Nine to enter UW-RF Hall of FameEight former UW-River Falls student-athletes, and one former assistant coach, highlight the 2011 Athletic Hall of Fame inductees.
By: UW-RF Sports Information, River Falls Journal
Eight former UW-River Falls student-athletes, and one former assistant coach, highlight the 2011 Athletic Hall of Fame inductees.
The induction ceremony will be on Friday, Oct. 7 at 6 p.m., at the UW-RF University Center. The 2011 class will be honored at halftime of the UW-RF-UW-Whitewater football game that will be played at 1 p.m., on Saturday, Oct. 8.
Baseball player Al Space, former assistant football coach Newt Greaser, track and field athlete Gary Rayeske, golfer Tim Kelley, softball, volleyball and basketball player Kara Nielsen, football players Clark Luessman and Jim Benick and volleyball players Jen (Frodl) Jacobson and Melissa (Mattson) Wasmoen, have all earned Hall of Fame honors.
Space was a member of the Falcon baseball team for three seasons and earned letters in 1963, 1964 and 1965. He was a key player on the 1964 and 1965 teams that won WIAC Championships under Coach Don Page. In 1964 Space hit .491, was the best in all of college baseball that year. He earned All-American honors after the 1964 season when the Falcons competed in the NAIA District 14 playoffs. In 1965 he came back and hit .440 for the WIAC championship winning team.
Greaser enters the Hall of Fame as a Positive Contributor. He was a volunteer assistant football coach for 19 years under Coach Mike Farley. Greaser coached Falcon offensive linemen and had dozens of players earn both All-American and All-WIAC honors under his guidance. Greaser was part of the Falcon coaching staffs that won eight WIAC championships and a berth in the NAIA National Playoffs (1979). He was a main cog in coaching the Falcons when the team led the NCAA Division III in rushing in 1986.
Rayeske earned four letters with the Falcon track and field team from 1972-75 and his specialty was the weight events. In 1974 he set a conference record in the shot put with his throw of 54-feet, 9 1/2-inches. The 1974 title was just one of three he won at WIAC meets. He also won individual crowns in 1973 (54-1 3/4) and 1975 (54-3). His shot put record stood until 1984 and he is still just one of a handful of WIAC field athletes who have won three WIAC individual titles.
Kelley won back-to-back WIAC golf individual golf championships for the Falcons in 1977 and 1978. At the time he was the first golfer in WIAC history to win back-to-back individual titles. Kelley went on to compete in the NAIA National golf Championships. He earned three letters for the Falcons and was named to All-WIAC teams in 1977 and 1978.
Nielsen was an all-around Falcon student-athlete who earned 11 letters in three sports — softball (1983-86), volleyball (1983-84, 1986-87) and basketball (1984-87). She had a huge impact on the softball field where she earned All-WIAC first team honors for four straight years. In her second season she led the Falcons in 12 categories including innings pitched (150.1), shutouts (6), wins (12), stolen bases (15), slugging percentage (.483), RBI (29), doubles (6) and triples (6).
Luessman played football for the Falcons and earned four letters from 1982-85, and baseball and earned two letters in 1982-83. He was a quarterback on the 1984 and 1985 football teams that won WIAC championships. He was the team’s captain in 1985. Luessman led the Falcons in passing in 1982 and 1985. He earned honorable mention to the 1985 All-WIAC team.
Benick played football for the Falcons from 1983-86 as an offensive lineman. He earned four letters. Benick was named to the first All-WIAC team in 1986 and to the second teams in 1985 and 1984. The Falcons won three WIAC team championships (1984, 1985, 1986) with Benick in the lineup. He earned honorable mention All-American honors after his senior season.
Jacobson (Frodl) played from 1993-96 for the Falcons and was named to the first AVCA All-American and All-WIAC teams in 1996. She was named to the AVCA All-Midwest Region teams in 1995 and 1996. She helped the Falcons to the 1996 WIAC tournament championship, the first title ever won by the team. She also played on two NCAA national tournament-qualifying teams (1995, 1996).
Wasmoen (Mattson) played for the Falcons from 1997-2000 and was a four-year starter. In 2000 she was named the WIAC’s Player of the Year and the Scholar-Athlete. She was the first Falcon volleyball player to earn the Scholar-Athlete award. Mattson was named to the AVCA Al-Midwest Region teams in 1998, 1999 and 2000 and was named to the second AVCA All-American team in 1999 and 2000.
Tickets for the Oct. 7 Hall of Fame banquet are available by contacting the University Advancement Office at 715-425-3505.