Duncan Athletics is preparing for a new school year of athletes getting ready to compete for the ultimate prize and to be remembered as the best.
The department has announced the Class of 2022 that will be remembered for their athletic achievements later this fall as Duncan Athletic Hall of Famers.
Late last week, the committee met and chose the class that features two State Championship teams and seven different athletes to join the likes of former Duncan athletes who achieved greatness.
For the first time in the Duncan Athletic Hall of Fame History, two State Championships teams will receive honors as a whole beginning with the 1945 Class A State Champions in football and then the 1980 Class 4A State Champions in wrestling.
The seven individuals will receive honors, including six athletes and one coach. Those inductees include Alicia Pollard Fowler, April Ferrall Rhoads, Donald L. Taylor, Jordan Freel, Larry Wisely, Melanie Barnes Cox and Mike Gray.
In 1945, the Demons football won the first State Championship in school history by beating Tulsa Rogers 17-7 and finished the season with an undefeated record in the biggest classification.
They will be the first team inducted.
The 1980 Duncan Wrestling team, which had 11 consecutive dual wins and undefeated streak of 67 wins, will receive induction next. The team was coached by Mike Reding and was assisted by Coach Art Wheeler and they are the only Duncan Wrestling team with a State Championship in the rich history of the sport at Duncan.
Cox will make the most recent graduate inducted as the Class of 2010 tennis star was a four-time Regional Champion and finished in the top 4 at one singles all four years of her career.
Cox was the first player ever to make it to the finals at one singles twice and was a four-time Oklahoma All-Star team while being named to the All-State Team.
Also named as the Jim Thorpe Player of the Year Award, Cox received a full athletic scholarship to play tennis and was a Crossman award nominee for Duncan High School.
The next nominee, Rhoads, was a 1999 graduate of Duncan High School and a four-year starter for the Lady Demons softball team.
Rhoads was a part of a team that qualified for the State Tournament all four years of her high school career and was a letterman for softball, basketball and track during high school.
Being named an All-State catcher, Rhoads went on to play softball at the University of Central Oklahoma and played all four years for the Bronchos.
She holds several single season records at UCO and is also the career home run record leader as Rhoads was named to the All-Decade team for UCO.
Freel was a 1998 graduate of Duncan High School and had 10 letters over the four year career in sports of football, wrestling and baseball.
He was a three-year starter for the football team and a four-year starter for the wrestling team as well as a three-year starter for the Demons baseball team.
A 1998 All-State Wrestler, Freel qualified for the State Wrestling Tournament all four years and was a State Finalist in three of the four years.
Freel ended up going to college to play baseball and was an All-Conference team member during his senior season at second base.
Fowler had several school records in track, and she was a four-year letter winner. Fowler also ran cross country and played basketball for Duncan High School.
She was part of two state champions as a track athlete by winning the 800-meter in 1983 and as part of the 3200-meter relay State Champion team in 1983.
In 1983, the Lady Demons placed as state runner-up with Fowler holding the Lady Demons’ record for the 800-meter race. For five years, she also held the school record in the 400-meter.
She earned a full track and academic scholarship to Eastern Oklahoma State College and was a two-time NJCAA All-American while taking part on the National Championship teams in 1984 and 1985.
Fowler just finished and retired after 30 years of service to the Department of Veterans Affair and lives in Tulsa with her family.
Wisely will be inducted as a Duncan Wrestler. He was a two-time state champion in his junior and senior year while also a starter on the 1983 State Championship team in football.
After high school, Wisely attended Cameron University on a football scholarship and then transferred to the University of Oklahoma to wrestle for year before starting his construction business.
Currently living in Mustang, Wisely Company mainly specializes for in-ground swimming pools while doing concrete work and home remodels.
Taylor, who graduated Duncan High School in 1970, is the last athlete to be inducted and will be inducted posthumously.
Playing football at Cameron State College, he played defensive end and then signed with the Houston Oilers to play for them.
After his release from the Oilers, Taylor tried out for the Dallas Cowboys and then decided to return to Oklahoma City and play for the semi-pro team, the OKC Wranglers.
Health problems brought him back home and he finished by coaching Duncan athletes for many years. He passed away in October 2019.
The final inductee will be Coach Mike Gray. He was on the football staff and cross country and track and field staff.
Coaching from 1977-1996, Gray was part of four State Championship football teams, one State Champion Boys Cross Country team and State Championship Girls Track & Field team.
Gray said even though he had many accomplishments, his greatest was being a part of a great coaching staff.
“While these accomplishments are what is usually celebrated in our world, the best part of coaching at DHS was the coaches, athletes and parents that I was blessed to work with,” Gray said. “The thrill for me was to see athletes mature and become their best in individual events or to see a group of kids come together and success as a team. But even more, to follow these students as they graduated, become adults and make significant contributions to their own families, schools, communities and states. They are the true joy and legacy of my coaching career.”
The seven athletes and two teams will be inducted during a weekend in October with full details not released as of press time.
Once information on the induction ceremony has been decided, The Banner will publish the information.