Pacelli inducts new class to Athletic Hall of Fame
Pacelli Catholic High School inducted three athletes and three special contributors to its Athletic Hall of Fame, during a banquet at the Muse at Sentry restaurant Saturday, Sept. 23.
Stephanie Fischer (Class of 2004), Dave Kurzynski (Class of 1988) and Elizabeth “Beth” (Boden) Nemec (Class of 2004) were inducted as athletes, while George Check (Class of 1965), and Dennis and Patricia Elsenrath were inducted as special contributors.
Fischer played girls basketball and softball at Pacelli, before she went on to play softball in college at NCAA Division 1 Tennessee Tech University.
In basketball at Pacelli, Fischer earned Honorable Mention All-Conference honors as a sophomore in 2002, Second Team All-Conference as a junior in 2003, and First Team All-Conference as a senior in 2004, and was a part of teams that won Regional Titles in 2003 and 2004.
In softball, she was an Honorable Mention All-State selection as a sophomore and First Team All-State as a junior, when the Cardinals won the 2003 WIAA Division 4 State Title. She was also First Team All-Conference and the Conference Player of the Year as a senior in 2004, and during her career helped Pacelli win three Conference Titles, three Regional Titles and advance to state in 2002 and 2003.
In college, Fischer led NCAA Division 1 in home runs (27) and slugging percentage (1.019) as a senior in 2008, when she also set the Tennessee Tech single-record with a .457 batting average and was named Second Team All-American by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.
She graduated from Tennessee Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting in 2008 and played for the Rockford Thunder, a National Pro Fastpitch team, for one summer before moving to Milwaukee to attend Marquette University, where she graduated with a master’s degree in business administration with a finance specialty. She currently works in risk management at U.S. Bank and resides in Milwaukee.
Kurzynski was a member of the wrestling and football team at Pacelli, and received the Scholar/Athlete Award and the John Jelich Memorial Award as a senior in 1988.
In football, he was a three-year letter winner, a member of the 1986 WISAA State Championship team as a junior, and an Honorable Mention All-Conference linebacker as a senior in 1987.
In wrestling, he was a four-year letter winner and a 1987 WISAA State Champion as a junior. He also finished third at state as a sophomore in 1986, and as a State Runner-up as a senior in 1988, when he finished with a 30-4-1 record and was named the Team MVP. He also was a two-time Regional Champion and named First Team Academic All-State in 1987 and 1988.
Kurzynski earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical/Computer Engineering Management from Marquette University in 1993, and earned a master’s degree in Engineering Management from Marquette in 1997.He and his wife Joann live in Dousman, and he recently started a new role with Amazon Web Services in August and soon plans to relocate to Seattle, Wash.
A three-sport athlete in high school, (Boden) Nemec was a member of the cross country, girls basketball and softball teams at Pacelli. She earned four letters in cross country and two in basketball, where she also was a member of Regional Championship teams with Fischer in 2003 and 2004.
In softball, Nemec was Honorable Mention All-State as a sophomore in 2002, Second Team All-State as a junior on the Cardinals’ 2003 State Championship team, and a three-time First Team All-Conference and three-time First Team All-District selection.
She was also a member of three Conference Championship teams, three Regional Championship teams, and a pair of teams that advanced to state.
Nemec also played softball at Tennessee Tech with Fischer from 2005 to 2008, and was a three-time First Team All-Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) selection. As a junior in 2007, Nemec led NCAA Division 1 in home runs with 25 and was the OVC Player of the Year.
She was a two-time Academic All-American and set Tennessee Tech records for at bats (834), runs scored (191), total bases (481) and home runs (51). She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a master’s degree in Civil Engineering.
Nemec was drafted and played one year with the Rockford Thunder of the National Pro Fastpitch League. She returned to Pacelli as an assistant coach for the girls basketball team during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, and was an assistant coach for the Pacelli softball team from 2011-15, as she helped the Cardinals win WIAA State Titles in 2012 and 2015, and continues to work with the softball program when her schedule allows.
Nemec and her husband Josh live in Stevens Point and have two children, Mckenzie and Logan, while she works as a civil engineer designing bridges for AECOM.
Inducted as a special contributor, Check graduated in 1965 from Pacelli, where he played basketball for two years and competed in track and field for three years, and set the school record in the high jump his senior year by beating the previous record by two inches.
He attended the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP), where he was a four-year letter winner in track and field and held the triple jump record all four years. In his senior year, Check was team captain, MVP and participated in the national track and field meet.
A photographer by hobby and passion, it was during the 1996-97 school year that Check began taking pictures at various Pacelli sporting events.
In 2001, he received the Pacelli Athletic Director’s Award for providing pictures for the school bulletin board. To this day, he continues his passion for capturing Pacelli’s athletic events on camera, and his photographs have frequently been featured in the Portage County Gazette for more than a decade.
Since 2008, he has accumulated more than 163 CDs of photos he has taken at Pacelli athletic events, consisting of nearly 23,000 photos, which he prints, provides a disc to the Pacelli Catholic School (PCS) office, posts pictures to the school bulletin board, and distributes copies to parents of the athletes for each of the school’s 18 sports.
Of his work, Check said, “this hobby has allowed me to meet many wonderful parents, athletes, and coaches of PCS.”
He also volunteered as a track and field coach for five years at St. Peter Middle School, which is now Pacelli Catholic Middle School, and donated the former Pacelli track and field record board. He has been a member of the Big Red Club since its inception, which generates funds to help fulfill athletic needs at Pacelli.
Check is retired from Sentry Insurance and owns Sign Pro in Plover along with his wife Mary. They reside in Plover and have one son and three grandchildren.
Dennis and Patricia Elsenrath were also inducted as special contributors. Their involvement with the Big Red Club over the last several years kept them active in the plans for a new fitness center at Pacelli.
They were instrumental in the planning, soliciting of funds and grants, and the execution of bringing the former weight room to the new fitness center that opened in the spring of 2017.
The center, now known as the Berard-Klasinski Clinic Fitness Center in memory of Coach Bob Raczek, is a big component of physical education and athletics at Pacelli.
The Big Red Club, of which Dennis currently serves as vice president, raised enough funds to support a fitness center coordinator responsible for developing programming for students and staff, and plans are underway to open the fitness center to all Pacelli Catholic Schools family members to further promote a culture of health and wellness.
“Dennis and I always sought involvement in athletic associations at all levels because we value highly what team membership teaches young adults,” said Patricia.
Dennis was a counselor and teacher at UWSP as a staff psychologist, director of counseling and as a professor in the department of psychology until his retirement in 2005 as a professor emeritus, while he co-founded the National Wellness Institute in 1977 and served on its board of directors for 30 years.
Patricia worked for 42 years as a medical technologist at St. Michael’s Hospital, and when their two sons were in school, she volunteered as a playground supervisor and Home & School Association president, while she and Dennis served as Pacelli Panacea co-chairs.
The Elsenraths have been married for 54 years and joined their younger son Mike (1996), who was inducted in 2006 following a standout career in football and track and field, as members of the Pacelli Athletic Hall of Fame.
As part of the festivities, Kurzynski, Check and the Elsenraths participated in the Pacelli Homecoming parade Friday, Sept. 22, followed by a tailgate party held in their honor in the Pacelli parking lot.
Later that evening, all six inductees attended the Pacelli Homecoming football game, where they were recognized and introduced to the crowd, and presented with a piece of Pacelli spirit wear and a lifetime all-sports pass.
The formal induction banquet took place Saturday, Sept. 23, at Muse at Sentry, where the inductees were presented with a plaque.
A duplicate plaque will join those already displayed in the lobby of the Student Activities Center at Pacelli High School, where they will be permanently displayed along with the previous Hall of Fame inductees.