By PAUL HINES
MT. VERNON —
Three teams and eight individuals will be inducted as the Mt. Vernon Township High School Athletic Hall of Fame class of 2013 in February.
The teams being inducted this year are: 1910 boys basketball, 1961 football and 1996-97 boys basketball. The individuals part of the new class are: coach Frank Chornak, Wil Lash, Ron Marlow (Friend of MVTHS Athletics), Bobby Payne, John Riley (Veteran pre-1950), Jamar Sanders, Linda Sanders and Tommy Williams.
The 1996-97 boys basketball team coached by Doug Creel had a record of 25-5 and were co-champs of the South Seven Conference. The Rams won regional, sectional and super-sectional titles before advancing to the Elite Eight in the two-class tournament. Kent Williams was the conference MVP as a sophomore and led the team in scoring with 574 points.
Current Mt. Vernon boys basketball coach Scott Gamber was one of three sophomore starters on the team. Gamber said the squad exceeded expectations after a 13-12 season the previous year.
“Going in, I don’t think anybody thought we were going to be real good,” Gamber said. “The varsity had struggled the year before and graduated almost everybody from that previous team.
“I think that’s just what made it special, there were no expectations.”
The 1909-10 boys basketball team finished the season 15-2 and placed fourth in the state tournament. The team was the fifth year of basketball at the high school. The Rams lost the third-place game 26-21 to Hinsdale Township.
The 1961 football team finished 6-1-1 and were the undefeated South Seven Conference champions. There were no playoffs at the time, and it was Noble Thomas’ final season as coach.
Ron Marlow, friend of MVTHS athletics, graduated from Mt. Vernon in 1965 and has been a life-long Rams fan. He has volunteered as a scoreboard official for basketball and football. Marlow has missed just one basketball game since 1988.
John Riley, veteran pre-1950, was a three-year starter in basketball and was a senior on the 1950 state champion basketball team. The Rams were 84-11 in his career, and he totaled 663 points for coach Stan Changnon.
Frank Chornak coached from 1954 to 1967. He was an assistant football and basketball coach and was the head football coach for three seasons. He was the head track coach for 13 years.
Wil Lash graduated in 1993 and excelled in track and football. He was a two-time all stater in track. He placed second as a senior in the 110 high hurdles. He held the 110 high hurdle record for 20 years.
Tommy Williams graduated in 1968 and was a three-year starting point guard for the Rams basketball teams. He led his team in scoring his junior season and had 743 points for his career. As a football player, his teams were 16-3-1.
Bobby Payne was a member of Mt. Vernon’s inaugural golf team as a sophomore. He qualified for the state tournament as a junior and later played professionally as a member of the PGA.
Jamar Sanders graduated in 1991 and is the second all-time scorer in basketball. He started as a freshman. As a sophomore, the Rams won regional and sectional titles. As a senior, he scored 643 points, and the Rams won a regional title.
Linda Sanders graduated in 1980 and was a three-sport high school athlete. She played volleyball and basketball along with track and field. She finished with 1,106 career points and 888 rebounds. In track and field, she qualified for state four times in the discus. The volleyball team won a district title her senior season and later played at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
The induction weekend will be Feb. 15-16 with a dinner held on Saturday, Feb. 16.