In a story posted Jan. 25, the Riverside Press Enterprise reported the 2020 class for the Riverside Sports Hall of Fame and it included one local face that currently teaches in Templeton, Vanessa Duhon.
Southern California Sportswriter Jim Alexander recently wrote in his column in the Press Enterprise that, “when the Riverside Sport Hall of Fame inducts its Class of 2020 on May 18 at the Convention Center, it is guaranteed that there will be at least one speech, and probably more, in which the theme will be: ‘Somebody else deserves it more than me.’”
Alexander continued, “the names for this year’s inductees were revealed several weeks ago, and when the Hall welcomes its new members — Nos. 106 to 111 — in May, there should be little argument over whether any of them belong.”
One of those names is a familiar face and a well-loved member of the THS staff — Mrs. Duhon. Duhon, better known as “Vanessa Czarnecki-Duhon,” was an Olympian, and participated at the birthplace of the Olympics as the starting second baseman on the Greek softball team at the 2004 Athens games. The Americans would go on to take the gold medal in ‘04 with Australia and Japan taking silver and bronze. Greece would finish 2-5 in the 2004 games.
Before representing a nation, Duhon was an all-star high school and collegiate athlete. Duhon was all-CIF and All-State in high school as a softball player at Riverside Poly, while also lettering in basketball and track. She was a four-year starter for Fresno State and appeared in the 1999 Women’s College World Series as a freshman. Duhon also had a significant international career beyond those ’04 Olympics, playing for the gold medal-winning U.S. junior team in 1999, and also participating for Greece at the 2006 World Cup in Beijing. After competing, she taught and coached softball at Riverside Poly where she stacked up a 101-43 record in five seasons and a trip to the CIF Division 1 semifinals in 2009.
Duhon joins an amazing group on the Riverside Sport Hall of Fame Wall that includes Major League Baseball greats Dusty Baker and Bobby Bonds, legendary college basketball coach Jerry “Tark” Tarkanian, former WNBA coach and collegiate basketball star Cheryl Miller and NBA legend Reggie Miller to name just a few.
When asked about the honor Duhon said, “It is surreal. It is such an honor to be included in a list of superstars like the Millers and Bobby Bonds.”
This article originally appeared in a blog by Matt MacFarlane and students in the Templeton High School media class called “News from the Nest.” For more “News from the Nest,” visit templetonhigh.home.blog