Rockford Public Schools will honor former Olympians who have graduated from RPS 205 at the fourth annual Champions Ball and Hall of Fame induction. This year’s celebration is during an Olympic year, so it’s appropriate to include Olympians in the 2016 Hall of Fame class.
The 2016 Hall of Fame inductees are: Ron Merriott, Janet Lynn, Ken Gould, Bruce Beling, the 1996-97 East High School girls bowling team, and the 1982 Guilford High School football team. Alumni from five RPS high schools will be represented this year for the first time in Champions Ball history. Merriott, Lynn and Gould represented RPS 205 and Rockford in Olympic Games. Each won bronze medals in their respective sports.
“We are really excited about our class of inductees this year,” said Mat Parker, Director of Athletics and Program Development for RPS 205. “They’ve gone on to earn success not just in the state or the country, but they have proven themselves as some of the top athletes in the world. We are proud to have so many athletes who are Olympians.” Another Olympian – Bob Packard, 1936 track and field – is not among this year’s honorees, but the Hall of Fame committee plans to honor him in a subsequent year.
Three alumni will be inducted into the “athlete” category:
• 1971 Guilford High School graduate Janet Lynn won a bronze medal in figure skating in the 1972 Winter Olympics in Japan.
• 1978 West High School graduate Ron Merriott earned a bronze medal in 3-meter springboard diving at the 1984 Olympics.
• 1986 Auburn High School graduate Ken Gould won a bronze medal in boxing in the 1988 Olympics. Gould was inducted into Auburn’s inaugural Hall of Fame class in September.
This year’s Community Service award will go to Jefferson High School’s Bruce Beling. Beling coached golf and softball for many years for the J-Hawks. He is perhaps best known as “The Voice” of the J-Hawks, serving as announcer for the school at most events for many years.
The two teams inducted are Guilford High School’s 1982 state championship football team, and East High School’s 1996-97 state championship girls bowling team.
Inductees will be honored Feb. 27, 2016, at the Champions Ball, an annual banquet at Radisson Hotel & Conference Center. The event will start at 5 p.m. and costs $50 per person or $350 per table. Tickets can be purchased online or by contacting Emily Tropp at email@example.com or 815-966-8960.