Fourteen athletes and coaches from a variety of sports are new inductees into the Eau Claire Old Abe Athletic Hall of Fame.
Brady Burzynski, Class of 2012 – Three-sport standout in football, hockey and baseball who went on to a 4-year baseball career at UW-Stout, gaining the WIAC Max Sparger Scholar Athlete Award. Played pro baseball with the St. Paul Saints and also with the Eau Claire Express.
Jefferson Dahl, 2008 – Three-sport standout who was named State Mr. Hockey and Leader-Telegram Athlete of the Year and set school scoring records in 2008. Went on to play for Wisconsin’s Badgers and professionally in Germany and gained honors in U.S. with Dallas and Columbus farm teams.
Alex DeLakis, 2013 – Six-time WIAA state swim champion and only second swimmer in history to win same event (100 Breaststroke) four years in a row. Went on to decorated career at Wisconsin and holds numerous swim records.
Jacob Dowell, 2003 – Led Old Abes to two hockey state tournament appearances, scoring 90 points and had outstanding prep career. Played collegiately at Wisconsin and was named MVP, scoring 90 points in career. Drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks and played with Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup winner. Also played with Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild.
Billie Flanagan, 1995 – Gymnastics record holder and state meet high finisher in the vault and all-around. Became a USGA All-American for the Texas Woman’s University Pioneers taking part on national championship team.
J. Mark “Mojo” Johnson, coach – Boys and girls cross country coach and led Abes to numerous Big Rivers Conference championships. Inducted into the WCCCA Hall of Fame. Also distance coach in girls track and field, turning out several state champion and high finishers.
Patrick McLain, 2007 – Helped team to two Big Rivers soccer championships and a state tournament appearance. Team captain and MVP as a goalkeeper. Three-year starter at Cal Poly, gaining all-conference honors while setting records for saves. Played five years in the Major League Soccer with several teams.
Tom “Shanty” Reidinger, 1945 – Played four years of football and was the Abes’ leading running back in the early 1940s. Also excelled as a baseball pitcher, missing a chance at pro ball due to a shoulder injury. Played four years football at UW-Eau Claire and was a key member of the Blugolds’ 1948 conference championship team. A member of the Blugold Hall of Fame.
Peter Rentzepis, 2014 – Helped lead team to four conference championships, gaining Player of the Year and all-state honors in soccer. Played four years of tennis and was on a state runner-up team. Decorated member of the Pomona College team, leading scorer and team captain.
Joe Saleck, 1984 – Three-year baseball player, helping to lead the way to conference championship and state tournament appearance as a leading hitter. Played in basketball state tournament and on conference championship team. Also played three years of football. Baseball standout at U.S. Air Force Academy and highly decorated hitter. Served in Korea and Saudi Arabia.
Bob “Pinky” Schaaf, 1947 – Legendary running back as three-year football player and took part in the North-South all-star game. Team captain. Also played basketball and track. Key role in 1948 Blugold conference championship football team. Returned to school eight years later to play three more years.
Mike Schwengler, coach – Led Abes to state hockey championships in 2008 and 2013 while making 13 state tournament appearances. Coached 10 Big Rivers championship teams and winningest coach in school history with 358 wins from 1997-2017. College All-American playing at UW-Eau Claire with numerous individual honors.
Mary Elizabeth Smith, 1983 – MVP on 1983 conference championship basketball team and three-time All-Big Rivers choice. Selected USA Today All-American. Set several school scoring records as team went 51-9 in her era. Received Division I scholarship to Western Illinois and set scoring records. Went on to serve as assistant coach at DePauw from 1993-2015.
Carie Steil, 2005 – Finished as high as 15th and 17th in state cross country meet as team finished third and fourth. Gained all-state honors. Four-year all-conference selection. Also state tournament participant in soccer twice. In track and field, took part in state meet, finishing as high as fifth in the 3,200 and gained numerous honors. At the University of Minnesota, took part four years in cross country and track and field.