(KMAland) -- Throughout the month of August, KMA Sports is introducing the 2018-19 KMA Sports Hall of Fame class.
On Monday, we turned our attention to a five-time state champion from Griswold, Bill Blay.
Blay won two state titles in cross country and in track’s 3200 meter run and also nabbed a 1600 meter run championship over the course of the 1992 and 1993 seasons.
“Back then was a really good time for running in Southwest Iowa,” Blay said. “Every time I stepped out the door it was almost like running for a state title.”
Indeed, KMAland long-distance runners were accomplished and plentiful during that era, as St. Albert’s Phil Hasenkamp, Tri-Center’s Marty Dalton and Woodbine’s Matt Mullenix all provided major competition.
“We were good buddies off the track,” Blay said. “We stepped on the track or course, we were out to beat each other, but I trained with Phil quite often in the summer. I talked to Marty all the time. We were all close.”
Blay’s success on the cross country course was nearly unequaled during that time, as he won all 12 races in his junior season. He followed by winning the first seven of his senior season before the streak was snapped.
“I was able to come back and defend my title,” Blay said. “The memories are awesome from those titles, but like I said, anytime out the door was a tough race.”
But more times than not, Blay was a winner over his final two years of high school. He attributes that to a lot of hard work and several mentors that pushed him.
“If I ran 60-70 miles a week, my mom was probably on the bike 45-50 of those in the afternoon,” he said. “The great coach (Gary) Bergstrom and coach Tim Larsen were great influences.”
Out of his five state championships, Blay says there is one that he favors over the rest.
“I love my mile title,” he said. “That one is just true to my heart.”
Blay had other solid finishes during the course of his career, taking 4th in the 3200 as a freshman and 10th in cross country as a sophomore.
The former Griswold star will be inducted into the KMA Sports Hall of Fame at a later date during the 2018-19 sports calendar year. Hear the complete interview with Blay linked here.
Previous announcements are linked below. Listen to KMA's Upon Further Review each day in August for a new Hall of Fame announcement.
Wednesday, August 1st - Dan Martinez, Red Oak (Coach)
Thursday, August 2nd - Ricky Williams, Riverside (Basketball)
Friday, August 3rd - 1989 Glenwood Wrestling (Team)