McCombs Middle School is normally the home of the Golden Eagles but on Monday, lots of turkeys were loose on the grounds.

The school picked just the right day to resurrect a dormant tradition, the Turkey Trot. What used to be an annual event in a spirit of physical wellness was brought back this year, more in the spirit of school spirit.

One grade level at a time, students assembled outside to run a route around the perimeter of the sprawling McCombs campus on County Line Road. For those who chose to be competitive, there were trophies at stake in the form of fresh turkeys donated by Hy-Vee and school staff. First place finishers in each grade received “Henry” (for the fastest boy) or “Henrietta” (for the fastest girl).

Sarah Friedrich is the Teacher Leadership Coach at McCombs and she led the way in restarting the school’s run-up to Thanksgiving.

“We wanted this to be mostly about just enjoying and supporting one another,” she said, “and we’re seeing a lot of exactly that kind of attitude among the students.”

Plenty raced, but many preferred to stroll, some arm-in-arm, and soak in what looks like the last blast of sunshine we’ll see this week. Next-door neighbors at Blank Golf Course were busy hosting a pre-holiday “FORE!” feast of thanksgiving for birdies of another feather.

We got to McCombs just in time for the 6th grade trot midday and were there at the finish line when Diego Bejarano and Lovetee Paul broke the tape strung across the parking lot turnaround.

“I ran to win,” Diego said after regaining enough breath to speak. “There was someone really close to me, but I hung on.” Whoever that was will have to settle for leftovers from the 13-pound turkey Diego was awarded.

Lovetee, too, approached the event with determination.

“I know I can run fast,” she said, although her anguished expression when she finished suggested that maybe she wasn’t as sure about running quite so far. “Now I’ve gotta go call my mom and tell her I won a turkey.”

She’s bringing you some homework, mom, in other words.

Seventh grade winners were Rolando Fuller and Emma Casey. 8th grade winners were Manasseh Appiah and Melanie Haltom. A third turkey winner was drawn at random for each grade and those lucky birds were Kris Htoo (6th), Eduardo Gutierrez-Marquez (7th) and Nevaeh Sholley-Clinton (8th).

Photos of the McCombs Turkey Trot

Turkey Trot at McCombs

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