by Richard Uhlhorn
What an amazing evening as Chelan High School inducted a number of past athletes into its Hall of Fame.
What I enjoyed about the inductions is that, with the exception of Marjorie “Ma” Rainier, I was had the distinct pleasure of covering these athletes as they rose to the top of the high school athletic pyramid.
The things I remember most about these individuals was their undying dedication to the sport they played or participated in.
Wrestler – Frank Velazquez:
Frank Velazquez was inducted into the CHS Hall of Fame.
He is pictured here with his wife and son.
Frank was one of the first athletes I was introduced to when I moved back to Chelan and began covering sports for the Lake Chelan Mirror. As the story goes, Frank refused to leave school in the eighth grade when his dad wanted him leave his education behind and help the family in the orchards.
Frank went on to be coached by Randy McGuffin and over the years was instrumental in helping McGuffin’s son Jay become a state champion through his relentless mentorship.
During his wrestling career at Chelan, Frank was voted team captain and was a state finalist in his freshman year, only to lose that match on a call late in the third period which denied him becoming a four time state champion.
His remaining years on the wrestling team brought three state championships; 122 pounds in his Sophomore year, 129 pounds in his Junior year; and 135 pounds in his Senior year. Frank was the ultimate wrestler in high school. Not many opponents wanted to face him on the mat he was so tough.
After graduation, Frank began his college career at Oregon, but left for North Idaho College where he became the NJCAA National Champion in both 1991 and 1992. He was also an Academic All-American, Team Captain and was voted Outstanding Wrestler at North Idaho.
After his two year tenure at North Idaho, Frank went on to the University of Nebraska and became the Big Eight Champion in 1993 and 1994. He earned NCAA All-American honors, the Optimist Award and was voted team captain and outstanding wrestler of the Nebraska team in 94. He followed his wrestling passion as a coaching assistant at the University from 1995 to 1997.
Frank enjoying a moment with Greg Griffiths and his brother Nick at the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremoney.
Frank received his bachelor degree from Nebraska and currently lives in Wenatchee with his wife and son. He is employed in an administration job at Star Ranch Orchards.
Pickle Ball -Tyson McGuffin
Tyson’s brother Jared accepted Tyson’s plaque for him at the CHS Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies on Friday evening.
Unfortunately, Tyson was unable to attend his induction into the Chelan High School Hall of Fame because of his professional commitments. He is competing in the Hawaii Open in Kona.
My biggest memories of Tyson was on the tennis court. His passion for tennis had him placing second in singles at State in 2006, and then winning the State Tennis Championships in both 2007 and 2008. Tyson was fun to watch on the tennis court and not many players could compete at his level.
Tyson also participated in cross-county and wrestling. Under the coaching of his Dad, Randy, Tyson finished fourth in the MATT Classic State Wrestling Tournament in 2008.
After graduation Tyson attended Spokane Falls Junior College where he was undefeated and became the 2010 State Jr. College Tennis Champion in both singles and doubles.
Tyson became a tennis instructor in Yakima and then in Couer d’ Alene where he was introduced to the upcoming sport of pickleball. His learning curve led him to turn professional in six short months.
Tyson is now a four time Grand Slam Champion in singles, a one time Grand Champion in Men’s Doubles, a five time silver medalist in singles, a three time Grand Slam Bronze Medalist and is currrently ranked as the World’s No. 1 Singles player, No. 2 ranked Mixed Doubles player, and No. 3 ranked Men’s Doubles player in the world.
When Tyson is not competing across the professional circuit, he is serving as an IPTPA and PPR certified instructor for LevelUp Pickleball Camps. Tyson lives with his wife and son in Coeur d’ Alene where he is associated with Selkirk Sport, a leading designer and manufacturer of pickleball paddles.
To watch Tyson in action go to You Tube and search his name.
Golf – Kelli Bowers
Kelli Bowers was on hand to receive her plaque
and induction into the CHS Hall of Fame.
Kelli Bowers-Caples was an outstanding athlete at Chelan High School from 2006-2010. Kelli was an all around high school athlete but her passion was found on the golf course where she became a four-time state 1A champion.
Kelli also played volleyball and basketball, participating in 11 State Championships. She earned three varsity letters in volleyball, four in basketball, and four in golf.
In addition, Kelli was the 2009 Washington Jr. America’s Cup team MVP and qualified for the USA Pub-links.
Kelli’s passion for golf ended in a full scholarship from the University of Washington. As the story goes, Kelli wasn’t even selected by UW until the UW Coach watched her play in California. It was after that golf tournament that Kelli saw her dream of playing at the University become a reality.
In her first year Kelli finished best on the entire team and tied at 26th individually at the NCCA Nationals. She served as a captain for two years and achieved a top 100 National Ranking in her senior season.
Following her graduation from UW, Kelli qualified for and plahed in the Women’s U.S. Golf Open Tournament and continued playing professional golf on the Symetra tour for one year.
Currently, Kelli is the women’s assistant golf coach at Grand Canyon University where she is mentoring and teaching the game she loves.
Kelli Bowers and Phil Cullen share a moment at the CHS Hall of Fame night.
1998 State Basketball Champions:
Most of the players on the 1998 State Championship Basketball Team were present for their induction into the CHS Hall of Fame.
1998 was the year that Coach Joe Harris’ basketball team rolled through all competition to attain the State’s highest level by becoming the WIAA 1A State Basketball Champions.
Chelan completed the 1997-98 season with an overall record of 24-2.
Ranked Number 1 all season, Chelan was a defensive minded squad that survived the pressure of tourney favorite with the aid of one of the top talents in the State in 6’9″ senior Phil Cullen, who would go on to play college basketball at the University of Utah.
The 1998 State Champion basketball team led by Hall of Fame Coach Joe Harris and Tourney MVP Phil Cullen rolled through the tourney in almost unprecedented fashion. The Goats defeated Toledo on day one 57-47 in what would prove to be their closest game of the tournament. In their Quarter Final matchup with Life Christian Academy, Chelan cruised to a 32 point win of 67-35. In this contest Chelan was fueled by their best offensive performance of the tourney.
In the semi-finals against tradition rich Lynden Christian, the Goats again won comfortably by the final score of 55-41.
As they had throughout the entire tourney, Chelan would wear down their opponent and pull away late to win the State Championship 43-27. The Goats were once again keyed by outstanding team defense and the dominating play of tourney MVP Cullen who had a monster game with 19 points, 14 rebounds and 7 of his single Tournament record 25 blocked shots. Fellow senior Lucas Dobbs contributed 16 points in the victory. Just like throughout the entire season, success in the title game was triggered by outstanding defense and an unselfish team commitment to do whatever it takes to win.
A big part of the team’s defensive success in addition to Cullen closing down the inside, was the tough on-ball pressure applied by senior guard Ryan Waller and junior guard B. J. Mitchell.
It was a team guided by the outstanding coaching of Joe Harris and his assistants, Shane Backlund and Brian Mayer.
The team consisted of Justin Barnhart, Clint Jespersen, Josh Rogge, Hector Rodriguez, Lucas Dobbs, Ryan Walter, Jeff Barnhart, Robert Johnson, Jordan Miller, B.J. Mitchell, Wes Rush and Phil Cullen who went on to play four years at the University of Utah and now works in the San Antonio Spurs organization.
Basketball – Joe Harris
Joe Harris addressed the crowd at Chelan High School via a video message from Brooklyn New York. Joe was unable to attend due to his professional commitments.
Probably the most familiar name on the list inducted into the Hall of Fame is Brooklyn Net basketball player Joe Harris. Joe was unable to attend the induction ceremony because of professional commitments.
Joe Harris, the 6th leading scorer all-time in Washington State basketball, had an illustrious career at Chelan earning first team CTL honors all four seasons. Joe was the 1A Player of the year in his junior season and as a senior was selected as Washington’s Mr. Basketball and the Gatorade Washington Player of the Year. He would go on to be a four-year starter at the University of Virginia and earn an All-ACC selection and ACC Tourney MVP in his senior year.
Joe was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 33rd pick in the 2014 NBA draft and would later sign with the Brooklyn Nets.
Harris has been a starter the past two years for the Nets and won the 2018-19 NBA All-Star 3-point Championship as well as finishing the season as the NBA’s top 3-point shooter.
In addition to being inducted into the CHS Hall of Fame, the school is retiring his No. 12 basketball jersey which is the first time in CHS history for this distinction.
Joe Harris’ No. 12 Basketball Jersey was retired at the
CHS Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies on Friday evening.
While Harris was unable to attend the ceremony, the Brooklyn Nets had a video prepared to honor his induction and Joe also gave a short thank you to the school and all the people who have supported him all these years.
One thing I remember is that Joe “Joey” Harris was never without a basketball in the gym, even when he was a little tyke.
Coach -Marjorie “Ma” Rainier
Greg Griffith accepted the Hall of Fame induction for “Ma” Rainier who taught, administered and coach at Chelan High School.
When people think of Ma Rainier- they would say “She was tough, but fair.” Marjorie “Ma” Rainier had many different roles; she was a teacher, an administrator, and a coach at Chelan High School. Marjorie graduated magna cum laude from the University of Washington, where she was the captain of the basketball team. At the University of Washington, she served as the President of the Women’s Athletic Association.
Mrs. Rainier was hired by Chelan to teach math and coach Girls basketball. Her years in education at Chelan spanned over a time period of three generations, for a total of 50 years. She began teaching and coaching in 1912 until her retirement in 1967. In addition to coaching basketball and teaching math, she eventually took on the boys and girls tennis teams and served as the principal at Chelan High School from 1919 to 1926. Mrs. Rainier was a fixture at all Chelan basketball games, always watching from her seat in the corner of the gym where she wasn’t too bashful to remind you of the standard of excellence necessary to succeed.
The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies had everyone’s attention
at the Chelan High School on Friday evening.