There are so many areas in life in which people are reminded to “Remember your roots.” And the Londonderry High School track and field program did precisely that recently by renaming its annual spring outdoor invitational for several of the men who played vital roles in getting LHS track and field off the ground and on to huge successes in the late 1970s and for decades thereafter.
From the springs of 2012 to 2015 the Londonderry High School Spring Track and Field Invitational was held under that moniker. But this year it was decided within the LHS track program that that annual event would be called the REAL Track and Field Invitational in honor of program co-founders Rich Nagy, Ed Daniels, Al Halpern, and Larry Martin.
The unexpected passing of Nagy in Florida several months ago stung the Lancer track and field family mightily, so when the first REAL event was held at the end of the 2016 spring track regular season recently, the feelings of the locals at the event were somewhat bittersweet.
The event took place on the Londonderry High track that is named for Martin, who headed the Lancer boys’ outdoor track and field dynasty which ruled Class L boys’ track through nearly all of the 1990’s.
“Larry himself would be the first to acknowledge that that dynasty rose out of the hard work and devotion of many. Now that this meet is well established, we would like to honor those individuals,” said longtime Londonderry High girls’ track and field coach and teacher Sue Johnson in dedicating the meet. “We are all indebted to and grateful for the contributions of Rich Nagy, Ed Daniels, Al Halpern and Larry Martin. Throughout their many years of coaching, they impacted hundreds of young men and women, guiding them to excel in their athletic and academic careers. Most importantly, far beyond the athletic fields and the school, these individuals were teaching adolescents how to be productive, caring, and successful adults, able to be good family members, valuable employees, and citizens who would impact their communities in a positive way.”
First LHS athletic director and current LHS track and field assistant coach Bill Newcomb was also recognized at the meet for his contributions to the sport at the local school, and individual awards that will be given out at each REAL meet were introduced.
The boys’ 100-meter dash winner will receive the Al Halpern Award; the girls’ winner of the 200 dash will receive the REAL Invitational Award; the boys’ 3,200-meter run victor will get the Larry Martin Award; the girls’ 1,600-meter run winner will get the REAL Invitational Award; the victorious boys’ and girls’ 4×100 relay contingents will receive the Rich Nagy Award; the boys’ and girls’ pole vault victors will receive the Bill Newcomb Award; the boys’ discus winner will get the Ed Daniels Award, and the girls’ shot put champ will receive the REAL Invitational Award.