Five athletes, a coach, a team and a local fan will be inducted into the Ellensburg High School Athletic Hall of fame Sept. 21. Jack Kelleher, Peter Vernie, Marcus Mays, Erin Schnebly and Kayla Standish were chosen for their outstanding individual achievements. The most successful girls’ basketball coach in EHS history, Craig Faire, will join two of his former players on the dais. The 2009 EHS softball team will be inducted, and one of the school’s biggest fans, Bobby Bettas, will also be honored.

CRAIG FAIRE

When Craig Faire accepted the head girls’ basketball coaching position in 1992, he had already coached both freshmen and junior varsity teams, so the foundation was laid to build the Ellensburg girls’ basketball program into the powerhouse it became over his 19 seasons at the helm. Not only did he post 304 victories as a head coach, but his teams made a total of nine appearances at the state tournament and brought home a trophy in each of the last five years of his career.

Seven of his teams recorded 20-win seasons and his winning percentage was .619. Some of Faire’s players carved a spot for themselves in the state record books. Multiple players were named tournament MVP’s or were named to the state all-tournament team. Three teams 2000, 2001 and 2002, were AA state Academic Champions. Five players joined the 1,000-point club during their varsity careers and one of them surpassed the 2,000 point mark.

2009 EHS SOFTBALL

Fastpitch is a game of statistics and by all accounts, the 2009 EHS softball team owned the Central Washington Athletic Conference because so many players led the league in multiple categories. Their stellar play led them to raise the second-place trophy at the state tournament — the best finish an EHS fastpitch team had recorded to that point.

It was a year of firsts for the team. Behind a core of strong pitchers and an outstanding offense, they secured their first league and district titles and posted a 23-2 record of which they recorded shut outs in 17 games and added three new trophies to the case.

Pitcher Sarah McNamee was the league MVP and was named the state AA player-of-of-the-year. Even though the young team had only three seniors on the roster, the CWAC coaches took notice and named three players to the first team and four earning second team recognition. Coach Dave Kopczynski was named the league’s coach-of-the-year and the team earned the sportsmanship award. The team included Kelsey Bailes, Ariana Bauer, Jessi Broderius, Sarah Firman, Brittni Gant, Jessica Harris, Ellie Layman, Brooke Reeves, Sarah McNamee, Josie Savage, Cassie Sharon, Carla Stehle, MacKenzie Swanson, Melanie Swanson and Lizzy Vick.

BOBBY BETTAS

Every school seems to have that special fan. The one who inspires the team more than the team inspires the fan. Bobby Bettas was that person. Although small in stature and born with a disability, he was the most steadfast of sports fans, supporting the Bulldogs as well as the CWU Wildcats until his untimely passing in 2007. A fixture in downtown Ellensburg as he kept the sidewalks cleared of trash in the summers and snow in the winters for four decades. He hosted the EHS boys’ basketball team that placed fourth in the 1981 state basketball tournament.

JACK KELLEHER

After graduating from Ellensburg in 1939, where he starred in football, basketball and on the track, Jack Kelleher took his considerable talents to Washington State College (now WSU). He was a reserve on the Cougar basketball team that played in the 1941 NCAA final Four tournament. But he shined brightest on the track where he won races at the 440 distances and was part of the winning 4x440 relay team. He joined the army in the spring of 1942 and was killed in action in September of 1944.

PETER VERNIE

Ellensburg High School has had its fair share of state champion sprinters throughout the decades. Peter Vernie was not one of them. His achievements came by running two miles and longer faster than anyone else in the state. He was both a state champion in cross country and the two-mile race in his senior year prior to graduating in 1975. Peter was not the first Vernie to excel in track and field. His father, Dr. Rudolph Vernie, was a national champion high jumper as a youth while growing up in the Netherlands.

MARCUS MAYS

At the beginning of each season, all wrestlers set a goal to go to the state tournament. Marcus Mays reached that goal four times in his high school career. He stood on the top step of the winner’s stand his senior year when he posted a perfect 34-0 record and won the 135-pound title in 1998. He was no stranger to facing elite opponents. As a freshman, he placed fifth in the 101-pound weight class: he reached the finals as a sophomore at 115-pounds, finishing as runner up; and as a junior he claimed third place at 129-pounds. Mays posted and impressive career record of 119-16 and was never pinned in four years of competition.

He went on to wrestle at Central Washington University, where as a freshman earned All-American status when he placed seventh in the NCAA Div. II national meet at 141 pounds. His record for the year was 29-10.

Mays continues to live in the valley on the family cattle ranch and coaches in the Ellensburg kid wrestling program.

ERIN SCHNEBLY

Erin Schnebly was a standout in three sports. but her greatest impact was as a tennis player. It was on the court that she and teammate, Taryn Smith, placed third at the state tournament in 2004 after a fifth place finish in 2003. That remains the best performance by a girl’s tennis duo at EHS. The pair were conference and regional champions those two seasons as well. She was named to the all-league tennis team three times and was league MVP twice. Her basketball career was no less remarkable, receiving honorable mention three times and being named team captain her senior year. As a volleyball player, she was all-league her senior season and was selected as the athlete of the month each year during her four years at EHS.

KAYLA STANDISH

Kayla Standish, who graduated in 2008, is easily the most decorated three-sport athlete in EHS history. She played on three volleyball and three basketball teams which placed at state and was a stand-out track athlete who earned 10 medals in three events at the state meet throughout the course of her high school career. Because of her quality of play, she was named MVP on several EHS teams, all-league and all- state teams.

Perhaps she was known best for her stellar play on the basketball court where twice she was named MVP of the state tournament. As a junior, she scored 84 points in four games, the most points scored by one player in the tournament. She pulled down 55 rebounds and was named MVP of the 2A All-Tournament team. In her senior year, her team placed second and she again was named MVP of the state All-Tournament team. She was also named an alternate to the McDonald’s All- American squad. During that season her personal scoring record reached 2,076 points.

In the spring, she turned to track where she was a stand-out in the 100m hurdles, triple jump and high jump events. Her strongest finishes were three second place medals in the 100m hurdles with her personal best time recorded at 14.76 and in the triple jump with a PR of 35’-10”.

Kayla graduated from Gonzaga University where she played forward for four seasons for the Bulldogs and scored 1,583 points for an 11.5 average. Since 2012, she has played professional basketball for three clubs. She currently plays for the Perth Lynx in Western Australia.

Comments

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.