smithThe oldest of the “Oldtimers”, Ross Smith, was the first outstanding track and field performer in Salem High sports. His specialties were the shot put, discus hurl and hammer throw – an event no longer held. In the South Central meet at Lebanon in 1905, an association that encompassed the southern part of Illinois, he garnered gold medals in all three events and advanced to the state track meet, taking second in the hammer throw.

Smith consistently won all the events in three years of high school competition. He won the shot put with 42′ 4″ and the hammer throw with 145’3-1/4″ – “a trifle more than the combined distance of the other contestants”. He was also an outstanding baseball player.

When a fire broke out during the 1905 graduation ceremonies, according to the Salem Herald-Advocate newspaper, he was credited with saving several lives by organizing an orderly evacuation.