Horseheads High School honors training legends with first Blue Shoes Invitational

HORSHEADS, NY (WETM) — Horseheads High School shined a spotlight on local track and field talent and honored two coaching legends with their first annual Blue Shoes Invitational.

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

The event began with a moment of silence in honor of 33-year-old Horseheads coach Carl Gross and beloved Horseheads athletics coach Tom Jansen.

Gross coached the Blue Raiders in several sports, including athletics and football. After a career that saw multiple section and state titles, Gross continued to share his love for local sports as an official. The longtime coach inspired a love for the sports he was a part of and forged lifelong bonds with his athletes who affectionately called him a “Gross Dad”.

Even after his passing in 2021, Gross continues to make an impact on the local community. Gross has coached several athletes who made it to the college level and other athletes who now impact the region today. Former Gross riders attended the event in his honor including; Amy Balash, head coach of Elmira, Terri Gill, coach of Horseheads, and Patty Frost Lamoreaux, former state champion in the 100 meters.

Horseheads athletics coach Tom Jansen died aged 62 in January following a long health battle, but the impact that the longtime teacher and coach has had on the community is unparalleled. Jansen had a successful 31-year career shaping some of the region’s top track and field competitors, but what he was most proud of was instilling life lessons in his athletes.

Jansen’s impact can be seen in many in the community today, but that impact was probably felt most when the coach’s friends and family hosted a ‘Drive-by-hello’, so that he was in the midst of a tough battle for his health.

One of Jansen’s goals while at Horseheads was to organize an athletics event and call it the Blue Shoes Invitational, now the school will host the event every year to continue Tom Jansen’s legacy and Carl Gross.

Event results:

Horseheads Boys and Girls won the general team

Boys Track MVP – Johnson City’s Dayzin Legare

Girls’ Track MVP – Johnson City’s Patricia Nester

Boys MVP – Andrew Hudock of Vestal

Girls Field MVP – 2 Way Tie

Tess Eisner – Horse Heads

McKenna Keough – Elmira Notre Dame


Name points

1 horse heads 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 horse heads 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

Comments are closed.