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Placer Athletic Hall of Fame class announced

Induction ceremony set for April 27
By: Bob Burge, Special to the Journal
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The Placer High School Athletic Hall of Fame has announced its 2019 class of inductees that includes six athletes spanning nine decades of sports competition, an acclaimed coach, a state champion football team and an inspirational team physician.

Early history basketball player Effa Lardner (class of 1910) heads the list of athletes. Lardner was the leading scorer for Placer during the early days of six-player basketball for girls. She led the team to the Sacramento Valley Interscholastic Athletic League championship in 1908 when the girls traveled via train to away games.

Also being inducted is Joey Lopes (class of 1936), a phenomenal track athlete who won the California state half-mile championship in a then-state record time as a senior. He also excelled on the basketball court for Coach Earl Crabbe.

Two-sport superstar Terry Banderas (class of 1958) was a four-year letterman in basketball and baseball who captained both squads while earning All-League honors in each. He went on to have a successful career at Sierra College and Fresno State and played professional baseball for the Cincinnati Reds organization.

Ron Childs (class of 1969) was also a multi-sport star, participating in basketball, baseball, and track. During his high school career, he established school records for the long jump and triple jump and earned a full-ride scholarship to Nebraska, where he set a long jump record for the Cornhuskers.

Larry Prewitt (class of 1972) is being inducted for his exploits on the Hillmen gridiron, court and diamond. He set a single-season passing record as a quarterback, was the leading rebounder as a forward for the 1972 basketball team, and was All-League as a pitcher. Following successful stints at Sierra College and University of the Pacific, he played six years of professional baseball for the New York Mets organization

The most recent graduate being honored is Chris Wallgren (class of 1987). He starred in two sports; basketball and baseball. He was All-Capital Athletic League in both sports and selected to play in the Optimist All-Star game for both sports as well. He was drafted by the Minnesota Twins out of Sacramento City College and enjoyed a professional baseball career.

Being honored as a coach this year is Frank Bonito, a rifle team coach whose squads were six-time state champions from 1950–52 and 1954–56. He also taught Agriculture at Placer for 36 years. During his career, he received many distinguished state and national awards.

The team being honored this year is the powerhouse 1977 football squad coached by Hall of Fame coaches Bill Miller and Tom Johnson. The team finished undefeated at 11-0 and was crowned Division II state champion by Cal-Hi Sports of San Francisco. During the season, they outscored their opponents 297-91.

In the contributor category, Dr. Bill Kirby will be inducted. Kirby has served as team doctor on the sidelines and participated in providing physical exams for athletes for the past 38 years.

Again, this year the Athletic Hall of Fame Committee will be recognizing the top boy and girl athletes from area feeder schools (Bowman, E.V. Cain, Newcastle, Ophir, and St. Joseph’s) as well as a Coach of the Year from the same schools.

A special feature of this year’s ceremony will be the recognition of Placer High School receiving the Sac-Joaquin Section All-Championship trophy, honoring the school for achieving the most championships during the 2017–18 sports year.

The Athletic Hall of Fame ceremony will be held in the Earl Crabbe Gym on April 27. A Meet and Greet reception will begin at 6 pm followed by the induction ceremony at 7 pm. Tickets for the reception cost $25 until April 13, and $35 after, and are available online at the AHOF website, placerathletichalloffame.org or directly at placerathletichof.brownpapertickets.com. Phone orders may be placed by calling 800-838-3006.

The 7 pm ceremony is free of charge to the public.