Sandra Hays Smith

(Malvern) -- Each weekday from now until August 26th, KMA Sports will be announcing the inaugural KMA Sports Hall of Fame class. Throughout the 2016-17 sports year, these 20 inductees will have special induction ceremonies, but August is designed for the announcements.

Today's inductee is arguably the greatest track athlete in Corner Conference history. Malvern's Sandra Hays Smith captured seven state championships, two Drake Relays titles, 11 conference golds and set multiple records during her Hall of Fame track career.

"I loved basketball," Hays Smith told KMA Sports, "and Coach (Clyde) Osterfoss told me 'you will go out for track.' I had no intentions of going out for track, but he saw something that I didn't know about. He said it'll make you better for basketball, so I went out."

Osterfoss' declaration turned out to be a blessing, as Hays Smith traveled all across the country to compete. Her freshman year (1964) saw her win three gold medals at the Corner Conference and district meets before a state championship and new record in the 440.

In 1965, Hays Smith won the Drake Relays 100 championship in a record time of 10.9, later won four conference and district titles and then took three state championships in the 60, 100 and 220.

Her junior season of 1966 saw another Drake Relay title in the 440 yard relay, a runner-up at Drake in the 100, four more conference and district titles and three more state championships in the 60, 100 and long jump. Of all her great accomplishments, Hays Smith enjoyed the Drake Relays title the most.

"First of all, running on a cinder track was fantastic," she said. "We worked out on a horse track at the Mills County Fairgrounds. The Drake Relays and all those colleges, teams and colors was just so exciting. Then to set the record was huge."

Hays Smith and basketball legend Carol Wolfe teamed up in 1965 and 1966 to nearly capture the team championship for Malvern, finishing second to Belle Plaine in each meet. Two instances that led to the state changing how they scored the meet.

"I don't think they thought it was fair there were these big teams with lots of great relay teams with four girls," Hays Smith said, "and then two girls come along and almost win the whole shebang. So, they thought individual events shouldn't have as many points as relays. They gave more points to relays after us and less to individuals."

The most amazing thing about Hays' career is that she was inducted into the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union Hall of Fame and now the KMA Sports Hall of Fame with a shortened career. As a senior, in 1967, she decided not to go out.

"I decided to take a rest because they discovered after my freshman year I had hypoglycemia," Hays Smith said. "I had to get out of class, eat six meals a day, have oxygen beside the track, take naps. We didn't know about nutrition like we do nowadays. I think I could have managed it better now, but we didn't know stuff back then."

Nonetheless, what Hays Smith accomplished in three years is absolutely befitting of a spot in the inaugural class of the KMA Sports Hall of Fame. She will be inducted in 2017 at the Corner Conference Track Meet in Tabor.

KMA Sports will announce a new inductee each August weekday morning during the 7:50 AM sportscast. Track the Hall of Fame announcements/inductees below:

FALL

Football: Announced August 26th at 7:50 AM

Volleyball: Angie Spangenberg, Red Oak/Harlan (Induction: 9/27)

Boys Cross Country: Ray Graves (Induction: 9/29)

Girls Cross Country: Missy Buttry Rock (Induction: 9/29)

Team: Clarinda Boys Cross Country 1956 State Champions (Induction: 9/6)

WINTER

Boys Basketball: BJ Windhorst (Induction: TBA)

Girls Basketball: Announced August 18th at 7:50 AM

Wrestling: Announced August 12th at 7:50 AM

Team: Announced August 11th at 7:50 AM

SPRING

Girls Track: Sandra Hays (Induction: Corner Conference Track Meet)

Boys Track: Announced August 23rd at 7:50 AM

Girls Golf: Announced August 16th at 7:50 AM

Boys Golf: Announced August 19th at 7:50 AM

Girls Tennis: Announced August 17th at 7:50 AM

Boys Tennis: Mark Paulson (Induction: TBA)

Soccer: Announced August 15th at 7:50 AM

Team: Announced August 25th at 7:50 AM

SUMMER

Baseball: Mike Mercer (Induction: TBA)

Softball: Announced August 24th at 7:50 AM

Team: Announced August 22nd at 7:50 AM