Two former athletes and a state championship team will be inducted into the Montesano Athletic Hall of Fame later this month.
Former Bulldog football star Adam Bighill, basketball standout Joely Eilers and the 1998 Monte softball team will be inducted in ceremonies scheduled for March 24 at the high school commons.
Ex-Montesano teacher Rick Bergholz and distinguished alumni Allan Mustard and Dr. Louise Baxter will also be honored.
The doors will open at 4:30 p.m., with dinner and ceremonies scheduled for 6 p.m. The dinner will include a choice of prime rib, chicken or vegetarian entrees.
Tickets, priced at $25 per person, may be obtained by phoning the Montesano High School athletic office at (360) 249-1665 or 249-1666.
Capsule profiles of the inductees:
ADAM BIGHILL (Class of 2007)
Generally regarded as one of the greatest football players in school history, Bighill excelled at the high school, college and professional levels.
A running back and linebacker, he twice received all-state recognition at both positions. As a senior, he also received the state’s Class 1A Defensive Player of the Year award.
Bighill was also a standout in soccer — earning all-state recognition as both a forward and defender during his career — and lettered in basketball at Montesano.
After receiving all-league honors as a football linebacker at Central Washington University, Bighill joined the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League in 2011. In six years with the Lions, he was perennially among the league leaders in tackles and was an all-CFL linebacker on multiple occasions.
Bighill was signed by the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League last year, seeing action in a few games but spending most of the season on the practice squad.
JOELY EILERS (Class of 1987)
Although she also competed in volleyball and slowpitch softball (fast pitch had yet to be introduced at the high school level), Eilers was best known for her prowess in girls basketball at Montesano
A two-time all-Far West League performer, she established several school records and cracked the 1,000-point mark in career scoring.
She was a key member of the first Bulldog basketball team to qualify for state.
Following her graduation from Montesano, Eilers concentrated mostly on softball in college. She played on two national championship teams at Central Arizona College, earning numerous individual awards, and later played for the University of Oregon.
She currently lives in Olympia, where she works for Amazon in the robotics and quality control department.
1998 SOFTBALL TEAM
The 1998 Bulldogs won the first of the school’s nine state championships under coach Pat Pace.
As was the case with several of their successors, the Bulldogs did not enter state as district champions. They were third in both the district 2A tournament and a subsequent combined 2A-1A/B district event.
In a rain-delayed state 2A-1A-B state tourney at Selah, however, Montesano avenged a pair of losses to district rivals Toledo and Kalama. Tasha Shelton’s two-run homer backed Amy Spoon’s two-hit pitching in a 3-1 semifinal win over Toledo.
Spoon and Lynsey Ridout combined on a seven-hitter and Ridout and Shelton each drove in runs in a 3-2 title-game conquest of Kalama.
Rick Bergholz spent 31 years as a science teacher in the Montesano School District, instructing courses in biology, ecology, forestry and environmental science among others.
Allan Mustard (Class of 1973) is the United State ambassador to Turkmenistan and has had a long career in international service. He was his class salutatorian at Montesano.
The senior class president who also lettered in track, basketball and tennis at Montesano, Dr. Louise Baxter (Class of 1977) has served as a neonatologist (intensive care for critically ill newborns) for the Portland-based Northwest Newborn Specialists since 1995. She has also been a medical director for both the Children’s Critical Care Transport Team and the ECMO (heart-lung bypass) program.