14 former athletes earn Hall of Fame call

14 former athletes earn Hall of Fame call

The Dalles High School held its inaugural 2019 Booster Club Hall of Fame ceremony this past Saturday at The Civic Auditorium in The Dalles with14 members named to the highest honor of interscholastic athletics. In the photo are, from left to right, starting in the back row, Bill Hammel, Jared Cornell, Ken Dayley and Bill Lavelle. In the front row are, from left, Mandi Williams-Fitz-Gustafson, Kevin Kramer, Dennis Radford, Dave Jones, Terry Way and Cindy Wacker-Nehring. Also receiving Hall of Fame honors were Maria North, Ron Schmidt, John Dick and Ed Urness. Log on to The Dalles Booster Club’s Facebook page to nominate a future Hall of Fame candidate. For local readers, a full, comprehensive celebration story will print in this upcoming Sunday edition.

The Dalles High School held its inaugural 2019 Booster Club Hall of Fame ceremony on Sept. 14 at The Civic Auditorium in The Dalles, with 14 members named to the highest honor of interscholastic athletics.

Athletic director Matt Morgan served as the emcee, and Bill Hammel, John Dick, Ed Urness Jared Cornell, Ken Dayley, Kevin Kramer, Dennis Radford, Dave Jones, Terry Way, Ron Schmidt, Bill Lavelle, Mandi Fitz-Gustafson-Williams, Cindy Wacker-Nehring and Maria North-Scott were celebrated by family members, friends and peers for their accomplishments at the high school level while at The Dalles and Wahtonka High School.

“It is pretty awesome to go back and look at what these individuals meant and the impact that they had on The Dalles athletics in the past,” said retired coach and teacher, Dave Cornell. “By doing this, the booster club cemented the legacy of these athletes and their families. It is important to highlight the past and show all the younger athletes coming up that they have the chance to be up on that stage one day.”

While at The Dalles, Maria North-Scott finished her career as a top-5 sprint athlete in five different events, and is the record holder in the 100 meters with her time of 12.19 seconds.

She is second in the 200 (25.28) and third in the 400 (59.74), and is tied for the best 400-meter relay, a 51.2 second record set in 2004.

She is also part of two 4×100-and-4×400-meter relay teams that are 2-3 in the record books, with the best 4×1 time of 49.43 set in 2004 and the best 4×4 time (4:00.56) set in 2003.

North-Scott was a 2003 100-meter state champion and the 200-meter title winner in 2002, 2003, and 2004.

In her relay events, she won state in the 4×100-meter relay in 2002, 2003, and 2004, and won the 4×400 relay in 2003 and 2004.

She earned four letters in track, three in basketball, and one in soccer.

From high school, North attended Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, and scored top-10 ranks in the 60-meters (7.72), 100 (12.08) and 200 (24.54).

North-Scott ran the second leg of WSU’s Big Sky Conference-winning 4×400-meter relay team in a time of 3:42.77, the second-best time in school history, which helped her earn all-conference honors.

At the 2009 NCAA West Regional meet, the 4×400-meter relay team placed seventh (3:42.94).

Mandi Fitz-Gustafson-Williams

Mandi-Fits-Gustafson-Williams is well-decorated for her high school feats, with school records in the 800-meters (2:16.95), 1,500 (4:38.66) and 3,000 (10:17.08).

She was a 3A state champion as a junior in 1999 in the 1,500 (4:42.02), and picked up three straight state championships in the 3,000 as a sophomore (10:17.08), junior (10:18.17) and senior  (10:25.46).

During high school, Fitz-Gustafson-Williams was a four-time district cross country champion and four-time first-team all-district honoree. On the track, she was a four-time district champion in the 1,500 and 3,000, and four-year letter winner in track and cross country. She was The Dalles High School and Tri-Valley Scholar Athlete of the Year.

“It is a great honor to have everyone here, and to have Mr. (Bob) Thouvenel, who was my coach in cross country, be here to present me,” Fitz-Gustafson-Williams said. “I have my parents and my grandparents and my other parents who are still following me from afar and my husband here and it means so much. It is a very big deal and I thought that the booster club did a very good job putting all this on and celebrating all these athletes from the past.”

Now an assistant coach under Thouvenel, Gustafson has a chance to mold and shape future district- and state-qualifying athletes on the big stage.

She enjoys being a role model for her athletes.

“I really take that to heart,” Fitz-Gustafson-Williams said. “That’s one of the reasons why I coach is to be a good role model, to give back to the community, and to show the kids that I know what they are going through as a former student-athlete. I hope that them hearing about my accomplishments lets them know that they can achieve what I did as well.”

From 1992-1995, Jared Cornell competed in football, wrestling and track and field and dominated in every sense of the word.

He was a third-team Class 3A all-state (Oregonian) defensive lineman as a senior and a honorable mention All-America selection by BlueChip Illustrated.

Cornell won the state 3A wrestling heavyweight championship his senior year with a perfect 34-0 record, all by pins in less than a minute, including pins within five and eight seconds.

In the state championship match his senior year, he pinned his opponent in 49 seconds. As a junior wrestler, Cornell placed fifth in the state with a 29-6 record.

In track, Cornell was a state champion shot putter as a sophomore (55-0) and as a junior (60-9), and the state champion in the shot put as a senior (62-10).

He won the State AAA discus title as a senior (171-10) and placed second as a sophomore at 161-3.

Cornell was a first team All-American in track as a senior and placed sixth (shotput) in a national track meet in Sacramento, California in the summer of 1995.

He earned three letters in football, four in track and two in wrestling, and was a three-year starter in football, the last two years starting on both offense and defense, where he was a two-time first-team Tri-Valley Conference pick on offense and defense as a junior and senior.

Plus, he was an honorable mention all-state choice (The Oregonian) on defense as a junior. He was an Oregon Athlete of the Year finalist and signed a full ride scholarship to Oregon State University for football.

At OSU, Cornell, a three-year starter and four-year letterman and was part of the 2000 Pac-10 champion Beavers as a team captain.

He earned Pac-10 All-Academic honors in 1999 and 2000, and a Pac-10 graduate scholarship in 2002.

“I am really proud of what Jared has accomplished in his life, but like all of these people have said, I am proud of what he has taken away from being involved with sports from his time in The Dalles, and how he has applied that to being the type of man, husband and father that he’s become,” Dave Cornell, Jared’s presenter, said. “He is just a great individual and I am proud of him.”

Dave Jones lettered in multiple sports through his high school career, doing so in football (four times), baseball (three times), basketball (twice) and track (once).

His baseball and basketball teams finished third in state when he was an underclassman, and he was the all-league Outstanding Player as a sophomore.

In his junior season, Jones was an all-league winner in football and basketball, and was the league’s Most Outstanding Player.

On the track, he finished eighth in state in both the 4×100 and 4×400 meter relay.

His senior year, Jones received all-league recognition, was named as a second-team all-state award winner and played in the Shriner’s Hospital All-Star Game.

After high school, Jones signed on to Washington State University on a full-ride football and baseball scholarship and was the starting right halfback (football) and starting shortstop and team captain of the baseball team.

Following his graduation, Jones became a teacher and a coach at The Dalles Junior High, and later, was the vice principal (1961-1971) and principal (1971-1991) at Wahtonka High School, until serving as a District 21 board member from 2002-2012.

Wahtonka High School has seen several top athletes roam the halls in its heyday, but Ron Schmidt is recognized as a record holder and former multiple-event state track and field champion in his time as an Eagle.

In 1979, Schmidt won the 2A state discus championship with a final distance of 179-feet-10-inches, and added a shotput title in the same year after his toss of 63-11.25.

As of this year, Schmidt is currently ranked seventh in shotput and is 16th in the state in Oregon’s all-time discus rankings with his 187-6.

On the football field, Schmidt was named as an all-state recipient, played in the East-West Shrine game and also added all-league basketball honors.

Another 1979 Wahtonka High School graduate, Bill Lavelle, is well-decorated for his athletic prowess over the years, as he received eight varsity letters, four in baseball, three in basketball and one in cross country.

He was a Team MVP in Cross country as a sophomore in 1977, and in basketball averaged 14.3 points a game, was named MVP and was an all-state honorable mention pick.

In his junior year, Lavelle was the team’s leading scorer at 16.7 points, and he added MVP honors and an all-state honorable mention.

During the baseball season, he posted a 4-3 record and threw a no-hitter against Madras.

In 1979, as a senior, Lavelle led the basketball team to a 19-3 record, was the leading scorer at 20.1 points a game, and had his name called as an MVP, all-leaguer and first-team, all-state player.

For his final baseball campaign, Lavelle raised the bar high with a 15-0 record and a 0.16 earned run average, and he rapped out a .404 batting average in helping the Eagles to a 30-3 record and a 1979 Class A State Championship.

On the mound, Lavelle tossed 60 1/3 scoreless innings, which then was the second-longest streak of consecutive scoreless innings pitched in the history of United State high school baseball.

With his 33-10 career record on the mound, he was the only Class A player to be named to the State/Metro All-Star Series and was the winning pitcher in the second game.

When playing American Legion baseball, Lavelle went 25-3 in his career, 10-0 as a junior and 12-2 as a senior. Between high school and legion ball, he had a streak of 29 consecutive winning starts.

At the University of Portland, Lavelle, who earned Student-Athlete of the Year honors in 1984, became the all-time leader in earned run average (2.02) and was top-10 in school history in six pitching categories.

He was a two-time Most Inspirational Player, led the NCAA Division I in earned run average as a senior (1.39), and was voted as an all-Pac-12 North winner.

The 2018 University of Portland Hall of Famer ended up being drafted in the 10th round by the Baltimore Orioles in 1984, but his three-year career ended due to injuries.

He finished his Major League Baseball stint at 19-11, with 36 saves and and earned run average of 3.38.

Looking back at the road he took to success, Kevin Kramer thanked the many supporting aspects of his life for building him up from the ground floor to The Dalles elite.

The names are endless and the accolades are impressive.

“I was really blessed to have parents in the home and to have Dennis (Radford) as my coach,” Kramer said. “They all gave me what I needed to be a successful student-athlete.

“When I was coming up, every coach I had wrestled in college and every coach I had was a teacher and that gave me something to aspire to be.”

Kramer won championships across several levels, platforms and styles in his illustrious career.

He was part of the 1972 team that competed in a cultural exchange exhibition to South Africa, and he joined the National High School team that made a trip to Poland in 1973.

Also in 1973, Kramer won a state high school title, Freestyle and Greco-Roman State Championships, and tacked on national championships in freestyle and Greco-Roman.

At the University of Oregon, Kramer claimed a 1975 Pac-8 Wrestling Championship, was a NAAU National Junior Greco-Roman Champion and joined the Junior World team to an exchange trip to Bulgaria. Two years later, he participated in the East-West All-Star exhibition.

Kramer graduated from the University of Oregon and received his Master’s Degree from Lewis and Clark University.

Kramer coached 73 OSAA state placers, including 13 state champions, across his 31-year coaching career and three of those wrestlers later became college All-Americans.

Through the trips and new experiences, Kramer is more enriched and empowered than when he first started, so those opportunities to face the best gave him an opportunity to step out of his comfort zone.

“Wrestling is a brotherhood of sorts and a comradeship,” Kramer said. “You battle on the mat and beat each other up and when it’s over, you shake your opponents hand and reach a mutual respect. Accountability and work ethic and family are the cornerstones to what makes this a great sport.”

When Dennis Radford steps in a room, everyone takes notice.

Over his 35-year coaching career, Radford coached 10 district champion teams, with our district runner-up finishes and once had a team score second place at the state tournament, while consistently placing within the top-8.

In that span, Radford also was a key figure in coaching up 101 individual district champions, 14 state champions, six state runner-ups, 60 state placers.

He also had one Scholastic Wrestling Magazine All-American, an Amateur Wrestling News All-American, a National Freestyle champion and a National Greco-Roman champion.

A total of 29 wrestlers made it to the collegiate ranks, six were All-Americans and six were at the Junior College level.

In addition to The Dalles Hall of Fame, Radford is a member of the North Bend High School Hall of Fame as a student-athlete, and is in the Southwestern Community College Hall of Fame as a wrestler, and is a member of the Oregon Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame, along with the National Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame.

“Radford always made you want to run through walls,” said former wrestling athlete Kevin Kramer. “It wasn’t torture, we just didn’t want to disappoint him. I think those kinds of relationships are more than just your performance on the mat. He cared about the kids and where they were going in life. When I coached, I tried to do the same, because that’s what we learned from him. He passed on so many great life lessons that helped so many young men, and I am thankful to him for that.”

As a coach, Terry Way had a magic touch in bringing the most out of his players.

In his long coaching and administrative career, Way had many accolades and recognition.

He was the Oregon classification Coach of the Year in 1979, 1985, and 1995, was the OSAA Baseball Coach of the Year in 1982 and earned the Oregon Baseball Coaches Association Region 7 Coach of the Year in 1997.

He is currently ranked seventh all time in Oregon High School baseball coaching victories.

On the administrative side, Way received Athletic Director of the Year in 1998 and 2001 and was inducted into the Oregon High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2002. Currently, Way is ranked seventh all time in wins for Oregon High School coaches.

From 1985-2003, Way was an Oregon athletic director and league representative, and is the Oregon Athletic Director Association’s executive board (1982-present), and was the American Legion baseball executive board member (1995-2005)

At Wahtonka High School, Way played football, basketball and baseball, where, as a senior (1966), he was named as a second-team, all-state recipient in football and basketball and also earned co-Athlete of the Year in the same year. In college at Eastern Oregon, Way lettered in football and basketball.

Note: Due to space, this is story is part one of a two-part series that will come out in Wednesday’s edition.

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