Inductees Teresa Montefusco was at the very beginning of the rapid development of women's gymnastics. At the 1960 Rome Olympic World Games, Montefusco and her teammates brought the women's team from 23rd slot in the 1956 Olympics up to 9th place finish. "It was the biggest leap ever made by a gymnastic team," she recalls.
Enrolled at an early age with the Dentino School of Dance, she soon supplemented regular dance work with specialized Aerial Acrobatics with the most outstanding Midwest instructor, the late James Rozanas.
At age 12 she toured 22 states, Canada & Mexico, as Rozanas's top student and his tumbling demonstrator on a 14-week tour of dance studios across the nation two summers in succession.
At the 1958 A.A.U. National Championships, gymnastic Coach Herb Vogel, Flint, Michigan, recognized her solid gymnastic potential. At his urging, she left Peoria to join eight other female gymnasts to begin training.
She entered the 1959 Pan American Games in Chicago, won the gold medal for All-Around and was ranked with the distinction of being top female gymnast in Floor Exercise event in the entire Western Hemisphere. Altogether she brought home four medals.
Montefusco competed in the 1960 Olympics finishing 58th. AllAround out of 33 Countries with over 280 female contestants. She became the 1st Peorian gymnast to carry Uncle Sam's colors in the historic World Eliminations in Rome.
She is better known as "Teri Miller", the mother of three sons, and, at the time of this writing, employed at Proctor Hospital and operates Teri's Aerobics in Peoria Heights.
Update August 23, 2004
Teresa now owns her own business: Teri's Nail and Spa Salon, Peoria, IL
Teresa Montefusco was at the very beginning of the rapid development of women's gymnastics. At the 1960 Rome Olympic World Games, Montefusco and her teammates brought the women's team from 23rd slot in the 1956 Olympics up to 9th place finish. "It was the biggest leap ever made by a gymnastic team," she recalls.
|Dawdy Hawkins |
"Dawdy" Hawkins, one of the most successful high school basketball coaches in the nation, directed his teams to state titles in two different states. His Lincoln Northeast High School team won a Nebraska state prep crown in 1948, just before he left to take over at Peoria Central. He quickly forged a powerhouse at Central, his 1952-53 team, led by brilliant center Hiles Stout, making it to the championship game of the Illinois state finals at the University of Illinois' old Huff Gym before bowing to LaGrange, 71-60. Hawkins took three other Peoria Central teams to the state tournament (1954, 56, 59) and then, switching to Pekin, had five other state appearances (1964, 65, 66, 67, 73), including state championship teams in 1964 and 1967.