The Olympic College athletic department celebrated its induction of the Class of 2018 Saturday afternoon at Bremer Student Center.
While some former athletes that graced the gymnasium with their amazing plays and skills at OC caused them to walk a little slower, the pride all inductees felt for the recognition of their contribution to the college was unparalleled.
Inductees included Jack Stenhjem, former athletic director, coach, professor and dean, who was named the Hank Muyskens distinguished service honoree, Charlie Koon (basketball), Renae (Ross) Landram (volleyball/basketball), 1948-49 basketball team, Mark Keel (football/track and field), Dick McKimson (track and field/football), Jill Bekar (basketball), Mike Latimer (wrestling), Bill and Bob Fredericks (tennis/basketball), 1950-52 men’s track and field teams.
“I had a great time here,” 2018 inductee Mark Keel said. Keel, who is the current Central Kitsap High School football coach, was recruited to OC by former football coach Dick Baird for the 1979-80 seasons.
While at OC, Keel was nominated for the AACC All-Conference Football Team with 27 catches for 593 yards. Keel also competed for the Rangers track and field team and his mark of 46 feet, 2.5 inches in the triple jump is still an OC record.
“We were a motley crew,” Keel said during his induction speech. “We had a lot of guys that were motivated. We had great coaching.”
Keel said choosing to play at Olympic College was a defining moment. Keel was second on the team in receiving yards, fourth in the AACC, and it was while the team played against the University of Washington’s JV team that Baird spoke well of Keel to the University of Arizona coaching staff, who were looking for a tight end. Arizona coaches stayed to watch OC’s game and offered Keel a scholarship. Keel went on to earn honorable mention All-Pac 10 in 1982.
Dick McKimson has also a two-sport athlete for OC, playing football and competing in track and field.
McKimson was delighted to learn he would be inducted in just the second class.
“My fellow inductees, what a group of people. It’s a privilege to be with you in this Hall of Fame,” he said.
McKimson won the 880-meter race at the Washington State Junior College Athletic Association championships in 1951 and 1952. McKimson was also part of the Rangers’ winning mile relay team and second in the 100 and javelin. His points helped OC defeat Grays Harbor, 43-38, for the conference championship. McKimson helped the Rangers win the ’52 title, as OC claimed 10 of 15 events for 77 points — a record that would stand for 12 years.
McKimson won the 100, 880, javelin and as a member of the winning mile relay team. he was also fourth in the pole vault.
Jill Bekar was a standout athlete on the volleyball and basketball courts at OC. A Coquitlam, B.C., native, Bekar was recruited by former coach Dave Sturgeon in 1995. Early on Bekar proved she could play at the collegiate level, scoring 21 points on 10-of-16 shooting and had 14 rebounds in one of her first games. The Rangers won the North Region and went on to finish sixth in the conference tournament. Bekar was named to the all-tournament second team as a freshman.
During her senior season, Bekar led the team in scoring, 13.6 ppg, rebounding, 9.3 rpg, and blocked shots, 3.5. She had the highest field goal (53) and free throw (78.9) percentages on the team. Bekar was named the North Region MVP in 1997, a second place finish and a berth to the playoffs where they lost in the first round.
Bekar said she was a scared, unconfident kid from Canada but through Sturgeon’s guidance and the close friendships she gained with her teammates she grew into one of the best players to come out of OC.
“Rene’s still a good friend to this day,” Bekar said.
Teammate Rene (Ross) Landram helped the Rangers volleyball team to a third-place finish in the North Region and she was named a first-team North team selection. In basketball, Landram was even better. The basketball team finished second in the North and she was named to the second team during the 96-97 season. For the 97-98 season, Ross was named the MVP of the North Region after averaging 20.5 points and 12.9 rebounds.
Mike Latimer wrestled for Olympic College from 1966-68. In that time, Latimer helped the 1967 Rangers to a 9-2 finish, fifth in the Washington State Junior College Championship Tournament. Latimer and teammate Phil Lundberg were named most improved. Latimer was named team captain his sophomore season as the Rangers finished 8-3-1.
Latimer won the 177-pound weight division at the state tournament. In his acceptance speech, Latimer chose to not focus on his athletic achievements but instead shared his faith as a believer in Jesus Christ to the audience.
Bob Fredericks accepted his own induction but also his brother, Bill, posthumously, and took the time to praise the athletic feats of his sibling.
“My brother Bill was the best tennis player to come out of Olympic College at that time,” he said with pride.
“My whole family has gone to Olympic some longer than others,” Fredericks said, drawing a large laugh from the audience. “Olympic College has been a great asset to my family.”
Bill Fredericks never lost a game during his time playing for the Rangers either in singles or doubles — a tremendous feat no matter the decade. Bill Fredericks, along with playing partner Gail Davis, won the Washington State Junior College doubles championship in 1950 and 1951. Bill won the singles titles those same seasons.
Bob Fredericks was an accomplished player in his own right, and never lost a match at OC — just like his brother. Bob went on to found the Kitsap Tennis & Athletic Center. Bob was also part of the 1948-49 men’s basketball team that was also inducted.