Saybrook-Arrowsmith High School

Saybrook-Arrowsmith High School saybrookarrowsmithhs.jpg
1952 – 1989
Saylbrook-Arrowsmith HS Bldg 1955
Submitted by Pueblo City Colorado-County Library District (Noreen Riffe)

The History of Saybrook-Arrowsmith High School

Saybrook (population 764) and Arrowsmith (population 298) are located in eastern Illinois in the southeastern portion of McLean County. Both towns are located about 15 – 20 miles east (and a little south) of Bloomington. You can read about the histories of both of these towns and their individual school districts on their individual pages of this site.

It is known that both towns supported their own high schools from about the late 1800’s through the early 1950’s. The towns agreed to consolidate their school districts in 1952. The new district was known as Saybrook-Arrowsmith High School. The high school was located in Saybrook and is pictured above. It is not know if the school building in Arrowsmith was used any time after the consolidation took place. The athletic teams kept the Saybrook Comanche name and school colors.

For nearly four decades, the Saybrook-Arrowsmith Comanches served the two communities proudly. Declining enrollment and financial issues took their toll. In 1989 Saybrook-Arrowsmith High School closed her doors for good. The students became part of a new consolidation effort with Colfax Octavia High School (also on this site). This new district is known as Colfax Ridgeview High School and is still going strong today.

Martha Heavilin advises the fate of the Saybrook-Arrowsmith High School building is a sad one. After the merger with Colfax Octavia, the majority of the S-AHS building was demolished a few years later. The gymnasium however is still standing, used as a garage for the township it is located in.

Saybrook High School Memorial 2015 saybrookschoolmemorial2015dav.jpg

Saybrook-Arrowsmith High School Quick Facts

Year created:                  1952

Year closed:                   1989

Gymnasium today:          used a township garage

School nickname:            the “Comanches”

School colors:                 Red & White

School Fight Song:          High School – University of Illinois Fight Song Tune

                                                            (Grade School Fight Song Sung to University of Wisconsin Fight Song Tune)


The Saybrook-Arrowsmith High School Comanches competed in many different sports and were successful in each. The boys competed in basketball, baseball, track, and football (1952-1968). The girls were offered the sports of volleyball, basketball, track, & possibly softball and golf. The Comanches competed in the Sangamon Valley Conference with many other small schools in their area.

Saybrook-Arrowsmith Football Newspaper Clippings saybrookjarr1962newsclippings.jpg
1962 Football Season

The Saybrook-Arrowsmith Comanches competed in football from their inception in 1952 through the fall of 1968. It is thought that declining numbers may pushed the reason for the dropping of the football program. However, as you can read above in the newspaper clippings provided by the web site, the Comanches did have some outstanding seasons during those 16 years. The best of these seasons are listed below.

1952-53   4 – 2 – 1       First Season as SAHS            Coach Russell McKeon

The 1952-53 Comanches saybrookarrowsmith1stteam1952.jpg
Saybrook-Arrowsmith’s First Team (4-2-1)

1955-56   7 – 1 – 0       SV Conference Co-Champs   Coach Marvin Schlosser

Saybrook-Arrowsmith Football Team – 1955-56
Sangamon Valley Conference Co-Champs (7-1)

1956-57   7 – 1 – 0       SV Conference Co-Champs   Coach Marvin Schlosser

The 1956-57 Comanches saybrookarrconcochamps1956.jpg
Conference Co-Champs (7-1)

1957-58   5 – 2 – 1       SV Conference 4th Place      Coach Marvin Schlosser

1962-63   6 – 2 – 0       SV Conference 3rd Place      Coach Duane West

The team records for the 1953 and 1954 teams are not available.
Saybrook-Arrowsmith High School Gymnasium saybrookarrowsmithhsgymmons.jpg
Today a Township Garage

Boys Basketball

The Saybrook-Arrowsmith Comanches had many successful seasons on the hardwood court as well. The school won one District and one Regional Championship. However, they enjoyed many seasons which brought more winds than losses. The best of the SAHS seasons are listed below. Several Scores involving Saybrook-Arrowsmith High School in the IHSA State Tournament were located on a website titled “Illinois Postseason Basketball Scores” and are listed below. To view this site click on the following link:

1952-53   13 – 13    School’s First Season                  Coach Russell McKeon

1953-54   17 – 10                                                        Coach Russell McKeon

1955-56   16 – 12                                                        Coach Marvin Schlosser

1956-57   19 – 6                                                          Coach Marvin Schlosser

1957-58   20 – 7                                                          Coach Marvin Schlosser

1964-65   16 – 9                                                          Coach Don Sobotta

1967-68   14 – 10                                                        Coach Robert Berg

1968-69   19 – 7                                                          Coach Bill Winn

1969-70   21 – 8      DeLand District Champions     Coach Henry Bonner

                               Semi-Final Beat Mansfield 78-60

                               Title Game Beat Bellflower 63-60

                               Urbana Regional Tournament

                               1st Rd Beat Monticello 52-43

                               Semi-final lost to Urbana 94-60

Urbana beat Champaign Central in title game


1974-75   13 – 11                                                        Coach Henry Bonner

1975-76   15 – 11                                                        Coach Henry Bonner

1977-78   22 – 4      McLean Co. Tourney Champs  Coach Gerry Thornton


1978-79   25 – 3      Mahomet Regional Champions  Coach Gerry Thornton

                               1st Rd Beat Mahomet-Seymour 79-62

                               Semi-final Beat Farmer City-Mansfield 70-58

                               Title Game Beat DeLand-Weldon 56-55

                               Normal Sectional Tournament

                               Semi-final lost to Gridley 66-56

Gridley lost to Bloomington Central Catholic in title game

GRIDLEY (66): Roth 22, Jenkins 16, Hayes 13, Gundy 8, Bri. Alvey 2, Bru. Alvey 2, Umland 2, Grusy 1.

SAYBROOK-ARROWSMITH (56): Thomas 17, Waltz 14, R. Nord 7. M. Nord 7, Zimmerman 4, Trhlik 4, Jacobs 2, Shoemaker 1.


1979-80   24 – 2      Colfax Regional Tourney          Coach Gerry Thornton

                                1st Rd Beat Octavia 58-52

                                Semi-final lost to Normal U-High 71-63

Normal U-High beat Lexington in title game

1981-82   18 – 7                                                          Coach Charles Hall

1982-83   19 – 6      McLean Co. Tourney Champs      Coach Charles Hall

1983-84   18 – 8                                                          Coach Charles Hall

1988-89                                                                      Coach Allen Beck

Girls Basketball

The Lady Comanches equalled the boys in IHSA tournament hardware. The program won two Regional titles during their existence, and brought home other trophies as well to show for their successes.

1975-76                                                                        Coach Betty Gardner

1976-77                                                                        Coach Betty Gardner

1977-78                                                                        Coach Betty Gardner

1979-80  16-7   Regional Champions                            

                       Normal U-High Round-Robin Tourney Champs

1980-81  19-4   Regional Champions                            Coach Clifton Gibbons

                       McLean Co. Tourney Champs

                       Beat Lexington 61 to 41

Won Regional Tournament 66 to 46 

Boys Baseball

The boys’ baseball team of 1958-59 won a Regional championship as well. Team record and coach’s name of this and other great baseball teams in SAHS history are not currently available.

1958-59                  Regional Champions

Girls Volleyball

The Lady Comanche netters had but one coach in their entire time as a program.  Coach Betty Gardner lead the Comanche girls volleyball team from its inception in 1973-74 to its end in 1988-89. The best of her seasons at SAHS are listed below.

1974-75    7 – 2                                                         Coach Betty Gardner

1975-76    7 – 3                                                         Coach Betty Gardner

1976-77    7 – 7                                                         Coach Betty Gardner

1977-78    7 – 6                                                         Coach Betty Gardner

Boys Track & Field

One Comanche thinclad brought home a medal from the IHSA State Track Meet.  His excellent accomplishment is listed below.

1978-79      J.C. Zimmerman            100 Yard Dash        8TH Place

Activities: Theatre

The Illinois Theatre Festival is the largest, non-competetive high school theatre festival in the world. It was organized in 1976 by teachers from the Chicago suburbs. This festival is still going strong as they perform at the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) and Illinois State University every other January. Saybrook-Arrowsmith participated in this festival in 1980.

Seeking More Information

Please forward any information regarding the many successful endeavors of Saybrook-Arrowsmith High School to us at You can also write to us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago, Il.  60631

Saybrook-Arrowsmith Class of 1955 (other half)
Submitted by Pueblo City Colorado-County Library District (Noreen Riffe)
Saybrook-Arrowsmith Class of 1955 (half)
Submitted by Pueblo City Colorado-County Library District (Noreen Riffe)

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