Bowen, Goering, Nickoley going into Topeka/Shawnee County Sports Hall of Fame

Photos courtesy of the Topeka Capital-Journal

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Topeka/Shawnee County Sports Hall of Fame has unveiled its Class of 2019.

Former Washburn Rural football coach Rod Bowen, Topeka Capital-Journal sportswriter Pete Goering and Shawnee Heights track star Trisa Nickoley will be inducted in a ceremony at the Downtown Ramada on June 26. Goering is a posthumous induction, as he passed away in 2009 at the age of 60.

Below are the biographies of the three from the Topeka/Shawnee County Sports Hall of Fame.

Ron Bowen graduated from Hiawatha High School in 1955. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Kansas State Teachers College (now known as Emporia State University) in 1959, and later earned a Masters in Education Degree from ESU and earned his Administration Certification from Wichita State University. Ron joined the Kansas National Guard while in high school and served eight years, earning rank of Sgt. E5.

Ron’s teaching and coaching career began in 1959 at Elkhart, Kansas, with stops through the years at Carbondale, Udall (his first head coaching experience), Leon and Valley Center where he started their wrestling programs, and then to Washburn Rural High School as head football coach for 23 years. Through the years he also spent time as head track coach and assistant basketball coach at WRHS. He retired from Washburn Rural HS in 1998 with a total of 39 years of teaching and coaching in Kansas high schools.

Overall football coaching record 220-127-3 (156-73 at WRHS):
- 4 undefeated seasons
- Football Playoffs in 1973, 1977, 1981, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992
- KSHSAA Class 5A Champions in 1985, 1986, 1989
- KSHSAA Class 6A Runner-up 1992
- 2 Chisholm Trail League Championships at Valley Center HS
- Won or tied Centennial League Championship 10 times (through 1997 season)

Football Awards and Achievements:
- City Coach of the Year in 1977, 1981, 1985, 1986, 1992, 1996
- Centennial League Coach of the Year in 1981, 1985, 1992, 1996
- Topeka Capital-Journal and Wichita Eagle Beacon Coach of the Year in 1989
- KSHSAA Coach of the Year in 1989
- Assistant Football Coach for East Shrine Bowl Team in 1986, 1992
- Head Football Coach for East Shrine Bowl Team in 1987
- Co-Chair of Kansas Shrine Bowl Alumni Association from inception

Ron was inducted into the Kansas Shrine Bowl Hall of Fame in 2007, the Kansas State High School Activities Association Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Auburn/Washburn Rural Hall of Fame in 2009. The WRHS Football Stadium was dedicated as the Bowen/Glaze Stadium in September 1998.

Ron and his wife Mary Lou both graduated from Emporia State University in 1959 and began teaching together, both retiring together from Washburn Rural HS in 1998. They have five children: Cindy born 1962 (deceased), Damon born 1963, M’Lissa born 1966, Andrea born 1970 and Heather born 1972. They are blessed with 14 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. Ron and Mary Lou reside on a farm east of Holton, Kansas. “My wife and children were a key part of my successes because of their support as they were often left to tend to things on our farm while I was away coaching.”

Pete Goering, who died on February 7, 2009 at the age of 60 after a two-year battle with lung cancer, had a long, storied career with The Topeka Capital-Journal as a sports beat writer, columnist, sports editor, managing editor and executive editor.

He was born to Peter and Mary Goering in Goessel, Kansas in 1948 and was member of the last graduating class of Lehigh High School in 1966. Goering attended Bethel College for two years before transferring to Kansas State University, where he graduated with a B.A. Degree in Journalism in 1970. He worked at the Menninger Foundation in Topeka before accepting a job as a sportswriter for The Topeka Capital-Journal in 1973.

During his more than three decades with the TC-J, Pete dealt with virtually every facet of The Topeka Capital-Journal’s day to day operations and was responsible for hiring several employees who are still with the newspaper to this day. He covered high school, college and professional sports for many years and, in addition to his management duties, continued to write sports and news columns before retiring in 2008.

Pete’s peers voted him the Kansas Sportswriter of the Year five times and he was inducted into the Washburn University Athletics Hall of Fame in October 2010. He received the Clyde M. Reed Jr. Master Editor Award from the Kansas Press Association in April, 2008 for lifetime achievement in the newspaper industry.

Pete and Diane Goering Kenney were the parents of daughters Debbie (Redd) and Elizabeth (Odum) and son Brett. He had six grandchildren.

Trisa Nickoley graduated from Shawnee Heights High School in 2004 where she competed in Track & Field and Cross Country. In track, she won the state championship in three individual events all four years in Class 5A in the 400m (56.10), 800m (2:06.67), and 1600m (5:04.71). She was also a member of the 4x400m relay team that won State her sophomore year. She holds 9 City Carnival titles, 12 Centennial League Titles, and 15 Regional Titles in distances ranging from the 200m up to the 1600m and 4x400m relays. She won the 800m all 4-years at the KU Relays setting the meet record at 2:06.67 and was also a member of the Shawnee Heights Sprint Medley Relay team that won and set the KU Relays meet record with Jamie Stinson, Rachel Martinson and Alicia Floberg. She earned Kansas Track and Field Gatorade Athlete of the Year in 2002, 2003, and 2004. In cross country, Trisa won the City Meet, Centennial League, Regional and State all 4-years during her time at Shawnee Heights. She was named All-City in Cross Country all 4-years. Combining both state track and state cross country meets, Trisa captured an incredible 17 state gold medals.

While Trisa was successful in many distances, her most notable event was the 800m. In 2004, Trisa was the third fastest high-schooler in America in the 800m with a blazing personal best time of 2:06.67. She ran this time at the KU Relays capturing the meet record as well as the all-time Kansas high school record, which still stands to date.
In addition to this, Trisa was a robust competitor in the USA Track and Field (USATF) and Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). In 2002, Trisa smashed the meet record with a time of 2:08.94 at the Track and Field Youth Athletics Championships held in Miami, Florida. This performance earned her Verizon Outstanding Female Athlete of the Meet and a spot to compete for Team USA at the 2003 IAAF World Youth Track & Field Championships in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.

Trisa was invited to participate in multiple elite track meets. One of the highlights was the Golden West National Invitational Track Meet in Sacramento, CA where she took first place with a time of 2:06.76 in 2004. Also that year, she earned a spot on Team USA to represent the US at the IAAF World Championships in Grossetto, Italy.

After graduating from Shawnee Heights, Trisa earned a full scholarship to the University of Missouri where she continued her outstanding track and field career in 2004-2008. Her freshmen year, Trisa captured two gold medals at the Big 12 Indoor Championships in the 800m and in the Distance Medley Relay, running the 800m leg. This earned her Big 12 Indoor Freshman of the Year. During her career at the University of Missouri she was 14-time Big 12 honoree, four-time Big 12 Champion, Academic All-Big 12 First Team and NCAA All-American in the 800m. Trisa’s personal best time in the 800m of 2:04.07 qualified her a spot to compete at the 2008 Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon.

Graduating from the University of Missouri in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science (Nutrition & Fitness)/Business Minor and in 2011 with a Master’s of Education (Health Education and Promotion), Trisa coached youth track teams in Columbia, MO and Jefferson City, MO for a couple years then moved to Kansas City, Missouri. She now works for CBIZ Benefits and Insurance as a Corporate Wellness Coordinator where she helps multiple organizations to keep their health care costs affordable. She also works for Pique Tea as an Area Sales Representative on the side.

While Trisa had many victories on the track, her biggest victory was beating thyroid cancer in 2014. After two surgeries and radiation, Trisa is cancer-free to date. In addition, in 2011 Trisa was selected #32 in the Topeka Capital-Journal Top 100 Athletes of all-time in Shawnee County. She continues to reside in Kansas City, Missouri and her parents, Bobby and Sheri, still reside in Tecumseh, Kansas.