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Hall of Honor Inductees for 2018

12 new inductees are in the Hall of Honor for the Pac-12

NCAA Basketball: UCLA at Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Pac-12 Conference had their conference tournament going on the last few days. There were many things happening during this four day tournament. However, one piece of tournament weekend that might get lost in the mix is the Hall of Honor Induction Ceremony.

The Hall of Honor inducts 12 different athletes across all of its sports.

This year the conference inducted the following individuals: Michael Wright (Arizona), Linda Vollsstedt (Arizona State), Matt Biondi (California), Bill Toomey (Colorado), Andrew Wheating (Oregon), Carol Menken-Schaudt (Oregon State), Kerri Walsh-Jennings (Stanford)), Rafer Johnson (UCLA), Cheryl Miller (USC), Missy Marlowe (Utah), Sonny Sixkiller (Washington), and Laura Lavine (Washington State).

Having the opportunity to sit and talk with some of these great athletes was a phenomenal opportunity. I didn’t get a chance to talk to everybody due to time constraints with conference scheduling.

The headliner with the this group was Cheryl Miller, former USC Trojan All-American in women’s basketball. She was sitting with former women’s basketball standout from Oregon State, Carol Menken-Schaudt. These two women were having a good time. Miller and Menken-Schaudt could be heard laughing across the third story patio at Sake Rok. Sake Rok is a great sushi restaurant in Las Vegas.

When you go and talk with two former college greats about the basketball, it can be a little unnerving.

Question: What does this Hall of Honor induction mean to both of you?

“This is a pretty big honor simply because this is the first year it’s been opened up outside of men’s basketball. To be included in this first class is really a major honor.” Menken-Schaudt explained.

“It has a lot of meaning for me. I grew up on the West Coast, Pac-10 (at that time) country, so to be honored by the conference in this way means a lot.” Cheryl Miller said.

Asking a question with these ladies was an adventure. I would ask the question and for some reason the answer would be about anything, but the question. However, sometimes that is a good thing. It lets you see the true personality of these great athletes.

I asked the two about growing up and playing in two different types of locations. Carol Menken-Schaudt grew up in the Willamette Valley near the campus of Oregon State.

“It’s such a tight knit community in Corvallis. Corvallis is a place that if you want to go to school and play sports and not be really bothered by people it’s great.” Menken-Schaudt said.

Cheryl Miller grew up in Riverside, California. She didn’t think Riverside was that big of a city, but when I told her to compare it to Corvallis, she went, “well, yeah, ok, I understand that.”

“We considered ourselves the modern day Mayberry’s. What you see is what you get. It wasn’t like moving to Los Angeles and going to USC. That is a big city. It was the right fit for our family. It only took one phone call from a neighbor to get you into trouble.” Miller said.

“I could see where that would be a problem for you.” Menken-Schaudt quipped.

“Oh, you see what I have to put up with?” Miller said right back at her friend.

These two ladies could have sat on that third story patio talking for hours, maybe even days. The connection between these two was undeniable.

Next, came former Oregon Duck track and field star, Andrew Wheating. When I was introducing myself to him, I told him that I am a Beaver alumni. He got up and said “I have another place to be.” I told him it’s called the Civil War for a reason. We shared a good laugh.

Wheating competed for the United States at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics.

Question: Oregon is widely known as Track Town. For you what is the best thing about being at Oregon?

“It’s the community for sure. They know their track. The fans know what they are watching. The fans know what to look for in terms of times, records, etc. Duck fans know track. Period.” Wheating said.

He kept talking about the Eugene community as well.

“I could have a bad race and I would be out running and people would tell me, ‘great race, keep your head up!’ It is a close, tight knit community.” Wheating explained.

I have family and friends that live in Eugene and that went to school there. I can vouch for close knit town feel. Wheating came from Vermont. He said there was no difference between the two states for him.

“Both have that hippy feel to them, so when I chose to go to Oregon it was more a feeling like I was at home. That attraction got me to Oregon.” Wheating said.

Question: What got you into track?

“I did everything, but track when I was young. I played soccer, basketball, and even I tried hockey. Cross Country was at the bottom of the list for me. I tried out for the varsity soccer team and I had to do a timed mile as part of our training. They said six minutes was varsity level. I took that as a challenge. I did it in five minutes and lapped everybody else doing the mile. At that point, the coach said, and I’ll never forget this. The coach said ‘we could be sitting on Olympic stuff here.’” Wheating explained.

He continued by saying that since he went to a small school of about 300 students that word spread pretty quick about his fast mile time. Teachers were telling him to go out for the Cross Country team.

“The teachers were telling me to look up this guy called Prefontaine. I looked him up and said ‘I want to do that.’ He made running look cool. I want to be better than that guy! If he made it look cool, I want to make it look great! He brought swag to the sport.” Wheating said.

When the conversation turned to the honor about getting into the Hall of Honor for the Pac-12, Wheating couldn’t believe he was being honored.

“I am absolutely flabbergasted about getting in. I didn’t really know about the Hall of Honor. I look around at the other people who got in and I see Olympic Medals, National Championships, and many other accomplishments, I don’t feel worthy.” Wheating mentioned.

Andrew Wheating, you are certainly worthy of this honor.

When you have this much talent in the same room it’s hard not to walk away in awe. I certainly had that “wow” feeling. I wish there was enough time to sit with each one of these great athletes. The stories that I have heard the last two years covering this event are phenomenal.

Great things happen for great people and this 2018 Hall of Honor class exemplifies that greatness.