Friday, February 26, 2021

Colusa County Hall of Fame: Class of 2016 inducted

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On Saturday, five outstanding athletes from years past and eleven graduating senior athletes were inducted to the Colusa County Hall of Fame during the 14th Annual Hall of Fame Dinner, before a crowd of about 150 people.

Also enshrined were this year’s section championship teams from Colusa County, former Pierce High coach Charles Frederick Grimmer, and a number of team members from the storied Chung Sun softball team.

The high school athletes honored this year were Jared Huff and Mollie Townzen (Colusa), Renee Orosco and Luis Davalos (Williams), Peyton Schmidt, Devin Lee and Molly Dunlap (Maxwell), Colby Bates, Riley Voorhees and Carissa Cabral (Pierce), and Laura Mitchell (Princeton).

Paul Sengo, Ron Dixon, Mike Smith, Jim Marengo and Brady Myers were the five individuals inducted into the Colusa County Hall of Fame Class of 2016.

Mike Smith was the first to be inducted on Saturday, and Joe Kalfsbeek did the honors of introducing him.

“I graduated from Pierce High School in 1965… I remember the Williams game in 1964…. Prior to kickoff (coach) huddled us in the locker room to give us our inspirational pep-talk. He went on to tell us that man for man with Williams we were the best team, with the exception of one individual: Mike Smith,” Kalfsbeek said. “He was an animal… little did I dream that I would marry his sister five years later and be his presenter at this banquet, 47 years after that.”

Smith, now a resident of the Yuba City area, accepted the award in person. He thanked the Hall of Fame Committee and congratulated the other honorees for the night. He also credited a number of great coaches who helped him succeed athletically.

“I think the biggest thrill of my athletic career was playing college football… That’s why I think this hall of fame is so important: to point out to high school athletes of this county that it doesn’t matter that you came from a small county or small school. If you have the desire, you can play at the next level and be competitive,” Smith said.

The late Jim Marengo was the next to be honored, who was presented by Vance Boyes.

“I became good friends with Jim over time, and in about 1973, Jim started playing rugby,” Boyes said during the presentation.

“(A few years later) he coordinated I think one of the teams in Colusa County history that competed at a level higher than any I could think of.”

Boyes went on to explain Marengo’s work in establishing and coordinating the Colusa County Farmers Rugby Club, which played at the highest level of rugby in the nation.

“We played in the same league as the national champions, and it was pretty neat… It was just a rare group of individuals,” Boyes said.

The rugby team that he established helped break down some of the barriers between the communities in the county, Boyes said, and it continues to do so today.

“Jim is dearly missed. He was gone too early,” Boyes said.

Morgan Marengo accepted the award on behalf of his father.

“I’m grateful on behalf of my father and my family, and I just want to thank everybody for this,” Marengo said.

Ron Dixon was the next individual inducted, and was presented by Eddie Martinez.

“Even as a young boy, Ron was motivated to be the best… He worked hard at everything he did, and is probably the most positive person I have ever known,” Martinez said.

Whether it was in basketball or baseball, it was often Dixon’s smarts that set him apart.

“Ron’s passing left a void in many lives, but we’re left with many fond memories at the thought of him. He had this subtle way about him,” Martinez said.

2016 Hall of Fame

Dixon was posthumously inducted into the Colusa County Hall of Fame, and his daughter accepted the award for him.

Next up was Paul Sengo, who was presented by Bill Barrett.

“This is a guy I was in school with way back when. I never played with Paul, but I remember him as a great all-around athlete, and one of the fastest kids in school,” Barrett said.

Barrett went on to describe Sengo’s outstanding prep career in football and track, and his even more outstanding collegiate wrestling career at Chico State. Sengo’s greatest achievement, however, was his 30-year career in education as a high school principal, he said.

“My greatest accomplishment wasn’t in sports, but was being a high school principal for 30 years,” Sengo said.

Sengo said that he was particularly proud of his work as the principal of a continuation school, where during his three-year tenure he did not have a single kid drop out of the program.

“It’s a great career I had there,” Sengo said.

Brady Myers rounded out the inductees for Saturday. Russell Gardner was Myers’s presenter.

“I have the pleasure of introducing our last inductee today, and he’s kind of a legacy. In 2013, his daughter and his father were both inducted into the Hall of Fame. He’s had a very bright career, both in basketball and golf. But, probably for Colusa County, his family has probably been one of the great contributors to county athletics for the last 20 to 30 years.”

Myers directed praise toward the Hall of Fame committee, who he described as “the real stars of the night.”

“The individual awards are great, but this doesn’t happen without them,” Myers said.

Myers went on to credit his parents for his competitive drive and athletic ability, and thanked a number of coaches, including former Colusa High coaches Dave Dana and Jim Vossler.

Myers encouraged future Colusa County athletes to strive for greatness.

“To the kids tonight: if you’re thinking you have an ambition, just a little bit, take a chance, trust yourself. Something good will come out of it, whether you succeed or not.”

Brian Pearson
Brian Pearson
Brian Pearson is the former Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects included reporting local government and the sports page.

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