July 27, 2022
Headed to hall
Three area men with significant athletic resumes will be inducted into the Section VI Hall of Fame later this year, The OBSERVER has learned.
Joining the 12-member Class of 2022 are Bob Barlette, Tom Priester and Walt Thurnau.
Barlette was a record-setting all-state football and track and field star at Dunkirk High School, parlaying that athleticism into football scholarships as a running back at, first, the University at Buffalo and then — when UB discontinued the program — at Syracuse University. The Dunkirk resident and 1970 DHS graduate, still showed his athletic talents years later when he competed in the Spartan Race in Toronto in 2017. Required to navigate 13 grueling obstacles, Barlette successfully completed the course, finishing first in his age group and 184th overall.
Priester is an inductee of the Chautauqua Sports and North East (Pennsylvania) High School halls of fame.
Before he retired, he was a physical education teacher at Southwestern Central School where he served as varsity track coach for eight years and cross country coach for 45. A USA Track & Field official, Priester has worked meets — high school to international competitions — since 1985.
Thurnau, also a retired SWCS teacher and CSHOF inductee, coached 17 state wrestling qualifiers and two state champions while posting an overall record of 297-97 with the Trojans’ program. He was inducted into both the Upstate New York Chapter of the National Wrestling and the Western New York Wrestling Coaches Association halls of fame.
The other members in the Class of 2022 are Patricia Boggan, Cynthia Bullis, Donald “Chip” Case, Lou Corriere, Paul Ksionzyk, Fred Marcheson, Randy Smith, Rick Wargala and Michael S. Wendt.
The Section VI induction ceremony will be held Dec. 2 at The Columns Banquet in Elma.