Retired Topeka West High School track and field coach Joe Schrag won't say much when asked what it's like to have an event bear his name, but his passion for the sport and its tradition shine through when asked about something other than himself.
Schrag was on hand Friday at Hummer Sports Park for the Topeka West Joe Schrag Invitational. Eight schools took part, vying for a gold trophy fashioned out of one Schrag's old shoes.
Schrag was at the event promoting his book, "The KU Relays: Track and Field Tradition in the Heartland."
Schrag says he spent a year researching what he calls "a magnificent event." He said, when the relays moved from Memorial Stadium to Rock Chalk Park, he was afraid a lot of the tradition would be lost and he wanted to preserve it.
As for his own achievements, Schrag concedes that "we won a few meets," But he says, even when his teams didn't win, it was interesting. He says track and field is a great sport for the challenge. Plus, he says athletes get the best of both worlds in putting themselves in an individual performance while still being part of a team competition.
He says the Topek area is fortunate to have had a long line of talented track and field athletes. He says a lot of talented young people have lived here and have benefited from good coaches who are able to motivate them.