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North High to recognize 2020, 2021 classes to athletics hall of fame on Saturday

Following a brief hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the North High Athletics Hall of Fame is set to honor its 2020 and 2021 classes at an induction ceremony on Saturday night at Luigi’s Warehouse.

The event is scheduled to start with a reception at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 and the presentation at 7. For information contact Cy Silver at (661) 805-7705 or cysilver123@gmail.com.

The 2020 class includes: Jim Bright, Colby Churchman, Max Evans, Pat Hewes, Don Lemon, Terri McNamara, Mark Mettler, Ron Pritchard, Joe Smart, Elaine Winchester, 1961 baseball team and the 1968 boys swim team. The 2021 Induction class features Bruce Walton.

Here’s a look at some of the accomplishments for this year’s inductees:

1961 North High SYL Champion Baseball Team

In 1961, the Stars won the South Yosemite League championship for the first time in school history, defeating East 5-3 at Sam Lynn Ball Park. Later that week, playing in the semifinals of the Central Section Championship, North lost to Fresno-Roosevelt 4-2 in 14-innings, in one of the most memorable high school games in Kern County history. The team was led by catcher George Mendiburu, also an outstanding football player, the Hall twins Mike and Mark, and future Major League pitcher George Culver.

1968 North High Valley Champion Swim Team

Led by North High Hall of Famers Barry Townsend, head coach Dick Brown and diving coach Aubrey Allen, the 1968 Stars swim team captured the section championship. North beat defending championship Fresno-Bullard by 12 1⁄2 points at Fresno-Hoover for the only section swim championship in school history.

Jim Bright, class of 1957

Was just one of several outstanding alumni from North from the school's opening in 1953. He played basketball and track and was named the Sam Lynn Award winner as the best athlete in the school as a senior in 1957. He later played for the Army basketball team in Germany and they were Division Champions, going undefeated in 1963. He also attended Bakersfield College, Stanford and Cal, where he received a Masters degree in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. In addition he received a PHD in Applied Social Psychology. He worked for 15 years for IBM, then he and his wife Sharon opened a non-profit pre-school for 4-year-old kids and that lasted for 13 years before retiring.

Colby Churchman, class of 1979

Was an outstanding athlete in three sports; football, wrestling and baseball. Was MVP of his frosh-soph, JV and varsity football teams. Won the South Yosemite League wrestling championship twice. He was MVP of both his frosh-soph and JV baseball teams playing for Hall of Fame coach Tony Silver. Then as a junior, played for legendary coach Sam Barton in his final season and made All-SYL. Did not pursue sports in college.

Max Evans, coach/teacher/administrator, 1955-1990

Came to North in 1955 after a brief stint at Kernville High where an athletic field is still named after him. He coached football and basketball in addition to teaching social studies in his 35 year career at North. His 1958-59 Class B Comets basketball team won the South Yosemite League Championship and finished the season 19-1.

Pat Hewes, class of 1983

The third member of the Hewes family to be inducted into the North High Athletics Hall of Fame, Pat Hewes was an outstanding baseball player for coach Tony Silver and the Valley Champion Stars in 1981. He hit .618 as a junior. He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 6th round after one year at Bakersfield College, but decided not to sign. He then attended Houston, where he set a single season home run record of 23 and a career mark of 32. As a junior, he was named as an All-American catcher and was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals, where he spent four years in the minor leagues before injuries derailed his career.

Don Lemon, class of 1957

Entered North when the school first opened in 1953 and was part of the first full graduating class. He was an outstanding baseball player for the Stars, starting on the varsity in the outfield as a freshman and sophomore, but a family illness limited his participation the next two years. He also played football his first two years. He was a 13-year veteran of the California Highway Patrol before an injury shortened his career. He coached Stockdale to their first two Central Section championships in baseball in 2008 and 2009.

Terri McNamara

A two-sport star at North, excelling in volleyball and softball. In volleyball she was named All-SYL, second team as a junior and first-team as a senior, missing only one serve her entire senior year. In softball was selected All-SYL second team as a sophomore and first-team as a senior. The team won the SYL Championship in her senior season, batting .560 with no errors as an outstanding center fielder. Later, playing volleyball at BC, she was second-team all-conference as a freshman and first team as a sophomore and named defensive player of the year.

Mark Mettler, class of 1978

An outstanding three-sport star at North, excelling in football, basketball and baseball. He played for three Hall of Fame coaches, Turk Eliades (football), Lloyd Williams (basketball) and Sam Barton (baseball). As a quarterback and punter, he was a two-year varsity starter, being named all-SYL as a junior and a senior. He still holds the school's single game passing record, completing 21 of 28 passes for 377 yards. He also holds the school record for punting, one which went 87 yards, 67 of which was in the air. He was a member of the 1976 Stars baseball team which won the Central Section Championship. Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a left-handed pitcher as a senior, he chose to attend Long Beach State on a football scholarship instead and played there for two years.

Ron Pritchard

One of the top lineman in the history of North football, Ron was part of the undefeated 1970 Stars team. On that team were several Hall of Famers, including head coach Turk Eliades, coach Jack O'Brien and future NFL standout Randy Rich. He was a three-year varsity starter not only in football but baseball as well, playing for legendary coach Sam Barton. He was named All-City lineman of the year as a senior and was picked to play in the North-South Shrine game at UCLA.

Joe Smart

A three-year varsity performer for the Stars wrestling program, twice placing in the CIF Championships. Made his mark at Bakersfield College, winning the State Wrestling Championship as a freshman in 1969, and twice being named JC All-American. He was ndefeated in Conference both years, with an overall 45-8 record while at BC. Later wrestled at San Francisco State and went undefeated both years in the Far West Conference. Spent several years as a local wrestling coach at both high school and BC. Helped start the Coyote Club which supports local wrestling. Is a member of the California Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Californian Officials Hall of Fame.

Elaine (Winchester) Hartwig, class of 1982

She excelled in sports at Beardsley Jr. High then became one of North's all-time great athletes. Playing volleyball, basketball and softball she was named All-League in all sports several times. In 1982, she led the Lady Stars to the Valley Championship in basketball and a spot in the State playoffs where they lost against a Riverside Polytechnic team led by future USC All-American and Basketball, Women's Basketball and FIBA Hall of Famer Cheryl Miller. Elaine did block one of her shots. She won the Sam Lynn Award as a senior. Went on to Bakersfield College and became a legend there too, setting a single-game scoring record of 38 points while pulling down 19 rebounds and going 10 for 10 from the free throw line. Elaine graduated from San Diego State but did not play sports there.

Bruce Walton, class of 1981

Was a big part of the glory days of baseball for the North program, started by Sam Barton and carried on by Tony Silver. Bruce capped an incredible high school career by leading the Stars to the 1981 Valley Championship, pitching his team past Hanford 10-1. As a result he was named All-Valley in addition to All-SYL honors. He also started on both the football and basketball varsity teams. After graduation from North he was drafted in the 10th round by the St. Louis Cardinals but elected to take a scholarship and play for the University of Hawaii. After his junior year at Hawaii he was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 16th round and signed. He made his MLB debut on May 11, 1991. After his retirement in 1994 he received a job in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. He served as the team’s bullpen coach from 2002-2009 and then was promoted to the team's pitching coach from 2009-2012. He now works for the Miami Marlins organization as a pitching coach for the High-A Beloit Snappers.