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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Two BHS cross teams qualified for state finals

Posted Thursday, July 19, 2012, at 12:34 PM

The 1950 Bloomfield High School boys cross country team included Robert Emery, Gene Minks, Jim Veatch, Joe Toon, Dick Riddle, Kenneth Dowden, Elbert Shertzer and coach Ralph Young. The Cardinals advanced to the state finals that season. (Submitted photo).
My esteemed colleague Rick Curl earlier this summer did a story about individuals or teams from the area, specifically the Southwestern Indiana Athletic Conference, that won a state championship.

As I racked my brain to make sure that somebody did not slip under the radar, I remembered something I had seen once.

Tucked away in the corner on the second floor at Bloomfield High School, hangs two very small pictures of a pair Cardinal teams that qualified to compete in the state finals.

There were two Bloomfield boys cross country squads that achieved that feat.

The 1950 Cardinals, led by Jim Veatch, ended up placing 13th among high school teams in the state of Indiana some 62 years ago.

Nine years later, with basketball coaching legend to be Guy Glover in his infancy at Bloomfield and also in charge of cross country, the Cardinals qualified to participate at the state finals.

In 1950, Bloomfield put together its first boys cross country team in school history. Coach Ralph Young led a group of runners including Veatch, Robert Emery, Gene Minks, Joe Toon, Dick Riddle, Kenneth Dowden and Elbert Shertzer.

The first meet that season was on Sept. 28 when the Cardinals ran in a quad event at Bloomington. Veatch lost that day to Jerry Pearson of Concannon High School (now part of West Vigo), but the Cardinals had the low team scoring, picking up the first win for BHS.

Less than two months later at the Terre Haute Sectional, which took place at the Rea Park Golf Course, Veatch won the sectional championship with a time of 10 minutes and 08.6 seconds, setting a new course record. He previous mark was 10:19.

His time was 30 seconds quicker than any other race he ran in 1950 and was his fourth win in five meets.

Tim Wininger of University High in Bloomington was second, Jerry Kerr of Bloomington High was third and Pearson ran fourth.

Gene Minks also finished in the top 10 (sixth). Emery, Riddle and Shertzer also scored for the Cardinals,

Bloomington won the sectional, Bloomfield took second and Concannon finished third.

All three qualified for the state meet at Coffin Golf Course in Indianapolis.

James Lambert of Muncie Central repeated as the individual state champion that season. Pearson was second and Veatch finished fifth.

Anderson won its fifth of seven consecutive state championships.

After Veatch, Minks was 25th, Emery 76th, Shertzer 83rd and Riddle placed 109th.

Bloomfield finished with 298 points. The Cardinals finished ahead of LaPorte, Concannon, Gary Mann, Bloomington, Salem and Evansville Central.

During the presentation of Veatch's medal, IHSAA Commissioner L.V. Phillips commented that he was from Veatch's home town and this was the first time Bloomfield had entered a team in cross country.

The 1959 Bloomfield squad did not lose a dual meet that season, defeating Linton, Washington, Vincennes, Freedom, Bloomington, Solsberry, Odon and University.

The Cardinals, who's roster consisted of Edgar Workman, Butch Wright, John Martindale, Ray VanDeventer, Jack Spinks, Jim VanDeventer, Bob Carmichael, Vernon Martindale, David Bailey and manager Joe Pullen, were Greene County and Southwestern Indiana Athletic Conference champions.

They were second at the Van Buren Invitational, losing to Wiley by two points. They placed fourth in the small school division at the Southport Invitational.

On Oct. 20, 1959, the Cardinals duplicated the feat of the 1950 team, finishing second at the Terre Haute Sectional.

Bloomington won with 63 points, Bloomfield had 83 and Martinsville finished with 90. Those three teams qualified for the state finals, that year at South Grove Golf Course in Indy.

University High of Bloomington was one of the sectional favorites and had two of the best individuals, but they did not get to run because the meet started earlier than in previous years.

Spinks ran fifth at the sectional for the Cardinals, followed by Wright (15th), Workman (19th), Vernon Martindale (25th) and John Martindale was 28th.

It was 11 days later when the state meet was scheduled. The local newspaper account just briefly touched on the Cardinals, saying they only had three runners finish, which was two short of compiling a team score.

It did say that Anderson won the meet on a rain-soaked course, so I don't know who finished for BHS and who didn't and for what reason. This is another mystery that even old newspaper articles can't solve.

It was funny how there was no regional or semistates back then and teams went straight from the sectional to the state. According to the Indiana High School Athletic Association's website, the first regional champions in boys cross country were crowned in 1962 and the first semistate in 1979.

But regardless of the format the IHSAA used back then, Veatch's accomplishments and that of those two Cardinal teams cannot be denied.

B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12 or at hargisbj@gmail.com.

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B.J. Hargis
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