Blugold Hall of Fame inducts seven athletes in the class of 2016

The new inductees were honored this weekend in the Dakota Ballroom as part of homecoming weekend

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Photo by Emilee Wentland

Tom “Shanty” Reidinger makes his acceptance speech beside the other 2016 inductees.

The UW-Eau Claire Blugold Hall of Fame inducted seven athletes this past weekend, bringing the total number of members up to 217.

The induction ceremony was held at 6:30 p.m. Friday, in the Dakota Ballroom in the Davies Student Center.

Established in 1973, honors coaches, athletes and administrators who have demonstrated excellence in their respective sports or field. In order to be eligible, 15 years must have passed since their final season.

Tom Reidinger

Tom “Shanty” Reidinger, the oldest athlete ever inducted at 88 years old, was one of the seven Hall of Fame Class of 2016 inductees. He is also the fifth member of the 1948 football team to be inducted.

Some of Reidinger’s former teammates were among the crowd Friday night and he acknowledged them in his speech.

“We had a good team,” he said. “And we were all good friends.”

Tanya (Nord) Iverson and Eric Winter

Two swimmers were inducted into the Class of 2016 Hall of Fame.

One of them, Tanya (Nord) Iverson, won five freestyle gold medals in the Wisconsin Women’s Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WWIAC).

“Not only do they have a great record, but they also enjoy being there at practice,” Iverson said regarding her decision to swim at Eau Claire.

Additionally, former Blugold swimmer Eric Winter was also inducted Friday night into the Hall of Fame.

Winter’s 12 conference gold medals earned him a spot alongside many other Blugolds as a member of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) in 2012.

If he had attended any other university, Winter said he believes he would not have been as successful as he was.

“I didn’t do this myself,” Winter said. “It’s because I experienced the perfect combination of support from my teammates, the coaches, and academic support from the university and my family.”

Jason Finch

The fourth inductee announced was former cross country runner Jason Finch, who won seven conference championships.

As a senior, Finch also finished first in the WIAC championship.

He kept his speech short, thanking those who helped him become the athlete he is.

Kari (Blasczyk) Austin

Kari (Blasczyk) Austin, one of six Blugolds selected to the 24-player WIAC all-centennial soccer team in 2012 was also added to the Blugold Hall of Fame.

“It’s amazing how one decision can determine the trajectory of your future,” she said, on her choice to play college soccer.

Austin set the the record for single season goals and points during her senior year.

Jeff Kuehl

The second men’s golf player to ever be added to the Hall of Fame was Jeff Kuehl.

He had the best average among all Blugold golfers for each of his four seasons from 1978-1982.

In Kuehl’s speech, he reminisced on the memories he made at Eau Claire as an athlete.

“Those really were some good days,” he said.

Steve Cerrato

The final member of the Class of 2016 Blugold Hall of Fame was Steve Cerrato, a former hockey player at Eau Claire.

The university had a major impact on his life, he said.

Cerrato led the Blugolds to their first post-season competitions in 1981 and 1982, just a few years after hockey became a varsity sport at Eau Claire.

Other awards

In addition to the athletes being inducted, four other awards were given out.

The Jim Mueller Blugold Spirit Award was given to Gregg Brandrup, who operated the score clock for Blugold basketball games for 25 years.

The Ade and Margaret Olson Coaching Award was presenting to Emily Muller, a part-time softball coach.

Marcie Schwamberger, an assistant coach for the Eau Claire track and cross country teams, was awarded the Joe Merten Coaching Award.

Finally, the Sandy Schumacher Courage Award was awarded to Megan Hanson, a former Eau Claire soccer player.

Associate Director of Athletics Robin Baker formally inducted the Blugold Hall of Fame Class of 2016, thus concluding the ceremony.

The inductees were honored in Saturday’s Homecoming parade as well as during halftime of the football game against UW-Stevens Point.