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  • Sweet Sixteen

    Gutches, Rumrey, Kensinger, Lewis headline Medford Sports Hall of Fame class
  • The Medford Sports Hall of Fame will welcome in a large and diverse class this year.
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  • The Medford Sports Hall of Fame will welcome in a large and diverse class this year.
    To wit, the list of inductees — which numbers 16 — includes an Olympic wrestler, a state champion high school football coach, the winningest Medford Mustangs manager in history and a former major league pitcher.
    Wrestler Les Gutches, football coach Rod Rumrey, baseball coach Sandee Kensinger and baseball pitcher Scott Lewis were selected for enshrinement, the Hall of Fame committee announced Tuesday.
    The ceremony will be Oct. 20 at Rogue Valley Country Club. It will mark the fourth induction and the first since 10 went in 2007. The total number of members will climb to 146.
    The Hall was created in 1985 by the City of Medford as part of its centennial celebration. One hundred members were chosen then and another 20 in 1990.
    The categories for induction are athlete, coach and special contributor. This year's class is made up of eight athletes, four coaches and four contributors.
    Other athletes selected are Eric Fiegi (basketball), Shelley Preston Freeman (swimming), Trina Rasmussen-Jones (racquetball-golf), Angie Leroy Miller (softball), Tim Sutton (track and field) and Mike Vanderhoff (basketball).
    Other coaches chosen are Duke Anderson and Dave Potter.
    Other contributors are Jerry Eklund, Bruce Howell, Tom Perdue and Don Schneider.
    Dick Entinger, a member of the Hall committee, said there were no restrictions on the number of inductees.
    The Hall committee organized the nomination process, then turned it over to a selection committee.
    "We just felt if people merited to be in, they merited to be in," said Entinger. "As far as we're concerned, we feel the selection committee did a great job. They did the job they were charged to do. I think it's a strong class."
    Gutches was a three-time wrestling state champion for South Medford High and was the first athlete to win USA Wrestling national titles in all five existing age group levels — cadet, junior, espoir, university and senior.
    He won two NCAA titles at Oregon State and placed seventh at 180.5 pounds in the 1996 Summer Olympics at Atlanta.
    His international career was highlighted by taking gold in the Freestyle World Championships in 1997.
    Gutches is now the director of program development for USA Wrestling.
    Rumrey coached North Medford to the state championship in 1993, and the Black Tornado was runner-up under him in 2000. He also coached Sweet Home to a state crown in 1987 and was runner-up there in '86.
    Rumrey produced a 218-105 record in 35 seasons as a head coach, including a 94-62 mark at North Medford.
    Kensinger retired as the Mustangs' winningest skipper — and just three games shy of managing his 1,000th game — before the 2011 season.
    He began coaching the Mustangs in 1990, took a couple years off in the middle of his tenure and completed his 19-year career with a record of 758-239 and a winning percentage of .760. The team played in the American Legion World Series three times (1992, '97 and '09) under him, placing as high as second in '97 and '09.
    Kensinger guided the Mustangs to seven of the team's 11 state titles.
    Lewis pitched professionally from 1988-98, including five peak years with the then-California Angels. He appeared in 74 games and started 19 for them, posting a career record of 9-9, including 4-0 in 1992.
    After starring at UNLV, he was one of the top pitchers in the Pacific Coast League for Edmonton, where he was MVP, and in his big-league debut, two-hit the Texas Rangers, 8-2.
    Athletes and coaches up for nomination must be at least 25 years old and have excelled at state, regional, national or international levels.
    Special contributors can be those who worked in areas such as officiating, reporting, organizing, promoting or supporting.
    The Hall is permanently displayed at Jackson Creek Pizza, 317 E. Main St. There is also a mobile version that can be put up at various events or businesses for short periods.
    The Hall website is www.mailtribune.com/hall.
    Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email ttrower@mailtribune.com
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