ATHENA — Gladiators, Scotties, Tigers and TigerScots.
High school students in Athena and Weston have called themselves several things throughout the years, and on Friday the Weston-McEwen Hall of Fame will induct four individuals and one team that represent three different phases of the school’s history between the girls’ and boys’ basketball games against Culver.
Bill “W.H.” Hansell (Athena, Class of 1938), Merle Mathwich (McEwen, 1950), and Clell Hasenbank (Weston-McEwen, 2006) will be inducted as well as three-time state-champion volleyball coach and athletic director Shawn White (1996-present) and the 2005 state championship girls basketball team. Hansell is being inducted posthumously.
Their additions bring the Hall’s number to 41 individuals and nine teams.
Hasenbank becomes the youngest member in just his second year of eligibility. Following a standout athletic career as a TigerScot, Hasenbank went on to play football at College of the Siskiyous and later University of Idaho as an offensive lineman.
Hasenbank earned his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Washington State in 2015 and has remained an active volunteer in his local communities.
Mathwich, who began his high school career as an Athena Gladiator before McEwen High opened in 1948, moved to Athena just before his freshman year and except for four years in the navy has never left.
A three-sport standout, Mathwich also was his senior class president and president of the F.F.A., played clarinet in the school band and participated in school plays every year. After graduation he enlisted in the navy and served on the USS Romulus, which repaired amphibious military vehicles during the Korean War. He married his high school sweetheart Beverly Tucker in 1953 and worked as a bookkeeper and branch manager at the local bank for 36 years upon his return to Athena.
Hansell also was a three-sport varsity athlete and student body president in high school, and would earn his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Washington State College in 1944. That same year he was commissioned as an office in the US Army Veterinary Corps and served in India and China during WWII rising to the rank of captain.
A rancher at heart, Hansell was an innovator in agriculture who pioneered circle pivot irrigation and was one of the first local adopters of no-till seeding. He also was an early proponent for artificial insemination in cattle.
He was named Oregon Father of the Year in 1973 and was named Athena First Citizen in 1985. Also in 1973, he and his wife Joyce were selected as Oregon Conservation Farm of the Year. In 1983 they traveled to the White House where they were awarded with the first ever National Endowment for Soil and Water Conservation to reforest family land in the Blue Mountains with 5,000 pine trees.
Hansell died in 1997 from cancer. He remained an ardent supporter and booster of Weston-McEwen athletics later in life. All five of his children and six of his 15 grandchildren attended McEwen and Weston-McEwen High Schools.
White came to Weston-McEwen in 1996 and took over as head volleyball coach in 2003. He has guided the TigerScots to OSAA titles in 2004, 2010 and this past season in 2016. His overall record as head coach is 393-95. He’s 34-16 in the postseason and 3-2 in title games.
He has been named 2A Coach of the Year four times, Oregon Women’s Coach of the Year in 2004-05, and his teams have won three OSAA sportsmanship awards.
White’s 2004 championship team was the first in girls sports for Weston-McEwen, and was inducted with last year’s class. The 2005 girls basketball team shared many of the same players, and was coached by Jeff Griggs and assistants Amber Doremus and Jeremy Maddern.
The TigerScots went 24-1 and beat Chiloquin 42-29 in the title game at Pendleton Convention Center. Kayla Johnson and Kayla Paredes both were named to the all-tournament first team, and Johnson was later the 2A Player of the Year. Griggs was named 2A Coach of the Year, and Darcy Thompson and Wendy Baker also received all-league recognition that season.
Other members of the championship team were Molly Tucker, Ashleigh Riddle, Susanna Bonifer, Stephanie Zeller, Kayla Turner and Sara Smalley. Cheryl Lewis was the team’s manager and other staff members were Alyx Johnson (stats), Cheyanne Albie (ball girl), and Johanna Werlund (book).
The Weston-McEwen Hall of Fame recognizes nominated outstanding graduates, faculty and teams. Individuals become eligible 10 years after graduation, or in the case of coaches 10 years after the event they are nominated for.
Several of this year’s inductees will be in attendance Friday, and there will be a pre-game reception at the high school where community members are invited to mingle prior to tip-off of the girls varsity game at 6 p.m.
The boys game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.