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January 24, 2020
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Four Tomcats to be inducted into East Aurora Sports Hall of Fame January 31Four Tomcats to be inducted into East Aurora Sports Hall of Fame January 31

Four former athletes of East Aurora will be inducted into the East Aurora High School Sports Hall of Fame on January 31, in honor of their contributions to the Tomcat athletic tradition.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place prior to the start of the boys’ varsity basketball game against Glenbard East.

A 4:30 p.m. reception will take place in the cafeteria, prior to the ceremony. All guests attending the reception should enter Door #8. The reception is free and open to the public. Tickets for admission to the basketball game must be purchased to attend ceremony in-between games.

Inductees for this year are:

  • Chuck Mennecke (Class of 1973)
  • Andy Toma (Class of 1985)
  • Lou Hernandez (Class of 1989)
  • April Nelson (Class of 1993)

About the inductees:

Chuck Mennecke: As a junior and senior, Chuck was a member of the varsity basketball and track teams at East High.

In basketball, as a junior, he was a member of the 1971-72 team that was Upstate Eight Conference Champions and finished 3rd in the 1972 State Tournament. Then in the 1972-73, as a senior, Chuck had a break out season. In the 1972 East Aurora Holiday Tournament, he helped lead the Tomcats to the championship by scoring 51 points in the opening game vs. Palatine. Chuck finished the tournament with 106 points, tying the all-time tournament record. He was named to the All-Tournament team and selected as the Tournament MVP. At the end of the season, Chuck was named captain and MVP of the Tomcat team. He was also a unanimous selection to the Upstate Eight All-Conference team.

On the Tomcat track team, Chuck was a sprinter, long jumper, and high jumper As a junior, he was a member of the 880-yard relay team that finished 1st in the Kane County and Upstate Eight Conference meets and set a school record. The relay team qualified for the 1972 State Track Meet by taking 1st place at the District Meet. As a senior, Chuck had an outstanding season. In the Kane County Meet, he won the 220 yard dash, anchored the winning 880 yard relay, and finished 2nd in the high jump, helping the Tomcat team to a 1st place finish. The 880 yard relay team also finished 1st at the Upstate Eight Conference Meet. Then Chuck qualified for the 1973 State Meet by winning the 220 yard dash at the District Meet, setting a school record of 22.4, and anchoring the 880 yard relay to a 1st place finish. At the end of the season, he was named the team’s MVP.

After graduating from East High, Chuck attended Western Illinois University, where he was a member of the basketball team. He then enlisted in the United States Navy. Chuck is retired after 35 years as a Process Engineer.   

He and his wife, Liz, have eight daughters: Stephanie, Brenda, Tiffany, Lisa, Jennifer, Diane, Emily, and Kimberly. They also have 14 grandchildren.

Andy Toma: Andy was an outstanding track and field athlete at East High. He transferred to East from Oswego High School his sophomore year and made an immediate impact helping the Tomcats win the Upstate 8, Kane County and IHSA Sectional championships as a sophomore high jumper.

Andy earned three varsity letters in track and field at East, and qualified for the state meet during his junior and senior years. During Andy’s junior year he was All-Conference and Kane County champion, winning the high jump at both meets. He went on to qualify for the IHSA state track meet at the sectional qualifying meet at Naperville North in the high jump.

As a senior in 1985 Andy continued his success by earning by All-Conference honors again, taking home 1st place in the 110m high hurdles and 1st in the 300m low hurdles. He duplicated this feat in the Kane County meet. At the county meet he set a then meet record in the 300m low hurdles with a time of 37.6 seconds. At the Aurora City meet he was named MVP winning four events and setting the meet record in the 300m low hurdles with a time of 38.02 sec. Also during his senior year Andy set the school record in the high jump with a leap of 6’9”. In addition in the annual dual meet with West Aurora, the 4 X 400m Relay team of (Drew, Ramsey, Toma, Hudson) won the event and established a school record of 3:20.3, which still stands today.

In the IHSA sectional state qualifying meet Andy again took home 1st place in the 110m high hurdles and 300m low hurdles qualifying for the state meet in both events. He also qualified for the state meet in the high jump and 4 x 400m relay making him one of the few athletes in East Aurora Track history to qualify in four events for the state meet. At the state meet in Charleston Andy brought home a 5th place medal in the 300m low hurdles.

After high school Andy attended Nebraska-Lincoln University earning a degree in food science. Andy owns and operates Toma Foods in Leland, IL. He has four children, Heather, Kiersten, Stephen and Alyssa.

Lou Hernandez: Lou was an outstanding football and baseball player at East High. He earned two varsity letters in football and was team captain his senior year. He was selected Honorable Mention Upstate-8 All-Conference Quarterback. A highlight of his senior season was the comeback victory over West High which knocked West out of the playoffs. Lou ran for one touchdown and passed for three.

In baseball, Lou earned three varsity letters. In both his junior and senior years, Lou was team captain, Upstate-8 All-Conference, and in his senior year was named to the All-Area Baseball Team. Lou was the number one pitcher for the Tomcats accumulating 65 strikeouts in his junior year, and 75 strikeouts in his senior year. His earned run average was under 2.00 both seasons.

Lou attended Aurora University, graduating in 1993 with a degree in accounting. He was a member of the Spartan baseball. Lou earned four varsity baseball letters, served as team captain in his senior year, was team MVP in 1992, twice a member of the NIIC-All Conference team and 1992 NIIC Conference Player of the Year. His 1990 Aurora university baseball team finished 2nd at the Division III National Tournament and the team was inducted into the Aurora University Hall of Fame. Lou’s career stats include 26 wins and only 6 losses, plus 13 saves.

Lou is Director of Financial Reporting and Budgeting for the Eby-Brown Company (8 years). He is a member of Aurora Boys Baseball Hall of Fame and the treasurer of the Aurora East Education Foundation. Lou has been active in the Aurora community coaching boys Little League and Travel League baseball and girl’s Junior High basketball.

Lou is married to another former Tomcat, Julie Klespitz. They have six children (Louis Jr, Jenna, Lexie, Dylan, Payton and Max).  

April Nelson: April attended Oak Park Elementary, Waldo Middle School, and graduated from East Aurora High School in 1993. During her four years at East High, April was a three-sport athlete, excelling in cross country, basketball and track & field.

As a senior in cross country, April was named the team’s Most Valuable Runner. April placed 1st at the City of Aurora Cross Country Meet and helped her teammates capture the first place trophy. In Basketball April was a three-year varsity starter and was selected to the Upstate 8 Honorable mention All-Conference team as a senior.

However, it was in track and field where April really stood out. During her four years as a track & field athlete April had many accomplishments and holds two school records that still stand today. As a freshman, April and her teammates captured the team title at the Upstate 8 Conference indoor meet. Outdoors, in both the Kane County and Upstate 8 Conference meets, April was a member of the 1st place 1600-meter relay team. In the IHSA Sectionals, April and her teammates qualified to compete in the IHSA Track Meet in the 800-medley relay.

As a sophomore, April took 1st place in the 400-meter dash, 800 meter run and the 1600-meter relay at the Kane County Meet. April’s performance in the 800-meter run set a new meet and school record with a time of 2:23:8. Due to her outstanding performance, April was named the Most Valuable Runner of the meet and was also named Chicago Tribune’s Female Athlete of the Week. At the Upstate 8 conference meet April place 2nd in both the 400 meter dash and 800 meter run. To finish her sophomore season April qualified for the IHSA State Meet in the 400-meter dash and 800-medley relay.

During her junior year, April took 1st place in the 800-meter run at the Upstate 8 Conference meet breaking her school record with a time of 2:23.0. April was also a member of the 1st place 3200-meter relay (Ellertson, Fox, Garcia, Nelson) which also set a new school record of 10:15.1., this record still stands today.

As a senior, April was named co-captain of the track & field team. At the Kane County meet, April and her teammates placed 1st in the 800-medley and 1600-meter relays. In the Upstate 8 Conference meet, April was a member of the winning 400-meter and 1600-meter relays. The 1600-meter relay team of (Ellertson, T. Lake, Nelson, Oliver) set a new school record with a time of 4:08.5. which is still the school record. At the IHSA Sectional meet, April and her teammates qualified for the IHSA state meet by winning the 400-meter relay and 800-medley relay. April also qualified for the state meet in the 1600-meter relay as a senior. April’s 800 medley relay team capped her senior year by earning a 3rd place medal at the IHSA State meet.

April was extremely valuable in helping the 1992 & 1993 teams win consecutive Upstate 8 Conference titles and three consecutive Kane County Team Championships (1991-1993). April finished her athletic career at East High by being named the 1993 Female Athlete of the Year.

After graduating from East Aurora High School, April attended Robert Morris University where she received her bachelor’s in business in 2002. She attended Aurora University and received her master’s degree in business in 2006. April has worked at Honeywell for the past 16 years as a Global Strategic Sourcing Manager. April and her husband, Mark Niemeyer, currently live in San Diego with their 3 sons: Javon Burnett, and twin sons Justin and Jayson Niemeyer.

 

Four former athletes of East Aurora will be inducted into the East Aurora High School Sports Hall of Fame on January 31, in honor of their contributions to the Tomcat athletic tradition.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place prior to the start of the boys’ varsity basketball game against Glenbard East.

A 4:30 p.m. reception will take place in the cafeteria, prior to the ceremony. All guests attending the reception should enter Door #8. The reception is free and open to the public. Tickets for admission to the basketball game must be purchased to attend ceremony in-between games.

Inductees for this year are:

  • Chuck Mennecke (Class of 1973)
  • Andy Toma (Class of 1985)
  • Lou Hernandez (Class of 1989)
  • April Nelson (Class of 1993)

About the inductees:

Chuck Mennecke: As a junior and senior, Chuck was a member of the varsity basketball and track teams at East High.

In basketball, as a junior, he was a member of the 1971-72 team that was Upstate Eight Conference Champions and finished 3rd in the 1972 State Tournament. Then in the 1972-73, as a senior, Chuck had a break out season. In the 1972 East Aurora Holiday Tournament, he helped lead the Tomcats to the championship by scoring 51 points in the opening game vs. Palatine. Chuck finished the tournament with 106 points, tying the all-time tournament record. He was named to the All-Tournament team and selected as the Tournament MVP. At the end of the season, Chuck was named captain and MVP of the Tomcat team. He was also a unanimous selection to the Upstate Eight All-Conference team.

On the Tomcat track team, Chuck was a sprinter, long jumper, and high jumper As a junior, he was a member of the 880-yard relay team that finished 1st in the Kane County and Upstate Eight Conference meets and set a school record. The relay team qualified for the 1972 State Track Meet by taking 1st place at the District Meet. As a senior, Chuck had an outstanding season. In the Kane County Meet, he won the 220 yard dash, anchored the winning 880 yard relay, and finished 2nd in the high jump, helping the Tomcat team to a 1st place finish. The 880 yard relay team also finished 1st at the Upstate Eight Conference Meet. Then Chuck qualified for the 1973 State Meet by winning the 220 yard dash at the District Meet, setting a school record of 22.4, and anchoring the 880 yard relay to a 1st place finish. At the end of the season, he was named the team’s MVP.

After graduating from East High, Chuck attended Western Illinois University, where he was a member of the basketball team. He then enlisted in the United States Navy. Chuck is retired after 35 years as a Process Engineer.   

He and his wife, Liz, have eight daughters: Stephanie, Brenda, Tiffany, Lisa, Jennifer, Diane, Emily, and Kimberly. They also have 14 grandchildren.

Andy Toma: Andy was an outstanding track and field athlete at East High. He transferred to East from Oswego High School his sophomore year and made an immediate impact helping the Tomcats win the Upstate 8, Kane County and IHSA Sectional championships as a sophomore high jumper.

Andy earned three varsity letters in track and field at East, and qualified for the state meet during his junior and senior years. During Andy’s junior year he was All-Conference and Kane County champion, winning the high jump at both meets. He went on to qualify for the IHSA state track meet at the sectional qualifying meet at Naperville North in the high jump.

As a senior in 1985 Andy continued his success by earning by All-Conference honors again, taking home 1st place in the 110m high hurdles and 1st in the 300m low hurdles. He duplicated this feat in the Kane County meet. At the county meet he set a then meet record in the 300m low hurdles with a time of 37.6 seconds. At the Aurora City meet he was named MVP winning four events and setting the meet record in the 300m low hurdles with a time of 38.02 sec. Also during his senior year Andy set the school record in the high jump with a leap of 6’9”. In addition in the annual dual meet with West Aurora, the 4 X 400m Relay team of (Drew, Ramsey, Toma, Hudson) won the event and established a school record of 3:20.3, which still stands today.

In the IHSA sectional state qualifying meet Andy again took home 1st place in the 110m high hurdles and 300m low hurdles qualifying for the state meet in both events. He also qualified for the state meet in the high jump and 4 x 400m relay making him one of the few athletes in East Aurora Track history to qualify in four events for the state meet. At the state meet in Charleston Andy brought home a 5th place medal in the 300m low hurdles.

After high school Andy attended Nebraska-Lincoln University earning a degree in food science. Andy owns and operates Toma Foods in Leland, IL. He has four children, Heather, Kiersten, Stephen and Alyssa.

Lou Hernandez: Lou was an outstanding football and baseball player at East High. He earned two varsity letters in football and was team captain his senior year. He was selected Honorable Mention Upstate-8 All-Conference Quarterback. A highlight of his senior season was the comeback victory over West High which knocked West out of the playoffs. Lou ran for one touchdown and passed for three.

In baseball, Lou earned three varsity letters. In both his junior and senior years, Lou was team captain, Upstate-8 All-Conference, and in his senior year was named to the All-Area Baseball Team. Lou was the number one pitcher for the Tomcats accumulating 65 strikeouts in his junior year, and 75 strikeouts in his senior year. His earned run average was under 2.00 both seasons.

Lou attended Aurora University, graduating in 1993 with a degree in accounting. He was a member of the Spartan baseball. Lou earned four varsity baseball letters, served as team captain in his senior year, was team MVP in 1992, twice a member of the NIIC-All Conference team and 1992 NIIC Conference Player of the Year. His 1990 Aurora university baseball team finished 2nd at the Division III National Tournament and the team was inducted into the Aurora University Hall of Fame. Lou’s career stats include 26 wins and only 6 losses, plus 13 saves.

Lou is Director of Financial Reporting and Budgeting for the Eby-Brown Company (8 years). He is a member of Aurora Boys Baseball Hall of Fame and the treasurer of the Aurora East Education Foundation. Lou has been active in the Aurora community coaching boys Little League and Travel League baseball and girl’s Junior High basketball.

Lou is married to another former Tomcat, Julie Klespitz. They have six children (Louis Jr, Jenna, Lexie, Dylan, Payton and Max).  

April Nelson: April attended Oak Park Elementary, Waldo Middle School, and graduated from East Aurora High School in 1993. During her four years at East High, April was a three-sport athlete, excelling in cross country, basketball and track & field.

As a senior in cross country, April was named the team’s Most Valuable Runner. April placed 1st at the City of Aurora Cross Country Meet and helped her teammates capture the first place trophy. In Basketball April was a three-year varsity starter and was selected to the Upstate 8 Honorable mention All-Conference team as a senior.

However, it was in track and field where April really stood out. During her four years as a track & field athlete April had many accomplishments and holds two school records that still stand today. As a freshman, April and her teammates captured the team title at the Upstate 8 Conference indoor meet. Outdoors, in both the Kane County and Upstate 8 Conference meets, April was a member of the 1st place 1600-meter relay team. In the IHSA Sectionals, April and her teammates qualified to compete in the IHSA Track Meet in the 800-medley relay.

As a sophomore, April took 1st place in the 400-meter dash, 800 meter run and the 1600-meter relay at the Kane County Meet. April’s performance in the 800-meter run set a new meet and school record with a time of 2:23:8. Due to her outstanding performance, April was named the Most Valuable Runner of the meet and was also named Chicago Tribune’s Female Athlete of the Week. At the Upstate 8 conference meet April place 2nd in both the 400 meter dash and 800 meter run. To finish her sophomore season April qualified for the IHSA State Meet in the 400-meter dash and 800-medley relay.

During her junior year, April took 1st place in the 800-meter run at the Upstate 8 Conference meet breaking her school record with a time of 2:23.0. April was also a member of the 1st place 3200-meter relay (Ellertson, Fox, Garcia, Nelson) which also set a new school record of 10:15.1., this record still stands today.

As a senior, April was named co-captain of the track & field team. At the Kane County meet, April and her teammates placed 1st in the 800-medley and 1600-meter relays. In the Upstate 8 Conference meet, April was a member of the winning 400-meter and 1600-meter relays. The 1600-meter relay team of (Ellertson, T. Lake, Nelson, Oliver) set a new school record with a time of 4:08.5. which is still the school record. At the IHSA Sectional meet, April and her teammates qualified for the IHSA state meet by winning the 400-meter relay and 800-medley relay. April also qualified for the state meet in the 1600-meter relay as a senior. April’s 800 medley relay team capped her senior year by earning a 3rd place medal at the IHSA State meet.

April was extremely valuable in helping the 1992 & 1993 teams win consecutive Upstate 8 Conference titles and three consecutive Kane County Team Championships (1991-1993). April finished her athletic career at East High by being named the 1993 Female Athlete of the Year.

After graduating from East Aurora High School, April attended Robert Morris University where she received her bachelor’s in business in 2002. She attended Aurora University and received her master’s degree in business in 2006. April has worked at Honeywell for the past 16 years as a Global Strategic Sourcing Manager. April and her husband, Mark Niemeyer, currently live in San Diego with their 3 sons: Javon Burnett, and twin sons Justin and Jayson Niemeyer.