South Tama County's boys track and field team had plenty to celebrate at its annual postseason banquet earlier this month.
On top of a state title relay, conference championship and school record; the Trojans had a sendoff for a graduating class that achieved a high level of success. All of that was celebrated at the Trojans' banquet.
"It was good," coach George Kuhter said. "This one was a little more difficult, because we said goodbye to a good group of seniors. We had a big crowd, so that's good.
"It was fun, because everybody is still basking in the glow of state and conference titles," he said. "It was hard to do a lot with the spring that we had, so what the kids were able to accomplish every time they ran was a pretty big deal."
Saying goodbye to the STC seniors was hard for Kuhter since his son is part of the class. He's known this group of athletes for many years as he began coaching some of them nine years ago in the Marshalltown Youth Football League.
"I've been coaching these guys since they were in third grade in football," Kuhter said. "It's a little bit hard to say goodbye to them, but they were a good class and they did a lot of good things. That's what I'm taking from them."
The 2013 senior class helped the Trojans win the program's first conference title. They easily won the North Iowa Cedar League West Division title in late April. The Trojans later qualified eight events for the state track meet.
At the state meet, the Trojans medaled in four events. Sam Kuhter and Kyle Stephenson individually medaled in the long jump and 200-meter dash, respectively. The Trojans' 4x200-meter relay also earned a third-place medal
"We had a lot of kids on the academic team and a ton lettered," coach Kuhter said. "A lot of freshmen lettered, which is good to see from them."
The highlight of the meet was the 4x100-meter relay state championship. The team of Kaleb Davenport, Dylan Kalinay, Daryl Bidwell and Stephenson redeemed their 4x200 finish with the Trojans' first state title since 1997. It also marked the fourth-consecutive time the relay set a new school record.
"That was a great way to end it," coach Kuhter said. "What you have to look back at, when it was nice weather out, each of the four times we ran the 4x100, we set school records. I can only imagine how much better they could have been if we could have gotten them in any decent running shape earlier in the season. It was a good end."
South Tama also handed out some individual awards at the banquet. The winners of those were:
Most Valuable Kyle Stephenson
Mr. Dedication Clay Waterbury and Sam Kuhter
Mr. Attitude Noah Bearden
Most Improved Blake Keller
Most Promising Dylan Kalinay
Coaches Award Adam Glendy, Austin Lowe, Jake Herriott, Daryl Bidwell and Brady Ellenbecker
In addition to the awards, the Trojans coach also gave his returning athletes a message to think about for next spring.
"I told them at the banquet, 'This is the way it works at the big schools,'" Kuhter said. "This is the way it works at Pella. The freshmen, sophomores and juniors have to wait for the seniors to graduate before they get their big chance. They understand that and we're finally getting to a point where we are coming into our own."