Readers react to The Herald’s Top 50 athletes list

  • Herald staff
  • Tuesday, August 2, 2005 9:00pm
  • Sports

On Sunday, The Herald completed its six-part series on the top 50 athletes in Snohomish County history.

As expected, the series produced quite a response.

Dozens of readers either called or e-mailed to share with us their reactions and opinions. Most were complimentary of the efforts of lead writer Scott M. Johnson and the rest of The Herald sports staff, although at least one caller was angry enough with our list to announce he would be canceling his subscription.

Several writers pointed out athletes they thought should have cracked the top 50, then proceeded to make strong arguments for their candidates.

Typical was Tom Bernethy, a lifelong Snohomish County resident, who said he agreed with almost all the selections, with “the exception of one individual who was omitted.”

“After reading (Sunday’s) paper I was shocked that Ron Blacken was not included in either the ‘just missed’ or ‘also considered’ category,” Bernethy wrote. “I only knew Blacken as a spectator and watched him through out his high school career at Lake Stevens, and his college (football) career at the University of Washington. He was probably one of the best or possibly the best athlete I ever had the opportunity to observe in high school. He also played basketball and baseball exceptionally well.”

John H. Stupey of Everett wrote to make a case for golfer Jeff Knudson.

“He was a four-time winner of the Snohomish County Amateur golf tourney,” Stupey wrote. “Jeff was one of the founders of the Everett Golf Charities and was one of the original developers of Harbour Pointe Golf Course. With all of these credentials, he should definitely be part of the list.”

Another athlete some felt we over looked was Keith Coleman, a two-time winner of the Washington State Open golf tournament. As reader Mark Rashell pointed out, Coleman wasn’t just an outstanding golfer, he also was an accomplished high school basketball player who “played in the all-state game.”

Shane Strimple of Arlington said we missed one of the area’s boxing greats. Bret Summers was an AAU national champion and at one point was 22-0 and ranked No. 14 in the world.

“Not to say the job of naming the top 50 was easy,” Strimple wrote, “I just think Summers should have made the list somewhere.”

Others readers felt the same way about mountain climber Ralph Mackey, former Cascade and University of Washington football player Jerry Jensen, ex-Kamiak High School track and volleyball standout Heather Hetzer and softball great Herb Mathis.

Do they belong on the list? Well, that’s up to you to decide.

The point of the series was not to create a definitive list, but rather to get people thinking and talking, while at the same time celebrating this community’s glorious athletic heritage.

Toward that end, we invited readers to share their lists of the top athletes in Snohomish County history. Several took us up on the offer. For their lists – along with a recap of The Herald’s Top 50 – check out the right-hand side of this page.

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