Five individuals have been selected for induction into the Kansas State High School Activities Hall of Fame Class of 2018. Awards will be presented during 2018 in conjunction with a KSHSAA-sponsored State function/championship, or locally at the inductee’s request. The time and location of each induction ceremony will be announced at a later date at www.kshsaa.org.
The Class of 2018 Hall of Fame inductees include:
ROGER BARTA, MANHATTAN – FACULTY
Coach Roger Barta and football are synonymous with success and incredible records. During his 32-year coaching career at Smith Center High School, he amassed an overall record of 323-68, a winning percentage of .826 and won eight state football championships. He ran his football program like a well-oiled machine and utilized the infamous Redman “wishbone offense” because he believed “there are three things that can happen when you pass the ball and two of them are bad.” Barta coached seven seasons without a loss and still holds the Kansas high school record with 79 consecutive wins, a streak that is fourth longest in the nation. Barta and the team were featured in a bestselling book “Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen.” Coach Barta’s philosophy was fairly simple: “Respect each other, then learn to love each other and together we are champions.”
TAD FELTS, PHILLIPSBURG – CONTRIBUTOR
For over 50 years, Tad Felts was the voice of Northwest Kansas. Whether providing play-by-play for area sporting events, covering news stories or acting as the master of ceremonies at various community events, etc., his distinct voice, ready laugh and positive outlook were easily recognized. It didn’t matter what the activity was – if there was a game being played in the area, Tad was doing the play-by-play. His broadcasts were characterized by fairness, objectivity, humor and enthusiasm. Regardless of the activity he covered, he provided the connection for those unable to attend in person. His popular Saturday morning “Sports Talk” program highlighted coaches and athletes in the KKAN/KQMA listening area. His favorite annual activity was coverage of the KSHSAA State Track & Field Meet or what he called “the most impressive high school event in the nation.”
TONYA (JOPP) GAONA, WICHITA – STUDENT (Cheney HS, 1987-1991)
The Cheney High School track and field program has had plenty of success and stars over the decades, but any conversation begins and ends with the legacy of Tonya Jopp. Not starting track until her freshman year, in the following three seasons she earned 11 state medals (nine gold and two silver) including five state records along the way – 100m, 200m, 400m, 4x400m and the Triple Jump. She set the 3A state record in the 400m as a junior and won four gold medals that year – the first girl in Class 3A to accomplish such a feat. Going into the state meet her senior year she had won 96 consecutive races. Tonya helped the Cheney girls (attired in their trademark red and blue vertical striped tops) capture two state titles and one runner-up trophy. She was also a gifted volleyball and basketball player, contributing to the KSHSAA 3A state basketball title her senior year.
JAMES HEGGIE, HOUSTON, TX – STUDENT (Sumner HS, 1964-1968)
From 1964 to 1968, James Heggie was one of the most talked about and popular “all around students” and high school athletes in Kansas City as he excelled in every endeavor he pursued. He graduated from Sumner High School in 1968 in the top 10 percent of his class and was an active student leader in athletics and activities. Heggie was the president of the marching and concert bands (first chair clarinet) and lettered in football and track. As a track participant, he was a three-time champion (indoor mile relay, 880-yd. relay and 440-yd. relay), setting school and state records. In football he was the co-captain and played quarterback, receiver, kicker and defensive back. Recognized as a “trailblazer,” Heggie was a “walk-on” in track at Kansas State University, where he became a two-time All-American and the first African American four-year track and field letter winner.
TRISA NICKOLEY, TECUMSEH – STUDENT (Shawnee Heights HS, 2000-2004)
In her four year high school cross country and track career, Trisa Nickoley captured an incredible 17 gold medals. Competing for Class 5A Shawnee Heights High School, she won the girls cross country title all four years. In track, she took home gold in three individual events all four years – 400m (56.10), 800m (2:06.67), 1600m (5:04.71). Her seventh gold was in the 4x400m Relay. What makes this feat even more amazing is that the events all took place on the same day. She earned Track & Field News All-American recognition two years and was named the Gatorade Track & Field Athlete of the Year three times. At the University of Missouri, Trisa was a 14-time Big 12 honoree, four-time Big 12 champion, Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Academic All Big 12 First Team and NCAA All-American in the 800m. In 2008 she competed in the Olympic Trials.
The Hall of Fame is housed in the Kansas State High School Activities Association offices, 601 SW Commerce Place in Topeka and is open Monday-Friday during business hours.
The honorees were chosen from nominations reviewed by a selection committee. To be eligible for the Hall of Fame, an individual must have made an unusually outstanding contribution in interscholastic activities, either as a student with exceptional talent, or as an adult working with youth (such as an activity coach, director or sponsor, an administrator, an official or a contributor). Hall of Fame inductees may no longer be active in the field for which they are nominated (exception: contributor with over 30 years of outstanding service).
Each year schools and communities throughout Kansas submit many nominations of individuals who have made tremendous contributions in the field of interscholastic activities. Hall of Fame information is available on the KSHSAA website at www.kshsaa.org. Nomination forms are available by contacting the KSHSAA. Any nominations to be considered for induction in 2019 must be submitted prior to November 1, 2018.