RENTON, WASH. – The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) held its 13th annual Hall of Fame Luncheon and Induction Ceremony at the Renton Pavilion Event Center, Wednesday afternoon.
The Luncheon featured 13 new inductees headlined by former student-athlete standouts Kasey Keller, Megan (Franza) Carlson and Ugur Taner. The ceremony included nine individuals from the class of 2015 and four from the 2016 class. During the Luncheon, each inductee shared stories from their high school experiences and received a special Hall of Fame plaque.
“These were two unique classes that had major, positive impacts on high school activities and on high school students," WIAA Executive Director Mike Colbrese said. “Each inductee was deserving of this special recognition and we thank them for their contributions.”
Being inducted as an athlete, Keller was the first American to play soccer in the English Premier League and was a standout at North Thurston High School. (Franza) Carlson was a dominant basketball and track and field athlete for the Cascade (Leavenworth) Kodiaks. She went on to have a stellar basketball career at the University of Washington and was eventually selected in the WNBA Draft. Taner was an accomplished swimmer for Newport (Bellevue) High School, swam for the University of California, Berkeley, and competed in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
“It’s a time where we see so many programs being cut,” soccer legend Keller said. “For most student-athletes high school will be the final team sport in their careers. The life experiences for a high school athlete are so important.”
In addition to the athletes, the induction highlighted the careers of Bruce Gutgesell and Joel Underwood for their commitment to excellence in fine arts. Gutgesell has been instrumental in the success and growth of the WIAA/WMEA State Solo & Ensemble Contest, while Underwood has achieved great success for the Speech and Debate team for Seattle Academy.
Greg Brashear, Jan Kirk and Dan White were honored for their coaching careers. Brashear's Garfield Bulldogs' track and field teams captured eight State Titles. Kirk led the Fife Trojans' volleyball team for 24 years, claimed 18 league titles, and four State Titles. White was a successful baseball coach for the Eastmont Wildcats with 31 winning seasons and one State Championship.
“The most enjoyable thing to me is living in the community where you coach,” former Wildcats coach White said. “The past athletes you had are now your friends. The relationships and friendships we make over the years are incredibly special.”
Long-time official Cindy C-Wilson and contributors John Crawford, Dick Langum, Jim Meyerhoff and Sandy Ringer were recognized for their service to high school activities. Crawford has been a leader for State Cross Country, while Meyerhoff is considered one of the State’s greatest advocates for wrestling. Langum has devoted his career to servicing insurance needs for Washington schools and Ringer has been one of the most respected prep sports reporters in the state.
The event also recognized the high school careers of the 2016 WIAA/Dairy Farmers of Washington/Les Schwab Tires Smart Choices Scholarship winners, Sebastian Hyta of Freeman High School and Rachel Dorr of Squalicum High School. The male and female recipients each received a $5,000 scholarship. Dorr will be attending Gonzaga University, while Hyta will wrestle at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn.
To interview any of the inductees or for questions about the nomination process, please contact Conor Laffey at the WIAA office. For more information about the WIAA Hall of Fame please visit the Hall of Fame website.