Hometown Teams Chapter VI: Track & Field

Hometown Teams Chapter VI:

Track and Field

Silver Lake High School Track and Field History

Track at Silver Lake High School started with the boy’s program in 1961 and Harley Hartung was hired on as the first coach. The first track was a 6-lane, 220-yard grass track that was located between Pottawatomie Street and the current baseball diamond. Since the track was not permanent it was the job of the coach to lay out the lines for that year. Some years the track was laid and some years it was not. During the time when the track was not laid out, the runners would make laps around the light poles on the baseball diamonds. In the early years, Silver Lake High School would host dual or triangular meets (a dual meet is a meet between two schools and a triangular between three schools). Though the school did host a few, they were not every consecutive year. During these meets, the field events were held at various locations around the school. The high jump and pole volt were located in the Northwest corner by the bus lot, both events used a sand-landing surface. The long jump area was on a grass runway on the East end of the old football field, between the road to the shop and Maupin’s fence. The throwing events were also held on a grass surface and were placed in locations around the school, anywhere they would fit.

The track program expanded in 1972 with the addition of a girls’ team. Jean Searcy was hired on as the first girl’s track and field coach for Silver Lake High School. In 1976 the football field was moved to its current location and a 6-lane 440-yard chat track was put around the perimeter.  Due to this extension the school started hosting the Silver Lake Winter Invitational at the beginning of the 1977 season. In 1999 an 8-lane 400-meter, rubber track was laid, replacing the old chat track. Also added were two pole vault runways, two high jump areas, five long jump/triple jump runways, and throwing areas located at the grade school; all which are still used today. With this addition, Silver Lake High School started hosting a Spring Invitational along with the annual Winter Invitational. In 2000 the school hosted its first regional track meet. Currently, Silver Lake hosts two high school meets and a junior high meet annually. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the 2020 track and field season was cancelled for the first time since its inception

-Bill Miller