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Steve Matthies Mug

Steve Matthies

Sports editor

There was a hankering of harrier history and heroics Friday when Klamath Union inducted its newest class of athletes to its Hall of Fame.

A coach, a team, college-caliber cross country runners were a big part of the induction. Another history-making inductee also competed in the state cross country championships, but is better known for another sport.

Then, there was a four-sport letterwinner.

There was history.

The 1997 state championship cross country team, KU’s first, and coached by Mike Herron, was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

So was 2001 individual state cross country champion Lauren Jespersen. He later added a second before winning the Oregon/Washington Border Class race and competed in the Footlocker national championships.

Jacob Gomez, the only KU runner to participate on four state trophy-winning cross country teams, and placed second to Jespersen in the 2001 state finals, entered, too.

Jespersen and Gomez joined former teammate Ian Dobson at Stanford, and were part of four Pac-10 championship teams.

Among the coaches with the KU distances runners was another inductee, Gary Keppen.

Their efforts both in cross country and track are legend among the Pelicans.

So are those of Jason Sedlock and Patricia Havey (Davidson).

The 6-foot-8 Sedlock is best remembered for basketball, but also played soccer, baseball and ran track and field to become a rare four-sport letterwinner.

He later played basketball at the Santa Clara University, where his roommate was former NBA Most Valuable Player Steve Nash. At SCU, they played in several NCAA Division I tournament games, and stunned second-seeded Arizona.

Sedlock later played professionally in Germany and Australia. He still resides in Australia with his family, and is a commercial pilot.

Havey set numerous KU records and, arguably, is the school’s greatest swimmer. Her name still tops of the KU record books in all four strokes. She was second in the 100-yard backstroke four times at a time when only the district champion advanced to the state meet.

Still active in the pool, Havey completed the Lanai to Maui, Hawaii, swim and recently completed in the ironman triathlon world championships.

She was part of the 1998 KU girls state cross country team which ran at state at a time when the Pelicans competed against Oregon’s biggest high schools.

While Havey’s name remains atop KU’s swimming leader board, Gomez remains one of the school’s most versatile distance runners. He still ranks among the all-time top five in the 800, 1,500 and 3,000, and twice won state titles at the longer distance.

Those efforts allowed him to compete in the Golden West Championships in Sacramento, where he came from behind to win the 3,200 in what, then, were considered the national championships for high school athletes.

He was a two-time All-American for Stanford in the 3,000.

Herron’s 1997 state title team was led by defending state champion Jeremy Park. Park was third in 1997, and Dobson fourth, for the championship team, with Harris McClellan, Evan Garich and Paul Dzurec all in the top 48. Matt Hernandez and Phil Morton completed the team.

“They were an outstanding group of young men,” Herron said of that team.

Keppen, who died in 2008 as the result of injuries suffered when he was hit by a car while bicycling, was a coach with the 1997 and 1999 state championship teams, and was well known throughout the community for his efforts as an official in basketball, baseball and softball, as well as the SMART reading program.

He was a volunteer coach at KU for more than 20 years, and served as a tutor to more than a handful of Pelicans.

Steve Matthies is Herald and News sports editor emeritus. He can be reached at 541-885-4411, or at smatthies@heraldandnews.com.