Bellevue West introduces Athletic Hall of Fame

Nick Wilkinson, Reporter

The Bellevue West-Westside basketball game on Friday Jan. 27 was delayed twenty minutes for the induction of three former standout athletes into the inaugural Bellevue West Athletic Hall of Fame.

Mark Traynowicz Class of 1980, Erick Strickland Class of 1992 and Angee Henry Class of 1993 were the first three individuals to be inducted.

Prospects become eligible eight years after graduation for induction into the Hall of Fame.

“The committee got together and made a list of people, we decided on the [3] individuals for this year, decided that we would induct three next year and one or two after that,” Bellevue West Athletic Director Kevin Broderick said.

These three individuals were chosen to be the first three inducted because of their outstanding performances at Bellevue West.

“It’s truly a blessing that someone like me, from a small town, could be given these gifts and the opportunities God gave to me,” Strickland said.

Strickland spent most of his night speaking to Creighton stand-out basketball player, Antoine Young, who graduated from Bellevue West in 2007. Strickland told Young that if he kept up to the hard work he would be sitting right there next to him in the Hall of Fame.

The three athletes had professional careers in athletics for more than five years each.

“After 32 years all my hard work is still paying off for what I have achieved. It’s a great feeling of accomplishment,” Traynowicz said.

Traynowicz resides in Lincoln with his wife and works as the Head Bridge Engineer for the State. Traynowicz was one of the first Bellevue West athletes to play for the Thunderbirds as well as the first Thunderbird to earn All-State honors and earn a scholarship.

“Jerry Van Waart was the [football] Head Coach. Gary Sheet, though, was the one that made me tough. He made me believe in myself and that I could achieve whatever,” Traynowicz said.

Traynowicz and former track star Angee Henry praised their high school head coaches for what they did for them and their careers.

“Ken Cardell was my track coach and Matt Musiel was the cross country coach. I wasn’t spectacular in cross country but it really prepared me for the track season in the spring,” Henry said.

Henry came to West hoping that the track team was a very competitive organization.

“I was a military kid. The school I went to before [Bellevue West] didn’t take track very seriously. Ken showed me what I could truly do and trained me to my fullest abilities,” Henry said.

All three athletes were proud of their former high school for establishing their own Hall of Fame. The Bellevue West Athletic Hall of Fame was established to honor their own athletes.

“Bellevue West establishing their own Hall of Fame is just sowing a new seed for the traditions to come for this school,” Strickland said.