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Cross country champ leads 1998 PLU Hall of Fame inductee class
B Y N I C K D A W S O N , S P O R T S E D I T O R
Valerie Hilden Blum '88, a two-time national cross country champion, headlines a list of seven women and men who will be inducted into the Pacific Lutheran University Athletic Hall of Fame. Other members of the 1998 class include Sonya Brandt Stewart '89, women's soccer; Scotty Kessler '81, football; Sara Officer, women's coach and administrator; Phil Schot '83, track and field; Randy Shipley '74, track and field; and Scott Westering '82, football.
The 1998 Hall of Fame induction luncheon starts at 11 am Oct. 9 in Chris Knutzen Hall. Tickets (price TBA) are available at the PLU Athletic Department, 253-535-7352.
The inductees also will be honored prior to the kickoff of the October 10 Homecoming football game against Eastern Oregon University at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup. Kickoff for that game is slated for 1:30 pm A plaque honoring this year's inductees will be installed at the Walk of Fame just north of the PLU swimming pool.
SONYA BRANDT STEWART
(Women's Soccer, 1985-88)
Sonya Brandt Stewart, the most decorated player in PLU women's soccer history, helped lead the PLU program into national prominence in the late 1980s. Brandt Stewart earned NAIA first team All-America honors in each of her four seasons. She was named the most valuable player at the 1988 NAIA tournament in which PLU won the first of its three national championships.
Selected four times as the team's most outstanding offensive player, Brandt Stewart was a 1988 national tournament all-star and the 1988 ISAA National Player of the Year. She earned numerous all-conference, all-district and all-region awards.
Brandt Stewart still holds most of PLU women's soccer offensive records 10 years after finishing her career. Most of her records will likely never be broken. She holds records for goals in a season with 39, goals in a career with 127 and is tied for goals in a game with six. In addition, she holds the single-game assist record with four. On PLU's single-season top 10 lists, Brandt Stewart holds down the top four spots in both goals and points. Brandt Stewart was not only adept at putting the ball in the back of the net, she ranks fourth in career assists and tied for eighth in assists in a season.
This summer found Brandt Stewart still active in soccer: she was invited to play in the Nike World Masters Games in Portland, Ore. She recently moved with her family to Oregon, and after staying home with her daughter for a short period, she plans to return to work in human resources.
VALERIE HILDEN BLUM
(Cross Country, Track and Field, 1985-88)
Valerie Hilden Blum, already a member of the NAIA Hall of Fame, won two NAIA national cross country championships while competing for Pacific Lutheran University. As a freshman, she garnered the 1985 NAIA cross country title, then came back three years later to repeat the feat as a senior.
Her individual championship at the 1988 national meet was the cornerstone behind PLU's drive to the national team crown, the only one in the history of the PLU cross country program. A four-time first team All-American in cross country, Hilden Blum never placed lower than fourth at the NAIA national meet, finishing third in 1987 and fourth in 1986. She has the fastest time ever recorded by a PLU runner at the NAIA national meet (17:34).
Besides her success at the national level, Hilden Blum was a three-time conference cross country champion, winning consecutive titles from 1986 through 1988. She ranks third on the all-time PLU top 20 list for best times in any meet. On the track, Hilden Blum was a five-time All-American, including winning a national title in the 3000-meter run at the 1987 NAIA championship meet. She was the 1986 District I 3,000-meter champion.
Hilden Blum now lives in Oregon and works as a nurse in the Portland area.
In two seasons as a Lute, Scotty Kessler had a major impact on the PLU football program, including playing a key role in PLU's run to the 1980 NAIA Division II national championship. He earned NAIA first team All-America honors in 1980 after receiving second team All-America recognition after his junior campaign.
A co-captain and safety on the 1980 title team, Kessler was named the Defensive Player of the Game in PLU's 38-10 national championship victory over Wilmington College of Ohio. In the championship game alone, Kessler had 12 unassisted tackles, four assisted tackles, four pass deflections, and also set an NAIA playoff game record with four interceptions. In PLU's three playoff games, Kessler accumulated 25 unassisted tackles, nine assisted tackles, six pass deflections and eight interceptions.
In his two-year career, Kessler recorded 196 total tackles, 117 of which were unassisted, 11 pass deflections, 17 interceptions and one fumble recovery. In addition to receiving All-America honors for his participation on the field,
Kessler earned NAIA All-America Scholar-Athlete accord.
He had a tryout with the Denver Broncos of the National Football League, and since has spent much of his time coaching, as well as in ministry with Christian colleges and football coaches.
(Women's Coach and Administrator, 1967-98)
Sara Officer retired in 1998 after three decades at PLU. As one of the first female coaches on staff, she was the catalyst for the university's modern-day women's athletic program, starting and coaching a range of teams: basketball, volleyball, field hockey, track and field, and tennis. In addition to her work on the court and field, Officer shared her craft in the classroom by instructing future generations of physical education teachers.
But she was not all sports and coaching. Service work was a natural for Officer, who had spent time with the Peace Corps in Sri Lanka before coming to PLU. For the past nine years, she led groups of J-Term students in community work with Associated Ministries in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood. In the mornings, students refurbished homes and provided other social services, returning to PLU for classroom study in the afternoons.
Now, although Officer is gone from PLU, she did not leave her service ethic behind. Her plans include volunteering with the Navajo people in Arizona, as well as continuing to work on the Hilltop.
(Men's Track and Field, 1980-83)
Phil Schot earned first team All-America honors three separate years, including the 1983 season when he scored 7,542 points to win the NAIA national decathlon title. That winning point total, 15 years later, remains a PLU school record by more than 300 points. In addition, Schot is still ranked in the PLU career top 10 list in four separate events.
Schot, a three-time district decathlon champion and the district record holder in the event, was also the 1981 district champion in the 200-meter dash. He showed signs of national-level success with a sixth place finish in the decathlon at the 1980 national meet, then was fifth in the event a year later.
Schot is now an associate professor and director of the biomechanics lab in the department of human kinetics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
(Track and Field, 1970-73)
Almost 25 years after finishing his collegiate career, Randy Shipley still holds the PLU men's shot put record with a throw of 58'3½". His conference shot put record of 56'11½", set in 1973, still stands. Also in 1973, Shipley placed second in the national indoor meet and fifth in the outdoor competition and was named the outstanding performer on the PLU track and field team.
Besides earning four letters in track and field, Shipley was an outstanding football player at PLU, earning three letters. As a senior, Shipley was named all-conference, Little All-Northwest and Little All-American honorable mention by Associated Press.
He signed a contract with the Washington Redskins of the National Football League and eventually played two years in the World Football League.
Scott Westering was a co-captain and first team All-American tight end on PLU's 1980 national championship football squad, the first team in school history to win a national title. In an era when PLU football was better known for a bruising ground attack, Westering led the 1980 Lutes in receiving with 49 catches for 615 yards and nine touchdowns. He had a single-game best of eight receptions for 123 yards.
It was as much his crunching blocks on the line, helping open holes for the Lute running backs, as it was his receiving that brought recognition to Westering. He finished his three-year PLU career with 106 receptions for 1,349 yards, an average of 12.7 yards per catch, and 18 touchdowns.
He later had tryouts with the San Francisco 49ers and the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League. Upon his graduation, Westering joined his father, head coach Frosty Westering, on the PLU football coaching staff. He has served as the team's offensive coordinator since 1984.
Want to know the latest on Lute sports? Call the PLU Athletic Hotline at 253-535-PLU1 (7581).
PLU maintains firm grasp on NCIC All-Sports Award
B Y N I C K D A W S O N , S P O R T S E D I T O R
Pacific Lutheran University won the 1997-98 McElroy-Lewis All-Sports Trophy, symbolic of the outstanding athletic program among Northwest Conference of Independent Colleges institutions. PLU has won top honors 12 times in the award's 13-year history. The Lute athletic program scored 304 points in an easy defeat of runner-up Puget Sound, which had 263. Willamette finished third with 255. PLU won the McElroy-Lewis Award each year from 1986 through 1993 before Willamette ended the string in 1994. PLU regained the trophy in 1995 and has won it each year since.
PLU continued a recent dominance in spring sports by winning conference titles in men's (second straight) and women's (second straight) track & field, men's golf (fifth straight), and men's tennis (seventh straight). Other PLU teams winning NCIC team titles were men's cross country and women's basketball, giving PLU six team champions, the most of any school in the conference.
The conference champion in each sport receives 20 points, with the runner-up getting 18 and the third-place squad getting 16. Each succeeding school in descending order gets two fewer points than the previous school.
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PLU conference changes name
B Y N I C K D A W S O N , S P O R T S E D I T O R
The Northwest Conference of Independent Colleges, of which Pacific Lutheran University is a member, became a name dropper on Aug. 1 - the organization is now called simply the Northwest Conference.
PLU Athletic Director Paul Hoseth suggested the revision, and it was approved in a vote of ADs, faculty athletic representatives and university presidents whose schools are Northwest Conference member institutions. The 10 schools in the conference are evenly split between Washington (PLU, University of Puget Sound, Whitworth College, Whitman College and Seattle University) and Oregon (Lewis and Clark College, Pacific University, George Fox University, Linfield College and Willamette University).
The new conference name is actually an old name. For many years, PLU and other schools were part of the Northwest Conference for men's sports and the Washington Conference of Independent Colleges for women's athletics. In the early 1980s, the two separate conferences were brought together under the name, Northwest Conference of Independent Colleges.
And now it's back to Northwest Conference.
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