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Monday, September 18, 2017

Highlands Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Officially Inducted

Many Memorable Names Take Stage in Highlands History

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior Brady Walz (with cap) said he's learned a lot of valuable lessons from his grandfather Roger Walz on handling adversity. Roger Walz received induction into the Highlands Hall of Fame on Sunday along with nine other individuals and one team.
People who have done it know the road to success has a lot of challenges.

But those who have deep connections to those who have done it, they have someone to ask advice on that bumpy path. That is the case with some children and grandchildren of at least three inductees into the third annual Highlands Hall of Fame Class of 2017.

Roger Walz, a 1962 Highlands alum, joined his daughter Jaime Walz-Richey (Class of 1996 and 2016 inductee) in the Highlands Hall of Fame this year. Roger Walz guided the Highlands football teams of 1959, 1960 and 1961 to the Class 2A state championship games during the first three years of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association football playoffs. The Bluebirds went 35-1 during those three seasons losing just to Henderson in the 1959 2A title game, 12-7. Highlands won its first two of 23 state championships in 1960 (21-13 over Lexington Lafayette) and in 1961 (12-0 over Richmond Madison).

Walz came back and served as head coach of the Bluebirds for two seasons. He guided Highlands to the 1975 Class 3A state championship over Franklin-Simpson, 21-0 at Western Kentucky University.

Bert Richey, the husband of Jaime Walz-Richey and current Highlands boys golf coach, often tells the story of how she'd bring a teammate to interviews after games. Richey said it's something Walz-Richey learned from Roger Walz and his wife Jeanine. Their sons are Scott, Brian and Jeff Walz.

"I've got four great kids and that's the way I was brought up," Roger Walz said. "With our generation, that's the way it was. We've tried to pass it on our kids."

Roger Walz has two grandkids at Highlands involved with athletics now. Brady Walz, a junior and son of Brian Walz, plays on the Highlands golf team and stands on the sidelines with the football team.

"He's always like that," Brady Walz said of his grandfather. "He teaches us to be able to get through things that are hard and different ways to do them being able to accept that they're happening and welcome the fear as well to get past them."

Brady Walz' sister Meghan will be a sophomore on the basketball team this year. Walz agreed that sometimes you may have to try something a number of times before doing it exactly the way coaches tell you to do it.

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"You have to stick with it. Otherwise, you'll never be able to do it," Meghan Walz said. "It's all the work ethic you learn when you're younger. You have to learn to do it the right way then go from there."

Cindy Schlarman-Graves (a 1985 Highlands graduate) earned nine letters in volleyball, basketball and slow-pitch softball. She helped the Ladybirds volleyball and basketball teams to state tournament appearances.

Her daughter Audrey is a sophomore setter on the volleyball that is 9-6 on the season and will again play basketball this winter. So far this season, the Ladybirds finished third in the September Slam at Scott going 4-1 in the tournament including a 2-0 (25-18, 25-19) win over Newport Central Catholic. That marked the first win over NewCath since the 2012 36th District championship game and just the second win over the Thoroughbreds in the last 26 meetings.

"Honestly, she has made me the volleyball player I am today," Graves said of her mother. "It would be awesome to follow in her footsteps and maybe win some titles or break some her records."

Schlarman-Graves attended Northern Kentucky University earning a basketball scholarship and received Academic All-American recognition three straight years. She has taught at Moyer Elementary since 1990.

Her older daughter Lydia currently plays basketball at Georgetown College. Lydia Graves scored 326 points her senior year at Highlands helping the Ladybirds to a 30-4 record, the 36th District championship and an appearance in the 9th Region semifinals.

"I just think that when you have a good time at what you're doing, you can be more successful at it. Both of them are very athletic," Schlarman-Graves said of her daughters. "They love their teammates just like I did and I think that's very important."

Another inductee in Rob Herfel (Class of 1989) has a son that is involved in athletics at Highlands. His son Daniel, a sophomore, is on the swimming and diving teams and is also on the cheerleading squad.

Two of Roger Walz' former teammates from the Highlands Class of 1961 were also recognized. Jim Burt lettered in football and baseball for four years and three years in basketball. Burt led the Bluebirds in rushing on the 1960 state championship football team. After serving as a co-captain in all three sports as a senior, Burt attended Western Kentucky University and earned All-American honors as a defensive back. Two NFL and one Major League baseball team drafted him, but he turned them down to study medicine at the University of Kentucky.

Joseph Ross also played on the 1960 state championship football team and the track team before attending the Air Force Academy. He played in the 1964 Gator Bowl football game and ran the mile relay in the 1966 NCAA track and field championships. He served in Vietnam, but his plane was shot down over North Vietnam on Aug. 1, 1968 and was never found.

One of Schlarman-Grave's former teammates in Melissa Slone (Class of 1987) also received her induction. She scored 1,590 points in her career starting at point guard on two 9th Region championship teams. She batted .515 for her career in slow-pitch softball. She played both sports at the University of Kentucky. Slone coached for 10 years at the college level and currently is the K-12 education director in  Charlotte, South Carolina.

Richard Grover, Class of 1971, received five letters in swimming and three in football and track. He helped the Bluebirds to the 1970 Class 2A state football championship, 30-13 over Madisonville. He played football one year at the University of Cincinnati before pursuing a medical career at the University of Kentucky.

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Nancy Jones-Barre (Class of 1970) had 14 letters in tennis, hoops, swimming and cheerleading. She won a state championship in the 50-meter freestyle. She came back to coach girls basketball at Highlands and retired as a physical education teacher at Johnson Elementary.

Robert Luecke (Class of 1945) was an all-conference football and basketball player at Highlands as a junior and senior and earned two region championships in teh shot put. He played football and basketball at Ohio University for four years before returning to coach and teach at Highlands.

Former coach Bernie Sadosky started teaching at Highlands in 1937 and coached track, basketball and football. He led the track team to the state championship in 1959.

The team of distinction is the 1968 state championship football team. That team completed an undefeated run with a 32-7 win over Elizabethtown in the Class 2A title game. The captains were Rick Hoffman, Tim Racke and Clem Fennell. Hoffman played tailback and defensive back rushing for 1,800 yards on that team before going to Indiana University. Racke played quarterback and defensive back before attending Purdue University and Fennell played defensive back and wingback.

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