Manawa holds second annual banquet
By Holly Neumann
The Manawa Athletics Booster Club hosted its second annual Hall of Fame Banquet Aug. 22 at Conroy’s Bear Lake Resort.
This year’s inductees are Bob Lieberman, Gene Sorenson, Sonja (Sorenson) Nellis, Corey Peterson, Cody Dean, Orville Joch and Ann (Buschke) Nelson.
Brad Johnson introduced Dean as the person who taught him hard work, toughness and dedication.
“Cody committed himself to excellence,” he said.
Dean was inducted for being a standout in wrestling at Little Wolf High School.
“This is truly an honor and a humbling experience,” he said. “I want to thank my family for all their support.”
Bob Lieberman and Eugene Sorenson were recognized for their excellence in coaching.
Sorenson dedicated 30 years of and countless hours to the school.
“Coach Sorenson was a man of few words,” Myron Retzke said. “He made one successful through example.”
Lieberman started his coaching career in Manawa in 1968.
“He made a difference for three generations of athletes,” Tom Langman said.
“The players that played for me are the ones that made the records,” Lieberman said. “I just supervised.”
Joch was a member of the Class of 1946 at Little Wolf High School and a standout track athlete who won a Class C state championship in the mile run with a time of 4:51.3.
His son, Corey, accepted the award on behalf of his father.
“It was an honor he never talked about,” he said. “I did not even know he won state until I was in high school. It means he will always be up there at the high school. He would have been very proud.”
Nelson, Nellis and Peterson were inducted for their accomplishments in track as well.
“I hope that the Hall of Fame shows the students that athletics really are important,” Nellis said. “Being inducted into here is truly an honor.”
She noted the importance of being inducted at the same time as her father, Eugene.
“Dad and I were inducted into the Hall of Fame at UWSP at the same time as well,” she said. “My mom would have loved this.”
Nelson still holds the school record in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.1.
“I hope this plaque serves as motivation to another female athlete,” she said. “Whoever you are, good luck.”
Peterson still holds a state record in the 800-meter run, was an Olympic trials qualifier and was ranked fourth in the world in 1996.
“Records are made to be broken,” he said. “I hope someone does.”
Mary Griffin, secretary/treasurer for the booster club, said the Hall of Fame banquet is an important event for the community.
“We are a booster club that supports sports,” she said. “We want people to keep coming back for that. Manawa athletics are something to be proud of.”
“I think it is important to recognize the history and tradition in Manawa,” said Nate Ziemer, the school’s athletic director. “Those recognized at the Hall of Fame banquet deserved the recognition for all their hard work and dedication that led to their accomplishments.”