NeveHarms As a member of the first four-year class at Limestone High, Larry Stranz was eager to help get a positive athletic tradition started for the Bartonville school. All he lacked was talent.
"It took me very little time to find out I was just terrible in everything," said Stranz.
So Stranz chose to contribute in many other ways. That is why he was chosen to be the 40th recipient of the Neve Harms Meritorious Service to Sports Award.
Stranz figures he set the Greater Peoria record for "playing the last few seconds in (Rockets) games.. .and as a result I've always had a soft spot in my heart for athletes who sit on the bench."
As generations of Limestone athletes - stars and deep reserves alike - should have a soft spot in their competitive hearts for Stranz.
"I'd rather not think about what our athletic programs would be like without Larry around," said Larry Hodge, athletic director at the Mid-Illini Conference School. "He's been involved in about every sport you can imagine. You can always count on him. He's always there when we need him."
Stranz has always been there as a scorer, clockkeeper, statistician, volunteer coach, organizer, fundraiser, promoter and in many other sports-related capacities throughout the Limestone school system.
He's also humble - and admits to an ongoing struggle in the search for at least one sport in which he has a chance to become proficient.
"I can't golf, can't bowl, darts... I really can't do anything well," said Stranz, 60, an electrician by trade who is facility manager at the Peoria County Courthouse. His behind-the-scenes contributions have also benefited Illinois Central College.
"I'm proud of this award and very grateful," said Stranz, "but please mention there are people who have done the same things at every school, hundreds of them."
Consider it mentioned.
Through the years, the Stranz family - wife Pat, children Chris and Deana - has shared in Dad's tireless athletic activities. That makes it an even better story. Even if he has trouble throwing a Frisbee.
As a member of the first four-year class at Limestone High, Larry Stranz was eager to help get a positive athletic tradition started for the Bartonville school. All he lacked was talent.
Waddell has played a prominent role in the advancement of women’s athletics as an athlete, coach and administrator. A 1978 inductee into the Illinois State University Athletics Hall of Fame, Waddell earned 16 varsity letters at ISU, playing basketball, field hockey, softball and volleyball for the Redbirds. After graduation, Waddell continued to compete by playing women’s major fast pitch softball for the Pekin Lettes from 1958-63. She also was a member of the Central Illinois Field Hockey Association and the Midwest Field Hockey Team, earning selection to the second EAM All-National Tournament. She also continued her basketball career as a starter for the Peoria/Pekin Independent AAU Basketball Team that won several Illinois AAU state tournaments and competed in national AAU events. Waddell served as site director for the IHSA state softball tournament in Pekin for 25 years and she was the originator and co-director of the Pekin Lassie League softball program, which is credited with providing youth sports opportunities for girls before high school programs gained varsity status in the 1970s.