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Paynesville Press - October 5, 2005

Bulldog Hall of Fame to induct first class

By Michael Jacobson

The first class of the new Bulldog Athletic Hall of Fame will be inducted on Friday, Oct. 7, as part of the Homecoming festivities at Paynesville Area High School.

Selected for the first Hall of Fame class are: former athletes Brad Fenske (Class of 1992); Jack Hoppe (Class of 1954); Tina (Lang) Fenske (Class of 1994); Don Liestman (Class of 1958); Sara (Realdsen) Lein (Class of 1986); and Loren Wendroth (Class of 1979); and former coaches Carol Smith (who started the girls' basketball, girls' track, gymnastics, softball, and volleyball programs) and Virg Vagle (who won four state titles in wrestling in 38 years, coached football for 30 years, and also coached junior high baseball).

Their induction ceremony will be held at halftime of the Homecom-ing football game against Yellow Medicine East on Friday, Oct. 7, which starts at 7 p.m.

Before the game, the Bulldog Booster Club will hold a social hour (from 5 to 6:30 p.m.) at Northern Lights Dining and Lounge for the Hall of Fame inductees. The Bulldog Booster Club will also hold an alumni dance following the football game at the American Legion.

The Bulldog Athletic Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Bulldog Booster Club, seeks to recognize former athletes, coaches, and athletic directors for their accomplishments and community members for their contributions to the athletic programs at PAHS. Athletes are eligible for induction ten years after graduation, while coaches must be retired to be honored.

A committee considered a couple dozen nominations for the Hall of Fame before selecting these eight:
*Hoppe played football, basketball, baseball, and track at PHS and then pitched on an NCAA championship team at the University of Minnesota.

*Liestman played football, basketball, baseball, and track at PHS and is still the career scoring leader in school history in basketball with 1,286 points.

*Vagle coached football, wrestling, and junior high baseball and led the Dogs to 661 wrestling wins, to 17 state tourneys, and four state titles, as well as coaching the 1979 football team to the state semifinals.

*Smith started and coached five girls' sports at PHS during the 1970s and 1980s.

*Wendroth participated in cross country, basketball, and track and led the cross country team to their first state tourney in 1977 and was a state placewinner in track.

*Sara (Realdsen) Lein played volleyball, basketball, and track and was an all-state sprinter her senior year in track.

*Brad Fenske played football and wrestling and earned two state team titles, as well as an individual title, in wrestling before going to West Point, where he also wrestled.

*Tina (Lang) Fenske participated in cross country, basketball, and track at PAHS, earning all-state honors in cross country and track before an All American college career.

(Editor's Note: Jacobson was a member of the selection committee.)

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