It's been two and a half years since longtime Estero coach Jeff Sommer passed away. Sommer suffered an apparent heart attack at the 3A State Finals, collapsing just moments before his girls 4x800m relay team finished victorious. This past weekend the Jeff Sommer Memorial High was named in his honor in Estero.
The highway starts on Coconut Road and goes to Corkscrew Road which is past the high school. Adam Sommer, his son, told us the idea came about after state representatives who knew his father started planning this back in 2015. The plan was to put the bill in place to have the road renamed, but the deadline passed. In 2016, the bill failed. This year it finally passed.
It's truly amazing the fact that for the last two years that people have been fighting to do something great for my dad, his legacy, and the family," he said. "So many people cared about him and wanted to give back to him even though he's not with us."
The honor came on the eve of the DDD Sommer Invitational which coincides with Jeff Sommer Day in the city of Estero every year since his passing. Over 50 teams made the trip to Estero Community Park deemed as one of the toughest courses in the state.
"I remember when he was around and I was running three years ago and it never rained and the past two years it did," Sommer explained. "He's saying here it is. It was knee deep in water and it was incredible to see the kids out there."
The rain and knee deep water mixed with a large hill, hay bales, and a sand pit the athletes have to run through twice, the difficulty is just what Coach Sommer would have wanted.
"He always wanted the hardest course and he wanted people to remember that it was the utmost experience," he said. "Water, trails, hills, that's how he imagined cross country. It was something that pushed you physically and mentally and that's how you saw who the top runners were."
- Estero Team Page
- DDD Sommer Invitational Meet Coverage
- Remembering Coach Sommer: More Than Just A Coach