Taking a page from what pretty much all of the major sports television networks have done during this pandemic era, I’ve decided to relive some Anamosa, Olin, Midland and Springville sports history by bringing back some of our area schools’ classic sports moments from the last quarter century.

      The first of this month-long (or maybe longer) series begins with this issue, reliving one of the biggest stories from 1996 (my first full year at the newspaper), a year that saw the Anamosa softball team reach the class 2A state championship game that August.

      Take a look at page A11 and hopefully the photos and story will bring back some pleasant memories for you, or provide some insight you may not have known as to exactly how successful our area athletes have been over the years.

      Yes, there have been some pretty amazing feats accomplished over the past quarter century.

      For me, going through these classic moments has been an absolute joy, and a walk down memory lane, as for the most part, I was there when they actually happened.

      I’ve got an idea for some of the classic moments I’d like to spotlight over the next few weeks, but if you have any suggestions, I’d be more than happy to hear them. Just send me an email at sports@journal-eureka.com, and give me a brief description of the event and when it happened (year and month would be great). I’ll most likely know exactly what you’re talking about, but just a little refresher sure wouldn’t hurt for this old man.

      As you’ll read on page A12, the ride the Anamosa softball team put their fans on was historic, as was the journey Weers took to a memorable 400 hurdles championship.

      Just a year earlier in 1995, Coach Chuck Smith and the Raider softball team reached the state tournament for the first time in school history, and wound up placing fourth (going 1-2 overall at the tournament) in class 2A led by Andrea Delagardelle, Amy Wilken, Tammy Helle, Kim Delagardelle, Cara Graver, Andrea Eilertson, Rachel Robertson, Rachael Bauer and Mary Ann Frasher, just to name a few who guided the team through a 37-13 campaign.

      With a lot of their team returning, everyone knew the ’96 campaign was going to be a good one, and as high as the expectations were for that team, the Raider girls blew them out of the water completing a mind-boggling and record-breaking summer.

      Next week I’ll bring you Nic Weers’ journey to the 1996 class 3A 400-meter hurdle state championship at Drake Stadium in Des Moines (as well as a few other surprises).

      Weers was already a well-known superstar at Anamosa High School by his senior year of ’96, having won the 400 hurdles state title in ’94 while also being a 1,000-yard rusher on the Raider football team. But his run to a second state track title was an amazing back and forth battle with Western Dubuque’s Bryan Featherston that literally went right down to the wire at Drake Stadium.

      Featherston was the ’95 class 3A 400 hurdles state champion, so when they met in ’96, it was the rubber-match between (by far) the two best hurdlers the class had to offer.

      As you’re read next week, Weers had a little extra motivation heading into the state meet that spring as well.

      I hope you enjoy looking back at our area sports classics as much as I’ll enjoy bringing them to you, and we’re just getting started.

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