Superior Hall of Fame banquet is SaturdayRockwood, Susens, Heikkila, Kadrmas, Burger-Letourneau and state championship football team are the 2012 inductees
By: Ken Olson, Superior Telegram
The 2012 Superior Athletic and Academic Hall of Fame is Saturday at Superior Middle School. This year’s inductees include two track stars, a state championship football team, Wisconsin’s winningest high school hockey coach, a local pioneer for Special Olympics and an accomplished violinist.
Tickets cost $40 and can be purchased through today SHS, the School District of Superior board office, the Chamber of Commerce or from any hall of fame committee member or SHS coach or advisor.
All money raised helps support SHS athletic and academic teams. Doors open at 5 p.m., dinner follows at 6 p.m. and induction ceremony is at 7 p.m. Dinner this year is catered by Grizzly’s.
Following is the Class of 2012:
Athletic Hall of Fame
Individual Athletic Accomplishment
A two time state champion, while competing in the Wisconsin State Private and Parochial track meet in Milwaukee, Rick Rockwood of Superior Cathedral High School, took both the 120-yard high hurdle and 180-yard low hurdle titles.
Co-captain of the 1969 Cathedral track team, which blasted four school records by defeating two Michigan-Wisconsin schools in a triangular meet in Ironwood, Mich., to win the conference championship, Rockwood set the conference record in the high hurdles and was runner-up in the low hurdles. Rockwood was also a member of the University of Wisconsin-Superior track team from 1970-72.
Rockwood was named 1978 Superior Citizen of the Year, for his part in raising funds for Special Olympics and local athletic programs. He is a three-time recipient of the Superior Jaycee of the Year Award, a 1982 Wisconsin Jaycee Statesman, and 1983 Wisconsin Jaycees Outstanding Young Wisconsinite.
Rockwood coached four years in the Salvation Army Rookie Basketball League and four years in the Superior Basketball Association. He was a member of the Board of Directors for the Salvation Army Rookie Basketball League and two-term president of the Superior Basketball Association. He raised funds for Superior High School student activities including athletic teams and weight room equipment, and was president/co-founder of the SHS Recreational Basketball League, also known as Friday Night Hoops.
In 2009, following a cardiac arrest, Rockwood established the Heartsafe Northland program in conjunction with the Red Cross. This was his “gift it forward” mission, with which Heartsafe Northland and Rockwood plan to distribute 200 Automated External Defibrillators (AED’s) and certify 2,000 people in and around the Twin Ports within the next three to five years. This program has already saved many lives that may have otherwise been lost.
Superior High School track team captain, Tim Heikkila, represented Superior and Wisconsin for three years as Wisconsin Jaycees High School State High Jump Champion, setting the state record as 1967 high school jump champion.
He held the University of Minnesota freshman high jump record in 1968 and was Big Ten high jump champion in 1969, with the first 7-foot- jump in Big Ten tournament history. He was awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Athletics Award in 1969, and NCAA All-American honors in 1971.
Captain of the Minnesota track team, Heikkila was named to the USA Track & Field Team for placing third in USA AAU National Meet in 1971. He represented the USA in international competition and ranked in the top 10 for high jumps in 1969, 1970 and 1974. He ranked seventh in the World for high jump in 1971, won the Minnesota Masters Championship and the National Masters in 1990. Heikkila won the Florida State Senior Games High Jump title for 60-65 age group in 2010.
A sales manager for the State of Florida Department of the Lottery for 18 years, and a district sales manager for Clairol Co. for 13 years, Heikkila was inducted into the Minnesota Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2000 and the University of Minnesota Hall of Fame in 2008.
“I had the great fortune to be born in Superior, a city that gave its youth all the tools needed to develop and nurture their dreams,” Heikkila said. “When I talk about my early track years, I get a great kick out of telling people about the great track teams we had with a school that didn’t even have a track.”
Coaching Achievement Award
Peter “Pete” Susens
Graduating from SSHS in 1971, Peter “Pete” Susens had a sports background playing hockey in Billings Park as a squirt, peewee and bantam and baseball (Douglas County, Little League, Babe Ruth, SSHS, Legion and four years at UWS). He played JV hockey at SSHS and became team manager, a position he credits with sparking his interest and his “passion” for coaching.
During his junior year at UWS, Susens’ coaching career began as assistant for the Superior traveling squirt team. He moved to the peewee traveling team, which won the state title in 1974, and advanced to the national tournament. In 1976, Susens attained his bachelor’s degree in accounting and business education and began his teaching career.
He began coaching at the high school level Wauzeka, Wis., where he served as freshman basketball coach and started the girls softball program. Moving to Wausau in 1977, Susens has taught business education at West High School, coaches hockey and baseball, becoming head hockey coach in 1978.
His hockey coaching accomplishments include a 500-plus win career, 10 conference championships, 12 state tournament appearances, state runner-up in 1999, 2010 and 2012 and a state championship (2011). Susens enjoyed other volunteer roles with his family and kids, coaching soccer and softball as well.
“As a coach and teacher I look to bring out the best in each individual player and team,” Susens said. “I also try to remember that the things we coach are games and there should be a combination of fun and work to make it great.
“Coaching has become a second full-time job which is only possible with the outstanding support of my family, especially my wife Kim. Her assistance and support has allowed me to continue with my coaching career.”
Susens also played fastpitch softball for more than 20 years. He played on state championship teams in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and played in numerous national and world tournaments. He retired from competitive play in 1994 as a member of the world champion Green Bay-All Car Team.
Team Accomplishment Award
1990 SSHS Football Team
The SSHS Spartan football team, coached by Tom Mestelle, won the 1990 WIAA Division 1 state football championship. On their way to the school’s first and only football state championship, the Spartans recorded a 12-win season and defeated four conference champions during the state playoffs.
Superior was also ranked No. 1 among large schools by the Duluth News Tribune.
Amid a huge crowd of Superior fans, the Spartans defeated Kenosha Tremper 29-7 in the championship game a cold and frost laden field at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.
Kadrmas passed away in 2005. He was a teacher in the Superior school district for 31 years in special education and earned the teacher of the year award in 1982. Kadrmas was co-founder of the Douglas County Special Olympics and the Douglas County Special Olympics meatball dinner.
He was a member of the advisory board of the Douglas County Special Olympics and served as a Special Olympics coach were he won numerous awards from the national and state level Special Olympics. Kadrmas was also a past member and past president of the Superior Jaycees and received the Jaycees award for special contributions, U.S. Jaycees Ambassador Award.
Lifetime Achievement Award
De Ann Burger/Letourneau
Burger/Letourneau is an accomplished violinist and has been the Concertmaster, Las Vegas Philharmonic, since 1999. She was also the Concertmaster for the Nevada Chamber Symphony and the St. Martin Chamber Symphony. From 1984-87 she was a member of the Duluth-Superior Symphony and while only 15 years old, the youngest member to date to join the DSSC.
The 1986 SSHS graduate is currently a solo violinist, a private violin/viola teacher/coach, artist in Residence/Master Classes at summer Music Festivals and Universities. She is also a Concertmaster, Musician and did recordings for many major recording artist, TV awards and honor shows such as the Jerry Lewis Telethon, Billboard Awards, Country Music Awards, Latin Grammy Awards, Pre-Grammy & Academy nomination shows in Vegas as well as PBS and other music special.