By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD — Five former athletes and the first football championship team will be inducted into the Marshfield High School Athletic Hall of Fame this weekend.
Amanda Kaiser, Ben King, Leigh (Fish) Linden, Matt Gorman, Wayne Wagner, and the 1997 Marshfield football team will be inducted in a ceremony at River Edge Golf Course on Saturday, Oct. 17.
Tickets for the banquet are $20 and are available at the high school office. A social hour begins at 5 p.m. with dinner at 6 p.m. and a program to follow. All inductees will also be honored at the Marshfield homecoming football game against Fond du Lac on Friday, Oct. 16, at Beell Stadium.
Here is a look at the 2015 class of inductees to the Marshfield High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
1997 Marshfield Tigers Football Team
The 1997 Tigers went 12-2 and defeated Oak Creek 21-14 in the WIAA Division 1 state championship game, giving Marshfield High School its first football state title.
Captains Brad Varsho, Chris Ferge, Brad Lenz, and Nick German helped head coach Len Luedtke Sr. and the Tigers to a second-place finish in the Wisconsin Valley Conference before reeling off playoff wins over Eau Claire Memorial, D.C. Everest, Wisconsin Rapids, and Sun Prairie to reach the state championship game at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison. Marshfield had lost to D.C. Everest and Wisconsin Rapids during the regular season.
The team boasted five all-Wisconsin Valley Conference first team selections — Shannon Nikolay, Travis O’Kelly, Travis Yokimcus, Andy Ott, and Chad Fredrick — and allowed just 97 points in its 14 games.
Kaiser was a four-year letter winner in swimming and track and a three-time letter winner in gymnastics for the Tigers from 1973-77.
She was a state meet qualifier as a sophomore in track and a two-time team MVP, winning the award in her junior and senior seasons.
Kaiser also was a three-time sectional qualifier in gymnastics and team MVP in her junior and senior seasons.
Kaiser, the salutatorian of her 1977 graduating class and the Female Athlete of the Year as a senior, went on to participate in gymnastics at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire before graduating in 1981. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1984 and is now a partner at the law firm Boardman & Clark LLP in Madison.
A 2002 Marshfield High School graduate, King was a three-sport athlete for the Tigers.
King, the Marshfield quarterback from 2000-01, set nine school passing records, eight of which have since been broken, but still holds the record for most passing yards in a game with 340. King went on to win The Associated Press State Player of the Year among numerous awards after leading the Tigers to the 2001 WIAA Division 1 state championship.
In baseball King was a first-team all-Wisconsin valley Conference pitcher and second baseman in 2002 and a second-team all-state pick as a pitcher by the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association that season. As a sophomore King was a key part of the Tigers team that finished runner-up in Division 1 at the WIAA State Spring Baseball Tournament.
King went on to play football at Minnesota State University-Mankato, leading NCAA Division II in passing yards in 2007 and was a two-time team MVP.
Leigh (Fish) Linden
Linden was a four-time letter winner in tennis and gymnastics and also played on the soccer team for Marshfield between 1991-95.
Linden was a three-time Wisconsin Valley Conference individual champion as part of four WVC championship teams for the Marshfield girls tennis program. She won a sectional championship at No. 1 singles her senior year and is the only player in the program’s history to reach the WIAA State Tennis Tournament and win a match all four years of high school.
In gymnastics Linden was a WIAA state meet qualifier in three events and won a conference title in the vault as a freshman. She was the Tigers’ team MVP all four seasons.
Gorman won eight letters in four different sports at Marshfield High School between 1998 and 2000.
Gorman was a two-year letter winner in basketball and football and also earned letters in baseball and track.
He was a first-team all-state and all-conference selection in football in his senior season in 1999, finishing with a school-record 10 interceptions. He also returned two kickoffs and a punt for a touchdown that season.
Gorman went on to play football at North Dakota State University and was a four-year starter and a first-team all-conference player as a senior.
Wagner, a 1987 graduate of Marshfield High School, won three letters in basketball and baseball, earning first-team all-Wisconsin Valley Conference honors in each sport as a senior.
Wagner was a two-time captain in basketball and went on to play both sports at Viterbo University in La Crosse, earning all-conference honors in basketball and NAIA all-district honors in baseball.
Wagner was head basketball coach at Greenwood High School and later at Viterbo, where he finished as the school’s all-time leader in coaching wins.