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Lakeland announces sports hall of fame inductees

Lakeland High School will induct the second class into its Sports Hall of Fame this Friday between the varsity girls and boys basketball games against Garrett.

Charlie Long, Aaron Myers, Monica (Hostetler) Merchant, Brittney (Bateman) Wilson, Robert Emerick and Richard Butt make up the Class of 2018. They will join Dr. Jeff King, Drew Leer, Abby Neff, Abigail Ramer, Tina (McKowen) Sams, Matt Stout, Paul Vander Wiere, Bill Leiter, Sherry Severson, the late Tim Sirk and John Storck, who were part of the Hall of Fame’s inaugural class which was inducted last January.

Long was a star wrestler for Lakeland in the late 1980’s. He finished his career with an overall record of 127-12 with four sectional, two regional and three NECC championships to his credit. Long was a two-time runner-up at the semi-state and twice made it to the IHSAA state finals, where he finished sixth one year.

Myers won NECC, sectional and regional singles championships in each of his four years (1996-99) on the Lakeland boys tennis team and helped the Lakers to the only sectional team title (1996) in program history during his freshmen campaign. Myers finished 40-0 against NECC competition, the only player to have accomplished that fete. His overall record of 82-8 included a 46-2 mark during his junior and senior seasons. Myers garnered All-State status as a senior.

Merchant competed in cross country, basketball and track for Lakeland from 1991-95. She was a three-time All-NECC choice in cross country and placed eighth at the IHSAA state finals in the 3200-meter run, an event she still holds the school record in with a time of 11:21.3. She attended Anderson University where was a two-time All-American in cross country and track, an eight-time All-HCAC track champion and a three-time All-HCAC performer in cross country. She holds the eighth-fastest time in the marathon (2:41.35) in the state of Indiana and qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Wilson was a three-time All-NECC pick in both softball and basketball during her Lakeland athletic career. She is one of three Lady Laker softball players to be picked to play in the Indiana All-Star Series. Wilson ranks first in career assists (242), second in career hits (138) and single-season assists (89), and third in single-season hits (44). Wilson helped lead the 2005-06 Lakeland girls basketball to the NECC tournament championship. She went on to play four years of basketball and three years of softball at Huntington University.

Emerick coached the Lakeland wrestling team to seven sectional championships, two regional titles and 11 NECC crowns during his tenure. Two of his wrestlers qualified for the state finals. Emerick was voted into the IHSAA Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Butt served as the first Lakeland boys basketball coach from 1964-73. His first Laker squad went 21-3 and won an IHSAA sectional crown. Two more of his clubs (1967-68 and 1969-70) also won sectional titles. In 1983, Butt was selected by the U.S. Government, in conjunction with the International Sports Exchange, to be one of five individuals to conduct basketball clinics in Africa for teams, players and coaches.

The Lakeland-Garrett girls basketball game is scheduled to tip-off at approximately 6 p.m. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place immediately following that contest. The Lakeland and Garrett boys will take to the court after the program.