A handful of elite Hornets will be honored Friday evening during the first-ever induction ceremony for the White River High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
The idea of forming a Hall of Fame had long been talked about, gained momentum more than a year ago and picked up steam last year when dedicated volunteers finally made it happen.
Their work will culminate Jan. 17 when the inaugural class – representing a 55-year span of Mountaineer and Hornet athletics – is inducted. Friday will include a reception at 5:15 p.m. in the WRHS commons, followed by a 6 p.m. induction ceremony in the school theater and halftime introductions during that night’s basketball game between the White River boys and Evergreen High.
Being inducted are John Garnero, who graduated from Buckley High School in 1926 and played both football and baseball and ran track; John Hyppa, White River High class of 1969, who played football, basketball and baseball before his stint as a longtime Hornet coach; Helen (Mills) Horton, from the class of 1981, a participant in basketball, softball and tennis; Andy Maris, class of 1990, a standout in cross country and track; and the entire 1973 boys’ basketball team.
That ’73 hoop squad, coached by Lloyd Blanusa and assisted by Russ Rudolph, captured the 1973 Class A state championship. On the roster were Fred Arsanto, Micky Fowler, Brian O’Neal, Lee McGehee, Gary Stock, Glenn Emry, Phil Hiam, Dan Anderson, Mark Baydek, Kim Baydek, Brad Hubbard and Greg Baker.
Athletic Director Chris Gibson said each inductee will be reprinted Friday. Hyppa, Horton and Maris will be in attendance, as will a friend of the Garnero family. There will be several members of the basketball squad on hand, including Blanusa, who is flying in from Arizona for the event.
A permanent display space has been identified in the school gymnasium and each HOF inductee will have a plaque placed on the wall in the gym lobby. Each honored athlete also will receive a plaque.
The committee heading the Hall of Fame effort includes chairman John Dorsey, a White River High teacher and coach; district Assistant Superintendent Mike Hagadone; teacher and coach Jerry Scheidt; district residents and athletic boosters Angela Lusk (treasurer), Kerry Anderson (secretary), Miriam Alavi and Tony Anderson; and Gibson.
Nominations were taken from the decades when the high school sat in downtown Buckley and was known as the Mountaineers; through a brief, ill-fated era of consolidation when the neighboring White River and Enumclaw districts merged and operated a single school; and the post-merger era (1954 to present) that carries the Hornet mascot.
Tickets for Friday’s ceremony are $10 per person and are available at www.whiteriverathletichof.com) or by calling the WRHS athletics office at 360-829-5507.