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New Richmond High School Athletic Hall of Fame to add seven inductees

Dwayne Harer1 / 7
Keith Gehring2 / 7
Sue Brennan3 / 7
Travis Gibson4 / 7
Scott Cole5 / 7
Bob Olson6 / 7
Al Waschke7 / 7

Five former New Richmond High School athletes and two former Tiger varsity coaches will be the 2014 inductees into the New Richmond High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

The five athletes who were voted into the Hall of Fame include 1975 graduate Dwayne Harer, 1982 graduate Keith Gehring, 1987 graduate Sue Brennan, and a pair of 1995 graduates, Scott Cole and Travis Gibson.

The former coaches who were elected into the Hall of Fame are former Tiger wrestling coach Bob Olson and former Tiger basketball coach Al Waschke.

The inductees were notified last week of their elections. Over the summer, their Hall of Fame plaques will be designed and plans will be made for the Hall of Fame banquet. Hall of Fame induction will happen on Homecoming weekend, which will be held on Sept. 26-27. The Hall of Famers will be introduced during the Homecoming football game against Somerset on Sept. 26. After the game, a community reception will be held for the inductees.

The Hall of Fame banquet will be held at the high school on Saturday, Sept. 27.

Dwayne Harer

Though Harer graduated in 1975, he still holds the New Richmond wrestling record for the longest winning streak in a career. Harer finished his high school career with a 52-match winning streak, which included state championships in his junior and senior seasons. His two state championships were won when Wisconsin still had a one-class system.

When Harer graduated, he held nearly all of New Richmond’s wrestling records, including career wins, career pins and career team points. He finished his career with an 84-24-2 record. He was a three-time sectional champion and a two-time Middle Border Conference champion. He was named an Honorable Mention High School All-American.

Harer wrestled one year at Winona State University before an injury cut short his career. He returned to New Richmond, starting the New Richmond youth wrestling program in 1979-80. Harer moved to the eastern side of the state, where he has continued his wrestling involvement. He has officiated high school wrestling matches for 20 years and he has also officiated at the college level.

Keith Gehring

Gehring is one of the most successful track athletes the Middle Border Conference has ever produced. The 1982 NRHS graduate earned 10 conference titles. He is also a four-time state champion. He led the Tigers to the school’s first team state championship at the 1982 WIAA State Track Meet. That came a year after the Tigers had finished second at the state track meet.

Gehring’s best event was the 200-meter dash. He was a state champion in the event in 1981 and 1982 and he placed fourth in 1980. He was three-time conference, regional and sectional champion in the 200.

Gehring ran the anchor leg of New Richmond’s 800 meter relay team that won the state title in 1981 and took second place in 1982. He also was part of New Richmond’s state champion 1,600 meter relay state championship team in 1982. Those relays won consecutive conference titles from 1981-82. His 10th conference title came in the long jump in his senior season.

At one time, Gehring held Tiger team records in the 200, 400, 800, 1,600 and long jump. More than 30 years later, his record in the 200 meters still stands.

Gehring was also a three-time letterwinner for the Tiger boys basketball team.

Sue Brennan

Brennan was a three-sport standout for the Tigers who remained just as successful when she competed at the college level.

A 1987 graduate, Brennan was a team leader for the Tigers in volleyball, track and basketball. She lettered four times in volleyball and track and three times in basketball. She was the 1987 NRHS Female Athlete of the Year. She was twice the Most Valuable Player of the girls basketball team, earning that honor her senior year for the volleyball team.

Brennan was the team leader when New Richmond made its only appearance in the WIAA State Volleyball Championships in 1986. She was an All-Middle Border Conference volleyball selection three times, setting team records in kills, points and serve reception.

Brennan helped the Tigers win MBC girls track championships in 1984-86. She was twice a placewinner at the state track meet, placing second as part of the Tigers’ 1,600 meter relay and eighth in the 200 meter dash.

Her volleyball career continued at Winona State University, where she was a four-time letterwinner. She was an all-conference selection three times and an all-district choice twice. Brennan became an Honorable Mention All-American and she twice was a Scholastic All-American. She was Winona’s record holder for kills in a season and in her career.

Brennan continued to play volleyball after college, playing in five USVC national tournaments. She then began a coaching career, coaching high school track and volleyball.

Scott Cole

Cole remains one of the most successful boys golfers in WIAA history. Cole was a four-time placewinner at the WIAA State Tournament. He won state championships in 1993 and 1995. He was the state runner-up in 1994 and he took fourth place in his freshman season of 1992. He was a first team all-state selection in 1993-95.

In the 1995 state tournament, Cole shot a 140 to earn the state championship. That score broke a state record set by Andy North which had stood for 28 years.

Cole set many Tiger team records in his senior season of 1995, including lowest nine-hole score (31), lowest 18-hole score (68) and lowest average (35.5). Cole was part of a phenomenal Tiger team that won state championships in 1992 and 1993. In 1995, the Tigers placed second in the state tournament.

Cole played collegiately at the University of Southern Mississippi for one year before transferring to Marquette University, where he played for three years.

Cole returned to New Richmond to work at the New Richmond Golf Club. He worked there 13 years, where he made his mark by building the Tiger youth golf program into one of the largest in the Midwest.

Travis Gibson

Gibson had one of the most successful careers in New Richmond football history. As a sophomore, he was a starter on the 1992 Tiger team that reached the WIAA state championship game. He was one of the leading running backs in the state the next two years. In his senior season, Gibson set a Tiger single-season record with 1,734 yards rushing. He averaged 11.1 yards per carry that year. Gibson holds the Tiger career rushing record with 3,620 yards. He led the Tigers to conference championships in 1993 and 1994. He scored 64 touchdowns in his career. As a senior he was an All-Northwest, All-District and All-State selection.

Gibson may be the only NRHS athlete to be selected to play in two all-star games at the end of his high school career. He played in the Shrine Bowl for the top senior football players in the state and the high school baseball state all-star game.

In baseball, Gibson lettered three years, hitting .410 for his career. He was a third team all-state choice as a senior.

Gibson received a full scholarship to play football at Augustana College in South Dakota. He was a four-year starter and was a team captain as a senior. He participated in the team’s Pro Day tryout.

Gibson returned to New Richmond where he was president of the New Richmond Coaches Association for seven years. He has coached in football, baseball, basketball, golf and track at NRHS.

Bob Olson

Olson began coaching the New Richmond High School wrestling team in 1972. While he retired as a teacher and coach in 1992, his involvement in wrestling has never stopped.

Olson came to New Richmond in 1972 after coaching six years in Somerset. He coached the Tigers through 1992, amassing a career record of 160-110-3. He coached 36 individual conference champions, 23 state qualifiers, 11 state placewinners, two state runners-up and three state champions.

Olson was inducted into the Wisconsin Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2003. He was inducted into the national Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2008.

Olson’s involvement in wrestling wasn’t just at the local level. He has been a member of the state wrestling executive committee since 1975 and he served as chairman for the Wisconsin Wrestling Hall of Fame for 10 years. He has remained involved in New Richmond youth wrestling and he has served as tournament manager for the New Richmond Wrestling Invitational since 1973.

Al Waschke

Waschke is best known for his charismatic leadership that took the New Richmond boys basketball team to the 1997 WIAA state tournament. His coaching career lasted more than 30 years, following impressive high school and college careers.

Waschke was a standout in football, basketball and volleyball at Ondossagon High School. He attended UW-River Falls, where he was a four-year football letterwinner. He was team captain as a senior.

His coaching career began at Prairie Farm, where he led the boys basketball team to a 131-42 record in the 1973-82 seasons, which included five conference championships. He then moved to New Richmond, where he served one season as varsity girls basketball coach, leading the team to a 14-5 record.

Waschke took over the Tiger boys basketball team in the 1983 season and led the team for 19 seasons. His teams produced a 257-118 record. That included six conference championships, six regional championships and the 1997 sectional championship.

Waschke then moved to Columbia Heights, Minn. His teams finished with a 41-52 record in his five seasons there.

Waschke’s varsity career basketball coaching record stands at 443 wins against 217 defeats.

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 more than 30 years.

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