Sports

Championship teams, coaches and athletes highlight M-A fame class

 

Menlo-Atherton's glory days of athletes and coaches started when the school opened and continues through the present. That became obvious as a wide range of eras and sports were represented in the school's 2016 Hall of Fame inductees at a press conference on Monday.

Swimming, track and field, water polo, soccer, football, basketball, golf, softball and wrestling were all represented when the Bears introduced the latest group of athletes, coaches and teams to be enshrined in the school's Hall of Fame.

Boosters Kerry and Howie Dallmar are also being inducted this year for their part in restarting the Athletic Boosters Club.

The banquet to officially induct them into the Hall will be held in November.

Individuals to be inducted include softball star Cheryl Nicholson Baker, soccer great Fred Decker, Olympic swimmer Jan Henne, golfer Saana Rapakko Hunt, football quarterback T.C. Ostrander, wrestler Edwin Pech and long-time coach Pam Wimberly.

The 1961 men's water polo team, the 1960 men's track and field team and the 1991 girls basketball team are also being honored.

"I love working with these girls," Wimberly said of her 42-year coaching career that began in the days of six-girl basketball. "I've coached a lot of wonderful athletes and stay in touch with quite a few. Coaching is teaching and I knew I reached out and touched a lot of lives."

Her 1991 team, featuring the league MVP Chi Johnson, won a second straight Central Coast Section title.

"We had a great bench," Wimberly said. "I felt like whoever I put in, there would not be a drop off."

The 1960 track and field team established school records that still stand. The 18-member team, with the 440 and 880 relay teams earning All-American status, won the Northern California team championship.

"Track and field was very popular then," Beckstrom said. "Dual meets would draw huge crowds. There are 13 of the 18 still with us and all of them will be at the banquet. That's how close-knit we are."

The 1961 water polo team featured Olympians, the fastest swimmers in the country, and a Hall of Fame coach in Bob Gaughan.

"That was an exceptional group of athletes," MacKenzie said. "Dick Roth won a gold medal in the 1964 Olympics while a junior at M-A and Greg Buckingham won a gold medal in 1968."

Buckingham and Roth set a combined eight world records in swimming.

Nicholson Baker is one of M-A's top female athletes. She set numerous school records and earned a scholarship to play at St. Martin's College.

"I look fondly on my high school days," she said. "My husband likes it because he can say he's married to a Hall of Famer."

The Dallmar's were instrumental in rejuvenating the M-A Athletics Boosters Club into one of the top such organizations.

Decker was an All-American soccer goalie at M-A and then won the starting job at UCLA as a walk-on.

"The things you learn on the playing field, you take into life," Decker said.

Ostrander was an All-American quarterback at M-A and became a starter at Stanford. He was also a good enough pitcher to be recruited for baseball, though he choose to concentrate on football.

"I never had more fun on a football field than here at M-A,' he said. "I had the opportunity to learn from people from different backgrounds."

Ostrander played briefly with the New Orleans Saints before going into politics and then into business.

Henne swam with the Palo Alto Swim Club as high schools had yet to support female athletes. After graduating from M-A she joined the legendary George Haines at the Santa Clara Swim Club and won four medals, two gold, in the 1968 Olympics.

Henne is also a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, Arizona State Sports Hall of Fame and the San Mateo County Sports Hall of Fame.

Rapakko Hunt was a member of M-A's first girls' golf team. The Bears finished last in the PAL in her junior year and then won the CCS championship the following season. She was team MVP both years.

Rapakko Hunt went on to play four years at Stanford.

Pech made his mark as a wrestler, finishing second in the CCS and going undefeated until the championship match his senior year. He also competed at the state meet and continued his training at Menlo College.

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