By Will LeBlond
In an appropriately timed ceremony, some of the best in Lansing High School sports history were recently honored at the Lake Watch Inn.
Two individuals, one coach and one team were honored by the Lansing Central School Athletic Hall of Fame. The individuals were Danielle Smith, Tom Neubert, while the honored coach was the late Adam Heck and his 1998 Boys Soccer team was inducted together as a team.
The honor for the 1998 team came just days after this year’s team was able to secure the program’s first-ever state title with a 2-1 win in overtime against Section 5’s Byron-Bergen/Elba. Before Heck’s unexpected passing during last fall’s preseason, there were some expectations that a state title was on the way.
“Things have come full circle for us,” said Lansing Athletic Director Stu Dean. “I can recall conversations with Adam regarding this specific team that won this year. He assessed that this was a team that could get it done.”
A 2017 Section IV Class C Championship a few weeks prior marked the fifth one since 2011, but that kind of success needed a starting point and it goes back to the 1998 squad. Heck coached that Bobcat team, which won the program’s first-ever sectional crown, starting a run of two decades of sectional domination.
“He laid the foundation for this team,” said Dean on Heck’s legacy. “If you look at the number of times he went to the state tournament, his hard work is being rewarded.”
Smith and Neubert, who also know a thing or two about dominating the competition, also got their due.
Smith, who is a 1993 Lansing graduate, set an astounding 103 swimming records during her time with the Bobcats varsity team and her legacy went past just the pool at the high school level.
“She was an athlete that not only did great things here, but went on to do great things at Syracuse University,” said Dean. “The impact that she had here at Lansing and the swimming program is self-evident with the records that she set here.”
For Neubert, a 1992 graduate, he also went on to the college ranks where he played baseball at SUNY Cortland, but he was a standout two-sport star at Lansing.
“He was a center for us in football and he really was a leader on the line,” said Dean on Neubert’s exploits on the gridiron. “He was a real cerebral player who could accommodate a number of different blocking schemes.”
When springtime rolled around, Neubert was able to excel on the diamond as well.
“He was a great pitcher and I believe he still holds the record for career home runs,” said Dean. “He had an outstanding career in both sports.”
Neubert, Smith, Heck and the 1998 Boys Soccer team now have their place in history in Lansing at the school’s hall of fame, which is located on the wall outside their gym near the locker rooms.