Knoxville — The Knoxville High School Athletic Hall of Fame Induction luncheon was held Friday at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum.
Inducted this year will be 1944 Drake Relays pole vaulting champion Jim Schaal, track star Lisa (Moats) Crossett, football star Sean Mason and tennis coach Joel Tonda.
Schaal was Knoxville's first Drake Relays champion. He went on to become a teacher, writer and college professor. Schaal was the only inductee unable to attend Friday's ceremony, because, at 86, he was at a speaking engagement in New Orleans.
Joe Cunningham, emcee for the luncheon, read a letter Schaal wrote in regard to the luncheon. Schaal remembers Knoxville and surrounding towns, and still has memories of losing to Pella, at a time when that school was much smaller.
Crossett, KHS Class of 1982, won state titles in 1980 and 1981. She earned a pharmaceutical degree from the University of Iowa, where she still holds the indoor long jumping record.
Crossett shared memories of her school days. She even recalled getting the nickname "Speedy Gonzalez" from her elementary PE teacher. When she made it to college, after finding great success as a high school track star, she did not intend to participate in track. Coaches at the first school she attended, Northeast Missouri State University, as well as Iowa, invited her to join their teams. Crossett said that none of her success would have been possible without her family, coaches, teammates and the Knoxville community.
"I never expected to get such recognition," Crossett said.
Mason, Class of 1991, led the Panther football team to its first playoff game. He recalled signing up to play baseball in second grade. From then on, he was active in sports year round, throughout the rest of his Knoxville school days.
Mason went on to Iowa State University and walked on to the football team, but he was there to earn his engineering degree. He was hired by Al-Tech Industries after college and still works for them. Soon he and his family will move to Lexington, Ky. He is still very fond of Knoxville.