(KMAland) -- Throughout the month of August, KMA Sports is introducing our fifth Hall of Fame class.
With today’s announcement, we head to the 1980s and one of the best distance runners in KMAland history. Lenox alum Brenda (Matheny) Thatcher won a pair of cross country championships and three track titles during her career.
“There were so many moments and so many people (to remember),” Thatcher told KMA Sports about her time in Lenox. “Lenox was a good community, and it always felt like I had the support from them.”
Thatcher won cross country championships in 1984 and 1985 while also capturing the 3000 in 1986 and 1987 and the 1500 in 1987. Much of her success, she attributes to her Coach Mark Skahill.
“I think he just knew what you could achieve without you even realizing it,” Thatcher said. “He had a way of bringing it out in you. He wanted to bring the best out of all of us, and through his coaching, we were able to do that. There was no way I probably thought I could get some of the times he told me I could.”
Thatcher was actually a member of Lenox’s first cross country team, which qualified for state prior to her winning the ’84 championship as a freshman.
“When you’re a freshman, you’re just going out there with no expectations,” she said. “You just want to do well. Nobody is looking at you. At state, there’s no real pressure on you. I think the freshman (title) was just kind of a surprise.”
Thatcher quickly turned into a target in her freshman year of track and in the years after in cross country. She came in second in the 3000 as a freshman and then avenged her loss the next year.
“That was my ultimate goal,” she said. “To come back and beat her that year. Each year you hope for better times or better placements, but I remember each (state championship) a little differently. Each one had a different purpose.”
While she touts 11 state track medals and four in cross country, Thatcher was more than just a runner. She also played forward during the 6-on-6 days in basketball and was an all-conference and honorable mention all-state honoree in softball.
After her time at Lenox, Thatcher went on to Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She ran one year of cross country and track before injuries and home-sickness led her to transfer to the University of Iowa.
Thatcher will join the rest of the KMA Sports Hall of Fame for an induction ceremony at some point in the near future. Listen to the complete interview with Thatcher below.
2020 KMA SPORTS HALL OF FAME CLASS