WAYNESFIELD — There’s a family name that is synonymous with track and field in the Waynesfield community.
The Horn family has played an integral part in the Waynesfield-Goshen track and field program for more than 80 years.
In 1929, Joe Ashley Horn won the state title in the discus, setting the stage for what was to come.
Since that time, there have been many more Horns that took center stage in the W-G track program. In all, the name Horn appears nine times in the school record book for the boys and seven times for the girls — out of 17 events.
On Saturday, the son of Waynesfield’s first state champion and a longtime track and field coach at W-G, Joe Rider Horn, got his due when the Tiger Relays was appropriately renamed the Joe Rider Horn Relays.
W-G capped off Saturday’s relays by taking first place in the boys final team scores and tying for second in the girls overall standings.
The W-G boys won the title, scoring 111 points, defeating second-place Wapakoneta, which ended the day with 104. There were eight teams figured into the boys scoring.
On the girls side, Wapakoneta took home the gold with 118 points, defeating both W-G and Indian Lake, who tied for second with 79 points. There were seven teams in the girls competition.
Joe Rider Horn was the head track coach at Waynesfield from 1979 to 1987. Then he went to Benjamin Logan from 1988 to 2005, where he coached. After the 2005 school year, Joe returned to where he began his track career and is currently the assistant head coach at Waynesfield-Goshen.
On Saturday, the Waynesfield-Goshen school system honored the longtime coach, who is better known as "Grandpa Joe."
“It’s really exciting. …This community is really behind track,” Joe said. “We go back to the five-lane cinder track, that we would mark in the morning and it would rain before the meet… and those kinds of things. Then we got the lights, we built the eight-lane track. We now have double high-jump pits and long jump runways and the throws area. We have the pole vault area. The community is really behind track and field and that’s what makes it exciting.”
And now on the verge of turning 75 years old, Joe has not lost his passion for coaching.
“I’ve been really blessed with (good) health,” he said. “I look forward to every day. We run the weight room from 6:30 to 7:30 in the morning. We get a good turnout from the kids. I think just being with the program really keeps me going.”
Gray Horn, a grandson of Joe, competed at the University of Florida for four years in the decathlon and nearly made the U.S. Olympic Team in 2012. Gray still competes at the national level and is aiming for another shot to make the Olympic Team in 2016.
Gray said his grandfather has influenced so many athletes over the years.
“This is a really special day for him and for our family in general,” Gray said. “Talk about a guy who has dedicated his time and even his own money, and who has put his heart and soul into our athletic program here in Waynesfield. This is much-deserved. I’m really proud of him and he deserves this day.”
The most recent Horns to leave a mark at Waynesfield-Goshen were twin sisters Ivy and Morgan, who finished second as a team at last year’s Division III state meet by themselves. Ivy now competes in track and field at Ohio State, while Morgan competes at the Air Force Academy.
Grandpa Joe is not the only ‘Joe’ to make a name at Waynesfield-Goshen. The twin sisters’ cousin, Joe Horn, won four events at the 2006 D-III state track meet.
W-G head coach Jim Epperly said Saturday was a special day all around.
“It was pretty special and it was even more special that our kids performed as well as they did,” Epperly said.