“SCHOOL SPIRIT MUST COME FROM THE HEART”
– Coach Dan Supulski
There’s actually more to that quote by former Eads Coach Dan Supulski who was the first wrestling coach at Eads High School in 1957 and who also coached Baseball. The rest of it goes “…..It is not a uniform or the waving of flags; it is pride in self and in your school.”
Ole Dan evidently had it right as Eads High School seems to have always had pride in their school’s accomplishments and the heart of a champion. Take, for instance, the nine girls’ basketball state championships…the most of any school in the state. Or the fact that Eads has 17 team state championships, 16 individual girls’ track state champions, 15 individual boys’ state track champions, and 8 wrestling state champions. That’s a whole lot of hardware, a whole lot of banners hanging in the gym, and a whole lot of pride.
Anyone who graduated from Eads High School in the past 100 years will remember their association with being an Eads Eagle and the willingness to bleed Purple & Gold. It’s just a part of who we were as we grew up and went through the Eads School District. Sports have been around longer than anyone of us still living can remember as they mostly began immediately after the high school was established in 1917. In fact, in 1920, Eads High School was the only high school in Colorado that had a specifically scheduled time for athletics lasting for 45 minutes during the school day.
In order to be a powerhouse high school program, you first have to choose some powerful colors that will represent you in your uniforms and school décor. Enter the Purple and Gold that was chosen during the 1920-1921 school year after a committee consisting of the Superintendent and students Gus Jackson, Raymond Jackson, Lee Schmalbeck, and James Weatherman suggested the now-famous color combo. It was well received and voted upon by the student body and the rest, as they say, was history.
The second order of business for a legitimate powerhouse high school athletics program is choosing a mascot that will represent the epitome of what we are and how we want to perform. In 1931 the students at Eads finally settled on the EAGLE after Boone Murriett’s powerful speech describing the attributes of this national treasure.
The longest lasting sport in Eads High School history is boys’ basketball that was played from the get-go in 1917 and has never seen a season where a team was not competing. In 1923, the first basketball jerseys were bought using funds raised by parents who sponsored box suppers and other fundraising events. The basketball team, along with all the other sports teams, played outside until the “Old Gym” was completed in 1929.
By 1949, Eads had made it to the state tournament, and in 1962 Bill Woelk coached Eads to their first state championship game with John Forrest, D.L. Weeks, Damon Berry, Ron Weiser, Don Weiser, Doug Smith, Gary Cloyd, Paul Simmons, Jr., Larry Tuttle, and Leon Tanck as members of the team. Eads would again advance to the state championship in 1972 losing to the phenomenal athletes from Walsh that year, 69-68, in a heartbreaker coached by John Gausman. The premier player at the 1972 state tournament was Eads’ Tery Larrew who went on to play basketball for CSU in Fort Collins and also travel oversees playing ball. In that season, Larrew set a scoring record of 51 points scored in a single game; a record that still stands today.
The 1970s was kind to Eads Basketball as the combination of Eads and Haswell players came together in just the right positions to form teams that had great guards and big men underneath. In 1974, Chet DeVaughn took Eads to yet another state championship game, but would not bring home the gold ball until the next season, 1975, when they put it all together in one of the most exciting eras of Eads basketball. That 1975 team represents the first Eads boys’ basketball state championship and was the first state championship of 16 more that would follow through the years. The only other boys’ basketball state championship came in the Double Gold year of 2003 when Shawn Randel took the Eads boys’ and girls’ teams to the promised land.
Football is another sport in Eads that is well established and one in which the Eagles have had good success. The first football team in Kiowa County was formed at Eads High School in 1931 where they played 6-man football in a pasture against Cheyenne Wells defeating them 52-0. That field was known as Thompson’s Cow Pasture and was located northwest of the school building where the current track is located. When cleaning out the field, it was reported that over 100 rattlesnakes were killed as the weeds were mowed down. In 1939, Eads was a state runner-up losing to Burlington 7-6. Starting in 1940 all the high school sports played in the arena at the fairgrounds. By the 1950s the Eads Town Baseball team had put up lights at the currently located field and so all the sports were moved back to the school campus. The Eagles have enjoyed three state championships in Football. The first one came in 1986 when Coach Gail Crawford took the Eagles to an 8-Man Gold Ball. Randel then added the second gold ball to the trophy case in 2007 in a 6-Man state championship. The last gold ball was brought home in 2015 when Dustin Uhland coached the Eagles to an exciting finish in another 6-Man championship.
Eads Baseball was another sport that was present at the beginning of our history when the first team was formed in 1920. At that time, baseball and football played their sport in the fall so schools would bring both teams and they would have a baseball game and then a football game on the same day. From 1927-1929 Eads was undefeated in baseball. The sport was then discontinued during the Depression and the war years, although the town teams kept playing and included a number of high school aged kids on the team. By the 1970s, Eads was a dominant force in high school baseball as they would lose in the state semifinals to Campo, 7-6, in 1974; lose the state semifinals to Manzanola, 8-6, in 1975, and lost the state championship, 6-5, against Revere in 1976. Those teams had a lot of players who still live in the area and now have grandchildren playing in the summer leagues. Eads would finally end up with two baseball state championships in 2007 and again in 2008 when Billy Koehler coached them to back-to-back championships; the first for Eads.
Individual sports such as wrestling, golf, and track have also made an impact in the lives of many Eads Eagles and their families. Supulski was the first Eads wrestling coach when that sport began at Eads in 1957. Bob Woods would then coach for a decade from 1964 to 1974; followed by Mike Jameson who coached into the 1970s. In recent years, Dustin Uhland, a two-time state champion himself, coached one more state champion, Justin Lenox. This year, because of lack of numbers, the wrestling team is cooping with McClave making the Eads wrestlers part of a new team known as the County Line Rivals.
Track champions have been impressive in Eads and include the first state track individual championship in 1957 when Harold McKnight won the broad jump and the 100 yard dash. Into the 1960s, Gary Larrew grabbed a couple of high jump championships; and there was one state champion in 1976 when David Stavely won the 880 yard run. There was then a large dry spell until the early 2000’s when Trey Eder won a couple of championships. The most prolific state champion has been Daniel Weirich who won six individual championships from 2011 to 2013 in the shot put and discus. Eads also had two more recent champions in Caden Parker and Fredrick Turner.
Girls sports started in 1929 and continued into the 1930s. The best team in that era was a basketball team that went undefeated in 1936, the last year girls played any sport until 1973 when the modern era of basketball came to Eads. The 1936 team members were Irene Gailey, Thelma Frederick, Mabel Crow, Lela Kelly, Joan Sweitzer, Alice Kelly, Aletha Osolin Pauline Hollister, and Awerta Patton. Volleyball started in 1977. Eads has struggled with that sport since its inception. In the 1990’s Coach Gary Monter took the Eads girls to their first ever state appearance. In the early 2010’s Eads once again made three appearances at the state level but could never bring home the hardware.
The girls track team has been impressive as they won their first and only track team state championship in 1976 under the guidance of Gail Crawford. During that era Nikki Igou was a standout athlete for Eads. Another stand out athlete was jumper Duff Liebl who won four state championships in the long and high jumps from 1988 through 1990. Recent state champions have been Treva Richardson, Talli Hansen, Eboni Nash, and Brooklyn Lenox.
Girls basketball is the most coveted sport at Eads as the program leads the best of the best in the number of state championships won in the school’s history. Besides the 9 championships, they have qualified for state numerous times and been in the hunt for even more hardware. During the 1990s the girls’ basketball program enjoyed an impressive group of athletes who worked hard and had a good combination of guard play and big girls down low. Stacy Reystead still holds the record for the highest scoring average in Eads history with 25 points per game. The next wave of girls that won numerous state championships came in the 2000s when Eads won it in 2003, 2007, and 2008. During that era Talli Hansen controlled the boards and was feared by all who played against her. Point guard Jordan Barnett set the Eads scoring record for most points in game with 41 in 2008. Since those championships Eads has traveled to the state tournament nearly every year, but the 10th gold ball has yet to be won.
So much more can be said about the Purple & Gold and how being an Eagle helped developed hundreds of kids through the century. Numerous generations of athletes, from the same families, have proudly worn the Eads colors with an Eagle soaring on their back. That’s how it started in 1917 and that, thank God, is how it still is today.