Orion High School inducted the 1981 wrestling team, a Purdue professor and three individuals into the Hall of Fame on Friday, Feb. 3.

Here are Principal Nathan DeBaillie’s remarks for the occasion.

Orion High School inducted the 1981 wrestling team, a Purdue professor and three individuals into the Hall of Fame on Friday, Feb. 3.
Below are Principal Nathan DeBaillie’s remarks for the occasion.

Chris Spillum, Class of 1997

Chris was a vital member of two state-qualifying wrestling teams in 1995 and 1997. His individual honors include being a four-year varsity letter winner, a three-time All-Conference member, a two-time state qualifier and the state runner-up in 1997 at 126 lbs. with a record of 41-3.

After graduation, he attended Augustana College where he received his bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting in 2001.

Chris has been employed with Wells Fargo since 2003 and is currently a mortgage consultant in their company.

He is here tonight with his wife Stacey, and their son Graham.

Kristy (Kunert) Sandberg, Class of 1991

Kristy was always on the move while here at OHS. She was a member of the volleyball, basketball, softball and track teams as well as a cheerleader and Executive Council member. It was in the areas of volleyball and basketball where Kristy showcased her talents.

As a volleyball player, she was named All-Conference and MVP as a junior and senior. On the basketball court she was again named All-Conference as a junior and senior to go along with an MVP award her junior year.

Further honors during Kristy’s high school career included being named Who’s Who among High School Students as a junior and senior, earning All-Western Illinois Honors, participating in the Kewanee Hoopfest and Monmouth College All-Star games, and winning the 3-point contest at Hoopfest.

She was also the recipient of the American Legion Citizenship Award and a member of the Top 10 percent in her graduating class.

After graduation, Kristy attended North Central College where she played both volleyball and basketball. She continued to earn more honors there, being named CCIW All-Conference twice in volleyball.

She made three All-Tournament teams in volleyball and was a two-time CCIW All-Academic Member as part of the basketball team.  

During Kristy’s senior year she was named the captain of both the volleyball and basketball teams and earned the basketball team’s Pat Paski Sportsmanship award.

She rounded out her senior year by being named North Central College’s Female Athlete of the Year.

Kristy is here tonight with her husband Jeff and her kids Aubrey and Tyler and the family is expecting a new addition in July.

Paul Lindsey, Class of 1965

Already in the OHS Hall of Fame for his part on the undefeated 1964-65 football team, Paul is now being recognized for his own individual achievement.

Paul had a busy high school career at OHS, earning 12 varsity letters in football, basketball, and track combined.  

As a junior, he was named Honorable Mention All-Conference and All-Western Illinois in both football and basketball.

He again earned Honorable Mention All-Conference and All-Western Illinois status in basketball his senior year as part of the Cornbelt Conference Champions.

However, for his role on that undefeated football team he was named first team All-Conference, All-Western Illinois and first team All-State at the guard and linebacker positions.

Post high school, Paul attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison earning his bachelor of arts degree and has furthered his education by attaining several different banking certifications.

Paul is currently a Senior Trust Officer for The Farmers National Bank where he has co-authored several articles on bank assets and liability management.

Additionally, Paul has had many civics duties which have included serving on several boards including Geneseo Youth Football, the Geneseo Chamber of Commerce, the GIFT Foundation and as the Henry County Housing Authority Commissioner.

Paul and his wife Coke have two children, Jon and Mandy, and four grandchildren Taylor, Skylar, Alec and Jenna.

Winthrop Gustafson, Class of 1946

In high school, Winthrop was an active member of the band and part of a clarinet quartet that received a I rating at a contest in Ottawa, Illinois.
This achievement made them eligible for the state contest that year.
His musical ability carried over outside of school as well, as he was a member of local band called the Hungary Seven during his junior year.  

In addition to the arts, Winthrop was also part of the track and basketball teams for four years.

As a basketball player, Winthrop was on the 1944 and 1945 team which beat United Township in back-to-back years and also won the conference championship in 1946.

Finally, during the one year he played football, the team won the conference championship.

Although Winthrop had a successful high school career, it is his post-high school achievements that have earned him this honor today.

In 1950, he graduated with high honors from the University of Illinois earning a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering.

From 1951-1953, he honorably served as a 1st Lieutenant in the United States Air Force.

(Audience applause)

After completing his service, he returned to school and earned both his master’s in 1954 and his doctorate in 1956 in aeronautical Engineering.

From 1956 to 1960, Winthrop worked as a research engineer at Lockheed Missiles and Space Corporation.

He then moved on to Purdue University as a professor of aeronautical engineering from 1960-1998. While there, he served as the associate head of the department for 18 years and as the acting head of the department for one year.

Purdue University now presents the W. A. Gustafson Award each year to the top professor in the Aeronautical Engineering Department as voted on by the junior and senior students.

Winthrop is here tonight with his wife Sarah. Together they have four sons, Charles, Scott, John and Richard, and have been blessed with five grandchildren, Noah, Myah, Sara, Briana, and Ellie.

1981 Wrestling Team

The 1980-81 season was a special one for the Orion Charger wrestling team, as they had a perfect 17-0 regular season to lead them to an Olympic Conference Championship.

This team didn’t just win meets but they dominated them. With only 12 weight classes compared to the 14 we see today, they outscored their opponents by an incredible 872-182.

During this season of dominance they accomplished two shutouts and held nine teams to 6 or less points.

This team also had great success in regular-season tournaments. They finished in first place as a team at the Cambridge, Kewanee and Olympic conference tournaments.

All 12 of the wrestlers placed in the conference tournament, and six of the team members were conference champions.

Their regular-season success carried over to the regionals, where they placed first as a team and advanced 11 of their 12 wrestlers to sectionals by having six regional champions and five placing third.

The team placed fourth at sectionals, where three would advance to the state tournament and eventually result in one state placer.

The overwhelming consistency of the entire team is what made this group special. One team member put it best in just a few words: “Great Coach – Great Team – Great Memories.”

Letterwinners include:

Manager Steve Balmer
Mike Ayers
Brett Bingham
Steve Brodd
Rich Bunton
Dan Diamond
Mike Eckhart
Jeff Ferry
Dave Gardner
Todd Hamilton
Troy Hamilton
Steve Hickerson
Troy Hogren
Mike Jones
Rich Kennedy
Rich McSwain
Brad Peterson
Dewey Peterson
Bob Redecker
Mike Redecker
Jeff Rusk
Steve Schneider
Craig Seabloom
Mark Simpson
Mike Snow
Doug Stoeber
Kurt Stoeber
Bart Wernick
Coach Bob Mitton