For the Glory Days

Rancho Cordova, CA  |  Story by Trina L. Drotar, Photos by Rick Sloan
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Athletes, teams, and coaches have been honored in football, baseball, softball, tennis, track and field, swimming, cross country, golf, running, basketball, boxing, rugby, soccer, and mixed martial arts.

4th Annual Sports Hall of Fame Inducts Eight Women

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) – The 4th annual Sports Hall of Fame inducted eight female athletes this year, the largest number yet, 46 years after the ground-breaking Title IX. Good Day Sacramento’s Ken Rudolph, Cordova High School alumni and self-proclaimed “Lancer for life,” returned as the sold-out event’s emcee.

                Shelly Blanchard, Cordova Community Council’s executive director, said that the event was “a true homerun, with more than 250 attendees and plenty of Cordova Lancer love.” It was, she added, a mix of awards event and Cordova sports reunion.

                Athletes, teams, and coaches have been honored in football, baseball, softball, tennis, track and field, swimming, cross country, golf, running, basketball, boxing, rugby, soccer, and mixed martial arts. Nominations come from the public and are reviewed by a panel of sports experts for recognition in three categories – athlete, coach, and heart of a champion.

                It’s the “Heart of a Champion” category that sets this hall of fame apart. This category, wrote Blanchard, recognizes and honors Rancho Cordova athletes like 2016 inductee Eppie Johnson, founder of Eppie’s Great Race which ended a 45 year tradition in January, “people who made huge contributions to local sports in other ways.”     

                John McFann, one of three inductees in this category, played baseball and basketball at Cordova High School but chose the Air Force over professional sports. McFann attained rank of three-star general, received numerous medals including Humanitarian Service and Distinguished Service medals.

                Thelma King, the lone woman in this category, coached soccer teams for Cordova High School and other groups beginning in the 1970s. First introduced to soccer while at Mather Air Force base, she passed her love and passion for the sport to numerous young women, including three generations in her family.

                One of the younger athletes is Angie Matheu, who was honored as “one of the most successful female swimmers to emerge from Cordova High.” She set records in butterfly, freestyle, backstroke, and relays, and she received the 2002 Athlete of the Year while at American River College.

                Hub Morphew is one of two coaches inducted this year. He spent nearly four decades coaching at Cordova High School and American River College. He had signed a professional baseball contract with the Orioles but decided basketball was more to his liking. He was inducted into the LaSalle Club Coaches and Officials Hall of Fame in 2014 and is currently enjoying retirement as is Dave Andreotti whose accomplishments include founding the Dusters youth track club and Cordova Rugby Club.

                This year’s athletes have competed in volleyball, softball, football, soccer, golf, basketball, track, pole vault, swimming, and baseball. The single baseball athlete is the 1984 Cordova High School baseball team. That year, the team was ranked as fourth best nationwide and first in California with a record of 35-5-1. Several team athletes went on to pursue professional sports careers.

                Basketball, football, and soccer were represented by the male inductees. David Crouse began as a Little League pitcher but soon found himself, because of his 6’10” height, playing basketball. He played professional basketball internationally for twelve years in numerous countries. Jeff Allen earned numerous awards, and played professionally for Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers, making a game-changing interception in a critical game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

                The eight women inductees include Kelly Crawford who played on Cordova High School’s golf team in 1981 and 1982 as the only female golfer and who made a name for herself in the world of golf. Ugo Eke, St. John Vianney School, and Bryson Stately, Cordova High School, share Olympic dreams. Eke set numerous records in track and hopes to represent Sierra Leone in the 2020 Olympics. Stately’s record includes a #2 nationwide ranking in pole vault, high school All-American in 2005, and she retains the record she set in the San Joaquin Section pole vault. She hopes to represent the U.S. in the 2020 Olympics.

                There was no particular effort by the Rancho Cordova Athletic Association or the jurors to select the women inductees, wrote Blanchard, saying that “the stars did align that way.”

                Since 1972 women in sports have gained more opportunities for development and in professional sports, which is where many of the hall of famers end up, she added, and the past quarter century has seen more accomplished female athletes in sports.

                “It’s a sign of the times that they are finding their way into the Rancho Cordova Sports Hall of Fame and other sports hall of fame recognition programs around the country.”

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