Sports

Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame taps Olson

South Kitsap grad Benji Olson, who retired last year after along career with the Tennessee Titans, was inducted into the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame. - File photo
South Kitsap grad Benji Olson, who retired last year after along career with the Tennessee Titans, was inducted into the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame.
— image credit: File photo

By BRIAN J. OLSON

North Kitsap Herald

Some of the greatest local athletes of the last several generations received hall of fame honors last week from the Bremerton Athletic Roundtable.

The Roundtable inducted 14 individuals and three teams into its Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame during the 22nd annual ceremony Oct. 3 at Olympic College in Bremerton.

Among the honorees were North Kitsap baseball great Aaron Sele, former basketball coach Jim Harney and multi-sport star Pam Clark Marquardt. Also inducted were Bremerton swimmers Tara and Dana Kirk, the 1969 state champion Central Kitsap High School football and basketball teams and their coaches, and former South Kitsap football star Benji Olson.

Seattle comedian John Keister, the former host of the local late-night comedy show “Almost Live,” emceed the afternoon’s events, kicking things off with a stand-up routine.

Bremerton’s Olympic gold medalist Nathan Adrian welcomed the crowd, thanking Roundtable members for their support.

“Your support has really helped,” he said. “No matter where I am, whether I’m in Beijing, China or Berkeley, California.”

Inductees used the time not only to congratulate each other, but to reflect on the role that athletics have played in their lives.

“It’s so rewarding now to have so many friends that played for me,” Harney, who still helps out with open gyms at North Kitsap High, said. “It’s been a long, long time, and I’m still at it. I love it so much.”

Rick Gehring, co-owner of Buck’s A&W in Port Orchard, was presented with the Rex Brown Distinguished Service Award during the ceremony. The restaurant has hosted countless fund-raisers and South Kitsap High athletic activities over the years. Gehring thanked the women in his life — his wife, mother, aunt and office manager — for helping him run the A&W.

“Without them, A&W couldn’t be the business that’s able to help youth,” he said.

The athletes also praised the Kitsap community and their families for raising them to be successful.

“I was very lucky,” Dana Kirk said of her upbringing. “It really set up my life to have a great trajectory.”

Marquardt, a multi-sport star at North Kitsap High in the early 1980s, expanded on Kirk’s comments.

“This community has been one that has shown support to young athletes,” she said. “I am very privileged to play sports in this community.”

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