HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WETM) – Horseheads High School highlighted local track and field talent and honored two coaching legends with their first annual Blue Shoes Invitational.

Ten of the best local high school track and field teams came together at Horseheads High School for the inaugural Blue Shoes Invitational event, on Saturday. The new track and field event saw great action among the student athletes, but opened with a tribute to two local legendary figures.

The event began with a moment of silence to honor 33-year coach at Horseheads Carl Gross and beloved Horseheads track and field coach Tom Jansen.

Gross coached the Blue Raiders in multiple sports including track and football. Following a career that saw several sectional and state titles, Gross continued to share his love for local sports as an official. The long time coach inspired a love for the sports he was a part of and forged long standing bonds with his athletes who fondly referred to him a “Papa Gross.”

Even after his passing in 2021, Gross continues to have an impact on the local community. Gross coached several athletes who reached the college level and more athletes that now impact the area today. Former runners of Gross attended the event in his honor including; Elmira Head Coach Amy Balash, Horseheads Coach Terri Gill and former 100-meter dash State Champion Official Patty Frost Lamoreaux.

Horseheads track and field coach Tom Jansen passed away at the age of 62 in January following a lengthy health battle, but the impact the long-time teacher and coach made on the community is unmatched. Jansen had a successful 31-year career molding some of the best track and field competitors in the area, but what he prided himself on most was instilling life lessons in his athletes.

Jansen’s impact can be seen in many in the community today, but that impact was likely most felt when friends and family of the coach put together a “Drive-by-hello,” when he was in the midst of a tough health battle. .

One of Jansen’s goals in his time at Horseheads was to host a track and field event and call it the Blue Shoes Invitational, now the school will host the event annually to carry on the legacy of Tom Jansen and Carl Gross.

Event Results:

Horseheads Boys and Girls Won the Overall Team

Boys Track MVP – Dayzin Legare from Johnson City

Girls Track MVP – Patricia Nester from Johnson City

Boys Field MVP – Andrew Hudock from Vestal

Girls Field MVP – 2-way Tie

            Tess Eisner – Horseheads

            McKenna Keough – Elmira Notre Dame


Name  Points 

1                      Horseheads                 125     

2                      Waverly                      104     

3                      Notre Dame                93       

4                      Lansing                       58       

5                      Johnson City               53       

6                      Elmira                         42       

7                      Union Endicott           33       

8                      Edison                         20       

9                      Corning                       19       

10                    Vestal                          5         


Name  Points 

1                      Horseheads                 96       

2                      Waverly                      87       

3                      Vestal                          71       

4                      Elmira                         61       

5                      Johnson City               58       

6                      Lansing                       50       

7                      Union Endicott           40       

8                      Corning                       36       

9                      Edison                         23       

10                    Notre Dame                18

(Photos Courtesy of: Horseheads Athletics, Waverly Athletics, and