WATERLOO — The Waterloo Optimist Club has welcomed a large class into its athletic Hall of Fame.
Ron Varney, Jerry Anders, Ben McMahon, Jadyn Spencer, Molly Tideback, Larry White and the 1991 Waterloo West High School state championship baseball team were inducted into the Hall on June 2.
Varney is a longtime Optimist Club member who has been heavily involved in West High and UNI wrestling. Anders played Optimist baseball, was a three-sport athlete in high school, an assistant coach in track and field at West High and in cross country at Waverly-Shell Rock and a 34-year official in baseball, football and basketball.
McMahon was an Optimist World Series champion with both the Dodgers and the Tigers before a three-sport high school career at Columbus. He then played football at Loras and earned first-team all-conference honors.
Spencer went from her days of Optimist softball to an all-state, record-setting career at Waterloo West and then to Alabama where she enjoyed continued success and was part of three NCAA World Series teams, including the 2012 squad that won the national championship.
Tideback’s Optimist roots were the beginning of an exceptional athletic career, mostly in basketball. She was an all-state standout at Waterloo Columbus, Iowa’s Miss Basketball in 1988, the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year at UCLA and then finished her college career at Iowa where she was part of the 1993 Final Four team. After a stop in the WNBA, she became a coach and is currently coaching girls’ basketball at the high school level.
White spent more than 20 years as an Optimist baseball coach with the Orioles, while also coaching baseball and basketball in local schools.
The West High baseball team, coached by Roger Hoel and Mark Engel, owned a collective batting average of .336 with 35 homers and had a staff earned-run average of 1.89.
Team members were Ron Abrigo, Dan Blecha, Ben Brustkern, Brent Buehler, Jason Cashman, Chad Darter, Doug Dehl, John DeKoster, Jason DePaepe, Scott Eibey, Jason Erpelding, Ryan Frank, Jason Fraze, Chris Gaudian, Andy Gericke, Ryan Harmon, Chad Helgerson, Brad Homewood, Mike Irvine, Darin Kacher, Josh Keister, Rob Koch, Ryan McCalley, Rick Miller, Chad Roethler, Aaron Schroeder, Dave Susong, Chris Weber, Jamie Welch and Darin Zacharias.