WAYNESFIELD — A Waynesfield couple focused on instilling a strong work ethic in their children and always stressed the importance of education and service to church and the community.
However, Thelma and Lott Turner could not have envisioned the impact that their descendants would have in the small town.
The couple that operated a small farm in the community had five children, all graduates of Waynesfield-Goshen High School.
The couple’s 15 grandchildren all excelled both academically and athletically, and littered the school’s athletic record books along the way.
And now a new generation of Turners have had a similar impact, as all the 31 great-grandchildren can be found in the Tiger annals. They continue to break records that their parents and grandparents had set.
However, the family tree has never had quite the impact that they now have on high school sports at the small school. This year, nine great-grandchildren are proud to call themselves Tigers.
Included in the nine are Lidia and Nathan Turner, the children of Regina and Tadd Turner, Lee and Brandon Turner the children of Holly and Chris Turner, Ivy and Morgan Horn, the children of Kitt and Jon Horn, Mackenzie and Lake Turner, the children of Kim and Deb Turner, and Ramsey Buffenbarger, the daughter of Tracey and Kraig Buffenbarger.
It is nearly impossible to attend a Waynesfield-Goshen High School sporting event, or any other extra-curricular activity for that matter, and not find a Turner descendant on the playing surface.
All nine are very aware of their passed down heritage, and they all take great pride in what has been passed down to them. They all feel honored to carry on the family tradition.
“We were left with a legacy of hard work and leadership,” high school senior Nathan Turner said. “You become part of that legacy and you feel compelled to carry on the family name.”
At most of the schools sporting events, half of the cheerleaders come from the family.
Ivy, Morgan, Mackenzie and Lidia are all cheerleaders. The night after, three of that same four may be taking the court for the basketball team.
Lidia, Ivy, Morgan, Ramsey and Nathan will compete in track in the spring.
A football coach could fill up more than a third of his lineup with the family, as Nathan, Lake, Lee and Brandon all played. Lake, Lee and Brandon are all currently playing basketball. Lake and Ramsey are the only family participants in baseball and volleyball.
As one of the younger members of the family to currently be participating as a sophomore, Lidia said, “You always have someone to give you good advice.”
She said Ivy has been a great role model.
“She helps the whole team,” Lidia said. “She gives me a lot of advice.”
Morgan, who is Ivy’s twin, dropped out of basketball during her junior year in high although she has continued to thrive athletically.
“I just didn’t have the patience,” Morgan said, as her family members laughed around her. “I can’t play contact sports.”
Ivy said while the two do share many of the same traits, they are different in many ways.
“We are complete opposites,” Ivy said.
While it would appear the situation would cause for heated family rivalries, Ivy said that it has not been that way.
“It has been a situation of support,” Ivy said. “Everyone supports each other.”
However, they do still have their fun with the greener members of the family at times.
Nathan and Lee as standouts on the football team have taken their shots against their younger family members in practice.
“Me and Lee get our hits in,” Nathan said with a smile. “Lake and Brandon have taken a few pretty good hits from us.”
On top of all of their athletic ability, all nine carry grade point averages well above the 3.0 level. Ivy and Nathan are in line for valedictorian honors and Morgan likely will be the salutatorian.
The family has had an impact on helping the teams improve. After an 8-13 record in girls basketball two years ago, the team has put together successful seasons back-to-back at 17-6 and 19-4. They secured the sectional championship last year and have been Northwest Central Conference runners-up for three years.
After decades of what resulted usually in losing records, the football team has put together a 28-13 record and has been a consistent force in region 24 as a playoff contender. That has included a pair of NWCC championships.
The girls track team won the league and regional championship a season ago.
Ivy currently hold five separate school track records at the school. Lee and Nathan have both garnered all league honors in football.
Many other sports honors have been captured by the group.
Mackenzie summed it up best for the family, pointing out a common comment that she hears.
“Its fun when you are competing against other teams, and everyone is aware of our family,” Mackenzie said. “Everybody always says, you’re related to everyone. It isn’t that far from the truth.”
The situation gives the family plenty of conversation pieces each year when the family has a family reunion weekend at Marshall Lake on Wrestle Creek Road.
“We talk about sports a lot,” Morgan said. “It is something everybody has in common. There is a lot of expectation to excel.”