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EMUHSD Athletic Hall of Fame 2014 Inductees

by JoAnne Disney

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El Monte

History tells us that the El Monte Athletic Hall of Fame was organized in 1991 “to recognize and preserve the history of prominent individual, team, and humanitarian accomplishments associated with athletics. Since 1997, El Monte’s Hall of Fame Committee has been inactive with the retirement of founder, Mr. Robert H. Settle. In July of 2011, the Hall of Fame Committee was re-established by former members, as a seven-member executive council. A sub-committee was added representing the El Monte Union High School District that includes the Superintendent, Mr. Nick Salerno, and the six Principals representing Arroyo, El Monte, Ledesma, Mountain View, Rosemead, and South El Monte High Schools.”
On May 10, 2014 the El Monte Unified High School District Athletic Hall of Fame will honor 9 new inductees. Among those honored will be:  Frank Clayton, “who began his teaching and coaching career for the El Monte Union High School District in 1957. Frank coached the Arroyo High School Varsity High School Varsity Track and Field team to the Championship in 1960.” Frank held various positions, including the Principal of Arroyo from 1972 to 1979 and the District’s Deputy Superintendent from 1979 until his retirement in 1990;” Lance Larson, was a 1958 graduate of El Monte High School. “He set CIFSS records in 1957 & 1958 in the 100-yd butterfly at 55.5 & 54.6 seconds, & another CIFSS record in the 100-yd freestyle at 50.9 seconds. He was the first high school swimmer to break the 50-second barrier in the 100-yd freestyle.” Also, Lance Larson was one of the premier swimmers of his era. In the 1960 Rome Olympics he was a double medalist taking a Silver Medal in the controversial 100m freestyle and a Gold Medal as a member of the 4x100m Medley Relay.” In addition, “he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1980;” Don Cawthon, “was born and raised in El Monte. He was always active in athletics, capturing awards and lettering at El Monte in football, basketball, and track. Don graduated in 1954 and also served on the original staff of our El Monte Public Pools.” Also, Don has continued to officiate in wrestling for over 50 years. As a result he was presented with the California Wrestling Hall of Fame Lifetime Service Award in 2008 and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Lifetime Service Award in 2012;”Fernando Ledesma, “began his career in the EMUHSD teaching Spanish and coaching Track and Field at Arroyo. He coached the team to championships and one CIF title. He retired as the Assistant Superintendent of Adult and Alternative Education after 39 years of service to the EMUHSD in 1997. In 2005, the continuation high school in El Monte was renamed after Fernando for all of his work and dedication to the youth of the community.;” Kim Rhode, graduated from Arroyo High School in 1996, as a four-year Letterman in competitive shooting. “She is the youngest woman in the world to earn a spot on the Olympic shooting team. Kim’s Olympic career began at the age of 17, winning the Gold Medal in 1996 in Atlanta. She has won an Olympic Medal in each of the last five Olympic Games for shotgun shooting;” Harry Nissley, “served as a teacher and tennis coach at El Monte High School until his retirement in 2001. His enthusiasm, dedication, and care for students is exemplary of an outstanding educator.  Mr. Nissley has been inducted into the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Hall of Fame. The tennis courts at El Monte High are named in Harry’s honor;” Janet Dykman, “attended Arroyo High and started archery as a youth by participating in Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD).” She “started competing in 1985 and made her first World Championship Team in 1989 competing in Switzerland. Janet is Co-Founder of United JOAD and So. Cal. Archers.”  She has been given many honors including “United State Olympic Committee Archery Athlete of the Year in 1995, 1996, 1997, & 1998; Don LaMont, began his professional career ‘with the El Monte Elementary District as a teacher at Frank Wright from 1961 to 1979.  He became the head swim coach of a 200 member team with the El Monte Parks and Recreation where he coached for many years.” Among his many honors and achievements includes “USA Head Team Swim Coach in New Zealand, Italy, France, Russia, and West Germany as well as Head Coach for the 1984 Olympics team in Taiwan. In 2008, he was “inducted into the American Swim Coaches Hall of Fame;” and George Allison, who first served as the head basketball and tennis coach at Arroyo High School.” Later “he became an administrator at El Monte High until he retired. He was inducted into the McMinnville High School Sports Hall of Fame on May 10, 2008.”
The ceremony will take place at the El Monte Community Center, 3130 Tyler Avenue. The festivities will begin at 11:30 a.m. For more information, please contact Donna Gunstream-Breit at (909) 599-9465 or
Congratulations to all of the Hall of Fame Inductees!

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News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.
EMUHSD Athletic Hall of Fame 2014 Inductees