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Another sign of our time: Winners

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In the days of my youth, I remember those signs along the highway in upstate New York ... “Only 10 more miles to Poppy’s Pancake House.”

Then, “Only 8 miles” and “6 miles” and so on.

I guess Columbus needs to consider such a series of signs as visitors approach.

“Only 10 more miles to Columbus, Home of Tony Stewart.”

“Only 9 more miles to Columbus, Home of the 2013 4A State Football Champion Columbus East Olympians.”

“Only 8 more miles to Columbus, Home of the 2014 State Golf Champion Columbus North Bull Dogs.”

“Only 7 more miles to Columbus, Home of State Swim Champion Cody Taylor.”

And so on.

People will miss our exit because they are reading.

Perhaps we could just invest in one of those JumboTron boards for the town border with our state champs rotating endlessly in neon.

Yes, that could get expensive. Blame it on great high school programs.

How many times have you taken a Sunday drive and gone past a water tower in a little town that proclaims a special event from before you were born? Cristal City, Home of the 1953 Indiana Basketball champs. Another special day never comes again.

As each year passes, and 1953 becomes that much farther in the past, it becomes almost depressing. Are the good old days gone for good?

Here in Columbus, we’ve been spoiled this past school year. Columbus East wiped out a state title drought in football that had lasted since 1979. North became the first Columbus team to win a state golf title in 80 years.

We had individual state champions in Taylor and North golfers Michael VanDeventer and Christian Fairbanks.

The Columbus North boys cross-country team was second in the state as a team, and Mackenzie Caldwell was second in cross-country as an individual.

The Columbus East girls volleyball and soccer teams made big runs toward a state title, and the Columbus North boys soccer team was very good once again.

North’s Andy Carr was third in the 3200 in track, and Jennings County hurdler Keri Ertel was second in the 300 hurdles and third in the 100 hurdles. East wrestler Jimmy Fisher was fifth in his weight class at the state meet, and Jennings County’s Tom Alsup was fifth in the state in the discus.

North swimmer Sam Loescher was fourth in the 100 free and fifth in the 50 free. North’s 200 free relay team, and its 400 free relay teams were both second in the state.

With a little more luck, we could have had four or five more state champs. Unbelievable.

I have only lived in Columbus for two years, but I can’t imagine there has been a better high school sports era than what the town currently is experiencing. It is an embarrassment of riches.

I guess the lesson would be not to take it for granted. As Columbus East football coach Bob Gaddis says, “The other guys practice, too.”

Everyone out there is going to be shooting at the Columbus kids. They might catch up.

So savor every minute of the 2013-14 school year and the incredible performance by our local kids. And it might be a good time to give those local coaches an atta-boy or atta-girl.

This kind of performance might not happen for another 80 years.

Or maybe we just need more signs.

Jay Heater is The Republic sports editor. He can be reached at or 379-5632.

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