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The Smithville Herald


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Triathlon: First-year race features patriotic atmosphere u Continued from Page B1 that gave the first-year event a patriotic atmosphere, including:  A huge American flag suspended from a fire truck  The national anthem being performed by a group of Mason’s college friends  A 21-gun salute courtesy of members of the American Legion  American flags lining portions of the race course  A flyover by a Chinook helicopter during the early part of the race  A Fallen Soldier Battle Cross at the finish line Many of the special events surrounding the race came as a surprise to Betty and Dave Mason — Matt’s parents — who were overwhelmed by the amount of support they received throughout the day from so many throughout the day. The two of them spent most of the race handing out medals in the shape of dog tags to racers as they finished the course, as they got to witness the outpouring of encouragement from everyone they encountered. “It was so awesome because there was Matt’s friends, there was family, people that we knew outside of them,” Betty Mason said. “And to be able to see them cross and be there was special.” Matt Mason helped many of his friends and former classmates get involved with triathlons in the first place, including Zimmer and Jason Key. After Mason passed away last August, that group worked hard to put the event together and tried to make it an event that would encourage first-time competitors to get involved, as well. One of the main organiz-

ers, Key spent much of the day behind the scenes and also assisted with the swimming portion of the race. As a former teammate on the Maple Woods baseball team, Key said that the venue at Smithville Lake was a great location considering how much time Mason spent there growing up. “Smithville Lake is just the perfect place, and we’ll definitely be doing this next year,” Key said. “This is just wonderful. It’s beautiful.” With nearly 300 racers and almost 200 volunteers, Zimmer said he was humbled by the amount of support shown by the community and was appreciative of how everything seemed to fall into place. “It went off without a hitch because of everyone associated with it,” Zimmer said. “We had no control over stuff like that. It just all worked out. I couldn’t be happier for the Legion to come out here. I couldn’t be happier to have the Chinook fly over. “It all just worked out the way it was supposed to.” Among the many first-time triathletes was Brooke Boynton, Mason’s sister-in-law. Participating in the race took its toll on her, both physically and emotionally, but Boynton said she was proud to take part and felt Mason’s familiar words of encouragement helped propel her across the finish line. “If Matt was here, he would be like, ‘Toughen up. Cowboy up,’ Boynton said. “It’s really cool, and it’s really neat to see this many people come out here and do this. It’s really cool seeing all these friends and family. “Matt’s here, you know. He’s here.”

Boynton, several other family members and some friends also are planning to take part in another race in Washington D.C. this September in Mason’s honor. Christopher Yows won the first-year race, finishing the course in 53 minutes, 32 seconds, and said he was amazed to see how well-run the event was considering it was in its first year. With all proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior Project, the race also gives back to America’s military veterans, and Yows said he can see a bright future for the race in the years to come. “Word of mouth is going to travel pretty quick on this event because they did a phenomenal job, and it’s for such a great cause,” Yows said. “I think it’ll grow. It’ll definitely grow.” Several Smithville residents also took part in the race, including: Jason Langford, Cara Massie, Jodi Green, Doug Stahl, Cynthia Dunn, Michael McKenzie, Sandra Stahl, Jennifer Hedgecorth, Tiffany Green and Angie Langford. After a long day of receiving well-wishes and kind words, Dave and Betty Mason reflected on just how meaningful the event was to them. Both said they were deeply impacted by outpouring of love and support by everyone associated with the event, and that the event would help their son’s legacy live on thanks to the efforts and hard work of so many that helped make the race a reality. “This was special, not just because of Matt, but how well they did it,” Dave said. “It just shows how much those guys love him.”

Andy Meyer/The Smithville Herald

A Chinook helicopter flies over the crowd and participants during the Matt Mason Memorial “Cowboy Up” Triathlon on Sunday, Aug. 5, at Smithville Lake.

Andy Meyer/The Smithville Herald

Brad Arnold runs past the Fallen Soldier Battle Cross near the finish line of the Matt Mason Memorial “Cowboy Up” Triathlon on Sunday, Aug. 5, at Smithville Lake.

Practice: Athletes begin new year with high expectations u Continued from Page B1 “As a staff, we’ve got to have precautions in,” Smith said. “We’re tracking each kid and making sure they’re maintaining their water weight. That’s a very important part of this. And ultimately, the safety of our athletes has to be at the forefront of our minds.” Smithville lost a significant senior class last year and will likely have a different look on offensive this season. Still, Smith said the team is in a good position thanks to a couple productive team camps that could lay the groundwork for another successful season. “We know we’ve got a long way to go, but we’ve got a pretty good jump start,” Smith said. “We’re pretty close to having everything in — offensively and defen-

sively. That’s what we do in camp. What we’ve got to do right now is prepare ourselves physically because we’re not where we need to be yet. “But the kids worked hard this morning, and we’re pleased with the way the preseason has started.” Down on the turf field, change was also in the air for the boys soccer team. For the first time in 15 years, the Warriors did not begin their first practice with the traditional run out at Smithville Dam. Instead, coach Jon Reed ran the squad through a number of conditioning drills that he hoped would be more beneficial to the players. “We just decided that long-distance conditioning wasn’t what we needed,” Reed said. “So we spent two hours doing sprint work,

eral players also gained addiSoccer coaches concluded tional experience with the the first practice with a skill respective club teams, as a drill that tested the playhandful of Warriors took ers’ ability to control the part in the Midwest Regional ball in the air. Following a Championships in Saginaw, few sprints along the length Mich., in June. of the field, Reed wrapped In addiup the first tion, a strong practice freshman pleased with class of nearthe shape ly 20 players of the team, bolstered the which seeks team’s overall a return to numbers and the state should allow semifinals Smithville to and its 11th Greg Smith, field three consecutive Smithville football coach MEC title. Andy Meyer/The Smithville Herald s e p a r a t e “We’ve got Smithville assistant football coach Josh Speer oversees a drill teams this season. hard-working kids,” Reed during the first day of practice on Monday, Aug. 6. “That’s just going to said. “They worked hard push-ups, sit-ups. When they Reed also indicated that help our future,” Reed said. at practice today. Some of do that long dam run, it’s a the soccer squad is in good “We’ve got great numbers, the younger ones still need cross country run, and that’s shape and hit the ground and hopefully these kids to learn the work-ethic just not what soccer is. running because of the will stay out for four years, we expect. … And they’ll “… We’ll see if it makes a team’s hard work during and we can continue these learn the speed of the high school game.” difference or not.” the summer months. Sev- numbers.”

“What we’ve got to do right now is prepare ourselves physically because we’re not where we need to be yet.”