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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

2009 Hall of Fame has firsts

by Wayne Boykin II

This year’s inductees in the Athletic Hall of Fame represent a number of firsts as well as players who have earned high honors. Three of the four inductees come from the early 2000s: a time that Athletic Director Bob Burchard described as an amazing time in athletics.” The last inductee is not a person but the team that showed the nation Columbia College is a force to look out for. The 2009 inductees include Kjell Einar Teien ’02, soccer player; Jayne Miller ’03, softball; Missy Wilt ’03, basketball; and the 1998 NAIA Women’s Volleyball National Championship team.

Teien was the only inductee to receive his award posthumously. A 2002 graduate, Teien passed away in 2007 of cancer. He was known as one of the greatest impact players Columbia College has ever seen. During his four years at Columbia College, Teien was named all-conference and all-regional player. After graduating, Teien received an offer to play for the American Major Indoor Soccer League but turned it down to play at home in Norway where he was captain of his home club in Asker.

Miller graduated in 2003, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She is now pursuing her second bachelor’s degree in nursing at Maryville University in Chesterfield, Mo. She will graduate in May 2010. During her time as a Cougar, she set several records, such as 17 strikeouts in 2002 and one of the college’s lowest earned run averages. Miller was named NAIA Pitcher of the Week numerous times and earned the honor of Collegiate Sports Woman of the Year from the Women’s Intersport Network of Columbia in 2004.

Wilt was said to be the first in everything that had to do with Lady Cougar basketball. Burchard said, “She was appropriate to be the first woman basketball player nominated due to the fact that she was the first to shoot a basket in Lady Cougar history.” Wilt helped lead the Lady Cougars to back-to-back national tournament appearances, and after graduating in 2003, She played professionally on the Birmingham Power team as part of the National Women’s Basketball League. Wilt is presently head girls’ varsity basketball and tennis coach for Central High School in Kansas City, Mo., where she is also teaching social studies. She said her induction is a “huge step in CC [Columbia College] history.”

The players and coaches of the 1998 Cougar volleyball team represent the first Columbia College team to bring home an NAIA championship title and the first full team to be inducted into the Columbia College Athletic Hall of Fame. The squad had an impressive year, ending with a 45-0 record. Mariuska (Hamilton) Buckner was one of the members of the 1998 team. Buckner said, “The 1998 team was well-balanced, even the sixth player was very equal.” Teammate Patti Atay said, “Everyone had a part in it.”

“This team showed all Cougar sports teams that teamwork is what gets a championship,” said Burchard. When asked if inducting the whole team was right, Atay said, “I would not want it any other way.” Buckner agreed, saying, “It would be selfish to nominate just one of us.”

The emcee for the night, John Bassford, communications coordinator at Ameren UE, began by talking about the week in Missouri sports. He mentioned how sad it was that the St. Louis Cardinals, the St. Louis Rams, the Kansas City Chiefs and University of Missouri football team suffered rough losses. Columbia College was not in that rut, he said. “It is a great time to be a Cougar.”

Inductees of the 2009 Athletic Hall of Fame. Photo courtesy of Columbia College Public Relations.
Missy Wilt. Photo by Wayne Boykin II.

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