Dakota Wesleyan announces 2012 Athletic Hall of Fame inductees

MITCHELL, S.D. – Dakota Wesleyan University will induct five new members into the DWU Athletic Hall of Fame at the 2012 banquet, the university announced Monday morning. The annual banquet will once again be held in conjunction with the Senior Athlete Recognition banquet on Saturday, April 28.

This year’s hall of fame class includes four athletes and one contributor. They are: Ron Bartels (football, class of 1994), Amanda Williams Block (women’s basketball, class of 2004), Jay Drake (men’s basketball, class of 1999), Christi Harter (women’s basketball, class of 1992) and Dr. Robert McWhirter (contributor).

The banquet will be held at the Sherman Center on the Dakota Wesleyan campus. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the banquet begins at 6 p.m. DWU’s senior athletes will be recognized and several special awards will be handed out, and the induction of the five new hall of fame members will follow. The banquet is, for the most part, invitation only, but there may be some open seating available for the general public. For more information, contact the DWU athletic office at 605-995-2112.

Below is a list of this year’s DWU Athletic Hall of Fame class, along with a brief description of their athletic accolades and contributions to Dakota Wesleyan athletics.

2012 DWU Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees

Ron Bartels, a 1994 DWU graduate, was a four-year starter at offensive tackle for the Tigers during one of its most successful stretches. Bartels, a Winner, S.D., native, was a part of the 1991 SDIC championship team and the 1992 squad that went 10-0 in the regular season, won the SDIC title and earned the team’s first and only berth in the NAIA playoffs. He earned All-SDIC First Team honors in 1992 and 1993, was named to the All-District 12 team in 1992 and 1993 and earned NAIA All-America Honorable Mention accolades as a junior and senior in 1992 and ’93. He helped the Tigers set numerous offensive records, including wins, points, rush offense and total offense.

Amanda Williams Block, a 2004 graduate of Dakota Wesleyan, played a key role during the Tiger women’s basketball team’s most successful stretch in school history. She was a four-year starter from 2000-04 and helped the Tigers to three national tournaments, two top-three finishes in the nation and a 100-41 record. She earned the National Tournament Hustle Award in 2002-03 and finished her DWU career with 1,121 points – 12th on the school’s all-time scoring list. She still holds the school record for assists average (6.9) and steals (97) in a season and assists (725), steals (327) and steal average (2.4) in a career. She also had a successful track career, and holds the school’s outdoor record in the 400-meter hurdles and was a part of several record-setting relay teams, including the 2001 sprint medley relay team that still holds the school record.

Jay Drake, a 1999 Dakota Wesleyan graduate, had a successful career at DWU after transferring into the program prior to his sophomore season. The Winner, S.D., native earned All-SDIC First Team honors in 1998 and 1999, and was named an NAIA Third Team All-American as a senior in 1999. He scored 1,087 points in his career and averaged 12.9 points per game. He played on the 1997 squad that shared the SDIC title with South Dakota Tech, and helped the Tigers to a 48-36 record in three seasons. He still holds the school record for free-throw accuracy in a game (100 percent, 15-15) and consecutive free throws (33).

Christi Harter, a 1992 DWU gradate, had a solid career for the Tiger women’s basketball team. She was a four-year starter, and played on the 1990-91 team that was co-SDIC champions with South Dakota Tech. She earned All-SDIC First Team honors in 1991 and 1992 and second team accolades as a sophomore in 1990. She held the school record for career assists (415) for many years.

Dr. Robert McWhirter has been synonymous with Dakota Wesleyan athletics for more than 25 years. He came to Mitchell in 1985, and has been working with the Tiger athletic teams ever since. He attends as many home games as possible, including nearly every home football and basketball game, and works closely with the DWU athletic training program and athletic training students – all on a volunteer basis. Dr. McWhirter also generously donated to many DWU athletic programs, including money for a new softball field, which was dedicated in 2010.