A night of honors

Legacies are something talked about by sports figureheads on ESPN, Sports Illustrated and many other sports media outlets.

In the sports world, legacy is defined by what is done in the past, whether good or bad. Saturday night, the UW-Eau Claire athletic department celebrated the good legacies left by seven alumnus inducted into the Hall of Fame, six alumni graduated a year ago elected as Super Six members as well as five other recipients of four different awards.

“Everybody in there has been successful professionally and everywhere else” Athletics director Scott Kilgallon said. “It helps our student athletes and gives them something to strive for after college.”

The 2013 Hall of Fame Class included former Director of Athletics and tennis and track coach Marilyn Skrivseth, wrestling coach Don Parker, football player Darrel Snell, basketball players Rick Dahl and Tanya (Bauer) Longo, diver Kari (Albers) Madden and national track champion Jason Slaikeu, making it an even 200 members in the Blugold Hall of Fame.

Kilgallon said there are criterias for being selected into the Hall of Fame. First off, male athletes must wait at least 15 years while women must wait for what Kilgallon now believes is 13 years.

Executive Director of the Hall of Fame committee and Athletics Consultant Tim Petermann, who said there is a nomination form process, also said the Hall of Fame is always fun to elect because he can reflect on the memories those certain athletes made while at Eau Claire.

“Every year, I keep thinking, ‘how are we going to match the previous class,’” Petermann said in an interview with Clear Channel Radio’s Jimmy Kaska. “But by the time we do our homework, we realize we’ve had some great athletes go on to do some tremendous things. We’re extremely proud of them and we like to maintain that tradition of Blugold excellence.”

The next awards of the night were handed out to the Super Six members, a group of individuals who graduated the previous school year and have shown strong performances on the competition level, classroom and community.

“We’re looking at what I call the total package,” Kilgallon said. “It’s hard. We’ve got some people who, at any other school, are probably what I’d call Super Six candidates.”

But at Eau Claire, those Super Six, who won in a vote amongst all the coaches on campus with an abundance of nominees, rose to the top of the ballot.

Former men’s cross country and track and field members Jeremy Kieser and Aaron Easker, women’s cross country and track athlete Ashlyn Mauer, women’s track and field athlete Erin Schoenfelder, men’s hockey player Jordan Singer and women’s basketball player Sarah Bingea were the recipients of the award in 2013.

Kieser said he didn’t know much about the award when he first found out about it, but after being at the banquet with the Hall of Fame members Saturday night, he definitely felt more proud after being in the same room with so many great Blugolds.

“They talk about how of the 500 student athletes they have each year, they pick six of them to represent the top of the academic and athletic abilities of our student athletes,” Kieser said. “It was really quite an honor to be selected out of that.”

Additional awards were also distributed in the ceremony lasting two hours long.

Ron Buckli, who began writing for the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram in 1956, and Mike Sullivan, who became sports director at WBIZ Radio in 1974, won the Jim Mueller Blugold Spirit Award for dedication to Blugold athletics.

Seventh-year assistant hockey coach Erik Strand was the 2013 recipient of the Joe Merten Coaching Award, giving to the top assistant coach in the department.

Women’s basketball assistant coach Becca Bestul became the first recipient of the Ade & Margaret Olson Coaching Award, and former softball player Renee’ (Cook) Smith, who competed from 1985 to 1989, has been named this year’s recipient of the Sandy Schumacher Courage Award.