Mequon — Recently-retired Homestead Principal Mark Roherty, a quiet but ubiquitous presence at a vast number of sporting events over his 21 years of service to the school, headed up the fourth annual class of the Highlander Athletic Hall of Fame.
"Day in and day out, he was just at every event he could get at," said Homestead football and girls softball coach Dave Keel. "What a great mentor."
Roherty headed up a class that included 1960s state track champion Dan Snider, 1970s distance running star Diane Held, former state swim record holder and current Homestead swim coach Mark Gwidt, 1980s softball and multi-sport star Julie St. Onge-Bartz and long time multi-sport coach Jim Schara.
The class was inducted in ceremonies on Saturday.
A fair mind, competitive spirit
Roherty, the winner of the hall's distinguished service honor, was highly thought of by many people for his fostering of a fair-minded and competitive athletic spirit at the school. Boys track coach Dan Benson couldn't say enough about Roherty last spring after the Highlander thinclads won their state title in 46 years.
"I can't tell you how many ways he made my life easier," said Benson at the time. "Just all the support and the visibility he gave to the coaches and the students."
Benson was also pleased to see Snider be inducted. It was Snider, a four-time state hurdles champion, who led Homestead to their previous state track team titles back in 1963 and 1964.
"What he did to the high hurdles record in 1964 was just amazing," Benson said. "It was 15 (seconds) flat and he took it all the way down to 14.2 and he was only 5-9 and 150 pounds."
Gwidt was inducted as an athlete, as he was a seven-time conference champion, six-time sectional winner and qualified for the state swim meet nine times, including a record performance in the 200 individual medley in the 1987 state meet.
But he could also have been just as easily brought in as a coach as he has led the Homestead boys and girls swim programs to many North Shore Conference titles this past decade.
Running for distance
Held was a dominant distance runner who twice won the Braveland Conference cross country title. She was sixth in the state meet in 1976 and was a state top 10 finisher her senior year. She set school records in the 880, mile and two-mile her freshman year and just kept moving on, eventually winning the conference mile and two-mile track crowns three times.
St. Onge-Bartz was a favorite of Keel's as she led the Highlander softball team to its first state runner-up finish in 1988. She was a nine-time letter-winner in volleyball, basketball and softball.
And Keel said that Schara is one of the unsung heroes at Homestead. In a teaching and coaching career that spanned from 1970-2007, he coached more than 50 seasons of track, gymnastics and football. He came out of retirement this fall to volunteer for the football team.
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