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Record boards find home beside HHS track

Wayne (right) and Bernie Oom work together to install the new Hastings High School track and field and cross country school-record and all-state honor boards inside the entrance to Baum Stadium at Johnson Field Wednesday. The new boards are a gift from the Oom and Duits families. (Photo by Brett Bremer)


Brett Bremer

Sports Editor

Hastings track and field athletes and everyone who passes through the gates of Baum Stadium at Johnson Field will be well aware of the fastest Saxons ever.

Wayne and Bernie Oom spent a warm, sunny, Wednesday afternoon making sure the new boards displaying the Hastings High School track and field and cross country records and the programs' all-state athletes were level and secure on the back of the stone entry way into the stadium at the high school.

The boards are a gift form the Oom and Duits families, a couple of last names that can be spotted on the record boards. Tom Duits holds a couple of the oldest remaining school track and field records, a time of 4 minutes 7.4 seconds in the 1600-meter run and 8:59.8 in the 3200-meter run both set in 1974. Duits also holds the fastest 5000-meter cross country time ever by a Hastings guy, a time of 15:20.7.

The newest record on the board is Emily Westers high jump mark of 5 feet 6 inches, which she set in the spring of 2017.

Bill James is the oldest all-stater on the list. He was a state champion in the 220-yard low hurdles in 1930 with a time of 27.8 seconds.

“We think it will be a pretty cool incentive for the young kids to see, try to figure out where they're going to break the next record,” Wayne Oom said during a break in the work Wednesday.

Oom said he already has a decal to add to update the board soon. One of the girls' track and field records was missed and needs to be update to reveal two athletes tied for the school record.

It was as long process of gathering all the school records and finding all of the all-state athletes to ever be a part of the cross country and track and field programs. Newer all-state names were just a click away on the Michigan High School Athletic Association website.

“We had a nice big team that worked on the research,” Wayne said. “They deserve most of the credit.”

Wayne Oom teamed with his parents Bernie and Sue Oom, Hastings track coaches Brian Teed and Lin Nickels, and cross country coach Steve Collins, as well as Hastings athletic director Mike Goggins, former track coach Paul Fulmer, Carrie and Tom Duits, Tammy Foltz Pennington, Eddie McKeough, Bob Branch and Davie Wilcox to track down as many bits of information as they could.

“It was just looking back through whatever kind of old records the coaches have kept, and then kind of filling in the gaps,” Wayne said.

For the all-state board the information hounds went back to 1925. Some were easy to find in the MHSAA records and Wayne said they found information in school year books, in old editions of the Hastings Banner and on microfilm of old newspaper editions at the Hastings library.

The MHSAA began hosting state meets in 1925.





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