Jeff Smit Memorial track meet ‘Keeping the memory alive’

The Stagebarn Stallions took first-place honors in the Jeff Smit Memorial race for the seventh grade girls.  Trayce Fowler and Renae Schumacher presented the medals and shirts to team members, Bailey Holland, Kynlee Stewart, Shilo Williamson, and Kendal Blair. This was a school record. Pioneer photo by Tim Potts

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STURGIS — Over 1,000 athletes, from 24 schools, in grades seven and eight, participated in the 35th Jeff Smit Memorial Track Meet Saturday, at Woodle field, in Sturgis.  

“Our family is so grateful and honored that the community has kept the memory alive for 38 years with the running of the memorial track meet,” said Renae Schumacher, the sister of Jeff Smit.  

This year’s event was the 35th as three years were cancelled due to weather.

Keith and Ruth Smit were instrumental in getting the track field established in memory of their son.  

“It was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, and as a family we were down here putting in time and energy on building this track, from a dirt track to what we have now,” Schumacher said explaining why the meet is important to her and the family. “It is a meet in memory of my brother, Jeff, and the very first track meet run was my eighth-grade year, back in 1984. Jeff was a high jumper and a sprinter, especially loved the 4x100 relay and that is why we have the special memorial run. In the very first meet, I won the gold medal for the high jump.”

The Stagebarn Stallions’ seventh-grade girls won the 4x100-meters special memorial run: Bailey Holland, Kynlee Stewart, Shilo Williamson, and Kendal Blair.  

The Spearfish Spartan boys’ seventh-grade won the special 4x100-meter relay with team members: Thomas Hughes, Graham Hughes, , Jackson Peters-Hatten, and Jesse Schneider.  

The eighth-grade girls from Spearfish won the 4x100 with Faith Hoffman, Kate Scharf, Daniela Rodriguez, and Averi Pettersen.  

The eighth-grade boys from St. Thomas More won their division with team members:  Jon Paul Sullivan, Josh Elder, Ryan Neugebauer, and Kain McLeod.

Organizing and running this year’s event was Sturgis CrossFit, Flex Fitness, Sturgis Optimists and Tom’s T’s.

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