ALPENA – The wait is over.
After waiting and waiting, and then a little more waiting, the Alpine Sports Hall of Fame Class 2019 took its place among the best of all time during the annual Hall of Fame banquet on Saturday at APlex.
The 2019 class – Eric Puls, Terry Thomas and Tom Lavoie, Bruce VanderWall, Bob Kelley, Jim Hubert and Shannon Domrase Woloszyk – was originally announced in February 2020 and is scheduled to be introduced in May.
But concerns about COVID-19 canceled two consecutive banquets, extending their induction to more than 800 days after publication.
But the wait turned out to be more than worth it. Together with the Boosters of the Year, Joyce Gohlke and Jim Townsend, and the team of the year – the 2010 Alpena High baseball team – the winners finally got their moment in the spotlight in front of an enthusiastic and supportive crowd of more than 200 people.
Pulse was a basketball star for Alpena High School, who set several records and put together a successful resume before continuing to play at the University of Michigan. Among those accomplishments were 937 career points, accolades at all conferences, and playing on the team for the district title.
Appearing via video, Pulse thanked his coaches and said community support was a big factor in his extraordinary career.
“It is a great honor to be a part of this and to join such a great company,” Puls said. “Community and community support is what makes Alpena special and makes me proud to be from Alpena.”
VanderWall played during one of the most successful sections in Alpine Boys history and was part of the teams that won district and regional championships. He ended his career at Alpena as the 2nd top scorer of all time before playing at Alpena Community College.
Alpena had a profound impact on VanderWall’s life, though he noted he wasn’t exactly thrilled to have moved there from Grand Haven at 12 years old.
“That skinny 12-year-old boy didn’t want to move to the Alps, but I’m glad I did,” VanderWall said. “Every success I have had personally has been achieved with the contributions of many others and I have had great teammates who have helped me in sports and personally.”
Woloszyk was a softball star and became an integral part of the Alpena High lineup. After an embellished high school career, she played for Alma College and was part of one of the best teams in the history of the program in 1994.
On Saturday, Woloszyk marked her second induction into the Hall of Fame after being inducted into Alma’s Hall of Fame in 2013.
“I am really honored and grateful to be here tonight, surrounded by so many athletes, friends and family,” Woloszyk said.
As a coaching duo, Thomas and Lavoie led the Alpena Girls basketball program to great success, including the first district and regional program titles. With the support of a number of former players on Saturday, the couple noted that the relationships they have established with players and parents have paved the way for Alpena’s success.
Kelley earned eight letters in the Alps before he started playing in the ACC and later coached. He was also a prominent softball player and speed skater.
Hubert was a famous baseball star, nicknamed the Yogi after New York Yankees legend Yogi Berry, and also spent many years as a coach. With his induction, Hubert is one of the few recipients to also be named Booster of the Year, an honor he earned in 2015.
“The victories didn’t matter, it was about making friendships because friendships last forever,” Hubert said. “I’ve always told my players to follow their dreams because with hard work, determination, heart and desire, you can be whatever you want to be.”
An ardent supporter of Wildcat athletics, Gohlke could always find himself at the forefront of Alpena’s home games, no matter the sport. When she wasn’t cheering for the Wildcats, Gohlke could find herself in The Alpena News office, cutting out sports articles she sent to local athletes.
“Like an angel from heaven, she was always there to help,” said John Stender, host of the evening. “There was never anything or why, it was ‘How can I help’?”
Townsend has made a career out of helping children, helping found the CHAMPS organization and spending years as a youth coach and board member for youth sports organizations.
“This is a really special honor for me, especially when you love what you do,” Townsend said. “The training was much more about relationships and life, not about wins and losses, and I was truly blessed with those relationships.”
Alpena’s baseball team in 2010 had a score of 26-12, setting new program and individual records on the way to winning the district championship.
A dozen players were available on Saturday, along with two assistant coaches and head coach Scott MacKenzie.
“It was extraordinary. It’s great as a coach to see kids come back and be as successful as they are, ”MacKenzie said.
Prior to his inauguration, Gary Mischley, Founder of the Hall of Fame and longtime President, was honored for his service of more than 40 years and received a standing ovation from those present.