AURORA | The Colorado High School Activities Association welcoms a new class of former prep athletes and coaches into its Hall of Fame Jan. 23.
Former Aurora Central track star and longtime CHSAA official Rhonda Blanford-Green was among the seven members of the 24th induction class, which was honored at a banquet at the Red Lion Inn in Aurora.
Blanford-Green was chosen as the speaker for the glittering class that also included former George Washington High School basketball superstar Chauncey Billups.
“When I look back at all of the inductees that have been a part of this and knowing that I’m now a part of that prestigious group, it’s humbling,” Blanford-Green said a day before the ceremony.
“We just did these things because we loved to run track or loved to be a cheerleader or whatever. God gives you the talent, but it’s about the people around you who foster it. The culture at Aurora Central made it more than just about athletics. There are people I’ve been tied with my whole life.”
Blanford-Green was an elite hurdler at Aurora Central in the 1980s and set four school records that still stand today. Blanford-Green also played volleyball and was heavily involved in cheer with the school.
“My legacy started with Aurora Public Schools and to this day, I still feel that sense of connection and that sense of pride of having represented APS,” she said.
She went on to become an 11-time All-American in track at the University of Nebraska. Blanford-Green qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials in 1984 and 1988 and fell just short of making the Summer Games in 1984.
Eventually she landed back in town to work at Aurora-based CHSAA, where she spent 16 years as an assistant and associate commissioner. Last year, Blanford-Green took a new post as the Executive Director of the Nebraska School Activities Association, becoming the first African-American woman in the nation to hold an Executive Director post.
Blanford-Green misses Colorado, but is excited about her new post. She is trying to find the right pace to bring change to a more conservative state that is steeped in tradition.
Besides Billups — Colorado’s best-ever prep basketball player who led George Washington to a pair of 5A state championships — former coaches Joe Strain (Denver Public Schools – Basketball (Denver South, George Washington), Jim Dorsey (Sheridan, Basketball Officials), Pam Fagerlund (Flagler, volleyball) and Duane Lewis (Burlington, football, baseball, track) plus veteran public address announcer Frank Palmeri (Jefferson County, CHSAA) rounds out the seven-member class.
The Hall of Fame induction will be aired live on CHSAA.tv, which will also carry CHSAA’s Legislative Council meeting at 8:30 a.m. Thursday at the Red Lion Inn.
Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-750-7555
CHSAA HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
Betsy Allen (2005); Bobby Anderson (2011); Justin Armour (2011); Chris Babbs (2005); Jim Baggot (1991); Ray C. Ball (1990); Alice Barron (1989); Bob Bledsoe (2010); Manual Boody (1990); Michelle Bostrom (2000); Donald Breese (1999); Maceo Brodnax, Jr. (1999); Irv Brown (2003); Gregg Browning (2007); Larry Brunson (2007); Christine Bullard (2011); Francis “Gene” Bunnelle (1996); Alex Burl, Jr. (1999); Farley Burl (2003); Carol Callan (2006); Jeffrey Carter (1998); Jack Cella (1996); Dan Cholas (2007); Bob Chavez (2002); Darryl Clack (1993); Earl “Dutch” Clark (1989); Sandra Cole (2009); Rob Conklin (2000); Gilbert Cruter (1989); Jim Danley (2007); Joyce Davisson (1997); George Demetriou (2011); Mickey Dunn (1997); Cody Dusenberry (2006); Richard Evans (2006); Melody Fairchild (2009); Tom Falgien (2000); Bill Fanning (1994); David Filsinger (2005); Tom Fincken (2005); Kathy Francis Nunnery (2007); Terri Fritzler-McNair (2002); Gib Funk (1991); Ken Furman (1997); Victor Garcia (2010); Gib Gardner (2009); Lloyd Gaskill (1990); Don Gatewood (2008); Guy Gibbs (2002); Shauna Gilmore (1990); Rich “Goose” Gossage (2006); Tanya Haave (1993); Tom Hancock (2008); Phyllis Jojola Hardt (1999); April Heinrichs (1994); Matt Hemingway (2008); Dick Hewson (1995); Tracy Hill (1993); Steve Hill (2000); Bill Hinkley (1989); Brenda House (2001), Allen Hower (1998); Laurice “Lo” Hunter (1996); Barry Helton (1996); Hale Irwin (2006); Mike Jackson (2006); Marc Johnson (2011); Charlotte Jorgenson (2010); Dick Katte (1999); Bill Kehmeier (1992); Mike Kronkright (1993); Dave Logan (1992); Virginia Lorbeer (2000); Ray Lutz (2004); Kurby Lyle (1994); Don McCall (2008); Bill McGraw (1989); Jayne Gibson McHugh (1991); Mary Gore (1992); Bette Lunn (1998); Lloyd McMillan (1995); Pat Manson (2001), Kristin (Jensen) McKay (2011); Don Miller (2009); Warren Mitchell (2001), Ruby Miller (1990); Glenn Morris (1997); Daryl Monasmith (2007); Frank Montera (2007); Leslie Moore (2010); Herman Motz (2005); John Mraule (2003); Bill Musgrave (1996); Bill Noxon (2010); Bob Ottewill (2006); Larry Overton (2001), Pat Panek (1991); Lou Piel (1995); Shelia Quillen (1998); Don Quinn (2002); Carl Ramunno (1998); Sollie Raso (1992); Earl Reum (1990); John Rivas (1994); Fred Rodriguez (2009); Jim Poole (2008); Joan Powell (2008); Lonnie Rogers (2001), Jeff Rohlwing (2004), Joe Romig (1993); Al Schalge (1993); Mel Schwartz (1993); Lowell Sharp (2000); Ron Shavlik (2002); Frank Sferra (1991); Eulalia Skinner (2002); Bob Smith (1997); Cari (Jensen) Smith (2011); Shirley Snyder (1995); Ken Soper (2008); Tom Southall (1999); John Stearns (2010); Sally Stewart (2004); Anita Stites-Rowland (2004); Scott Stocker (2004); Dale Stryker (1994); Richard Tate (2010); Dennis Teeters (2004); Fred Tesone (2009); Bob Thompson (1994); Carol Ulrich (1997); Brenda Ververs-Liggett (2003); Larry Vibber (2002); Don Weber (1995); Michael P. Weiker (1996); Bill Weimar (1992); Byron White (1998); Sharon Wilch (1997); Don Wilson (1995); Robert Wilson (2003); Scott Wilson (2005); Jimmy Womack (2003); Dick Yates (2006); Steve Zabel (1995); 1924 Windsor High School Boys’ Basketball Team and 1957 Mead High School Boys’ Basketball Team.