It was an impromptu gathering, thrown together over social media and word of mouth, and the result was hundreds of people packing the south side of the Carthage Square to welcome home the State Champion Tigers Boys Track and Field team.

It was an impromptu gathering, thrown together over social media and word of mouth, and the result was hundreds of people packing the south side of the Carthage Square to welcome home the State Champion Tigers Boys Track and Field team.
Carthage Boosters and parents Jerry Cobaugh and Dustin Perkins helped spread the word and kept the community informed as the bus carrying the boys and girls track teams made the long trip from Columbia after their big win in the State Track Meet.
At about 11:15 p.m. Saturday, with an escort from the Carthage Fire Department and Police Department, the bus came on the Square, then stopped to let the athletes and coaches out to greet their cheering fans.
“To show up with all those fans on the Square, it was amazing,” said Boys Track Athlete Corbin Pugh. “I couldn't be more happy with the turnout, especially at 11 o'clock at night to see all the fans as we rolled up. It was an amazing feeling.”
Carthage High School Principal Matt Huntley used the impromptu pep rally to make a presentation to retiring Carthage Activities Director Andy Youngworth, coach of the victorious track team.
Huntley presented him with a framed proclamation, which he said was now out of date, from the Missouri State Legislature, honoring him for his years as a coach and teacher at Carthage and other schools.
Huntley said the school had been trying to find a good time to surprise Youngworth with the proclamation, but the success of Tigers teams kept getting in the way.
“We decided we were going to do this at free physical night and we were going to surprise him, we had buttons made with pictures like circa 1993 and the John Denver Days, buttons for everyone to wear, parents would be there, athletes, all the coaches would be there,” Huntley told the crowd. “Then our baseball team went off and won the district championship, so the sectional match was on free physical night. If you don't know anything about Coach Youngworth, he's a good track coach, he's even better at getting out of things he doesn't want to do.”
Youngworth said he was pleased with the surprise, but even more pleased the community came out to honor the team.
“It's not a false sence of humility, I really want the kids to get all the credit for what we do, but it was neat,” Youngworth said. “The kids certainly deserved it and I appreciate the family and friends, schoolmates who came out. That was a lot of people to see on the Square at 11:15 or 11:30 at night. It wasn't like we got home early.”
Arkell Smith, winner of the triple jump and a part of the gold medal 4x400 relay team, said he was blown away by the welcome on the Square.
“It's 11:15 at night, pulling up to the Square, it was just amazing, all the fans that we have,” Smith said. “It showed how the town supports us and was behind us and we were happy to bring the trophy back to them.”