TriCounty Heather Cassady was only a sophomore in the 1995-96 school year, but the Dunlap High School two-sport standout showed such talent she was named the Tri-County Female Athlete of the Year.
First came basketball.
The 5-foot-5 guard averaged 15.5 points (including such monstrous scoring games as 30 and 35 points in the sectional and super-sectional, respectively), 8.5 assists and 4.6 steals.
She was named the Journal Star's Player of the Year in Class A and was a vital reason why Dunlap made the school's first appearance in the state finals, finishing fourth after bowing to Byron 59-57 in the third-place game.
Then the softball season arrived.
Dunlap's second baseman, Cassady hit .562, the highest on the Journal Starís Class A all-star team.
Attending grade school in East Peoria, Cassady became a basketball standout playing against boys.
"I was sort of a tomboy because I grew up around the guys," Cassady has said. "That's why I can play like a guy, because I played with boys like Mark Vershaw and Jason Jenkins (East Peoria's very large standouts)."
Heather Cassady was only a sophomore in the 1995-96 school year, but the Dunlap High School two-sport standout showed such talent she was named the Tri-County Female Athlete of the Year.
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.