Memories of their days competing for Wayne High School and the lessons learned from those who coached them and played alongside them were flowing as two former athletes and retiring coach and athletic director Rocky Ruhl were honored Tuesday evening.
The threesome were added to the Wayne Athletic Hall of Fame during the annual Wayne Booster Club Athletic Banquet, held at the Wayne State College Student Center’s Frey Conference Suite. Standout athletes Monica (Novak) Christie and Brad Hochstein were honored, and retiring coach Rocky Ruhl was honored by the Hall of Fame nominating committee for induction, waiving its usual 15-year wait for induction into the exclusive Hall of Fame.
Then Monica Novak was a standout athlete in girls golf, girls basketball and girls track during her playing days at Wayne High School. She was part of the girls state golf championship team in 2000 and received numerous awards for her standout play in all three sports.
After graduation, Novak attended Nebraska Wesleyan and was named the team’s Newcomer of the Year before transferring to Wayne State, where she was honored for her play on the women’s golf team. She also worked for the Nebraska Women’s Amateur Golf Association and assisted with the Nebraska Golf Association and Nebraska Junior Golf Association. She now lives in Portland, Ore., with her husband and two children doing FaceTime training.
Hochstein lettered in football, basketball and track during his career at Wayne and was part of a number of state-qualifying teams in basketball and track. He was part of what was then the team with the most wins in school history before going on to a solid athletic career at Doane College, where he was a two-time Academic All-American. He is now owner of Synergy Chiropractic Spine and Joint Center in Lincoln and is married with four children.
Ruhl came to Wayne as a math teacher in 1987 and was the cross country coach at the school for 30 years, winning three team state championships and two runner-up trophies. He also coached high school track and was a longtime coach of the boys basketball team, winning more than 300 games in a 20-year career.
Ruhl has received numerous awards during his career and is involved in numerous state and national coaching and administrative organizations. He and his wife, Sylvia – who has taught English at Wayne High for 33 years – are both retiring at the end of the school year.
Wayne High athletes were honored for their achievements during the 2016-17 school year. Award winners included:
Most Valuable Player – Jack Evetovich, boys cross country; Hannah Leonard, girls cross country; Tyler Pecena, football; Megan Kesier, girls golf; Jenna Trenhaile, softball; Mikey Reyes, wrestling; Payten Gamble, boys basketball; Peyton DeWald, boys golf; Grayson McBride, boys track; Tucker Nichols, baseball; and Kylie Hammer, volleyball, girls basketball and girls track.
Master Sports Award (three sports all four years) – Will Anderson, Kelsey Boyer, Allison Echtenkamp, Ty Grone, Kiara Hochstein, Grayson McBride, Tyler Pecena, Mikey Reyes.
Senior Academic Athletes – Will Anderson, Morgan Barner, Hannah Belt, Kelsey Boyer, Ty Grone, Kiara Hochstein, Morgan Keating, Steven Keiser, Caden Korth, Gabrielle Lutt, Tyler Lutt, Emily Matthes, Tucker Nichols, Marta Pulfer, Lindy Sandoz, Brenna Vovos.
Academic All-State – Will Anderson, Hannah Belt, Kelsey Boyer, Nathan Burrows, Allison Echtenkamp, Jack Evetovich, Austin Fernau, Jamie Gamble, Ashten Gibson, Ty Grone, Kiara Hochstein, Caitlin Janke, Elizabeth Junck, Morgan Keating, Steven Keiser, Caden Korth, Melinda Longe, Gabrielle Lutt, Tyler Lutt, Kennedy Maly, Emily Matthes, Tucker Nichols, Tyler Pecena, Marta Pulfer, Lindy Sandoz, Kecia Schenk, Andrea Torres, Jenna Trenhaile, Brenna Vovos.
Booster Club Scholarship – Will Anderson, Kelsey Boyer, Allison Echtenkamp, Ty Grone, Kiara Hochstein, Grayson McBride, Tyler Pecena, Mikey Reyes.
Law Enforcement Award – Ty Grone and Allison Echtenkamp.
Terry Johnson Award – Frankie Klausen.
Rocky Ruhl Athletic Scholarship – Caden Korth, Marta Pulfer.
Moller Memorial Award – Will Anderson and Kiara Hochstein.
Sportsmanship Award – Ty Grone and Kylie Hammer.
Stan Stednitz Memorial Cross Country Award – Will Anderson and Marta Pulfer.
Larry Gamble Memorial Award – Gage Schultz.
Runza Scholarship – Tyler Lutt and Gabrielle Lutt.