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Ex-Central stars among 12 to enter SE's Hall of Fame
For Kermit "Moose" Meystedt and Curtis Williams, induction into the Southeast Missouri State University Athletic Hall of Fame was extra sweet.
That's because Meystedt and Williams were not only able to excel in collegiate athletics, they were able to do it for their home town university.
"It is really an honor. It's really meaningful that people remember," said Meystedt, a former Central High School and Southeast basketball star. "And being from here, it makes it more special."
Said Williams, who starred in basketball and track at Southeast, "It's great, fantastic, and being from here, it's special for me and my family."
Meystedt and Williams, surrounded by family and friends, were part of Saturday's induction ceremony at the Show Me Center.
"That's what's most important, that my family is here to see it," said the 6-foot-6 Meystedt, who played at Southeast from 1964-1967 and still holds the school single-game scoring record with 52 points while also being the Indians' single-season rebounding leader with 362.
Williams, who competed from 1964-67 -- he was a basketball teammate of Meystedt in both high school and college -- holds the distinction of being the first African-American student-athlete at Southeast.
While pleased to break the color barrier at Southeast, Williams said, "I was from Central High School, so it wasn't a big deal."
Southeast's second Hall of Fame class featured 12 former athletes and three teams, ranging in participation from the 1930s to the 1990s. Last year's inaugural class included 14 former athletes and three squads.
"We feel we again have an outstanding group of inductees," said Rich Eichhorst, chairman of the Hall of Fame committee. "It is a large induction class, but with the Hall of Fame just beginning last year, we have a lot of catching up to do."
Along with Meystedt and Williams, individuals inducted Saturday were Donald "Diz" Anderson (football and track, 1942-1947); Rick Attig (football and track, 1970-1973); Wayne Goddard (football and track, 1934-1937); Pam Kirsch (volleyball, 1990-1993); Herb Mulkey (basketball and track, 1939-1942); Cheri Peterson (gymnastics, 1988-1991); Walter Smallwood (football and track, 1965-1968); Tom Upton (basketball and track, 1944-1949); Clark Wille (track, 1967-1971); and John Wittenborn (football, 1954-1957).
Along with the deceased Anderson and Goddard, Upton and Wittenborn were not able to attend the induction ceremony. Upton is a Cape Girardeau native who played three seasons of major league baseball, while Wittenborn played 11 seasons in the NFL.
Teams inducted were 1937 football, 1955 football and 1991 gymnastics. The 1937 football team went 9-0-0, won the MIAA title, was unscored on during the first seven games and included Goddard. The 1955 football team also went 9-0-0, claimed the MIAA championship and included Wittenborn. The 1991 gymnastics squad won the USGF Division II national championship and included Peterson, who won all-around and vault titles.
Many members of the 1955 football and 1991 gymnastics teams were on hand. There are only three members of the 1937 football squad still living and none were able to attend, but several former players were represented by family members.
All of Saturday's inductees in attendance were obviously thrilled to be included with such a select group.
"I feel very humbled to be inducted with such a wonderful group," said Mulkey, who serves on the Hall of Fame committee.
Smallwood still holds school football records for touchdowns in a game (5), season (16) and career (38), and he held the career rushing record until 1994 -- when current Canadian Football League standout Kelvin "Earthquake" Anderson took over the mark.
"This is really an honor," Smallwood said. "I've always called this my home away from home. Until the day I die, I'm a SEMO man."