By DOUG DONNELLY
OTTAWA LAKE – Four Whiteford seniors and one Whiteford graduate were inducted into the school’s athletic Hall of Fame Wednesday.
Graduate Paige Thomas was joined by seniors Berlynn Keller, Cole Giesige, Noah Bauman and Levi Hillard at the induction ceremony, held at halftime of the Whiteford-Britton Deerfield boys basketball game. They will be joined next week by senior Ambrelle Billau.
Thomas graduated last spring after an outstanding four-year athletic career at Whiteford. While she started for several years on the girls basketball team, she left her mark on the Bobcat track and field team, even with missing the 2020 track season due to COVID-19.
In the Division 3 Regional last year, Thomas placed first in four events. She carried that over to the state meet where she had an incredible day, finishing third in the 400 (1:01.13), fourth in the 100 (13.1) and fifth in the 200 (27.63). She also helped the 4×400 relay team finish third.
Thomas was inducted for her individual All-State finishes but will be part of the 4×400 relay team to be inducted when they are seniors. Her plaque that will be on display will reflect both her individual and relay finishes.
The other inductees are still playing Whiteford sports but, because they are seniors, were inducted.
Keller, who recently committed to playing college softball at Lourdes University, was first team All-State as a junior for the Whiteford softball team. Hillard was a second-team All-State choice for baseball while Giesige won first team All-State honors in football and second-team honors in baseball. Bauman was a three-time All-State football choice.
A fifth current senior, Ambrelle Billau, will be inducted at a future basketball game. She was also All-State in softball.
The Whiteford Hall of Fame dates back to about 1990 when then-athletic director John Flynn created it and established the first criteria for selection. Currently, the criteria – which has changed slightly over the years – is:
- First or Second Team All-State by media or coaches organizations in football, baseball, softball and basketball.
- First, Second or Third Team All-State by coaches organizations in volleyball.
- Finishing in the top six in any individual event or relay at the state track meet.
- Finishing in the Top 10 at an individual state finals event in golf.
- Finishing with All-State honors at the state cross country event.
- Finishing first or second in wrestling.
- Coaches who have won statewide Coach of the Year honors.
- At-Large selections can be made by the athletic director or Hall of Fame chairman or committee.
Plaques honoring each inductee will be put up later on the wall outside of the Whiteford Gymnasium.