By PAUL HINES
MT. VERNON —
Changnon Gymnasium was the center of a sports celebration Saturday night.
Eight individuals and three teams were honored and took their place as the Class of 2013 in the Mt. Vernon Township High School Sports Hall of Fame. The three teams were: 1909-10 boys basketball, 1996-97 boys basketball and 1961 football. The individuals were: Bob Payne, Frank Chornak, Jamar Sanders, John Riley, Linda Sanders, Ron Marlow, Tommy Williams and Wil Lash. A variety of sports were represented from track and field to basketball.
“I just wish some way, somehow this gym could talk what it would say about some of the greatest basketball games ever played in the state of Illinois or in the Midwest and Mt. Vernon won their share of them,” inductee Frank Chornak said.
Chornak coached track and field along with football at the school during the 50s and 60s. He was also an assistant basketball coach. Chornak also played for the legendary Stanley Changnon.
Wil Lash thanked the coaches he encountered at Mt. Vernon. Lash made a pair of state final appearances during his track and field career at Mt. Vernon. He went on to compete at Indiana State where he ended as an All-American.
“I really appreciate all the support from this fine city,” Lash said.
Ron Marlow reflected on several memories during his time attending basketball games during the past decades. Marlow has missed just one Rams basketball game since 1988.
Doug Creel, coach of the 1996-97 boys basketball squad, and team member Ryan Maurer ended the banquet.
“This team was physically and mentally tough,” Creel said. “They always kept each other in check. They were always very humble.
“I could have told them the wrong thing to do, and they would have made it right.”
Several inductees weren’t able to attend the banquet but sent letters which were read to the audience by committee member Rob Wielt.