By Paul Garrod
LAWRENCE – Three Lawrence High School sports standouts and two state championship football teams (11-man and 8-man) were inducted Friday, Sept. 1, during halftime of the Lawrence High School eight-man football game against Martin, into the inaugural class of the Lawrence Athletic Hall of Fame.
Julie (Heldt) Wonders, Class of 1989. Wonders, a three-sport standout, achieved 10 varsity letters. On the hardwood, Wonders, in her senior year, averaged 33 points per game, 16.4 rebounds per game, and 4.2 assists per game. As a member of the girls’ basketball team, she scored 1,771 career points, the most all-time for either a male or female in school history. She was a two-time AP Class D All State first teamer, and a three-time First Team All-SAC member.
On the softball team, she achieved – All Conference, All District, and All Region in 1988.
Volleyball – First Team All-Conference in 1987-88, and 1988-89.
In 1988-89, she was named the Lawrence Female Athlete of the Year.
Wonders is a member of the Lake Michigan College, Northern Michigan University, and Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fames.
Michael Salvano, a 1971 graduate of LHS, earned eight varsity Letters. He was the football and baseball MVP in his senior year at LHS.
Salvano taught 33 years and coached for 32 years at LPS. He coached boys’ and girls’ basketball, track and field, and football. In 2008-09, Salvano was named AP and BCAM Class D Coach of the Year.
As boys’ basketball coach, Salvano had one undefeated regular season, five conference championships, five district championships, two regional championships, and two state semifinal appearances.
As a girls’ basketball coach, Salvano had an undefeated regular season, one conference championship and one district championship.
He had an overall combined basketball coaching record of 295 wins and 101 losses.
Leonard Strefling, a member of the Class of 1969, earned six varsity letters, and was baseball – First Team Al-Van 1969, and basketball – First Team Al-Van 1969. Strefling led the Al-Van Conference in scoring at 20.6 points per game and 14 rebounds per game.
As a member of the football team, Strefling was First Team Al-Van 1968, and All State in 1968.
Strefling taught and coached at Lawrence for 31 years, coaching football, basketball, baseball, and softball.
As a baseball coach, Strefling had two Conference championships, and one district championship.
Football – Strefling was defensive coordinator for two teams that played in the State championship game (1990 and 1997).
The 1997 varsity football team, and Head Coach Jim Coady, were also inducted that night. The team defeated Mio, 28-6, in the state championship final, led by Ernie Diaz’s then Class DD state championship game record of 241 rushing yards.
Members of the 1997 championship team are: Todd Bachert, Steve Blum, Justin Boze, Vincent Bray, Vincent Burrows, Charlie Cartwright, Amador Diaz, Ernesto Diaz, Judd Easton, Ed Gallegos, Brian Griffin, Dan Hostetler, Brian Kemp, Steve Kohut, Anthony Ledesma, Isaac Ledesma, Josh Locke Marshall, Ryan Mills, Scott Millword, Jason Pantelleria, John Pobuda, Dan Stoll, and David Zapata.
Three members of the team have since passed away, Eric Beam, Isidrio Reyna and Josh Muday.
Representing Eric was his sister, Amy and his nephew, Eric. Representing Isidrio were his three brothers, Ray, Felix, and Paul. Representing Josh was his sister, April.
The coaches and staff for the 1997 championship team are Head Coach Jim Coady, Assistant Coaches, Lenny Strefling, Rod Conklin, Justin Griffin, Pete D’Arienzo and Gary Austin. Additional members of the staff included Chuck Moden, Rod Letourneau, John Buddemeir, Paul Hudson, Tom Blum, Bob Brandell, Rodney Sturgis, and Terry Brown.
The 2014 eight-man football team, under Head Coach, Cody Caswell, defeated Cedarville in the state championship final, 56-12, in which they had 597 total offensive yards, which is still a state record. The Tigers finished the year with a perfect record of 13-0.
Members of the 2014 championship team are: Daniel Anjuiano, Gonzalo Arizpe, Jacob Alburtus, Matt Cammire, Hunter Coombs, Rudolpho DeLeon, Kaleb Edson, Josiah Fall, Jared Frank, Justin George, Derek Gribler, Tanner Jackson, Andrew Lowe, Sam Macyauski, Conner McDaniel, Robert Pelaez, Jimmy Phelps, Richard Pryzbocki, Joey Rokos, Ciro Rosas, Daniel Sanborn, John Tule, Marco Garrett Weston, Vito Williams, and Emilio Zapata.
Coaches and staff of the 2014 championship team are: Head coach – Cody Caswell. Assistant coaches and staff are Aaron Amthor, Dale Gribler, Sawyer Duncan, Mike Fall, Rich Hiler, and Duane Fish.
The Lawrence Athletic Hall of Fame ceremony as established to recognize former Lawrence High School athletics, coaches, teams, and others who have distinguished themselves in the field of athletics, either by virtue of their performance or as coaches representing Lawrence or meritorious efforts on behalf of Lawrence athletics.