were the people that made up that team. That team was made up of a great group of girls with great families and coaches to support them in all that they did. In fact, most of us had been friends since kindergarten! To get to be a State Champion with your best friends is awesome! It is a lot easier to work hard at practice and put in all the long hours that it takes to be a state champion when you are doing it with your friends and a coach that runs right along beside you.
I also remember that this group of girls were made up of heart, determination, leadership, and had the desire to win. They were a TEAM! We had some great talent on our team, but we weren’t the best of the best. But what we did have was a TEAM that never let each other down, and that is what made us Champions!”
Lynxette Cross Country 1989-1991
Coach Richard North remained the Spearman XC Coach and also began the first cross country meets that Spearman hosted. They ran at the golf course for several years until Palo Duro Lake Park/Dam area was finished. This area is where Spearman XC has hosted the District XC Meet and the Palo Duro Lake XC Invitational from 2008 to the current season. Coach North left Spearman in 1994 and we have not found record of a Spearman hosted XC Meet until 2008. In 2015, Palo Duro Lake XC Invitational hosted thirty-five schools with over 500 runners at this meet. Spearman now hosts a JH meet, an invitational and since 2008, the District XC Meet. As you can tell in the picture of this group, the park area has developed beautifully over the years.
1989, 1990, and 1991 - three seasons that added to the already dominating tradition with three District Championships, two Regional Championships, a 5th place State Finish and a State Runner-Up Silver Medalist Team! The runners on these teams recall the miles running together, the bells on their shoes, team songs and the community support. As one picture shows, “STATE: It’s a long road but IT’S WORTH the trip!!”
Jill Lusby-Butler recalls, “When I started high school, cross country was so new and had been so successful it was easy to want to be a part of the success. Winning district, regional and state was the standard set for us and we did the best we could to uphold the standard. We were blessed to run for one of the best coaches in the state. Coach North ran almost every mile with us and pushed us every day. He took a bunch of basketball players and convinced us we could be state cross country champions. We came up just short of that in 1990 but made some amazing memories on the journey to state runner-up. Our parents, coaches and community provided us memories such as team dinners, song remakes by Karla Flowers, Linda Wilkerson and others, painted t-shirts, summer training trips in the mountains, and countless hours and miles traveling to chase us around a field for a race that lasts less than 15 minutes. The friendships made lining up to run together every day no matter the wind, rain, heat, or snow are bonds that will last a lifetime.”
Mendy Lasater-Riggins sums up 1990 by saying, “I did not really pick this crazy sport of running in various pastures or up the caliche hills of Hansford County. I mean who in their right mind says yes to two a day workouts in the mountains of Angel Fire. What I really said yes to was a group of amazing girls and some phenomenal coaches who believed in us. Thanks to one of the greatest coaches ever - Coach North, who ran those miles along side us, as well as Coach Kirkland for encouraging all of his players to go the extra mile. I must include Coach Flowers and Mrs. Wilkerson for making a state bound pep rally a complete production. Although our medals were silver that year at the 1990 state cross country meet, I have nothing but golden memories. For me, I just happened to have friends who were great runners and in turn I had to run to spend time with them. Maybe I did like it .... Just a little.”
Lynx Cross Country – Boys Join the Lynxette Tradition!
Jerold Blan watched the 1986 and 1987 Lynxettes’ success and wanted to know what this cross country “thing” was all about so he asked Coach North if he could run and compete. Not only did he run and compete but he also was FAST! Jerold was our first male cross country runner in Spearman and he has remained our only male State Qualifier\State Medalist. Jerold medaled 10th at the 1988 District Meet, 9th at the Regional Meet and was a 9th Medalist at State. Jerold is now a loyal Lynx\Lynxette fan and follows his own Lynxette XC Runner, sophomore Jaden Blan. Jerold still loves to run and reminds our current runners to “always have fun with it.” He says, “When you run because it’s your passion, pain and problems are nothing.”
Several years after Jerold competed for the Lynx, a few determined boys joined the fun. Jason Banks remembers: “When I moved to Spearman, Texas in 1996, there was only a varsity girls' cross country program. Jason Villines and Heath Archer had just graduated, and both ran in 1995 with an incomplete team. With their help, I spent the summer months meeting and recruiting high school underclassmen who didn't play football - trying to form the first complete varsity boys team. The school allowed us to compete, and by our third week of the season Amarillo Globe News had us ranked as 2nd in the entire state (right behind Boys Ranch).
As an individual, I loved competing in cross country. I felt free. For "three-point-one" miles, nothing else mattered. I remember feeling as though I represented the entire community of Spearman when I stepped to the starting line. I was proud of our team and what we were accomplishing, especially since no one expected it from us. I received letters from Texas A&M, the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, Texas Tech, SWOSU, Fort Hays State, Tarleton State, and West Texas A&M. I ran for WTAMU in 1999 and 2000.
The most notable high school finish for me at SHS was my 11th-place Region finish in 1997. I missed state qualification by less than three one-hundredths of a second, and I was horribly sick with food poisoning. My biggest margin of victory was at Turpin, Oklahoma, where I won the meet by 56 seconds and set a course record of 15:19.2 for 5k. I also won at Wheeler, Texas with a 15:26 and Sanford-Fritch with a 15:55. The wins were important to me at the time - but looking back - the camaraderie developed within our team built life-long friendships that far outweigh any trophies or medals.”
Jason isn’t the only one with fond cross-country memories. When asked about her Lynxette cross-country days at SHS under Coach Marcia Shieldknight, Keisha O’Quin responded: “Coach Shieldknight did a great job coaching us! She taught me to always give 100% in everything I do! She had us run different places for practice and ride bikes to get us in cross country shape. There is a special bond our team formed after so many hard practices and brutal meets! Cross country makes you push yourself to your limits and even when you think you have nothing left, you dig deep down to sprint the last part of the race! Once a Lynxette, Always a Lynxette!”
Thank you, Jason, Keisha, and all your teammates for contributing to SHS’s cross-country history, and serving as role-models for all the cross-country runners in the years to follow you! Once a Lynx/Lynxette, Always a Lynx/Lynxette! Some of our 90’s XC Lynxettes!
SHS Cross Country: 1999 Lynxettes Cross Countr -: The is Flame Re-Ignited
by Macy Harbour-Beedy
In 1999, eight years after a Lynxette individual or team had qualified for the Regional Cross Country Meet, Coach Kyle Short and his family moved to Spearman. In Coach Short’s words:
“Lynxette Cross Country in 1999 - Our first year we were just trying to get more involvement and making sure in the big picture, that Spearman ISD cross country was relevant again. From day one, Coach Walker and myself were amazed at how hard the girls would work. It motivated us to work hard for them and put competitive teams out there from the JH on up.
The first year it was important that we got someone to Regionals just to show how the community supports all sports programs in Spearman. They have always made the athletes who participate and are lucky enough to advance feel special, and the send-offs with the elementary memorable.
Chelsea Nollner made a “state champion” like sprint to secure the 10th place as an individual - I know the girls were surprised because the coaches were so excited that we had someone going to regionals, but I believe it meant a lot to what happened in girls’ athletics the next several years; state champion teams, events and individuals.”
Chelsea Nollner Sevadjian remembers that ‘99 season well: “I was the only girl to qualify for regionals that year, and at that point the workouts became quite creative. I remember Coach Short following me in his truck as I ran up Hansford Hill in the dark. I have always thought that showed a lot of commitment on his part (and mine!). Even though those workouts were tough, I remember actually enjoying them because he was helping me work hard for something I really cared about. I still always think of that when I drive up Hansford Hill.”
Coach Short sums up his time after having some individual success his first season with the Lynxettes: “After that, we were competitive in cross country at all levels with everyone in the Panhandle, including team trips to Regionals with the 2003 team qualifying for the State CC meet. The next year we just missed being regional champions and again qualified for state - just missed medaling in Round Rock. (Great memories)
I was always amazed at what a great school system Spearman has and how the student/athletes competed with class on every athletic field, court, track, course and classroom. Spearman Lynxettes to me represented “Great Leaders and Great competitors” and I was lucky enough to coach them for 7 years.”
Starting in his first season as Spearman’s cross country coach, Coach Short had re-ignited the flame. In 1999 and 2000, Chelsea Nollner qualified for regionals individually, and in 2001 Jessica Crossland qualified for regionals individually. Lynx cross country runner, Adam Cherry, also qualified for regionals in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Coach Short’s remaining years as cross country coach in Spearman were followed by quite a bit of team success including: three District Championships, an 8th place State Finish, and a 5th place State Finish!
Claudia Vaquera fondly recalls, “I ran cross country from 2000-2003, but our biggest success was when we made it as a team! 2002 and 2003 as regional team qualifiers and then state qualifiers in '03. I feel that no matter how we did individually, it wasn't as big or amazing as what we accomplished together! We pushed each other in every practice which motivated us to run our best at meets. My favorite memory is how proud we all were to qualify as a team for state in 2003! Some of my other great memories: the huge amount of support from the community and fellow classmates, the great send off at the elementary, the excitement of those "fancy" chips for our shoes, (one of the first years they had an electronic chip to clock our time as we started and crossed the finish line!) and of course that unforgettable feeling as we lined up side by side in front of the huge Texas flag that said 2003 State Cross Country Championship to take a team picture before the race! It's a memory that we will cherish forever! I'm sure when we think back about it, we also remember how excited and NERVOUS we were but it was so much easier to be there with our teammates by our side!”
To add to what Claudia already mentioned, when I think back to my cross country days, I am flooded with incredible memories! I remember how insanely nervous we were each and every week, but looking back on it now, I wouldn’t trade a single day. From day one my seventh grade year in cross country, we were competitive. Coach Short, Coach Walker, and Coach Baird set the bar high for us, believing we could be good. I remember in 7th grade watching Chelsea (Nollner) qualify for regionals. Watching the district ceremony where they awarded her medal and announced her regional qualification - all the Spearman fans went wild! It was so motivating for all the Junior High runners. The goal of qualifying for state for us started early. My sophomore year (2002), our team won district and qualified for the Regional Meet. The next season we were again district champs and finally qualified for state! I’ll never forget Coach Short walking back from checking the results at the regional meet. Our whole team, families, and friends waited in dead silence to hear Coach Short announce the results. It seemed like it took him FOREVER to say we got 3rd place and were headed to Round Rock! We had finally qualified to run at the state meet. It had been our dream since 7th grade. Our whole area roared with excitement! Our team’s theme song for the season had been “The World’s Greatest” by R. Kelly. On the drive from our hotel to the state course at Round Rock the morning of the State Meet, Coach Short played that song on the bus. We drove in silence taking it all in. I can’t listen to that song today without getting teary and it taking me right back to that moment and that season. We placed 8th at state that year and were on cloud 9 just being there and feeling like “The World’s Greatest.” The 2004 season we were again district champs and missed being regional champs by 1 point. We were headed to run at Round Rock again. That year we placed 5th. Throughout my time running cross country, we had incredible support from our families and the community.
My Senior year I kept track of how many miles we ran including practices and meets. We ran a total of 132 miles each. As the only senior on the team, I spoke at the all school pep rally they held for us and I said the ten of us girls who ran competitively all year long, had run a total of 1,320 miles. That was farther than going from Spearman to Round Rock AND back. I made lifelong memories and friendships with each of my teammates. Our failures were as a team, and our successes were as a team. We pushed each other everyday, every practice, and every meet to be the best we could individually, so we could have even more success as a team. Through it all, from the state meets, to the hot days running around town or going out to Hansford Hill, I’m proud to be a part of the incredible Lynxette cross country history and tradition.
Hansford County Reporter-Statesman
REMINDER to the Citizens of Hansford County
As of February 11, 2016, Hansford County transitioned from the Code Red Emergency Alert System to a system that the Emergency Management Team feels will better serve our residents.
The system, known as the PARIS system, is able to send real-time information that is released by the National Weather Service directly to your cell phone or email. This system is also able to call land lines, but that information may be slightly delayed. Please keep this in mind if you select that option when signing up for the new system.
The PARIS system is free to the residents of Hansford County. All residents are urged to sign up at www.r2beready.com. This will take you to the PARIS home page where you may click on the link that says, “resolve to be ready.” From that point, each resident will create a login profile, and follow the on-screen instructions to begin receiving alerts from Hansford County and the National Weather Service.
Most of the instructions are self-explanatory, however, once you create your login information, there is a short video you may watch to help you sign up.
This new PARIS system allows our residents to customize how they would like to receive their information. Keep in mind that this new system can be used by Hansford County to release not just weather information, but also important information about our community if the need arises. For example, if there were a wild fire and the local fire department deemed it necessary to evacuate a certain group or area, Hansford County could use the new PARIS system to alert residents in the path of the fire.
For residents who do not have internet access, help is available at Hansford County Library in Spearman and Gruver Library, to sign up for this much needed service.
Judge Benny Wilson, the Hansford County Commissioners, and Hansford County Emergency Management Coordinator Jason Varnon, hope this system will provide our citizens with the most up-to-date and quickest information available.
In-County Subscription (Address must be inside Hansford County)
E-Mail Subscription (pdf of newspaper sent through e-mail)
Out-Of-County Subscription (All Addresses outside of Hansford County)
Hansford County remains in shock after learning that David Truitt Johnson, 36, of Spearman, TX, died on County Road 18 west of Rocky Ford, CO at about 5:30 p.m. on September 13, 2010.
David, a pharmacist, and his wife, Sandi, purchased Gordonís Drug in September of 2003. He was very well liked and respected in his community. His wife and their five children, Steven, Carlee, Mattee, Suzee and Dixee, are and will remain in our thoughts and prayers. May God hold them in His arms and heal the sorrow that they feel and may time accomplish what no words can.
Funeral services for David Johnson will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 18, 2010 at the Morse Baptist Church. Graveside services and interment will be at 4 p.m. at Hillcrest Cemetery in McLean, TX, under the direction of Boxwell Brothers Funeral Home of Spearman.
See complete story on page 1, and related story on Page 4, of the September 16th edition of The Hansford County Reporter-Statesman.
Hansford County Reporter-Statesman, PO Box 490, Spearman TX 79081, phone - 806-659-3434, fax - 806-398-9080, email@example.com