WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE — The Washington High School Athletic Department hosted the 14th Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday, May 6 at 7 p.m. in the high school gymnasium. Prior to the ceremony, inductees and their guests were treated to a chicken noodle dinner in the high school cafeteria.
The co-masters of ceremonies were Jon Creamer and Terry Feick. Creamer welcomed the audience to the ceremony and shared some comments.
“What a joy this has been. It is especially rewarding for me as it is like a high school reunion. I see so many former students and athletes that I used to work with, it is so great to see all of you. The first hall of fame ceremony was in 1980. With this new class of inductees, the hall of fame has grown to 168 members.”
Feick spoke next, recognizing the hall of fame inducting committee members, the voting committee members, hall of fame members in attendance, current school board members and administrators, current head coaches in attendance, and several Blue Lion athletes who were representing their respective sport.
A total of 20 inductees were recognized on Saturday including eight that are referred to as founders, meaning they played or coached before 1974.
Chris Hoppes, sports editor for the Record-Herald, was among the inductees. He has been reporting on Blue Lion and Fayette County sports for 30 years, starting at the paper in July, 1993.
Hoppes shared some comments during his induction speech.
“This came as an unexpected honor for sure. I would like to thank Mr. Dale Lynch, and anyone who had anything to do with this. Jeff Pollard hired me at the Greenfield Daily Times and also at the Record-Herald so thank you, Jeff,” Hoppes said. (Jeff Pollard was publisher of the Daily Times and the Record-Herald).
“I would also like to thank Roger Ross and John Wend. They were on the staff at the Greenfield Daily Times back when I first started (Ross was the editor and Wend was the sports editor). I would like to thank Ryan Carter (editor of the Record-Herald); I’ve appreciated him very much these past few years. Thank you to all the coaches and different athletic directors, it’s been a lot of fun to watch these young people throughout the years.
“I am extremely appreciative of this honor and thankful for everyone in the community who has helped me by contributing photos and articles over the years,” Hoppes added.
The founders included 1955 football and golf standout Fred Cahall, 1958 basketball stars Larry Milstead and Tom Swaim, 1960 baseball star Preston Bentley, 1967 baseball standout John Halliday, 1967 football and track great Bill Heinz, and two Blue Lion football linemen from the Willis family, 1969 grad Dale Willis and 1974 grad Duke Willis.
The 2023 Hall of Fame Class also included two members elected for their service to the Blue Lions.
Randy Young was also inducted and has been covering the Blue Lions and Fayette County sports for four decades. Both Young and Hoppes have written about or broadcast thousands of games over the years and currently do so as well.
Lastly, there were nine athletes and one coach who were recognized during the induction ceremony.
These inductees included 1983 grad Brad Massie who excelled in football and wrestling, 1984 grad Christie Johns Woolever who was a star in volleyball, basketball and softball, 1988 graduate Jeff Junk who was one of the best to play golf for the Blue Lions, 1989 graduate Delmar McCrary was a standout in football, basketball and track, 1992 graduate Cristy Lorente who excelled in volleyball, basketball and track, 1992 grad Jason Pittser who was a star in basketball and baseball, 2008 graduate Travis Shaw who went on to a very successful Major League Baseball career, 2011 State High Jump Champion Logan Rowe and 2012 graduate and two-time State Wrestling Champion Riley Shaw.
The lone coach inducted was former Lady Lion Volleyball coach Doug Mace. Mace is the winningest coach in all of Lady Lion sports, coaching the volleyball team from 1994-2009 and compiling a record of 255 wins and 127 losses. and winning eight league, 11 Sectional and six District championships, along with one Regional title.
After each inductee was introduced and honored, hall of fame chairman Dale Lynch gave some closing remarks.
“I could tell you so many great stories about these inductees. Some people say that with 168 members, we have too many members in the hall of fame, but we have had sports for 122 years here. That only averages about one and one-third every year. Sports are made up of four different groups to me, including athletes, coaches, support people, and fans. How can you have an athletic program without all four of these? All four of those groups are represented in our hall of fame, and I am very proud of that. Our athletic history allows us to have 168 members and we are going to have more, I guarantee you.”