CLINTON - It was a memorable night at Clinton High School Saturday as the 2019 Athletics Hall of Fame class was officially inducted and honored.
The evening, hosted by emcee Gary Determan, honored five individuals and two sets of teams.
“I had the honor seven years ago to be asked to be a part of the committee," Determan said. "And it is incredible. Every year we think how can we leave this person out.
“There have been so many great athletes to have come through these halls of Clinton High.”
Steve Kuehl (track and field), JD Lueders (wrestling, baseball and coach), Tracy (McKinney) Miley (volleyball), Angi (Pillers) Boone (diving and track), Kelsey Crites (Basketball), the 1958-60 golf teams and the 1969-70 track and field teams all were a part of the 2019 class.
Inductee JD Lueders stated what many reiterated throughout the night.
“The first thing I thought was I don’t belong on that wall with the people who are up there [on the hall of fame wall]," Lueders said. "Then I thought, that’s pretty cool to be a part of.”
Athletes came up and told stories form their times as River Kings and Queens, thanking their teammates and their coaches that helped them along the way.
“There wasn’t a coach here that didn’t teach me something," Tracy McKinney Miley said.
And everyone got emotional when they thanked their family, often bringing tears to the faces of some of Clinton's best athletes.
The athletes had an abundance of experience. Steve Kuehl was a finalist in Olympic tryouts. JD Lueders played two sports at the DI level and came back to continue a family legacy. Angi Pillers Boone made a career at the University of Arkansas. And still, all the athletes came back to what they gained from the community they first started their careers in.
“The community of Clinton is amazing," Angi Pillers Boone said. "Clinton High has a way of making you feel comfortable and supported in every way.”
"I lived in southern California twice as long as I lived in Clinton," Steve Kuehl said. "And I am still proud to be a River King."
Watch the Clinton Herald throughout the week for stories on each of the inductees from the 2019 class.