The Rockford Public Schools welcomed a new Hall of Fame class at its annual Champions Ball, celebrating RPS 205's athletic history and honoring various sports at a ceremony celebrating the newest inductees.
Leonard Bell, a football, track and wrestling star, is the first Jefferson athlete inducted into the RPS 205 Hall of Fame. After a stellar college career at Indiana, Bell was taken in the third round of the NFL draft in 1987. He is the highest RPS 205 player ever been drafted.
Carrie Zarse Velazquez is the first Auburn athlete ever inducted. She became the school’s first ever state champion when she won the IHSA diving title in 1988 as a freshman. She went on to add a second place finish and two more state titles as a sophomore, junior and senior. She continued her diving career at the University of Michigan where she won one Big 10 championship.
Hal Carlson is being inducted posthumously. Carlson was a Rockford High School graduate who pitched in the major leagues from 1917 until his sudden death in 1930.
Roger Lindeman is inducted for his 29-year career coaching golf at Guilford High School. During his time, Guilford won 18 conference titles and four state titles.
Diane Peterson was the first woman to act as athletic director, running Jefferson’s athletics from 1994 to 2004, while also acting as the district’s overall athletic director from 2001 to 2004.
Guilford’s 1992-1993 basketball team is being inducted. The squad led by Ben Holmstrom, Johnny Rucker and Tony Fletcher became the first and still only NIC-10 boys basketball team to make an IHSA state final game since 1956.