Five outstanding former Mark Morris High School athletes and a football coach already in the state hall of fame will enter the Monarchs Athletic Hall of Fame on February 7, 2020.
The HOF Class of 2020 includes:
- Michelle Hayes (1988) – Hayes was an all-conference basketball player and a state champion in track & field. Her school records in the high jump (5-7) and the 4 x 400 relay team (along with fellow Hall of Famer Val White Harris) still stand today. As a senior, Hayes won the girls state high jump with a record jump that was not broken for 20 years.
Hayes was a four-year member of the Washington State University track team, team captain in 1992 and competed in two Pac-10 Conference meets for the Cougars. Today she is a middle school counselor in Seattle.
- Ken Jackson (1966) – Jackson finished 4th in the state wrestling tournament his senior year for MM, a pre-cursor to a successful college career. He also was active in Future Farmers of America, as chapter president and state FFA award winner. He attended and wrestled at Seattle Pacific University and in 1970 earned All-American honors, taking 5th place at the NCAA Division 2 Wrestling Championships at 134 pounds for the Falcons.
After graduating from SPU, Jackson returned to Longview as a teacher at MM and over his career coached wrestling at Mark Morris, Cascade Middle School and Lower Columbia College. He coached the 1998 Mark Morris golf team to a 2A state title, before retiring from teaching in 2002.
- Dr. Erik Penner (1990) – Penner helped lead the MM Boys Soccer team to state top-4 finishes in 1989 and 1990. He broke the school scoring and assist record, was a two-time all-league choice and GSHL Player of the Year in 1990. He was also an all-league kicker for the Monarch football team. He went on to a 4-year soccer career at Washington, ultimately becoming the Huskies’ #4 all-time scorer, was team captain in 1994 and earned multiple All-PAC 10 academic and all-conference honors.
Penner later completed medical school studies at Vanderbilt and OHSU and has been an emergency room physician in Olympia for 17 years.
- Del Talley (Football Coach) – Coach Talley, a 1956 R.A. Long graduate, took over as head coach of Mark Morris football in 1971. Talley turned around the football program, leading Mark Morris to a 51-35 mark over his nine years at the helm. That included eight winning seasons, three league titles and two state playoff appearances – culminating in 1979 with three state playoff wins before falling to Arlington in the title game. Talley was a three-time Greater St. Helens League Coach of the Year. Now retired, Talley was selected to the Washington State Football Coaches Association HOF in 2013.
- Lieutenant-Colonel Jason Wells (1996) – Citing the mentorship of retired MM teacher and coach John Sapinsky, Wells developed into an all-conference football player and three-time track & field state placer. He holds the school record in the discus and is third best in the shot put. An Eagle Scout, Wells accepted an appointment to the Unites States Military Academy at West Point where he competed in indoor and outdoor track & field – earning five letters for Army and winning the 1998 conference title in the discus.
During his 19-year military career he has deployed four times and has been decorated with multiple awards – including the Bronze Star Medal (2 awards for service). Today Wells is a Judge Advocate Officer, serving as the Staff Judge Advocate for Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.
- Val (White) Harris (1986) – One of the top track & field athletes ever at MM, Val’s best event was the 300 hurdles. Her school record of 45.54 has stood for 34 years. She placed 5th in state as junior and 3rd as a senior. She also has the second-best 100 hurdles mark and joined Hayes on the 4 x 400 relay team in 1986, which holds the school record and placed 5th at state.
Val later played volleyball at Lower Columbia and was on the soccer and track & field teams at Linfield. She lives in Longview, where she is a business consultant and grant writer.
The Mark Morris Hall of Fame was launched in 2005 and currently includes 30 athletes, eight coaches, six administrators/supporters and five teams.