By Dave Pearce
Members of the Mount Vernon M-Club, guests, and family and friends of the honorees gathered at Mount Vernon High School cafeteria on Saturday evening to induct five individuals and two teams into the Mount Vernon High School athletic Hall of Fame.
Included in the 30th class of inductees were individuals, Jessica Fox, Chelsea Sanders, Errin Mort, Tina Reineke, and Melannie Gillenwater. Teams inducted were the 2003 Mount Vernon High School boys’ cross country team and coach Don Sellers, and the 2002 Mount Vernon High School baseball team.
Members of the cross country team were Matt Kissel, Taylor Sellers, Caleb Higginbottom, Brian Kay, Elijah Sanders, Seth Hillenbrand, and Brent Renshaw.
Members of the honored baseball team were Dennis Boyer, Jesse Carroll, Earl hart, Matt Huff, Matt Johnson, Allen Middleton, Seth Rainey, Jace Redman, Josh Redman, Aaron Renschler, Tyler Riordan, Dee Royer, Robert Seifert, Stephen Smith, Ryan Spilman, Ryan Stemple, Brian Smiley, and Mike Sutton. Paul Quinzer was the team’s head coach and he was assisted by Kevin Krizan.
Long-time Mount Vernon teacher and coach Mike Wheaton was honored with the Darwin Rueger Service Award. Former honorees Ron Bennett, Paul Mitchell, Roger Yaggi, Glenn Jacobs, Scott Mitchell, Wilma Jacobs, Mike Johnson, Tim Hulsey, Geralyn Redman, Jerry Rutledge, Tim Hulsey, and Mike Wilson all were on hand for this year’s induction ceremonies.
Individuals honored and their accomplishments include:
Chelsea Sanders—a 2001 Mount Vernon High School graduate was a four-sport major monogram-winner at the school. She earned three letters in swimming and tennis, two in volleyball and one in track.
Sanders helped the Wildcats win three straight Big Eight Conference and sectional championships in swimming. She was named to the Big Eight All-Conference team and was a state qualifier in three of her four years.
In her junior year, Sanders won the Big Eight freestyle and the 100-meter backstroke and was a member of the 200 medley relay team. At sectional, she was a member of the first place and state-qualifying 200 medley relay team.
As a senior, she repeated as Big Eight champion in the 50 freestyle and the 100 backstroke. During the sectional, she broke the school record in the 50 freestyle. She was a member of the 200 medley relay team that finished fifth. The Lady Wildcats finished seventh in the state that season.
Sanders received the MVP award in volleyball her senior season and was named the recipient of the William J. Roach Scholarship and an athletic scholarship from Illinois State University.
Errin Mort—a 2003 mount Vernon high School graduate earned seven letters in two sports, four in track and three in volleyball.
Mort helped the Lady Wildcat track team to two Big Eight Conference championships, two sectional crowns, and first-ever regional crown. She was a three-time state qualifier in several events.
As a freshman, she won the 100-, and the 200-meter and was a member od the 1600-meter relay team at the Big Eight track meet. She placed second in the 200-meter hurdles at regional competition and was a member of the 1600-meter relay team. She was joined on that relay by Kayla Hoehn, Rebecca Warner, and Sarah Erwin.
During her sophomore year, she was a Big Eight Champion in both the 100- and 200-meter runs. The the sectional, she won the 100 and was second in the 200. She earned red ribbons at regional in the 100 and the 200 and was a member of the 1600-meter relay championship team.
She was the 200-and 400-meter Big Eight Conference champion in both her junior and senior years. During her senior season, she won the sectional and was third in the regional in the 400. She finished 16th at state with a time of 59.1
In volleyball, she was named the winner of the team’s offensive award in best attacks and most kills. She was also named to the first team All-Academic team.
In 2003, she was the winner of the Kiwanis girls’ athletic award and received a Presidential Scholarship from Oakland City University. That also provided additional scholarships through volleyball for room, board, and books.
Tine Reineke—is a 1977 graduate of Mount Vernon High School. During her time at the school, she earned seven letters in three sports…four in track, two in volleyball, and one in basketball.
During her freshman year, she ran the 80-yard low hurdles, ran in the 880, and competed in the long jump. She was the sectional champion in the 880 and placed fourth in the 80-yard low hurdles.
As a junior, she scored points in three different events at the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference meet. She placed third in the low hurdles and fourth in the long jump and in the 880-meter run. She also placed fifth in the 880-yard run at the sectional.
During the SIAC meet in her senior year, she won both the low hurdles and the 880-yard run, both with record times. She placed second in the long jump setting a new school record with a leap of 16-7.5.
At sectional, she placed third in the 880-yard run in a school record time and was fourth in the 80-meter low hurdles. She received the track team’s MVP Award during her freshman, junior, and senior seasons.
Melannie Gillenwater—a 1993 Mount Vernon High School graduate, received three letters in swimming and one in cheerleading.
She helped the Lady Wildcats win their first-ever Big Eight Conference and sectional swim crowns. She was named to the All Big Eight Conference team twice.
During her senior year, she won the 500-meter freestyle at sectional and was a member of the sectional-winning 200-meter medley relay team.
She was a member of the 200-meter medley relay team which placed seventh in the state meet. That team was comprised of Gillenwater, Amanda Crowe, Sarah Sanders, and Amy Patton.
She set school records in the 100-butterfly, the 100 freestyle, the 200 freestyle, and the 500 freestyle. She was also a member of the 200- and the 400-meter freestyle relay teams.
She received an athletic scholarship from Ball State University where she received a varsity letter as a freshman.
Jessica Fox—a 2002 graduate of Mount Vernon High School, earned eight letters in three sports…four in track, and two each in basketball and volleyball.
She helped the Lady Wildcat track team win three Big Eight Conference Championships, three sectionals, and a first-ever regional.
During her junior year, she won the Big Eight Conference in the shotput and was named to the All-Conference team. She placed second in shotput and fourth in discus at the sectional. She placed eighth in the shotput in the regional. During her senior year, she placed fourth in the shotput at the sectional.
In volleyball, during her senior season, she had the best service percentage with 96 percent and won the award for most points scored. She was also named the best defensive player.
She was named to the Academic All State teams in both track and basketball in her senior year and was academic all state honorable mention in volleyball. She was a recipient of the M-Club Athletic Scholarship.
The 2003 Mount Venin High School boys’ cross country team was perhaps the most successful athletic team ever at Mount Vernon High School.
The team, coached by Don Sellers, enjoyed its third straight undefeated season. They claimed titles in the Boonville, Mater Dei, Princeton, Memorial, and Terre Haute invitationals.
The Wildcats won their fourth straight Big Eight Conference crown, theith third straight Evansville Sectional crown, and third straight Pike Central regional title. The team placed second at the Terre haute Semi-state in 2002 but claimed the title during the 2003 season.
The Wildcats took six of the top seven spots in the Big Eight championships for an unheard-of total of 18 points. Hillenbrand, Kay, Bigginbottom, Sellers, Renshaw, and Kissel were all named to the All Conference team.
At the Evansville Sectional, Hillenbrand led the Cats to a course-record time of 17:02.4 and the Wildcats had five of the top ten runners in the sectional. The Wildcats again outscored Mater Dei in the regional by a score of 38-64 with Kay leading the way for the Wildcats. The team claimed the one, three, nine, 11, and 15th spots.
This was the first Mount Vernon team to win a semi-state in any sport. The Cats beat out Bloomington South by a score of 68-80. Floyd Central was third with 141 points.
Columbus North won the state title with 43 total points while the Wildcats finished 14th. Hillenbrand finished 43rd at the meet while Kay was 62nd.
The 2002 baseball team won the South Spencer Sectional and was Co-Big Eight Conference champions. The Wildcats finished the season with a 21-10 record and lost to eventual state champion Vincennes in the regional 3-1, The Wildcats had defeated the Alices during the regular season.
In the sectional, the Wildcats were dominant, blanking both Bosse and Gibson Southern by scores of 10-0. More impressively, the Wildcats had lost to Gibson Southern during the regular season.
While the Wildcats fell to Boonville in Big Eight Conference play, they defeated Vincennes to achieve a tie for the conference title. It was the first Mount Vernon High School baseball conference Championship since the Wildcats had tied Washington in 1986.
Stephen Smith, Brian Smiley, Ryan Spilman, and Matt Huff were named to the All Big Eight Conference team.