Posted Date: 05/22/2017
Mansfield track and field players hold many traditions. One that started just a few seasons ago came from one of the sport’s most enthusiastic boosters. That custom is to pass off the “legends” baton to a Lady Tiger track athlete that will hold dear the legacy of the team and one day pay it forward.
In an impromptu ceremony at the conclusion of the class 3A state finals a few weeks ago, senior team member Audrey Walker fulfilled her part of the ritual. The former state champion passed the legacy stick onto up and coming senior member Megan Rose after the team dinner.
Dave Otto, who’s daughter Jessica was a ten time state champion and Arkansas State University track athlete, came up with the idea of bestowing a blessed baton to generations of MHS track athletes. The booster’s idea surfaced after his youngest helped lead Mansfield to an incredible string of state titles throughout her high school career.
Mr. Otto claimed one of the baton’s used during his daughter’s time at state championship competition. He has willed that said symbol to generations of players ever since.
Walker was the keeper of the stick this past season. Her charge was to find someone on next year’s team that will hold the tradition of hard work and unbridled desire to be the best to take over its care.
Walker with the help of her senior classmates, Otto, and Mansfield head coach John Mackey made the selection on May 2. The evening following the state finals, the outgoing senior made the pass of the pampered prize to Rose.
Rose, a member of the class of 2018, is now in possession of the “legends” baton. Her charge will be much the same as the girls before her. She will carry the red stick covered in its homemade cover to and from track meets only to be used by select relay teams.
When the season is done next spring, Rose will make a handoff to the next keeper. Her decision no doubt will carefully be calculated over a full year of scrutiny and attention to detail. She too will find the perfect hand to which the baton will be passed to continue the custom.