1954 Track and Field

Staff writer

NEVADA--Jim Stiger and his 1954 Nevada track and field teammates did not have the facilities athletes are accustomed to today.

But that did not stop the team from garnering Wyandot County's first state championship, winning the Class B state title, and Stiger winning individual state championships in both the 120-yard high hurdles and the 180-yard low hurdles.

Both the track and field team and Stiger were inducted into the first-ever Wyandot Sports Hall of Fame class Saturday.

"It might sound a little bit corny, but we were just a bunch of country boys who were out having a good time, and didn't seem to be intimidated by anything," Stiger said. "We just went out and ran and had good time. We had to work for everything we had."

Without a track to practice on, the team resorted to using the old school playground. They used barrels instead of hurdles and cement blocks for throwing shot put with only one old, beat-up shot put. Holes were drilled in the ground and filled with sawdust for the pole vault.

"We didn't have a track, so we put lines in the back grass and ran down to the lumber yard, hauled saw dust back for the long jump pits and the high jump pits and just worked and practiced and had a good time," Stiger said.

Stiger was one of two individual champions on the Nevada track and field team. The other, Jim Steinhilber, won the shot put at the state meet.

The team also qualified for the finals in the 880 relay.

Even for Stiger, competing in hurdles was something he never did prior to his senior year at Nevada.

"I never ran hurdles until my senior year," Stiger said. "Mr. (Al) Buckeye, (Nevada's track coach), came out and said you're going to run the hurdles this year. I was fast enough where I could win the county and the district (meets), but I never was quite fast enough for the state, so he figured maybe I could run the hurdles, so he had the shop make up some hurdles and (I did well in those events)."

That year (1954), the Bobcats won the Wyandot County Meet (for the second straight year, capturing 10 of the 12 running events) and the Upper Night Relays. They placed second in the Clyde Relays and third in the Ohio Wesleyan Relays.

Other team members included Charley Gilliland (NHS Class of '56), sprinter, relays and pole vaulter; Dwight Spiegel ('56), mile run; Ray Hyatt ('56), sprinter, shuttle hurdles and long jump; Curt Bell ('55), sprinter and relays; Tom Stover ('54), sprinter and relay member; Dave Youmans ('57), high jump and sprinter; Richard Gerber ('56), shot put and discus; Marty Hoover ('55), sprinter and relays; Milton Motter ('55), shot put and discus; Jim Baublitz ('57), sprinter; and Gale Bryant ('57), sprinter.

--Daily Chief-Union, Upper Sandusky, OH, Tuesday, April 12, 2011

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The original article has been enhanced with additional information from the 1954 Nevada High School yearbook and the Wyandot Sports Hall of Fame website.

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