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East Aurora School District 131
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Friday, January 27, 2017

Five Tomcats will be inducted into East Aurora Sports Hall of Fame on January 27

AURORA, IL – Four former athletes and a friend of East Aurora will be inducted into the East Aurora High School Sports Hall of Fame in honor of their contributions to the Tomcat athletic tradition.

A reception to honor the inductees will take place in the East Aurora High School student cafeteria at 4:30 p.m. Friday, January 27. The reception is open to the public.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Friday between the girls and boys East Aurora vs. West Aurora basketball games. The ceremony will take place at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Inductees for this year are:

Jack Hollis (class of 1973) baseball, basketball
Craig “Cubby” Lathen (class of 1981) basketball
• Sheila Oliver (class of 1993) basketball, track & field
• Jim Orstead (class of 1964) wrestling
• Tom Strong (Friend of East Aurora)

About the inductees:

Jack Hollis was a two-sport athlete at East High, excelling in basketball and baseball. During his junior year, Jack helped East High reach the final four in the Illinois High School State Basketball Tournament, finishing third in state. Jack was named to the All-State Tournament Second Team for his outstanding play during the tournament. Jack led his team in scoring and was the third highest scorer in the conference.

In baseball, Jack was a three-year varsity starter where he pitched and played outfield. He was named to the Up-State 8 All-Conference Team and selected as a pitcher for the Chicago Sun-Times All-Star Team.

After graduating from East High, Jack attended the University of Kansas on a basketball scholarship. He later transferred to the University of New Mexico (U of NM), where he pitched for two seasons (1976 & 1977). In 1977, Jack was drafted in the eighth round by the Toronto Blue Jays. He pitched for two years in the Toronto farm system.

Jack is retired, after working over 30 years in the design and marketing of healthcare life/safety systems in the Chicago area.

Craig “Cubby” Lathen helped the 1980 and 1981 basketball team win consecutive Up-State 8 Conference and regional titles and reaching the sectional tournament. The 1980 team earned a record of 25 wins and only 3 losses, while the 1981 team finished the season 23-3.

As a senior, Cubby’s team set the Illinois record for most single-season 100-point performances. Cubby was one of three players on the team to average more than 20 points a game. Cubby was a unanimous selection to the Up-State 8 Conference team. Cubby was chosen to the Sun-Times All-Area Team, the McDonald’s Athletes for a Better Education Suburban All Star team, and was named special mention to the All-State team.

After graduating from East Aurora High School, Cubby attended the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) where he played basketball for four years (1981-1985) and achieved many accolades.

Cubby works for the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association and is a certified IHSA basketball, baseball and softball official.

Sheila Oliver was a two-year varsity starter in basketball. During her junior year, Sheila led the team in in steals (145) and was named to the Second Team Up-State 8 Conference and to the Fox-Valley All Area Team. As a senior, she received top honors and was selected to the Up-State 8 All-Conference First Team, and broke her own record in steals with 167.

In track & field, Sheila was instrumental in helping the 1992 and 1993 team win consecutive Up-State 8 Conference titles and reaching the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) state finals. Sheila was a member of the 1600-meter relay team that broke the Up-State 8 Conference and school record. This school record still stands today.

As a senior, Sheila was name co-captain and led the team to an outstanding record of 10 wins and 2 losses. Her success continued in the 400-meter dash as she was crowned the Glenbard East, Kane County and sectional tournament champion. She and members of the 400-meter relay, 1600-meter relay, and the 800 medley relay—all qualified for the state competition. Sheila anchored the 800 medley relay which came home with an impressive third place finish.

Jim Orstead was an exceptional wrestler at East High. As a senior he placed second in the sectional and IHSA state tournament. Jim’s varsity team is the only team in school history to bring home a 3rd place state trophy. Jim finished his outstanding wrestling career at East High with 103 wins and only 5 losses.

After graduating from East Aurora High School, Jim accepted a wrestling scholarship to Southern Illinois University (SIU) and wrestled for two years before joining the Air Force during the Vietnam War. After serving four years (1967-1971) for our country in the Air Force, Jim returned to SIU and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1973.

Jim was recruited by the Coors Brewing Company immediately after his graduation and worked for 22 years in the Human Resources Department (both domestic and international). He also was a vice-president for several large corporations and a corporate officer. His career spanned for over 47 years and he continues as a human resources consultant.


Tom Strong is a friend of East Aurora as a long-time fixture at East High School and School District 131. Tom graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1969 with a major in business. In 1975 he began teaching at East High. Tom taught Consumer Ed, Business Law, and Business Math for 27 years until he retired in 2002.

For many years Tom served as assistant ticket manager for East High, and ticket manager for the Illinois High School Association regional, sectional, and super-sectional tournaments hosted by East Aurora. He also was an assistant ticket manager for all football, basketball, and wrestling home games. For 22 years Tom served the press-box official for home football games and worked crowd control, substitute bench official, and announcer for home boys’ basketball games.


East-West game Friday

All remaining tickets for the East-West girls and boys basketball games will go on sale at 4:45 p.m. Friday at the Ponquinette Field House ticket booth at East Aurora High School, 500 Tomcat Lane. The Tomcat girls will host the Blackhawks at 5:30 p.m. Friday, and the boys’ game will follow. Doors open at 4:45 p.m.

Posted on 1/27/2017
Added by Silvana Lecaros on 2/7/2017 1:04 PM


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