Keith Ryan Scholarship Fund and Sports Banquet is Thursday
News-sun staff report October 13, 2013 4:06PM
Lester Long can be found helping out on the sidelines at Lake Forest High freshman soccer games. | SUN-TIMES MEDIA FILE PHOTO
LAKE COUNTY HALL OF FAME
CLASS OF 2013 INDUCTEES
Danyelle Aber (Warren High)
Wilbur Borrero (Antioch/Waukegan)
Gary Edge (Round Lake)
Jerry Grunska (Northern Officials Association)
Craig Hunter (Libertyville)
Fritz Kazlausky (Grant)
Lester Long (North Chicago)
Courtney DeBolt Slinko (Stevenson)
Robin Straus (Lake Forest)
Jon Wasik (Mundelein)
WAUKEGAN HALL OF FAME
CLASS OF 2013 INDUCTEES
KEITH RYAN SCHOLARSHIP
Updated: November 15, 2013 6:21AM
One of the best days of the year for Lake County sports fans is at hand.
On Thursday evening at Midlane Country Club on the far northwest side of Waukegan, the 25th annual Keith Ryan Scholarship Fund and Sports Banquet will be held.
This annual event includes the induction of the Class of 2013 into the Lake County High Schools Hall of Fame, and also celebrates the induction of the newest members of the Waukegan Sports Hall of Fame.
The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with a reception, followed by dinner and the program at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 per person and are available by calling the Foundation at (847) 543-2646.
This is a great opportunity for sports fans to reconnect with some of this area’s true sports legends.
The banquet is held to honor the memory of the late Keith Ryan, a popular sportscaster who spent nearly 25 years promoting local sports in Lake County.
His taped high school basketball broadcasts and Saturday/Sunday morning high school sports-talk shows on WKRS (1220) radio produced an entire generation of prep fans that has since passed that interest down to their children.
Proceeds from the event help fund three annual $1,000 scholarships for CLC students — one for a student pursuing a career in print or broadcast communications and two for a sophomore male and female student-athlete. Since the scholarship’s inception, more than $60,000 has been raised for journalism students and student-athletes.
As you might expect, the Class of 2013 inductees into the Lake County High Schools Hall of Fame is an impressive one. The high schools submits names for nomination and a Hall of Fame panel then makes the final selections.
It’s an almost task, given the nominees each year.
This year, a dozen all-time greats will be inducted, including a couple who are still very active as high school coaches long after their contemporaries have called it a career.
One is Wilbur Borrero, one of the top prep wrestling coaches in Lake County high school history, who currently is heading the program at Antioch. A longtime coach at Waukegan High, he also has served as an assistant coach to help out programs throughout the area.
The other honorees include Danyelle Aber (Warren High School), Pete Campbell (Warren), Cyndie Donner Flegner (Round Lake), Gary Edge (Round Lake), Jerry Grunska (Northern Officials Association), Craig Hunter (Libertyville), Fritz Kazlausky (Grant), Lester Long (North Chicago), Courtney DeBolt Slinko (Stevenson), Robin Straus (Lake Forest) and Jon Wasik (Mundelein).
The other is Long, who is listed as being from North Chicago, but he also could have “Lake Forest” next to his name. He was a basketball standout and North Chicago High, and then wound up as varsity boys basketball coach there.
But for the last 25-plus years, Lester has served an assistant coach and lower-level coach at virtually ever sport that’s offered at Lake Forest High. Whenever the Scouts have a coaching hole they can’t fill, they call on Lester, who comes through each and every time.
As for Straus, she retired last spring after an amazing 34-year run as girls gymnastics coach at Lake Forest. Not only did the Scouts build a program under her watch, but they thrived.
As you might have guess, each of the Hall of Famers has an amazing story to share, which is one of the fun parts of Thursday’s banquet.
The same is true for the Waukegan Sports Hall of Fame inductees, who include Rob Gust, Tom Kerr, Vince Pierce, T.J. Rajcevich, Mike Uremovich and Paul Waidzunas.
For example, Gust is the only boys swimmer in Waukegan High history to place in the top five at the IHSA state finals.
Uremovich was the star catcher on Waukegan High’s 1971 state-championship baseball team, and Waudzunas was the star pitcher.
As for the recipients of the Keith Ryan Scholarhip, they all are more than deserving:
■ Sara Braden — She’s a 2012 graduate of Lakes High School in Lake Villa. She was a varsity softball starter all four years at Lakes. At CLC, she was the starting shortstop for the Lancers softball team last spring and earned All-Skyway Conference honors. Her future educational plans include completing a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in graphic design.
■ Phil Brahm — He graduated from Warren High in 2012, where he was an active member of the Blue Devils’ marching band. He graduated despite numerous life-threatening injuries obtained from a serious head car collision during his senior year. Now in his second year at CLC, he is the editor-in-chief of the Chronicle newspaper. Upon completing his associate degree, Brahm plans to transfer to a four-year university to study journalism.
■ Dan Ryan — He’s a 2012 graduate of Libertyville High, where he was a member of the basketball, cross country and track teams. In cross country, Dan was a three-time all-conference selection, and served as team caption as a senior. After CLC, Dan intends to transfer to a four-year university and complete a bachelor’s degree in physical education. His goal is to coach at the high school or collegiate level.