Weymouth County Club was the setting for the 2017-2018 Medina City Schools Hall of Fame induction ceremony April 20. Five individuals from each year were honored: 2017, the late William "Scott" Elligott, Russ Kotalac, Milt Place, Matthew Platz, and Murray Van Epp; 2018, Kimberly Alber, Tor Dietrichs, Sarah Jane Ingraham, Jerry Lee, and Joan Weigel.
During the social hour students Allison Perrone, Ashley Madasz, Katie Sharratt, and Emma Ilg entertained. This was followed by welcoming comments from MCS Foundation Vice President Aaron Harrison and a sit-down dinner, after which the honorees were recognized for their many achievemants. A video of each inductee was accompanied by heartfelt comments from some of the special people in each of their lives.
Kimberly Alber, class of 1978, was honored for her dynamic athletic accomplishments. Two years in a row Alber was All-State and All-Conference champion, was named to the first team by the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon Journal, and was also named Medina County Player of the Year by area newspapers. Alber was the first female or male to score more than 1,000 points in MHS basketball history, before the three-point line existed. Presenters were Ken Alber, Lori Koenig Hawkins, and Terri Klimko-Cowan.
Darrell, Hank, and Ralph Waite spoke on behalf of Tor Dietrichs, class of 1984. He graduated with honors with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from The Ohio State University, then spent 29 years serving in the military as an F-15E Strike Eagle fighter pilot, logging more than 2,850 total flight hours flying combat missions during seven deployments. Dietrichs served as a commander on several tours, culminating his career at the Pentagon working for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Bill and Nancy Elligott, parents of the late William "Scott" Elligott, class of 1984, accepted in honor of their son, who, after graduating from the Air Force Academy, fulfilled his desire to fly. After 27 years as a C-5 pilot, he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. He then flew for Northwest and Delta Airlines another 17 years. Elligott passed away in 2016. Presentors were Dr. Greg Beten, Carolyn Lesiak, and Matt Miller.
Presenters Dee Huddilston, Cheri Ingraham, and Elaine Lamb shared their connections with honoree Sarah Jane Ingraham, class of 1955, who has been active in the community her entire life. Her many positions have included teacher, activity director at the Office for Older Adults, co-owner with Lamb of Mud Mothers, Red Cross swim instructor, member of the Elnor Johnson Circle of King's Daughers and the Medina County Historical Society, and Western Reserve Hospice volunteer. She and her high school sweetheart/husband Roger have three daughters.
Presenters Rich Doyle, Joe Lazor, Jay Peters, and Mike Sweet all shared stories about Russ Kotalac, class of 1983, whose outstanding athletic ability earned him nine varsity letters, as well as All-Medina County awards in all three sports he played. His high jump relay team still holds the school record set in 1982 of 18 feet, 2 inches. His accomplishments continued at Kent State where he was named to the All-Mid-American Conference Academic First Team in 1985 and 1986. Kotalac, co-owner of Carey Color, Inc., was inducted into the Medina County Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.
Speaking for Jerry Lee, class of 1977 and Medina's first state wrestling champion, was Fritz Hoffman, Brett Hotchkiss, and Jim Houghtaling. Lee dominated wrestling his last two years, winning the Southwestern Conference Championship twice, was a two-time district champ, and won the Medina Invitational Wrestling Tournament twice. He was undefeated his senior year and took the state title. He was named MHS Wrestler of the Year twice, and his senior year earned the title of The Ray E. Mellert Male Athlete of the Year. Daughter Melissa Goler accepted for him.
Milt Place received recognition for his service as a cross-country coach; he became the MHS head boys coach in 1998. During his tenure, there were eleven All-Ohio Cross Country Honors and 26 in track. He also founded the Medina Cross County Festival in 1992, which has become a mini-state tournament. Place is a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Hall of Fame, Adams State Athletic Hall of Fame, and the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame. Speaking for Place were Tom Cahalan, Brian Dudek, and Anthony Place.
Honoree Matt Platz, class of 1981, shares this honor with his father, the late Rollie Platz, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame 15 years ago. Presenters Craig Easterday, Dixie Frank, Tim Kirham, and Paul Platz described Platz's photographic artistic talent as a gift. Platz earned a degree in computer science and aeronautics, but art, particularly photojournalism, was always a passion in his life. After spending 25 years in design and engineering, he established his own business, Platz Images LLC. Platz now exhibits in more than 25 prestigious juried art shows throughout the country every year and has won multiple awards. His underlying philosophy is to respect all people, nature and animals without judgment, which is reflected in his work.
Presenters Mike Barrett, Tom Clevidence, Bob Oborn, and Gary Hetrick described Murray Van Epp, Class of 1967 and fifth generation Medina native, who has followed a somewhat unconventional path to success in diverse fields. He earned degrees from The Ohio State and The University of Akron, took on several enterprising challenges, and wound up as president of Kent Elastomer Products Inc. in 1996. Among the many recipients of his philanthropic contributions to the community are the City of Medina, Adoption Network Cleveland, Medina City Schools Foundation, Medina Athletic Boosters, Hospice of Medina, Medina SPCA, and Bluecoats of Medina.
Honoree Joan Weigel, class of 1952, has always had a deep and abiding love for children and education; this "Energizer Bunny" volunteered constantly to serve in all aspects of student activities. She was described by her presenters Jackie Dunn, Cindy Farver, and Jim Wienzkowski as a "teacher's teacher." Weigel spent 32 years teaching at various levels in the district, and her philosophy was to "make each student prepared academically and socially to move on to the next grade level." After her retirement, she remained active in the field of education for 10 years as a supervisor at Ashland University.
The Hall of Fame Committee was chaired by Jeanne Pritchard, who was assisted by Amy Busby, Brad Cavey, Gretchen Delac, Doug Dukes, Kim Hallock, Shelly Leuthold, Hub Marquis, Kate O'Cull, Aaron Sable, Jim Shields, Scott Tuchek, and Nancy Valentine.
This event was presented by Medina City Schools Foundation, Medina City Schools, and Medina High School Student Council.