1950 Track and Field team named to PYA Hall of Fame

Staff reports
The Chronicle Express

The Penn Yan Academy Athletic Hall of Fame Committee is pleased to announce the inclusion of the undefeated Penn Yan Academy 1950 Track and Field team in the PYA Athletic Hall of Fame for the year 2020. 

The 1950 PYA Track & Field team photo and line up.

The 1950 team was undefeated in Finger Lakes competition, and also at invitational competition outside of the league. With top performers in nearly every event, the team rewrote the record book for a majority of the events contested in 1950. A major highlight of the season was winning the prestigious Geneva Kiwanis Relays by a 20 point margin over powerhouse teams from areas as far away as Buffalo, Syracuse, and Elmira.

In an era when team championships were not contested at the sectional level for many sports including track and field, the Mustangs brought home a number of individual and relay wins from sectionals. The strength of the team has stood the test of time. It took several decades for subsequent teams to approach the records set by the 1950 team. Phenomenally, several sprint relay records (4 X 110 yd and 4 X 220 yd) still stand today, even after conversion to meters — 70 years later!

While on the track and in the field the team was the “Perfect Storm,” off the track team members contributed to the well-being of their community and country. Ten members of the team served in the military during the Korean conflict with several making the military a lifelong career. Eventually, a number started businesses, ran successful farming operations, and provided essential services for the village, county, and schools. Community leaders came from its ranks, including at least one mayor of Penn Yan.

The following men were members of the 1950 Penn Yan Academy Track and Field Team:

Les Alkenburg, Norman Ayers, Don Blaisdell, Ed Bolger, Frank Collin, Skip Ellis, Harry Griffin, Don Habberfield, Larry Hansen, George Havens, Dwane Hawkins, Jamieson Johnstone, Richard Lamphier, R. Bruce LeClaire, David Lewis, E. Mason (Mgr), L. Mason (Mgr) P. McDurfee, Floyd Paddock, Jerome Parsons, Paul Perez, Don Roe, Melwin Snyder, Bernie Volland, David Wachob, James Wachob, and Coaches: James Kopp; Kenneth Diven; Thomas Waye.

With the postponement of the fall football season, Penn Yan Academy has postponed the Hall of Fame induction dinner and ceremony and homecoming presentation. They are planning to have a ceremony of some kind in the spring. Information will be shared when finalized.