EAST CENTRAL — Eight volunteers were recognized by the Horizon Central Athletic Association (HCAA) in 2020 for their outstanding contributions to the school athletics programs in the area.
These included Marvin Renneberg from Muenster School; Brian Fleischhacker from Annaheim School; Tom Schwinghamer from Humboldt Collegiate Institute; Debbie Fedak from Foam Lake Composite School; Rick Hamel from Rose Valley School; Rob Kurbis from Schell School in Holdfast; Troy Koepke from Punnichy Community High School; and Terry Anderson from George Gordon Education Center.
The annual HCAA Recognition Awards are typically handed out during their spring meeting, but due to COVID-19 the timeline changed and the organization had to present them on an individual basis.
The nomination based system was started in 2009, but similar awards have been handed out in
“In the teaching profession we sometimes tend to forget about recognizing our own achievements,” said Brian Grest, the division’s administrator of student activities. “The biggest part about that is we stop and say a huge thank you to people who volunteer countless hours.”
Marvin Renneberg was the first president of the HCAA and held an executive position with the Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association (SHSAA) for four years.
Renneberg remained president of the HCAA that role until retirement, writing the constitution and bylaws.
Despite retiring, Renneberg served as soccer referee-in-chief within the division.
Fleischhacker served as the HCAA president for seven years, as well as coached boys and girls volleyball at both the junior and senior level, and both senior and junior badminton coach.
According to the HCAA, the senior boys volleyball teams were of note as being highly competitive on the provincial scene, collecting a number of medals at the provincial level, including gold.
In badminton, his junior teams had won the Humboldt Rural SD team pennant and trophy 12 years in a row and his senior teams 17 years in a row. They also captured many District Championships, as well as medals at the senior regionals and provincial level
Schwinghamer coached nine-man football and track and field at Humboldt Collegiate Institute for the past 12 seasons.
In football, his coaching included training the defensive line, defensive backs, assisting with game film prep, and coordinating off-season training.
In track and field his roles included head coach, as well as the sprints, hurdles, long distance, and relays coach.
He also coached in the Ed Henick Senior Bowl, been the coordinator of the high profile Kelly Bates Football Camp for the last decade, and served as the commissioner for the HCAA pre-district track and field meet several times.
Fedak has served as curling coach for the Foam Lake Composite School (FLCS) for 12 years. In that time, she has coached all types and levels of curling.
According to the HCAA, her curling teams have contributed more district champion banners to the school than any other sport.
As the curling coach for FLCS, Fedak has hosted numerous HCAA Pre-District and District Championship events.
In addition to curling, in the fall, she plans, coordinates, and creates the football program which is a huge fundraiser for the team, as well as “volunteered numerous hours” into the SHSAA 2A Girls Volleyball Provincials in 2019.
Hamel has been a part of the athletic sector in the school division for the past 23 years, including serving at Rose Valley School as principal and coach for the last four years.
In school, has coached junior badminton, junior curling, and track and field. Outside of school, he coaches club volleyball, having coached age groups from 13U to 18U.
He also served an assistant coach for the senior girls volleyball team the past five years, which attained a silver medal in 2015 and the provincial gold medal in 2016, 2017 and 2019.
Kurbis taught in Schell School in Holdfast for the past 20 years, where he has coached cross country, football, volleyball, basketball, badminton, track and field, and club volleyball— as well as a successful intramural program at noon hours.
The HCAA stated that he is an accomplished volleyball referee, with an expertise “second to none”.
Koepke has been at Punnichy Community High School (PCHS) for over 15 years, where he volunteered to coach, with badminton and track and field the most notable activities.
When the school’s physical education teacher left PCHS, Koepke began teaching the school’s phys ed, as well as became the school’s athletic director— a role he has held for seven years.
Behind the scenes, he worked at getting sports grants in the school so the school can purchase equipment for the students such as ball gloves, badminton rackets, track shoes and runners.
In some instances, Koepke has held “school campouts” with students the night before important competitions to work around transportation issues so the student can still attend.
Anderson has taught at George Gordon Education Center (GGEC) for over 20 years, being their physical education teacher for the last 13.
While serving as the school’s athletic director, he has been active in attending athletics meetings, and effectively communicates information between the district and the school..
According to the HCAA, the interaction that Terry has with the students shows how much he cares for them in and out of the school.
“His extra training, support, and encouragement to the students who have earned spots on provincial teams or who have competed in NAIG (North American Indigenous Games) have demonstrated his commitment not only to sport, but to the students,” the organization said in a press release.