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You're Invited to the Champions Ball Feb. 25

11/7/2016

​​​​​​​​​​​​Rockford Public Schools will celebrate its own connection to the World Champion Chicago Cubs when it inducts former Cubs pitcher Hal Carlson into the RPS 205 Athletic Hall of Fame in February.

Carlson, who attended Wight Elementary and Rockford High School nearly 100 years ago, was a pitcher when the Cubs reached the World Series in 1929. He played professional baseball for 14 years until his death at age 38 in 1930. 

Carlson is among six inductees at the Fifth Annual Champions Ball on Feb. 25 at Radisson Hotel & Conference Center. "This is the furthest we've gone back in history for the Hall of Fame, but when you're talking about success stories coming out of RPS, it doesn't get much bigger than pitching in the World Series," said Mat Parker, Rockford Public Schools Director of Athletics and Activities.

This year's event will also honor former RPS 205 Athletic Director Diane Peterson, a longtime advocate for girls sports. She served as an athletic director at Jefferson High School and in the district. She now lives in Arizona and will return to Rockford for the event.

The 1992-1993 Guilford High School boys basketball team will be inducted in the team category. Led by current Hononegah High School coach Mike Miller, the Vikings finished second in the state in Class AA, finishing with a 27-7 record.

Roger Lindemann will be inducted into the coaches category. Lindemann won four state championships as Guilford High School's boys golf coach in 1974, 1975, 1983 and 1985.

Leonard Bell will be Jefferson High School's first athlete to be inducted. Bell was an all-state running back and wrestler for the J-Hawks in the early 1980s. He went on to play football for Indiana University and was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1987.

Carrie Zarse (Velasquez) will be Auburn's first female inductee. Zarse won three state diving championships as a freshman (1988), junior (1990) and senior (1991). She was on the University of Michigan diving team for four years and now lives in Pittsburgh.​

Tickets for the Champions Ball are $50 per person and will go on sale next month. Click here to purchase Champions Ball tickets​. All proceeds benefit RPS 205 athletics.

For a complete list of past recipients, visit the athletics page. For more information on the event, contact Emily Tropp at 815-966-8960 or emily.tropp@rps205.com.