The Elgin Sports Hall of Fame Foundation has announced the names of five new inductees to the Hall of Fame and the recipient of the 2013 Vic Masi Award.
Larkin graduates Anton Kossakowski, Al Lettow and Vince Webber, Elgin High alum Dave Russell and friend of sports Jeff Myers will be inducted to the Hall of Fame on Sunday, Nov. 3 when the foundation holds its annual induction ceremony and banquet at The Centre of Elgin.
In addition to those presentations, the foundation will award $1,000 scholarships to 25 student-athletes who attend Elgin schools or live in Elgin, and the Outstanding Achievement Award winners will be recognized.
The five new inductees will bring the number of Hall of Fame inductees to 158 since the hall's inception in 1980.
The new inductees to the Hall of Fame:
A 1986 Larkin graduate, Kossakowski was a three sport standout athlete in football, wrestling, and baseball. In his senior year, he was the undefeated state championship wrestler in the 167-pound weight class. Kossakowski wrestled for two years at Northern Illinois University, where he compiled a 55-16 record. During these two years, he was a two-time champion at the Illini Open Championship at 177 pounds. In addition, he also finished second in the NCAA West Regional in 1987-88, then took the championship in the 190-pound class the next year. In both years, he qualified and competed in the NCAA Wrestling Tournament. Kossakowski's brother, Jim, was a 2012 inductee to the Hall of Fame.
Lettow was a 1967 graduate of Larkin and was the school's first All-State football player as a fullback and linebacker. He was named All-State by the Rockford Register and Champaign News-Gazette. In addition, Lettow was special mention All-State by the Chicago Daily News, a Chicago Tribune Prep All-Star, Fox Valley All-Star, and first-team all-conference. Lettow was also listed as a Prep All-America honorable mention. He was named to the All-Time Larkin High School Football Team in a poll conducted by the Courier News. He earned a four-year football scholarship to the University of Wisconsin, where he played at running back, linebacker and punter before having his career shortened by knee injuries. While at Larkin, Lettow was also an outstanding track athlete. He was all-conference and champion in the shot put and as a member of the 880-yard relay team. He was a member of three county and district team champions in track, qualified for the state track meet five times, twice in the shot put and three times in the 880 relay, and finished 10th in the state for the shot put as a senior. During his career, he set the school record for the shot put at 58 feet, 2 inches and was a member of school record 440 and 880-yard relay teams.
A 1998 graduate of Larkin, Webber had one of the best football careers in school history ... As a sophomore running back, he scored 22 touchdowns while rushing for 954 yards and 10.1 yards per carry. In his junior season, he scored 32 touchdowns and gained 2,032 yards rushing. Despite missing half his senior year due to injury, Webber scored 17 touchdowns and gained 1,156 yards. He set Larkin records for single game rushing yards (381), career rushing yardage (4,142), and touchdowns with 71. He was Upstate Eight Offensive Player of the Year as a junior, as well as being named to the Chicago Tribune All-State first-team and the Illinois High School Coaches Association All-State Team. He was also a Chicago Tribune All-State Team special mention pick as a sophomore. Webber went on to play running back for three seasons at Central Michigan University, but saw his playing time limited due to injuries.
Nominated for wrestling. Russell, a 1961 graduate of Elgin High, became the Maroons' first state wrestling champion, finishing 31-0 in the 180-pound weight class during his senior season. Russell won the Big Eight Conference title, in addition to the district and sectional titles that same season. He helped the Maroons to a sixth-place finish as a team at the state tournament. He earned a freshman letter in 1962 at the University of Illinois and lettered twice on the varsity in 1963 and 1964 while wrestling up as a heavyweight.
Myers was nominated to the ballot as a friend of sports. Myers has been broadcasting sports in the Elgin area on local radio, cable television, and the Internet since 1989. During that time, he has served as the voice of Elgin High (18 seasons) and St. Edward High School football games and done the radio play by play for Elgin High basketball games beginning in 1989. He has also provided coverage of Elgin and Larkin state tournament action. Further broadcasts have included Elgin-Larkin football and basketball games on local cable TV, girls volleyball sectional finals, and girls softball regional action. Myers has hosted sports talk shows on local radio and was the voice of the Chicago Bandits professional softball team when the team played in Elgin.
The Vic Masi Award is a special way of recognizing those who have contributed to the Elgin Sports Hall of Fame, to athletics and sports in the city of Elgin, and/or to an Elgin school or schools and will be awarded this year to Mike Bailey, who has managed or coached 50 different baseball teams and 12 football teams in Elgin.
Bailey managed and coached in the Elgin National Little League, leading the 1975 all-stars to the state championship. He also coached in the Elgin Teener Babe Ruth League and was the Elgin American Legion Post 57 baseball team manager from 1977-89. He also coached baseball at ECC, Elgin High and St. Edward. He coached in the Elgin PeeWee football league from 1972-79, coached football at St. Edward from 1980-83 and served as a baseball umpire and football official beginning in 1972.
Past recipients of the Masi award include James Biggins, Ken Barnhart, Carol Biggins, David Covey, Dave St. John, Don Wojciechowski, Maxine Turek, Bill Lauderdale, Bill Vincent, Ron & Kathie Lange, Bob Pleticha, and Joann Jolitz.
Hall of Fame Foundation scholarship winners come from eligible schools Elgin Academy, Elgin High School, Harvest Christian Academy, Larkin, St. Edward, South Elgin, Burlington Central, and Westminster Christian. With this year's scholarships the foundation will have awarded over $360,000 in scholarship money since the beginning of the program.
The scholarship winners this year are: Camille Dela Cruz (Burlington Central), Bryce Warner (Burlington Central), Brigitte Keslinke (Elgin Academy), Mary Snell (Elgin Academy), Hope Demel (Elgin High), Ethan Henke (Elgin High), Zachery Lindstrom (Elgin High), Taylor Powers (Elgin High), Kristin Tayag (Elgin High), Arie Williams (Elgin High), Robert Doby (Harvest Christian Academy), Stuart Wolff (Harvest Christian Academy), Alex Buhrow (Larkin), Brenna Fulin (Larkin), Quantice Hunter (Larkin), Quentin Ruff (Larkin), Alex Schabert (Larkin), Alison Smith (Larkin), Antonio Domel (St. Edward), Kali Kossakowski (St. Edward), Abby Madden (St. Edward), Adrian Ponce (St. Edward), Rena Ranallo (St. Edward), Cara Tyrrell (Westminster Christian), and Will Woodhouse (Westminster Christian).
The annual induction ceremony and recognition banquet will be held at The Centre of Elgin on Sunday, November 3. Social Hour begins at 5 p.m. with dinner scheduled for 6 p.m. and program at 6:45.
For further information on the Elgin Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, log on to www.eshof.org.