HURLEY – A very diverse group of athletes from the Class of 2013 were inducted into the 16th annual Hurley High School Athletic Hall of Fame at the Hurley K-12 School on Saturday. The new inductees included Johnny Allice (Class of 1932), Kyle Elsemore (Class of 2002), Sarah Tarasewicz (Class of 2001) and the 1987-88 Hurley girls’ basketball team.
Class of 2001
Sarah Tarasewicz received the Danielle Ladwig Memorial Outstanding Senior Athlete Award at the conclusion of her high school career in Hurley. When an award has a title that long, it has to be prestigious.
She competed in volleyball, basketball and softball and received post-season honors in all three. But softball was Tarasewicz’s best sport.
“Softball was where she really achieved,” said her presenter and softball coach, Jim Kivisto. “She had a wonderful career here.”
Tarasewicz was a terror for opposing teams in her four-year softball career in Hurley. She had a .443 career batting average (new school record) with 138 career hits and 16 homeruns.
Her softball teams posted a 70-12 record and she was named all-conference four times as a catcher. During the Tarasewicz years, Hurley won two conference championships, four regional championships, two sectional titles and was a state runner-up in 2001.
So respected defensively and offensively, Kivisto began hearing stories that opposing coaches were going to walk her every time she batted.
“I made her the lead-off hitter and they would walk her,” Kivisto said. “The next play she would steal second and the next play steal third. She was the total package-just amazing. She could change a game offensively and defensively. Arguably, Sarah was the best softball player I’ve ever coached.”
Tarasewicz just seemed to get better and better in her college years. She continued to pick up honors, awards and records too numerous to mention and in her senior year, she was named the WIAA Player of the Year and was UW-Superior’s team MVP. She led the conference in batting average, slugging percentage, on base percentage, runs scored, triples, homeruns, and total bases.
After graduation, Tarasewicz was inducted into the UW-Superior Hall of Fame in 2011. She was also named to the WIAA All-Time Softball team in 2012.
When Tarasewicz spoke, she was brief and to the point.
“I want to thank the Hurley Hall of Fame for my induction,” she said. “Athletics shaped my life. My experience at Hurley is something I’ll never forget. I’m indebted to my family for all their support and thank you to everyone.”
Class of 1932
Johnny Allice was probably the least known member of the Class of 2013, because he lived so long ago and his life was tragically cut short at the age of 18.
But after the induction ceremony, a number of people from the audience said it was good to learn about such an important person in Hurley’s past.
In December of 1930, Allice was a rising star athlete at Hurley’s Lincoln High School. Allice had shown great promise as a running back the previous two seasons, despite playing with injuries.
Coaches recognized his potential as a freshman when he was the fastest player on the team and a Daily Globe sportswriter compared him to Ironwood’s star player, John Cavosie.
Hurley’s backfield was called one of its finest when Allice teamed with the powerful Thomas Kirby.
But Allice’s life was a story of what might have been. On Christmas Eve in 1930, Allice was walking north across the railroad tracks in the vicinity of Third Avenue trying to reach his Maple Street home.
It was between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and Allice had just received a $1.50 Christmas present from his brother Sandy. There was a man ahead of him and the first indication of trouble was when the man yelled “gimme” and pointed a gun at Allice.
Allice tried to knock the gun away and then hit him with his fist. The gunman fired three shots at him and Allice was wounded in the left shoulder. He walked to a nearby house and collapsed. He was transported to Runstrom’s Hospital in Ironwood where he was expected to make a complete recovery.
But several weeks later, complications set in and emergency surgery was required. But Allice suffered a severe hemorrhage and on Jan. 13, 1931, the hemorrhage along with a senseless act of violence ended his life at age 18.
Without a good description, police never solved the crime or found the man who robbed and shot Allice.
“It was a tragic, senseless shooting,” said Kathy Reed, who is Allice’s niece and only living relative. “Who knows what he may have become.”
The funeral was held at St. Mary’s Church in Hurley on Jan. 15. Members of the Wakefield, Bessemer and Ironwood football teams attended the funeral to pay tribute to the popular player.
Thomas Kirby and right halfback Thomas Rowe were among the pallbearers who led the way one last time for their fallen teammate.
Reed accepted the award for her uncle Johnny.
“This award means a great deal to me,” Reed said softly.
Class of 2002
Kyle Elsemore was one of those kids in high school who was good at everything. Not many high school athletes become three time state champions.
And on top of that, he was really smart. Not only in the National Honor Society, he was named a WIAA Scholar Athlete in 2002, one of only 32 statewide.
As a freshman in 1998, Elsemore qualified for the Division 3 Cross Country State Meet where he won his first state championship. His time is still the fastest ever run by a freshman in all divisions.
“In 1998 at the state cross country meet, I went over to the finish line,” former cross country coach Chris Kelly said. “There was a group of about 5 to 6 guys in a pack and they went into the woods. When they came out, Kyle was the first person to run out. I’ll never forget the surprised look on his face and his father’s face.”
Elsemore was also a member of the varsity basketball team and a conference track champion in the 1600 meter run. This was a freshman on the fast track.
In the fall of 1999, Elsemore placed second in the cross country state finals, losing out by three seconds in his bid for another championship.
In the spring of his sophomore year, Elsemore took third place in the 1600 and 3200 meter runs in the track and field state finals.
As a junior, Elsemore suffered a stress fracture that limited his cross country season, but he was an integral part of the boys’ first undefeated regular season (20-0). He averaged 10.5 points per game and made 85 percent of his free throws, which led the conference.
During the 2001 track season, he set records in the Simpson Meet and at the Welker Meet in Ashland and the Marcy Bracket in Bessemer.
A foot injury slowed Elsemore down briefly, but he returned better than ever in winning both the 1600 and 3200 meter runs at the state finals. He scored a stunning 27 points in the state meet that vaulted Hurley into seventh place in the team standings.
In his senior year, a leg injury slowed down his cross country season. After winning the Sectional in Hurley, he was 14th in the state meet.
But Elsemore came on strong in basketball. The senior sharpshooter averaged 18.6 points per game and was the top three-point shooter in the Indianhead Conference. (46 of 96).
District Administrator Chris Patritto coached Elsemore in basketball and said he was as fierce a competitor as you could find.
Elsemore was recruited by the University of Wisconsin-Madison to run cross country and track. He competed for two year before leg injuries (this time severe) cut his career short.
Elsemore was emotional when presented with his Hall of Fame plaque.
It’s a great honor and it means a lot to me,” he said. “I can’t thank you enough for all your support. I’ve learned more from my troubles and failures than my success. It shapes you as an adult. How will people look at you 10, 20, 30 years down the line? I want people to say I was a great athlete but also a great person.”
1987-88 Girls’ Basketball Team
The 1987-88 Hurley girls’ basketball team was the first team in school history to go undefeated in the regular season.
The 21-1 Midgettes have long been considered one of Hurley’s finest teams. On offense, the team averaged 74.6 points per game while giving up 37.3. It’s called doubling up on your opponent.
Called “a juggernaut” and “a machine,” Hurley began the WIAA Regional Tournament by beating Mercer 65-33. But somehow, Glidden upset the Midgettes 60-58 in the semi-finals after Hurley had easily defeated Glidden twice earlier in the regular season.
Darla Innnes is the Midgettes’ all-time leading scorer with 1,685 points. Her sister, Tammy, is fourth on the list with 1,151 points.
Both Innes sisters and and Nicki Clement are now members of the Hurley High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
The team also included seniors Michele Aho and Charlene Pinardi and juniors Jean Burgraff, Shannon Siirila, Lisa Alleva and Jennifer Bruneau. The sophomores were Clement and Holly Kutz.
Darla Innes was asked to be the spokesperson for the team.
“25 years ago seems like yesterday,” she said. “I’d like to thank everyone. I remember 10 girls not as teammates but as friends. We hung out together and had fun together. My sister was my best friend. That’s the benefit of a small school. And I remember all the hugs when we came back.”
Then Innes asked for a moment of silence for their late head coach, Harold Torro.
“He was like a father,” Innes said. “He used to teach us about life and he used basketball to make us good people. He was a man of few words, but when he talked, we listened.”
And then Innes closed by talking about the parent and community support their team received.
“Not everyone has the support or the same opportunities we did,” Innes said. “I hope our kids get that opportunity.”
It would take 20 years for a Hurley girls’ team to have another undefeated regular season.