Wheeling adding three to athletic hall of fame

  • Dave Dunbar will be part of an induction ceremony to the Wheeling Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday, Dec. 15.

      Dave Dunbar will be part of an induction ceremony to the Wheeling Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday, Dec. 15. Joe Leward file, Aug. 2006 | Staff Photographer

Updated 11/21/2017 4:51 PM

A trio of standout Wheeling athletes and coaches are headed into the high school's Class of 2018 Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday, Dec. 15.

Dave Dunbar, Nikki Keith and Thomas Malicki will be honored in a ceremony at approximately 8:15 p.m., at halftime of the basketball game vs. Rolling Meadows. There is a 6 p.m. girls game and the boys game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.


Here is a closer look at the three inductees:

Dave Dunbar: Dunbar spent more than 35 years making a positive impact across multiple sports. Most of those years were in District 214 and at Wheeling. He joined the varsity football staff in 1988-89. He served as the defensive coordinator for 11 seasons and helped guide the Wildcats to the playoffs in 1994 and 1996. In 2001, Dunbar became Wheeling's head coach, serving for 13 seasons. His teams qualified for the playoffs in 2007 and 2008 and he is the only coach in Wheeling history to guide a team to back-to-back playoff appearances.

In college, Dunbar earned a degree from Taylor University, where he played defensive tackle and elected a captain his senior year. He came to District 214 in 1985 as a math teacher and coach at Rolling Meadows High School. He also spent a number of years coaching wrestling and was a constant presence at many Wheeling events. He currently is a varsity football assistant coach at Hersey.

Nikki Keith: Keith was an outstanding three-sport athlete at Wheeling, excelling in volleyball, basketball, and track and field. A two-time volleyball all-conference pick, Keith helped the Wildcats win a regional in 1994. She also earned all-conference basketball honors twice.

In track and field, she was two-time MSL discus champion and two-time sectional champion. She qualified for the state meet three times. In the shot put, she was a three-time MSL champion and a three-time sectional champion. She was also a four-time state qualifier in the shot. Keith was an all-state thrower, taking third place in 1993 and second in 1994. She was Wheeling's Athlete of the Year in 1995.

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Keith was part of three Big Ten Conference indoor championship teams at Michigan and three outdoor championship teams. She was voted a Wolverines team captain and was the Big 10 runner up in the indoor shot. Keith was voted the outstanding female field athlete in the Big 10 and broke the Michigan record in the hammer throw in 1998.

After college, Keith entered the teaching profession and has coached at a number of high schools. One of her proudest moments as a coach was when one of her athletes won the Minnesota shot put state championship. Keith is now a third-grade teacher and aspiring to be principal.

Thomas Malicki: Malicki was an outstanding football, basketball, and baseball player at Wheeling. He was named all-area in all three sports. He served as a team captain and was voted MVP of the football team his senior year.

He was named to the all-tournament team of the Hardwood Classic while leading the Wildcats to the 1979 championship. He was also a four-year standout in the baseball program.


Malicki was Wheeling's 1979-80 Athlete of the Year and he went on to play baseball at Creighton. where he received a degree in accounting in 1984.

Today he is a managing partner of the Abrahams, Kaslow, Cassman Law Firm in Omaha, Neb., and a member of Best Lawyers in America for Trusts and Estates. He was voted a top 100 attorney by Worth Magazine.

Pettenuzzo to Oshkosh

Two-time Mid-Suburban League all-conference golfer Margherite Pettenuzzo has committed to the women's golf team at Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

"I am really excited to continue my golf career at such a great university," she said. "I was blessed with some Division I (Eastern Illinois) and Division II (Winona State) opportunities. But in the end, Oshkosh UWO was the best fit for me.

"Coach (Jim) Hamann and his staff at Prospect along with my swing coach Erik Pick have prepared me for this wonderful opportunity and I am so grateful to them and all my teammates. I look forward to upholding the great tradition of Prospect's girls golf program at the next level."

As a junior, Pettenuzzo placed 62nd in the state with a two-day total of 165. She had a low round of 35 for nine holes and 76 for 18.

"Margherite has a great story and she is just getting started," Hamann said. "She has a tremendous amount of potential. As a freshman we saw a lot of athletic ability in her. She was on the varsity team because we wanted to have her practicing with us."

Hamann said her hard work for two years elevated her game to be a team leader in scoring and one of the best players in the area.

"She has a fantastic supporting cast with her family, coaches and friends," Hamann added. "Marguerite has an excellent golf swing and she is learning to score low. Oshkosh is extremely lucky to get her. You couldn't ask for a better teammate than Margherite Pettenuzzo."


University of New Hampshire junior middle blocker Gabri Olhava (Hersey) was named to the America East all-conference first team.

A second-team honoree last year, Olhava leads New Hampshire in hitting percentage (. 296) and blocks (74). She also ranks second on the team in kills (263) and kills/set (2.66), points (341), points/set (3.44) and service aces (31).

On the America East leaderboard, Olhava is third in hitting percentage, fifth in service aces per set, seventh in points/set and eighth in kills/set. In conference-only matches, Olhava, the only Wildcat to play all 99 sets this season, smashed the ball with a .335 hitting percentage. She was a three-time Player of the Week this season.

New Hampshire is the four-time defending America east tournament champion.


Augustana senior Grant Burke (Hersey) was named to the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin second team at defensive end.

Burke, who moved to end this year from linebacker, was Augustana's sixth-leading tackler with 24 solo stops and 38 total. His 11 tackles for loss were twice as many as anyone else on the team and he tied for second on the team with 2½ sacks.

Burke finished his career with 143 tackles (71 solo and 72 assisted), including 22½ for loss and 6½ sacks. He also had a pair of forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.


The Arlington Stallions Rugby Club's 'Recruiting/Information Social' will take place at the Sports Page Restaurant in Arlington Heights on Wednesday, Dec. 6 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Coaches and current members will be on hand to answer questions about the club. Refreshments will be served.

The club's annual 'signup Day' will take place on Saturday, Dec. 9 from 9 a.m. to noon at Camelot Park in Arlington Heights.

The Stallions are the defending Illinois Olympic Rugby State Champions. Club alumni have moved on to successful playing experiences at Purdue, Ohio State, Illinois, Iowa, Davenport, St. Mary's (Calif.), Colorado and Kansas universities. More information about the club is available at www.arlingtonstallionsrugby.com

• Email Sports Notes items to jleusch@dailyherald.com

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