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Central’s Athletic Hall of Fame welcomes five new inductees

Five+Central+Alumni+alumni+were+welcomed+back+to+Central+on+Jan.+26+to+be+inducted+into+the+schools+Athletic+Hall+of+Fame.
Sam Lockhart
Five Central Alumni alumni were welcomed back to Central on Jan. 26 to be inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Central admitted five new members to its Athletic Hall of Fame at an annual induction ceremony on Jan. 26. The inductees participated in a tour of the school, a panel discussion and award ceremony planned by Central athletic ambassadors and Central’s Athletic Hall of Fame committee. 

There have been 10 classes of inductees since the Athletic Hall of Fame’s debut in 2013. 

The five inductees are athletes Nicky Lopez, Lois Madsen, Erica Carter, Rodney Landorf and the late wrestling coach Bill Young. 

Nicky Lopez graduated from Central in 2013 and helped the Redhawks win the IHSA Baseball Sectional Championship in 2012. Lopez continued to play baseball at Creighton University in college before being drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the fifth round of the 2016 Major League Baseball draft. On May 14, 2019, Lopez became the first Naperville Central baseball player to play in the major leagues. Last November, Lopez was traded to his hometown team, the Chicago White Sox, where he will play as a shortstop.

Lopez said his sports-oriented family and his father, Bob Lopez — who is also a member of the Redhawk Hall of Fame — greatly influenced him. Being a leader in Adapted PE at Central was something he remembered fondly as well. 

“Whether you had a tough practice in the morning at basketball or baseball, or you know you just flunked a test, [in] Adapted PE, it’s not about you. It’s about the kids,” Lopez said. “It was a highlight of my day.”

Lois Madsen, who graduated in 1975, was a female athlete when there were little sports facilities available for girls. As a groundbreaker, she played a multitude of sports including softball, badminton, track and field and volleyball. She became a volleyball and soccer coach at Bolingbrook, Wheaton Central and Downers Grove North High School.

“[Gender equality in sports] still has a really long way to go,” Madsen said. “Until you start seeing more women coaches, women coaching men and traditionally men’s sports and more women officiating [sports], there’s still a long way to go. Even though we’ve made huge strides, and there’s lots of opportunities, I want to see some women umpires in baseball because there shouldn’t be any reason why they’re not there.”

Erica Carter is another accomplished female athlete from a different generation. A four-year starter in Central’s women’s basketball program, Carter helped the Redhawks win one of two state championships. In 2006, Carter was featured in the Sun Times, The Daily Herald and McDonald’s All American Games.

Despite the persistent gender inequality, Carter feels proud of women’s sport accomplishments. 

“I think [it] shows, especially this past year with NCAA championships, that we’ve been able to prove that not only that we’re amazing athletes, but that we can hold our own,” Carter said.

Rodney Landorf graduated in 1962 and was one of the top wrestlers in Naperville Central’s program history. He would finish first at the Palatine Holiday Tournament, first in a Little 7 Conference tournament and first in the IHSA sectional tournament which qualified him for the IHSA state finals. He joined the Army in 1966 as a second lieutenant, then a captain. Landorf earned the Bronze Star from his year serving in the Vietnam War. 

Bill Young was a dean and a dedicated wrestling coach. He passed away in 2014. His son, Dan Young, accepted the award on his father’s behalf.  Young was also the Chief of the Naperville Park Police, a Naperville Park District Commissioner and acting Executive Director of the Park District. 

“He truly loved the students,” Young said. “We would go to other sporting events as a kid—not just wrestling, just to check in and see how everybody’s doing and it was just a lot of fun.”

Unequivocally, Naperville Central has had great impacts on each of these inductees. 

“Till this day, I still come back to Central whenever I can just [for] the people here and [to say] hello to the teachers and coaches,” Lopez said. “It’s things like this that will stick with me for the rest of my life.”

 

For more on each inductee, click their name below.

Erica Carter

Rodney Landorf

Nicky Lopez

Lois Madsen

Bill Young

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About the Contributor
Elaine Zhou
Elaine Zhou, Features Editor
Elaine Zhou is a junior, and this is her second year with Central Times. Elaine is a lover of all types of writing- especially ones telling the stories of people around her. Along with being a student journalist, she is the vice president of Chinese Club, a staff of Literary Magazine, a member of Yearbook and a violinist. She is currently addicted to retail therapy, stationary and is gaslighting herself to like biology for the rest of her life. 
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