PAOLA — Back-to-back state championship boys track and field teams from 2009 and 2010, and 16-time state qualifier Lauren Frederick became the 73rd, 74th, and 75th members of the Paola High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

The Panther state championship track and field teams and Frederick were inducted Friday, Jan. 31, between Paola basketball games against De Soto.

“Please welcome back to Paola our first honorees this evening; the back-to-back state championship track teams from 2009 and 2010,” Principal Jeff Hines said. “These teams elevated our track program to new heights under the leadership of head coach Mike Smith, and set a standard that all Panthers seek to live up to when they put on the Paola uniform during track season.”

The 2009 and 2010 Paola boys track and field teams broke five school records with new marks established in the 4x100 relay, the triple jump, long jump, 110-hurdles and the shot put. The 2009 team scored in 11 events. The 2010 team made 13 trips to the medal podium.

Paola won the team title in 2009 by 237 points, more than double the score of the state runner-up. The Panthers placed first, second and third in the shot put in 2010, which is very impressive since teams can only have three entries in an event. Paola had the team title won by the conclusion of the shot and discus on the first day of the two-day meet.

During those two years of dominance, the Paola Panthers won every track meet but one, losing a close meet at Gardner to a Class 6A program. The 2009 and 2010 boys track teams won back-to-back Frontier League, regional and state championships.

“Alumni from these teams went on to participate in collegiate programs such as Highland Community College, Ottawa University, Southwestern, the University of Kansas and Pittsburg State University. While competing collegiately multiple individuals earned the designation as an All-American and won the national championship in their individual event, while being a part of conference championship squads,” Hines said.

Fans rose and gave the returning alumni a standing ovation.

Lauren Frederick

Former Paola track and field and cross country coach Lesley Wilson presented Frederick for introduction.

Frederick, a 2014 graduate of Paola High School, was a 16-time state qualifier, the most an athlete can have. She medaled 15 times.

She was a multi-sport athlete, with 11 varsity letters. She was on the cheerleading squad, played basketball, cross country and track with letters in all four.

“Lauren was a standout in cross country helping the Lady Panthers to four consecutive regional championships and twice ending up on the podium as the third-place team at the state meet,” Hines said.

She was on the Academic All-State team in track. Frederick graduated as the school record holder in the 4K race. She was a state qualifier in the 200, 400, high jump, 4x400 and 4x800. The Lady Panthers track and field team won the state title her senior year in 2014 to claim the first girls state championship in school history.

Frederick competed in the NCAA in track and field at the University of Northern Iowa. She competed in the pentathlon, heptathlon and the 400 hurdles. She was in the top 10 in the indoor and outdoor conference meets in all three events and was runner-up in the heptathlon in 2018.

She graduated from Northern Iowa with a degree in social work. Frederick is in her final semester of graduate studies at the University of Kansas.

Frederick is currently completing an internship at Children’s Mercy Hospital as part of the Acute Mental Health Screening Team in the Emergency Department. She plans to carry out the important work of eliminating the stigma around mental health and will pursue suicide prevention in all aspects of health care.”Frederick shared coach Smith’s wods of wisdom, which served her well, not only in track but also in life.

“Coach Mike Smith always said, ‘You get out of track what you put into it.’ I lived by those words.”

Other members of the Paola High School Athletic Hall of Fame are, by year:

1996: Dick Gilman

1997: Larry Criddle, Darren Dawson, Bob Harrington, Jim Irick, Scott Karr, Carnie Smith, Earl Ventura, Wendell Winkler and the 1984 Panther state champion football team

1998: Regan Miller Crow, Dennis Fort, Karen Gage and Danny Locke

1999: Jim Lee, Aaron Locke and Don Walters

2000: Sherry Ventura Ball, Brian Shay, Wesley Wilson, the 1994 state champion football team and the 1995 state champion basketball team

2001: Robin Gostautas Branine, Brian Doherty, Cam Lindsey, Ed Scheffer and the undefeated, untied 1951 football team

2002: Brian Blachly, Rick Byers, Paul Shoemaker and Tiny VanRheen

2003: Tara Hudspeth, Cadi Stuteville Marcum, Michael Orr and Matt Stallbaumer

2004: Mike Doherty, Clifford “Oscar” Durland, Casey McAllister and Lisa Sullivan

2005: Scott Henry and L.F. “Tow” Diehm

2006: Fred Miller, Will Rogers, members of the 1995 Panther state runner-up wrestling team: Russ Hermreck, Amad Patillo, Brian Shay, Chad “Boo” Weaver, and coaches Jeff Morris and Steve Gorsuch

2008: Members of the 2001 state championship Paola Panther wrestling team

2008: Jon Lee and David Ward

2009: Nick Green, Natalie Browning Melichar and Josh Shay

2010: Nathan Payne and Tiffany Craner

2013: David Robison, Jordan Karr and Brittney Miller

2014: Dan Karr and Stan Plummer

2015: Rachel Hanf, John Karr, Taelor Karr and Ray Slyter

2016: Mike Dumpert, Noah Dumpert, Megan Hayes and Steve Gorsuch

2017: Annie Kessler, Jesse Sims, Caleb Payne and Kurt Barbour

2018: Dennis Grandon and Robbie Sullivan

2019: Gary Schroeder and Corey Walker.

Sports Editor Gene Morris can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or

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