Wagner, Rusch among inductees

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Gazette Staff
Friday, April 8, 2011

Milton just had another night to remember some of its greatest sports accomplishments and honor the individuals who made it happen.

Twelve-time high school letter winner Jackie Wagner, all-state football player Dustin Rusch, longtime high school coach Don Vruwink and “No. 1 fan” Alice Morehart were inducted Wednesday night into the Milton Area Athletic Hall of Fame, along with Milton High’s 1986 state championship football team.

The Class of 2011, honored during the 10th annual induction dinner at the Countryside Inn, joins 46 previous inductees.

Wagner lettered four times each in high school golf, basketball and softball. She received the American Legion Athletic Medal and the WIAA Scholar Athlete Award as a senior in 2001, then went on to the University of Missouri-Kansas City on a golf scholarship.

Overall, Wagner was a four-time MVP, five-time captain and 23-time all-conference, all-region and all-state standout for the Red Hawks. She also helped Milton win seven team championships in her three sports.

As a college golfer, Wagner became a second-team all-conference selection and was an NCAA National Coaches Association Academic All-American in 2003 and 2004.

Rusch was a 10-letter winner in football, basketball and track at Milton High in 1987-1990. As captain of the 1989 football team, he helped the Red Hawks win the Southern Lakes Conference championship and the school’s second WIAA Division 3 state title in four seasons.

After receiving all-conference and all-state honors as an offensive and defensive lineman, Rusch was named to All-Midwest and all-region teams and received USA Today honorable mention. He received a University of Wisconsin football scholarship in 1990, Barry Alvarez’s first season at Madison, then transferred to Indiana State University.

Rusch was named to the All-Gateway Conference team as an Indiana State nose tackle and received NCAA Division I-A All-America recognition.

Along with his success as four-year letter winner in Milton High basketball, Rusch became the greatest discus thrower in school history—reaching a distance of 167 feet.

Vruwink, a 1970 graduate of Auburndale High School, pitched his baseball team to an 18-0 record and the WIAA summer state championship. He threw consecutive no-hitters, including a perfect game, and struck out 19 of 21 batters in one game, then went on to an all-conference career at UW-Stevens Point.

As softball coach from 1980-2006, Vruwink led Milton High to a 363-164 record. His team won 17 division or conference championships and placed second seven times. His teams also qualified for the WIAA state tournament in 1990 and 1992.

Overall, while also serving as a longtime assistant in football and basketball, Vruwink coached 80 teams at Milton High.

Morehart saw many of Vruwink’s teams play and a lot more. She has been an all-around fan of Milton sports for more than 50 years and now is in the Hall of Fame among many of those she so passionately supported.

She and her late husband, Dick, were familiar faces at football fields, gymnasiums and ball diamonds since their oldest son, Gary, entered Milton Union High School in 1960. Since the death of her husband in 2006, she has continued to follow the Red Hawks. Her commitment to watching Milton Legion baseball and slow-pitch softball led to teams naming her “No. 1 fan” in the early 2000s.

Morehart also was an outstanding athlete. As in teenager during World War II, she played competitive softball and for the Rockford Peaches in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, made famous by the 1992 move, “A League of Their Own.”

Milton’s 1986 football team was the school’s first to win a WIAA state championship. The Red Hawks went 13-0, capped by a 38-20 victory over Northland Pines in the Division 3 title game at Camp Randall Stadium.

Last updated: 5:01 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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