Gladstone inducts Hall of Fame class
ESCANABA — Many former Gladstone High School athletes and coaches got a chance to enjoy a visit to memory lane Saturday night during the Seventh Annual Gladstone Hall of Fame induction cermonies at the Quality Inn & Suites in Escanaba.
“This absolutely brought back memories,” said 1988 Gladstone graduate Lyndell (Ingalls) Sage. “I want to become a bigger part of this. It would be nice to make an effort to get peopl\e who played with us recognized.”
Sage received seven letters in basketball, golf and track during her high school career and earned the Gladstone Girls’ Athletic Award as a senior.
In basketball, she was an All-Upper Peninsula Class A-B and All-Great Northern Conference selections in 1987 and was All-U.P. second team the previous year. As a senior, she set the school record for the most assists in a single season (206) and game (17).
Sage went on to play a year at Northern Michigan University and three seasons at Madonna University, then coached at Gaylord and Boyne Falls.
She was also a Little League pitcher for Gladstone’s first state championship team.
Diane (D’Arcy) Smedley, a 1975 graduate, was among the pioneers of girls’ basketball at Gladstone, earning four varsity letters. She also lettered for four years in gymnastics and track.
Smedley, who averaged 14.1 points a game, was team captain of the school’s first Class B district championship team and was earned the Outstanding Female Athlete Award in 1975.
“It was exciting and challenging to get out and compete with other girls,” she said. “I remember playing with a badly sprained ankle in my senior year against West Iron County in the regional final. My ankle swelled up like a balloon, but I convinced my mom (coach Pat D’Arcy) to let me back in the game. Nowdays, any trainer wouldn’t allow you to get back on the floor. Thanks to my mom I got to coach my own daughter in softball and basketball and now she’s a third generation coach.”
Smedley coached junior high basketball and track at Mount Pleasant while attending Central Michigan University. She then coached tennis, basketball, softball and strength conditioning for more than 21 years in Texas.
She led many teams to state meets in tennis and to regional tournaments in basketball and softball in Texas. She was also voted Teacher of the Year four years ago at Sharyland High School in the Houston area.
An additional honors was her selection to the All-Millenium Team by The Daily Press.
“Tonight brought back a lot of memories,” she said. “I wish more of the Class of ’75 could have been here, but I’m happy I got to share a special moment with my mom, who was inducted last year, and sister (Beth). Beth and I had a special bond and did basketball and gymnastics together.”
K.C. Leisenring, a three-year varsity letterwinner in basketball, helped the Braves earn four district titles (1985-88) and regional championships (1985-86).
Leisenring was an all-state selection and U.P. Class A-B Player of the Year as a senior in 1987-88. He also gained All-U.P. and All-GNC honors during his junior and senior seasons.
He’s the second leading scorer and rebounder in the program’s history with 1,159 career points and 679 boards. The Braves were 63-10 during his prep career.
Leisenring continued to play basketball at Michigan Tech where he started 27 games and served as a team co-captain as a senior in 1992-93. He earned the Bill Gappy Award as the most improved player in 1990-91 and was the Scholastic Achievement Award winner all four years for having the team’s highest grade point average.
Gary Kirchner, a 1962 graduate, was an All-U.P. first team selection in basketball as a senior. He was also gained All-Great Lakes Conference first-team honors during his junior and senior seaons and received All-GLC honorable mention in football in 1961.
Kirschner finished with eight varsity letters in basketball, football and track and was the second recipient of the GHS Letterman’s Trophy (currently the Cappy Keil Award) as the outstanding male athlete of his senior class.
In track, Kirchner captured the U.P. Class C title in the mile as a senior in four minutes, 56 seconds. He also took the regional championship the previous week.
Kirschner served in the Air Force from 1964-66 and played on the Travis Air Force Base basketball team.
The Gladstone boys’ 2005 track team was also among the honorees, going undefeated in 10 meets.
Gladstone dominated the U.P. Division 1 Finals with 150 points, 85 better than runner-up West Iron. The Braves had five individual champions and took three relay titles that day.
The Braves set five school records that season, four of which (200-meter dash, 800-meter run and 400 and 800 relays).
James Cappeart, who captured the U.P. 300 hurdles title in 41.23 seconds, also helped the Braves take the 1600 relay (3:33.5) that day.
“It’s nice to come back and see some of the guys we won events with,” said Cappeart, who nows lives in Suamico, Wis. “This is a good fundraiser for the athletic program and it was pretty well attended. It was surprising to find out about this and get noticed. I know the whole team appreicated it.”
Also honored was the 1962 football team which finished 6-1-1, the best record at Gladstone in 13 years at that time. The team included two All-U.P. first-team selections and three honorable mention picks. Four of its members had already been inducted into the Gladstone Hall of Fame prior to Saturday.
“We had 57 in our class and only 16 boys,” said Pete Kelly, who was a senior member of that team. “There were 12 seniors and 24 on the entire team. We were a close-knit group, which I think is one of the reasons why we did well. Another reason for our success is we had great coaches.”
Inducted as community contributor was Bill Buchmiller, who secured funds to establish a varsity softball program in 1999. He helped build to varsity field in 2000 and jayvee field in 2014. He also did fundraising to help construct the press box/concession stand and restrooms at the high school fields.
Buchmiller served as a volunteer varsity assistant coach in 2002 and was a volunteer jayvee coach prior to its official team status. He became the head jayvee coach in 2010 and continues to serve in that capacity.
He has been an active Gladstone Fan Club member since 1999 and became vice-president in 2002. He spearheaded the Fan Club golf outing in 2001 and was a Board of Directors member for the American Legion for three years.
Buchmiller served as a Gladstone Little League board member (1996-99), was the board’s president (1996-98) and helped build Cannon Field.