TriCounty The Illinois High School Association began conducting a girls swimming and diving state series in 1976. It wasn't until 2009 that an entry from the Tri-County Area won a championship.
Peoria Notre Dame junior Becky Stoughton engineered the breakthrough, winning the 200-yard freestyle in I minute, 50.01 seconds after placing 11th in the 200 free as a freshman and 10th as a sophomore.
Six events later, the Peoria Area Water Wizards product added the 500 free title. Stoughton finished in 4:52.40 after qualifying the day before in a career-best 4:48.18.
Senior Olivia Scott of team champion Rosary in Aurora was the only other swimmer in the 2009 state finals to win two individual events.
The Illinois High School Association began conducting a girls swimming and diving state series in 1976. It wasn't until 2009 that an entry from the Tri-County Area won a championship.
Hockey was a sport local fans could watch only if they went to Chicago or St. Louis until BardezBanian founded the Peoria Stars in 1959.
The two were with the Pekin Stars until 1970, when they formed the Peoria Blades, on the outdoor rink at Logan, in 1971. The Logan "bubble" went up the next year and the Blades, through membership in the Continental League, gave Peoria a solid taste of hockey.
BardezBanian played with the Blades for a few years, then became president while Olson always served as the team's general manager.
And the two gave hockey a boost whenever they could. BardezBanian coached the Bradley University club team for many years and both were instrumental in starting and maintaining youth hockey in Pekin and Peoria.
Both are now retired, Olson from Caterpillar's Mossville plant and BardezBanian from a management position with the City of Peoria.