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Mifflin County Hall picks six new inductees

The Mifflin County Sports Hall of Fame will soon have six new members.

“It’s never easy to follow a person who hit a tape-measure home run, but our membership has selected an outstanding second year class of inductees,’ said Tim Searer, hall of fame president.

In recent voting the HOF has chosen the following inductees:

Wendee Booher, Chief Logan standout in cross country, basketball, and track. Medaling four years as an individual in cross country, she led the team to the state championship in 1986. On the court, Wendee amassed more than 2,000 points in the era before the three-point line. Her 56 points in a single game is still a county record. She was then off to Temple University as a starting guard for three years. She coached at the high school and college levels before advancing to professional basketball in Australia and Germany.

Krista Gingrich White, Lewistown and Duke University basketball great, was a key player on the back-to-back Triple A state champion Lewistown girls’ basketball teams of 1997 and ’98. The two teams were inducted into the local HOF in its initial class last fall. A four-year starter for the Lady Panthers, Krista’s 2,675 points is still a county scoring record for girls’ basketball. Her various high school honors included Parade Magazine and USA Today. She then took her talents to a four-year lettering-winning career at Duke, helping the team to the NCAA final four in 1999 and 2000, along with three ACC Championships.

Richard Gingrich, was a four-sport letter winner at Chief Logan at quarterback, during which the Mingoes had two undefeated teams and 22 game winning streak. Dick was named to the 1962 Big 33 team, playing both offense and defense. On the hardwood for the Mingoes, he was the school’s leading scorer when he graduated. Gingrich continued his football career for Rip Engle and the Nittany Lions, mostly at safety. His 10 career interceptions earned him a spot on the All-Penn State 1960’s decade team. He turned down a full-time coaching offer from Joe Paterno, choosing law school instead.

Joseph Heller was Mifflin County’s first two-time state wrestling champion in 1978-79 with a 55-1 record for the Chief Logan Mingoes. Joe was a Northwest Regional Champion, and a two-time District 6 champion earning the district’s Outstanding Wrestler Award. His collegiate career included two letter winning seasons at the University of Virginia and included Atlantic Coast Conference honors. Joe served as an assistant wrestling scholastic coach locally before moving on to coach at Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech.

Harold “Junior” Powell was instrumental in Lewistown High School’s phenomenal 26-2 football run in the late 1950’s, including undefeated teams in 1957 and ’58. He played halfback on offense, starred defensively, and returned kicks for the Panthers. He scored by catch, run, and kick return, on average, every five times he touched the ball. At Penn State he was a three-year letter winner at cornerback, offense halfback, and punt returner. He remains in the Top 10 at Penn State in pass interceptions. Intramural boxing and wrestling and long-jump on the ‘Nits’ track team were also part of his college career. Handball and racquetball became his passions after college, earning him even more honors.

Ronald Sprecher is another individual inductee, even though his career in coaching continues to this day. Ron came to the county in ’68 at Rothrock High School, with his Eagles cross country team taking a District 6 title. He soon moved on to Chief Logan and inherited Indian Valley when Kish merged with the Mingoes. His combined team titles total 28 district championships with an untold number of individual boys’ and girls’ district champs. He has coached many individual state champions, with the 1986 Chief Logan girls claiming the state cross country championship. His 55 years in coaching now involves teaching youngsters in AAU with the Juniata Valley Striders.

The Mifflin County Sports HOF will honor these county athletes and coaches on Sunday, September 25 at the Birch Hill Event Center. Social hour with food stations and cash bar is 4-5 p.m. with the program starting at 5.

Guest speaker will be Lewistown native and NC State 5-time All American wrestler Hayden Hidlay.

The HOF will also be recognizing this year’s team selection. As previously announced, the Rothrock High School boys’ basketball Class C Pennsylvania Champions, the county’s first state team champion, will enter the hall of fame.

“The induction of our group of individuals, along with the 1963 state champion Rothrock Eagles, promises to make September 25 a fun and memorable evening honoring these outstanding men and women athletes,” president Searer added. “Their accomplishments have brought distinction to Mifflin County over the years and it is now time to recognize them with their induction into the local hall of fame.”

Tickets are $30 for HOF supporting members, $40 for others. Tickets can be purchased using the link at www.mcsportshof.com. (Note-There will be no hard copy tickets. Names of those who have purchased tickets will be listed at the door the day of the event.) Tickets may also be obtained by mail, submitting a check in the appropriate amount to Mifflin County Sports Hall of Fame, P.O. Box 989, Lewistown, PA 17044.

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