Reflecting Back On 35 Years Of The Greenhill 6 Mile Relay

Greenhill senior Maddie Hatfield competed at the 34th Greenhill Luke's Locker 6 Mile Relay

Reflecting Back on 35 Years of the Greenhill 6 Mile Relay

-Written by Jason Yaffe

The stage will soon be set for the 35th annual running of the Greenhill / Luke's Locker 6 Mile Relay meet on August 24, 2019 at Norbuck Park in Dallas, Texas. The race was the brainchild of legendary Greenhill coach Tom Holodak. Holodak created the original course at Norbuck Park in Dallas and soon hay bales and intense competition became the norm. And while champions have rotated among various schools, the meet has remained one of the longest running cross country events in Texas. Here is a look back at the history and numbers behind the meet.

1 - The first relay champions hailed from Plano Senior (5A boys), Garland (5A girls), ESD (4A boys), and North Lamar (4A girls).

2 - The meet started with one course but expanded to have a "green" and "gold" course (Greenhill's school colors) in 2000 to accommodate more runners. It returned to one course a dozen years later.

3 - Three states have been represented at the meet over the years. Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.

4 - Number of runners it takes to field a complete relay team, with each runner racing 1.5 miles.

5 - The original five coaches and officials behind the creation of the 6 Mile Relay? The group included Greenhill coach Tom Holodak, and track/xc officials John Pritchett, Herb Sheaner, Joe Weisbaum, and Jerry Pooler.

6 - The Marcus girls won the 5A race at the 6th annual 6 Mile Relay. They would go on to win 6 more titles, all under the guidance of Coach Steve Telaneus.

7 - As the host school, Greenhill has earned seven team titles (Girls in 2008, 2016, 2017, and 2018. Boys in 2005, 2006, and 2008).

8 - There are eight different races or divisions in the 6 Mile Relay. That includes two different levels of junior varsity competition.

9 - The number of hay bales that goes into making a two level hay bale obstacle.

10 - Approximate number of meet officials, directed by John Pritchett, it takes to smoothly run the 6 Mile Relay meet. That number does not include the 50+ course marshals and monitors.

11 - Starting with a 1987 win in the girls 5A race, the Highland Park Scots have won 9 girls titles and 2 boys titles.

12 - Route number for Northwest Highway, the road that runs alongside the northern edge of Norbuck Park.

13 - The Highland Park Lady Scots moved up to race with the big schools at the 13th annual 6 Mile Relay. The girls won the 5A race while the boys won the 4A and under race.

14 - Typical number of Port-o-potties needed at the 6 Mile Relay.

15 - Fifteen years ago a major storm on race day almost led to the cancellation of the 6 Mile Relay, but the show still went on after a delay.

16 - Number of yellow singlets worn each 6 Mile Relay by the defending champion teams. This idea came from the yellow jersey worn by Tour de France leaders.

17 - Tom Holodak served as meet director for 17 years from 1985 through 2001.

18 - Approximate number of years it took before another DFW area school adopted the 6 Mile Relay format and hosted their own meet. Greenhill was happy to help spread the magic!

19 - Southlake has claimed 19 team titles in either the elite or large school divisions. The Dragons started their winning ways at the 6 Mile Relay when their girls won the elite race in 2000.

20 - Luke's Locker has been faithfully supporting the 6 Mile Relay for the past 20 years. Asics, Saucony and currently HOKA have also partnered with Greenhill on the Relay over the years.

21 - The total number of hay bales used on the 6 Mile Relay course.

22 - Meet director Mike Krueger introduced live music into the 22nd annual 6 Mile Relay. It was a short lived trend but included bands such as Rockupational Therapy and Dimas.

23 - Approximate number of water coolers it takes to help hydrate runners at the 6 Mile Relay.

24 -  Each runner travels over a 2400 meter distance, all of grass and over three sets of hay bales.

25 - All past schools champions at the 6 Mile Relay were honored at the starting line before the 25th event.

26 - Rebar pieces that go into creating the finish chute for the 6 Mile Relay.  

27 - The Kaufman boys repeated as small school relay champions at the 27th annual event in 2011. By 2018 they were competing in the large school division, finishing a strong 5th in the 6A/5A race.

28 - The boys from Norman High School (OK) took the 28th annual 6 Mile Relay by storm, becoming the first non-Texas school to lead the way. The Jenks boys followed as champions two years later. 

29 - The number of relay teams that competed in both the 2018 girls 6A/5A race and the girls 4A and under race.

30 - The first boys team to break the 30 minute mark was Southlake in 2011. That quartet included Goleston, T. Gilley, Chavez, and Sansone. The Dragons would go on to win the 2011 UIL 5A xc team title two months later, scoring a stunning 20 points.

31 - Coach Brad Lutz's Lake Cities runners dominated the JV B races at the 31st annual 6 Mile Relay, winning both the girls race (by 3 seconds) and the boys race (by 1 minute!).

32 - Fact or fiction? Legend has it that Lance Armstrong, former professional cyclist, once raced in the 6 Mile Relay for Plano East 32 years ago. Efforts to find his name on an old relay glove have been unsuccessful.

33 - The number of boys relay teams in the 2018 4A and under race.

34 - The first girls team to break the 34 minute mark was the Keller quartet of Van Camp, Pallozzi, Black, and Santorro in 2017. Keller would go on to win the 2017 UIL 6A xc team title two months later.

35 - Number of years Greenhill has hosted one of most enjoyable and competitive xc meets in Texas.