Wheeling will add three new members to Hall of Fame on Friday

Updated 2/3/2020 6:51 PM

Members in the Wheeling High School athletic hall of fame will increase by three on Friday night.

The Class of 2020 -- Nick Bledsoe, Dawn Samuelson Rutz and Vivian Smith -- will be honored at halftime of the Wildcats' boys basketball team against Hersey.


A reception will be held in the cafeteria after the game.

Here is a look at the newest members.

Nick Bledsoe: The 2007 Daily Herald Athlete of the Year was an outstanding four-year, three-sport athlete excelling in football, wrestling and track and field.

In football, Bledsoe was a two-time Mid-Suburban League all-conference player and in 2006 he was named to the Daily Herald All-Area team.

As a wrestler, he was the 2007 MSL champion, regional champion and state qualifier.

In track, he was a three-time state qualifier in the discus and shot put. He was discus sectional champ in 2004 and an MSL champion in the shot put in 2006.

He placed second in the state the discus competition and was also all-state in 2007 with a seventh-place finish in the shot put.

Bledsoe earned a track and field scholarship to Illinois State and after a year he joined the football team, starting on the offensive line.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service

He was twice named second team all-conference, received the 2011 President's Council Academic Excellence Award and was named the Carter Offensive Player of the Year in 2011.

Dawn Samuelson Rutz: Samuelson was an outstanding cross country and track athlete.

She was a member of the 1984 and 1986 IHSA state championship cross country teams.

In track and field, she was a four-time MSL champion and a three-time IHSA sectional champion in the 400-meter run. She also won three individual state medals in the 400 with a fourth-place finish in 1984, an eighth-place finish in 1986, and a sixth-place finish in 1987.

Rutz was also part of the 1984 MSL champion 400-meter relay team and the IHSA sectional champion 1,600-meter relay.

In 1985 she helped the 800-meter relay win the MSL championship. Her 400-meter relay team was also the MSL and IHSA sectional champion and fourth-place finishers at the 1986 IHSA state meet. In 1986 her 4 x 800 relay also captured second at the state meet. In 1987, she helped the 4 x 800 relay and the 800 medley relay finish second in the state. Her overall efforts helped her team finish second in the state in 1985, 1986, and 1987.


Rutz went on to compete for the Miami of Ohio track and field team.

Vivian Smith: Smith goes into the hall of fame as a Friend of Athletics.

She proudly carried on the tradition of active, involved and supportive parents at Wheeling High School.

From 2001 to 2019, Smith served as a member of the Spur Club, acting as president for most of those years.

Under her leadership, Smith organized and ran many fundraising projects to aid in the purchase of a new stadium scoreboard, a sound system for the gym, wrestling mats, and various other things.

She also spent countless hours organizing and running the world famous hospitality room at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic. She was also a very supportive fan of the sports her five children participated in while attending Wheeling.

In her years as a parent she attended nearly every girls volleyball match, football game, wrestling meet, girls basketball game and track meet.

Cross country

Saint Mary's College (IN.) freshman Julia O'Grady (Prospect) and the entire Belles cross country team were recognized for their academic achievement in the fall semester by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

O'Grady was one of 378 NCAA Division III women's cross country runners to be named all-academic individuals for the 2019 season.

She is the first Saint Mary's cross country runner since Brittany Beeler (2017) to earn the individual academic honor.

A student-athlete must have a cumulative GPA of at least a 3.30 on a 4.0 scale and finish within the Top 25 percent of their NCAA regional championship meet in order to qualify for the distinction.

Tolzien to Cowboys

Former Wisconsin standout quarterback Scott Tolzien (Fremd) was hired by the Dallas Cowboys as a coaching assistant.

The 32-year-old Tolzien, who starred at the University of Wisconsin, spent three seasons with the Green Bay Packers under then-coach Mike McCarthy, who has brought aboard several names connected to the Packers after taking over as Cowboys head coach.

Men's track

North Central junior jumper Kendall Johnson (Palatine) was named a College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin men's indoor track & field Athlete of the Week.

Johnson won the triple jump at the Snow Day Invitational with a personal-best jump of 14.27 meters (46 feet, 10 inches). The mark is currently ranked first in the CCIW and 12th nationally. As a team, the Cardinals won the event with 213 points.

• Augustana sophomore Karsten Zielinski (Schaumburg) was eighth in 9:21.39 in the 3,000-meter run at the St. Ambrose Invitational.

Women's basketball

Carthage 6-foot senior forward Maggie Berigan (Hersey), currently ranked second in the program for blocks in a career, had two swats in a loss to Carroll. She now has 128 during her career.

Men's volleyball

Augustana junior Matthew Schiferl (Wheeling) has recorded a team-high 79 digs, good for an average of 2.82 per set.

Please send Sports Notes items to jleusch@dailyherald.com

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.