St. John's Track & Field Legends Day

Richie Mercado
The 46th annual Maverick Relays were also host to the first ever St. John's Track & Field Legends Day, a day to honor some of the best and brightest in the history of the sport at St. John's School. 

The inaugural year's honorees were:
Paul Geis '71, Bob Groth '72, Ethan Glass '80, Gay Goodwin Wickham '79, Bridget Jensen '81, and Jill Ahrens '03.

The special surprise honoree was Dick Phillips, Head Boys Track & Field Coach from 1970-1980, former Football assistant, and Athletic Director from 1973-1980.  Dick is retiring this spring after over 20 years as Head Girls and Boys Track & Field Coach at Episcopal High School, and he coached all of the male honorees at this year's celebration.

Bob Groth came all the way from Roanoke, Virginia to attend and see old friends.  Bob ran 9.9 for the 100 Yard Dash in 1972, holding the St. John's record.  He also holds school records in the 220 Yard Dash and the 440 Yard Relay.

Paul Geis ran 4:12 for the Mile at St. John's School, ended up at the University of Oregon and ran with Steve Prefontaine under legendary coach Bill Bowerman, and won the 3 Mile on the track at the 1975 NCAA Championships in Austin.  Paul was the ONLY American finalist in the 5000 Meters at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games!  Paul has been back in Houston for the past decade and has spoken to our athletes and teams often and loves to come out to watch the Maverick Relays.

Ethan Glass won SPC in the High Jump four times, holds the school record with a jump of 6'10", and in his last year at Texas A&M in 1985, Ethan jumped 7'5" to win the Texas Relays.  Ethan lives in Austin and was thrilled to be back for the event.  He also got to meet William Mercado '14, the first winner of "The Ethan Glass Boys High Jump!"

Gay Goodwin Wickham was an all-around sprinter for St. John's School in the late 1970s.  She holds the 440 Yard Dash record and Mile Relay record, and at one time she held the 400 Meter Dash and 4x400 Meter Relay records as well.  She was a major part of four SPC Championship teams in the 1970s.  Gay lives in Victoria and is still an avid runner and triathlete.

Bridget Jensen has been back at St. John's coaching Cross Country and Track & Field for the past six years, but she was a legendary runner at St. John's back in the late '70s and early '80s.  Bridget holds records at 880 Yards, 1 Mile, and 2 Mile, and she held the meter records for 800, 1600, and 3200 at one time.  She was also on the Mile Relay and 4x400 Relay and won four SPC team championships while at St. John's.  She does a great job coaching distance runners, and one of her highlights was coaching Meredith Gamble '10, who broke Bridget's 800 Meter record in 2009.  Margaret Trautner '16 was winner of the Bridget Jensen Girls 800 Meter Run.

Jill Ahrens was the first ever girl to pole vault at St. John's School, starting to learn the event in the 6th grade.  She was involved in the sports' infancy for girls in Texas, she was 5th in the first unofficial Girls State Championship in San Marcos, and was an SPC champion and former SPC record holder.  Jill vaulted 11'6 indoors and outdoors for St. John's and still holds the school record.  She went on to earn an MBA at Wake Forest, where she held the indoor record and still holds the outdoor record at 12'5.5".  Jill placed third in the both indoors and outdoors in the ACC her final year.  Jill is in Houston and comes often to speak to athletes and help with the Pole Vault at the Maverick Relays.  She even served as interim coach for Allie Robinson '13 this past weekend, as Allie won the first "Jill Ahrens Girls Pole Vault" at the Maverick Relays!

In addition to the reception following the meet, where many good stories, pictures, and memories were shared, events were names after each of the honorees.  The events named in honor of the 2013 St. John's Track & Field Legends were:

The Ethan Glass Boys High Jump
The Bob Groth Boys 100 Meter Dash
The Paul Geis Boys 1600 Meter Run
The Jill Ahrens Girls Pole Vault
The Bridget Jensen Girls 800 Meter Run
The Gay Goodwin Girls 400 Meter Dash
The Dick Phillips Boys 4 x 400 Meter Relay

We will plan to host this event every year along with the St. John's Maverick Relays, one of the oldest and best high school track & field competitions in the Houston area.

Yours in Track and Field,

Coach Richie Mercado '79