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New Richmond Athletic Hall of Fame inducts seven new members

The inductees to the (front) are shown with their presenters. They are (l-r) inductee Kelly Stephens and presenter John Ball; inductee Chad Kovaleski and presenter Jim Saliny; inductee Dave Newman and presenter Warren Wood; Don Walsh, representing his father, Donnie Walsh, with presenter Julie Walsh; inductee Lynnelle Olson Gabriel and presenter Judy Weiss; inductee John Emerson with presenter Travis Gibson; and Keith and Kirk Lyksett, representing their father, Bernie Lyksett, with presenter Wayne Thomas.1 / 4
One of the inductees was 1928 New Richmond High School graduate Donnie Walsh, who passed away in 1975. The award was accepted by his son, Don, who was presented by his sister-in-law, Julie Walsh.2 / 4
The Lyksett brothers, Keith (left) and Kirk (right) accepted the Hall of Fame plaque in honor of their father, long-time New Richmond teacher and coach Bernie Lyksett. Wayne Thomas (center) was the presenter.3 / 4
New Richmond senior Michael Skoyen gave an excellent address as the student speaker for the Hall of Fame program.4 / 4

Seven new members were inducted into the New Richmond Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday in a ceremony at the New Richmond High School commons.

This year’s Hall of Fame inductees are John Emerson, Chad Kovaleski, Lynnelle Olson Gabriel, Kelly Stephens, Donnie Walsh, Dave Newman and Bernie Lyksett.

The event was the culmination of Homecoming week in New Richmond, which included the Tiger football game on Friday, followed by volleyball and cross country invitationals on Saturday.

Each NRHS induction ceremony begins with a student speaker. This year’s speech was eloquently presented by senior Michael Skoyen, a member of the NRHS football, basketball and tennis programs.

Here are summations of each of the 2016 inductees.

Donnie Walsh

Walsh was a 1928 NRHS graduate who was a standout in football, basketball and baseball. He played college football and basketball at North Dakota State University. He then played three years of professional in the Brooklyn Dodgers organization. Walsh died in 1975. He was represented by his son, Don, and was presented by his daughter-in-law, Julie Walsh.

John Emerson

Emerson was one of the premier boys basketball players in NRHS history. The 2002 graduate scored more than 1,000 points in his career. He played collegiately at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He was presented by Travis Gibson.

Lynnelle Olson Gabriel

Olson is a 1988 graduate who excelled in track, tennis and gymnastics. She earned a Degree of Podiatric Medicine from Des Moines University and is now a Doctor of Podiatry in the St. Croix Valley. She was presented by Judy Weiss.

Chad Kovaleski

Kovaleski was one of the premier high school golfers in the state throughout his career. The 2001 graduate was a two-time WIAA individual state champion, finishing second once and third once at the state tournament. He led the Tigers to the state team championship in 1999, along with runner-up finishes at state in 1998 and 2000. He was presented by Jim Saliny.

Bernie Lyksett

Lyksett was a beloved teacher and coach who was a coach in New Richmond from 1968 to 1997. He was on the coaching staff of two New Richmond boys basketball teams that played at the WIAA state tournament, in 1973 and 1997. He passed away in 2004. He was represented by his sons, Keith and Kirk. He was presented by Wayne Thomas.

Dave Newman

Newman has served as sports editor of the New Richmond News since 1988. He was presented by Warren Wood.

James “Kelly” Stephens

Stephens has an outstanding record as an athlete and as a coach. The 1972 graduate was a standout in wrestling, track and football. He competed in wrestling and track at Winona State University. He then embarked on a coaching and teaching career of 38 years that has taken him around the globe. He was presented by John Ball.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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