Between the girls’ and boys’ varsity basketball game at West Lyon Community School Friday evening, Dec. 21, Gwen Meyer Christie was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Gwen, who graduated from West Lyon in 1999, was a member of the 1997-1998 West Lyon girls’ basketball team that was runner-up in Class 2A state competition. Presenting the award was Jamie Carolan, one of her coaches during that season, who spoke as follows:
“What makes Gwen special? Is it that during her junior and senior seasons she helped lead her teams to a combined winning record of 44 wins and four losses, while averaging 24 points a game and 10 rebounds her senior season?
“Or is it that she played almost her entire junior year with a fractured foot, but did not tell the coaches until she was to the point of tears? She continued to play through the pain, literally limping up and down the court, but somehow still dominated each game, unwilling to sit out.
“Maybe it is because she is a leader in almost every West Lyon girls’ basketball statistical category there is. She is the second leading scorer in school history with 855 points. She holds the top five spots for most points scored in a single game, with 42 points being her highest. After one of her high-scoring games, we told her how many points she scored and good old Gwen just simply said, ‘Well, I should have; I took enough shots.’
“Gwen had the ability to score inside the paint and from the perimeter almost at will, which caused opponents major defensive struggles. This had partly to do with her dedication to the game and her work ethic. She very rarely missed an open gym and was a leader in the weight room.
“In her senior season, Gwen was named first team all-conference, first team all-district and first team all-state. She was also named an All-American scholar athlete after high school at Mount Marty College in Yanton.
“Gwen’s dad, George, never had to wonder where to find Gwen at home. He just walked out the back door where he could always find her shooting hoops, day or night, on her dirt court. He said it was very difficult to pull her away from shooting for even 10 minutes to help with the chores around the farm.
“I called Gwen and asked her if she went to state in track for shot put. Good old Gwen says, ‘Well, yeah, I did qualify, but I got second from last, and it was a fluke that I even made it.’ Then I asked her, ‘You were a 4.0 student, correct?’ She says back to me, ‘Well, I did get a A- one time, so I was a 3.975.’ I laughed and said, ‘Well, close enough. We will call it a 4.0’.”
Carolan said Gwen told him she didn’t think she should receive the hall of fame award. He said this was typical Gwen, modest and humble, and why, “above all her other awards and accomplishments, she is so special.”
Gwen and her husband, Nate, have two children, Taya, who is 3-1/2, and Trevin, who is 1.
Brian Brands, who was head girls’ basketball coach in 1998, was unable to attend the event, but sent a letter of congratulations. In it he wrote, “It was an amazing season, a season that saw us win 24 games in a row until losing to a really good Solon team in the state championship game.”
Also recognized Friday evening were Gwen’s teammates from the state runner-up team, Erin Van Houten Burtis, Kelli Kramer Mudderman, Kerri Kramer Schoening, Penny Vander Sanden Rentschler, Jodi Berentschot Beehler, Michelle Van Wyhe Gramstad, Deb Fluit Holmlund, Jamee Heyden Childress, Kelly Eiesland Koedam, Amy Mews, Erin Knobloch, Carrie Thielvoldt Roberts and Joann Meyer Nester, as well as their coaches, Irene Thielvoldt, Brands and Carolan.