Woodstock High celebrates top athletes at Hall of Fame ceremony
Woodstock High School (WHS) is steeped in athletic tradition. The school believes in honoring its standout students and athletes -- and there's no bigger honor than being inducted into a Hall of Fame.
The first Woodstock High Hall of Fame (HOF) members were inducted in early 1996, and that famed group recently grew again. On Jan. 20, the newest impressive class of WHS alums became immortalized.
The novel idea of a high school Hall of Fame was rare in 1996; it was Woodstock's way of paying tribute to a beloved fan.
"Jan. 27, 1996, was the first inauguration," School Athletic Director Glen Wilson said. "The WHS athletic office (Doug Smith and Athletic Secretary Cathy Blaksley-Schroeder) were the originators, and it's named in memory of ardent Blue Streak fan Bill Blaksley."
One of the heads of this class is Kayla Beattie, who holds the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) state records for any class in two separate distances. She won five state championships in high school, and went on to run at the collegiate level at Iowa and Arizona. She's the only girl in Illinois history to break the 10-minute mark in the 3,200-meter race.
Beattie is the newest graduate on this list, coming out of WHS in 2011. Woodstock brings in up to six individuals per year for its annual ceremony -- at an important time.
"The induction is at halftime of the varsity basketball game that evening, and it's usually one of our best crowds of the season," Wilson said. "In 20 years of the HOF's existence, we inducted over 90 inductees."
Jen Nichols-Hogle is also a recent inductee, who holds the Woodstock female basketball records in scoring, rebounds, steals, free throws made and two-point field goals. Another is 1985 graduate Rob Mecklenberg, who went on to play baseball at University of Illinois at Chicago, teach physical education and coach in District 200. Becky Wagenaar graduated in 1992 and made her craft by being an excellent competitive swimmer. Nikki Schulty was at Woodstock until 2006 as a standout softball pitcher. Matt Lehl was an '05 grad who holds the distinction as one of the best golfers to ever don a WHS uniform.
While this year's ceremony honored extraordinary contributors to the Woodstock High lineage and paid tribute to its graduates, it also had a lasting effect on the future of WHS. Current students become inspired and motivated by their peers from the past, as well.
"Each year, our students get a great lesson at halftime when they hear of not only the accomplishments, but persistence, commitment and well-roundedness that many of our inductees have demonstrated," Wilson said.
That lesson is sure to create more Hall of Fame athletes for Woodstock over the years to come.
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227 W Judd St
Woodstock, IL 60098