History of Maplewood Running
By Mike Shipman
I first got the idea to publish a book about Maplewood’s running history several years ago after reading Ted Rupe’s emotional account of coaching his son Craig’s team to a cross country State Championship. I remember thinking to myself that this is exactly what Maplewood is all about: “legacy”. (In other words, something handed down from a predecessor)
Everywhere you look in our community you can see this. I will try to give you a perfect example. When I was 22 years old and in my first stint of coaching Jr. High track at Maplewood, I had the pleasure of coaching a 13 year old boy who always wore a bowtie to school and was willing to do whatever it took to help our team, even if it meant running sprints when he was clearly destined to be a distance runner. I will never forget his enthusiasm. This kid was “Maplewood” through and through! You might know him. His name is David Deeter (currently the head cross country coach and co-head track coach at Maplewood). A few years ago, I coached a promising young runner named Shelby Deeter (yes, I am again coaching Jr. High track at Maplewood). This past year (2014) Dave Deeter coached my 15 year old son to a team State Championship in cross country. Of course this type of thing happens at other schools, but at Maplewood it seems to go much deeper. For instance, Mark Yoder is currently coaching my son in track. This is the same Mark Yoder who handed me the baton in the Mile Relay (with the lead) in Columbus in 1982. There is obviously something very special about Maplewood that keeps former runners coming back to coach the next generation of kids to our next championship.
I have been asked many times “how does Maplewood do it?” I witness it firsthand every day at track practice. Two years ago I noticed that 13 year old Jake Hall was always watching high schoolers Wyatt Hartman and Solomon Yoder run sub 60 quarters, one after another with almost no rest. This year’s middle school team has the good fortune to watch an entire team of State Champions run those quarter workouts, including individual champion Tristan Dahmen. The importance of this is difficult to overstate. By the way, I also remember Oscar Grant putting Jerry Walker through the same routine in the weeks prior to Jerry’s State Meet Record breaking win in the Mile Run back in 1980. As I alluded to earlier, “legacy” is everywhere in this community.
When Mr. Grant and Ted Rupe teamed up in the very early 70s, the magic started. That is an event that deserves it’s own story. Maybe some day Ted will help me tell it. Mr. Grant once told me, “Ted is responsible for all of this”. Ted has always insisted that the credit should go to Oscar. Obviously it was the two-man dream team of Oscar and Ted. Purely from a coaching perspective, Oscar Grant is responsible, in some way, for every state championship appearance in Maplewood history. You may have heard the term “coaching tree”. To my knowledge, every successful track and cross country coach at Maplewood is part of the Oscar Grant coaching tree in one way or another. As long as our track and cross country teams are coached by members of that tree and have great role models to observe at practice, our kids will continue to be successful.
I am very fortunate to have all of Mr. Grant’s archives from 1959-1980, and I am even more fortunate to have actually run for him. I am working on writing a history of Maplewood track & field and cross country that will appear on this website, as well as stories from the current season. Hopefully there will also be some guest writers contributing to the website. I am also compiling a comprehensive list of every top performance in each event. And, if I live long enough, I will scan every newspaper article and document from the archives and post them here.
Thanks to Ted and this website, I now have the opportunity to get these important stories out there without all the hassles of doing it in book form.