PORT ANGELES — They descended on the North Olympic Peninsula from all around the country this week, legends young and old in the history of Port Angeles sports for the second annual Port Angeles High School Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
The second class of the hall of fame was inducted Saturday night (see story in Monday’s sports section of the Peninsula Daily News.).
Before the formal ceremony, hall of famers met with various teams and current Roughrider student-athletes at the high school.
Karena Greeny, a 1997 Port Angeles graduate and star track, basketball and soccer athlete, went on to play basketball at the University of Hawaii.
For Greeny, the call to the hall is an emotional moment, made especially poignant by the fact that she is in the midst of a personal battle with cancer.
Greeny, who now lives in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., brought her 8-year-old daughter Sydney for the ceremony. She said her reaction when she got the news was tears.
“It kind of made my world. With me battling cancer, it’s cool to be able to experience it before maybe I’m not here,” she said.
On Friday, new inductee Greg Thomas met 2018 inductee Hank Wyborney in a talk they gave to the track team.
In 1979, Thomas beat Wyborney’s 21-year-old Port Angeles high jump record.
“I can still see myself here 40 years ago,” Thomas told the kids on the team.
Wyborney’s leap in 1958 of 6 feet, 8½ inches not only set a school record, it was a state and national high jump record. Thomas came along and jumped 6-10, still a Washington state high school record for a decathlon high jump.
“I had never met [Wyborney] before. I knew his name. I wanted to beat his record,” Thomas said.
Thomas pointed out that despite the fact that he beat Wyborney’s record, Wyborney was the better jumper. In his day, high jumpers jumped from grass and landed in sawdust. Thomas explained in his prep career, they leaped from rubber surfaces and landed on a thickly padded mat.
“He is a much better jumper than I ever was,” Thomas said. “To go that high and land in dirt is pretty special.”
Wyborney said he never jumped 7 feet, which Thomas did at Washington State.
“I never did it. Greg came along and he’s good,” Wyborney said.
After a career in the U.S. Navy, Thomas has settled in Colorado Springs, Colo. He said he still listens to Scooter Chapman’s (inducted in 2018) Port Angeles sports reports on the Internet.
“His voice is so comforting,” Thomas said.
Thomas said his parents have passed away and he doesn’t get back to Port Angeles very often. Being told he had been named to the school’s hall of fame took him by surprise.
“It’s not something you expect to get a call like that out of the blue,” he said.
During the breakfast Saturday, siblings James and Jessica Madison met with Port Angeles basketball players and other athletes. This brother and sister each set scoring records for the Roughriders basketball team, with James setting the mark for most points scored and Jessica breaking it 16 years later.
They both said what makes it particularly special is being inducted on the same night.
“It’s very special to be able to share this with [James],” Jessica Madison, a 2011 graduate, said. “I’m just really honored that they recognized my accomplishments.”
“It’s awesome. I’m honored to go in, it makes it even better to go in with her,” James Madison said.
And there was no sibling rivalry, either. No one-on-one battles in the driveway that got too rough. Jessica, who played in an NCAA Division II national championship during a standout career at the University of Alaska-Anchorage, said her brother was always a mentor, giving her tips.
“Jessica was three when I went off to college,” James explained. “I followed her career from far away. I’m really proud of her. She had a hell of a career.”
Other athletes and coaches inducted Saturday include John Camp, Cec Coulson, Kay Dill, Jack Elway, Don Fairbairn, Gary Gagnon, Hester Hill, Caroline Jensen, Leonard Johannes, Bob Klock, Carrie Morrison, the 1985 Roughriders tennis team and the 1959 Roughriders football team.
Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]