EVERETT — The Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame enshrined its ninth class of inductees Wednesday at the Edward D. Hansen Conference Center at Angel of the Winds Arena.
The eight-member group included of five athletes (four of them female), one coach (Tuck Gionet of Snohomish High School track and field), one team (the 1991 Cascade High School football) and one contributor (longtime official Warren Larsen).
Gionet, who passed away in 2015, was inducted posthumously. His wife, Marci Gionet, accepted on his behalf, and as part of her remarks, said, “Our family couldn’t be more proud of him.”
Keynote speaker Keith Gilbertson Jr., a Snohomish native and football coach at the University of Washington from 2003-2004, reminisced about the coaching legends that have come out of Snohomish County, including Marv Harshman, Jim Ennis, Dick Armstrong and Dennis Erickson.
Recalling his first practice under Armstrong as a youngster at Snohomish High School, Gilbertson said he was so worn out “I didn’t know if I could walk home. … and I lived across the street.”
Richie Chambers, a former University of Washington linebacker and multi-sport star at Lake Stevens High School, was the lone male athlete enshrined Wednesday.
Chambers began his acceptance speech by thanking his mother. “She was a supporter when no one else was supporting. She was listening when no one else was listening.”
He was joined by Tracy Osborn Nelson, who played soccer at Cascade High School, the University of Portland and for the girls U.S. Youth National Team, Deni Boswell Maxwell, a three time NCAA Division III national champion in gymnastics at Seattle Pacific, Karen Church, an elite sprinter from her Stanwood High School years through the University of Oregon and on to Masters competition and Janet Kusler, a member of Snohomish High School’s first-ever girls basketball team and a four-year starter at Washington State.
Kusler expressed pride in being a trailblazer in women’s sports, saying she’s happy to have played a “small part” in creating the opportunities available to young women today.
Assistant coach Rollin Wilson accepted for the 1991 Cascade football team. He paid tribute to the head coach, the late Terry Ennis. “He demanded perfection and these guys performed.” Wilson said.
More than two dozen of the coaches and players were on hand to be honored, several of them wearing their old letter jackets.
Other athletes honored at the banquet included the Herald’s Man and Woman of the Year in Sports — Steven Souza Jr. of the Tampa Bay Rays and Cascade High School and former Boise State women’s basketball standout Brooke Pahukoa, a Lake Stevens alum.
Snohomish County’s two community colleges were recognized, as Everett Community College’s Gio Jackson was honored as the Collegiate Male Athlete of the Year and Edmonds Community College’s Seli Aholelei was named the Collegiate Female Athlete of the Year.