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2023 MHS Athletic Hall of Honor Inductees

Click on images to enlarge and scroll through them - To purchase photos, click the following link to purchase from Billy D. Photography 

2023 Class - Athletic Hall of Honor

Kenneth Scott "Ken" Bowers - Class of 1984 - Student Athlete - Soccer

Daniel Latimer "Danny" Gilmore - Class of 1985 - Student Athlete/Contributor - Wrestling

Thomas Andrew "Tom" Orehowsky - Class of 1960 - Coach

Richard Stanley "Rick" Pearson - Class of 1976 - Student Athlete - Golf

Andrew Grey "Andy" Torgeson - Class of 1967 - Student Athlete - Baseball, Basketball, Football, Track

Wesley Chadwick "Chad" Choate - Contributor

1985 Boy's State Championship Tennis Team 

 

Kenneth Scott "Ken" Bowers - Class of 1984 - Student Athlete 

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Ken was nominated for the Athletic Hall of Honor as a Student Athlete. He was raised in an athletic family, with his grandfather playing major league baseball as a pitcher for the Red Sox in the late 30’s and his father playing minor league baseball with the Cubs and then traded to the Pirates in the late 50’s and early 60’s. Ken started playing soccer in elementary school at the Anna Maria Youth Center. He later played for the Manatee Area Youth Soccer Organization (MAYSO), which emphasized fun, character development, teamwork, sportsmanship, and loyalty through the many different aspects of soccer.

After his early years of playing soccer and the valuable lessons he learned, he was a starter in every game all four years at MHS and was Captain and MVP in his senior year. He was recruited by several Florida schools but committed to North Carolina Wesleyan upon his graduation. His athleticism continued in college; he was a starter in every game and team captain for two years. Ken was the second leading scorer in 1988 with NCWC with 22 points and ended the year with seven goals and eight assists. He had 17 goals and 21 assists for his college career, earning him the fifth spot on the all-time NCWC scoring list. Ken was the fourth soccer player in Wesleyan history to earn All-America honors. He was also All-South and All-Conference and was inducted into the North Carolina Wesleyan Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014.

Ken was nominated by Danny Carter, MHS Class of 1985, lives in Bradenton and owns R. C. Roll Grinding, Inc.  He and his wife, Bonnie have one son, Lane Bowers, a 2019 MHS graduate. 

Daniel Latimer "Danny" Gilmore - Class of 1985 - Student Athlete/Contributor 

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Danny was a two-time State Qualifier and won a 4A State Championship title in wrestling in 1985 in the 135 lb. weight class. He was also a district champ and Region champ that season. Danny’s record was 31-1 that year, and he won the state title despite wrestling with a sprained elbow sustained in semifinal action earlier in the day. Wrestling was a “family sport” in the Gilmore family with both Danny and his brother being wrestlers, but their father, the Rev. Ernest Gilmore was definitely as much fun to watch during their match as Danny and Ernie were. He wasn’t on the mat with them but he was close by going through the moves sometimes before they did. 

Danny’s dedication to the Manatee High Wrestling Teams didn’t end when he graduated in 1985. After college and establishing a successful career, he became a dedicated financial supporter of the Manatee Wrestling teams and many other athletic programs at Manatee. He is always there to financially support the needy wrestlers so they can attend camp or with travel needs.

Danny is a graduate of Florida State University and also holds an Accredited Asset Management Specialist designation from the College of Financial Planning in Denver, Colorado. He is the branch manager of a Raymond James Office in Bradenton. 

Danny was nominated by his high school wrestling teammate and our MHS Head Wrestling Coach, Andrew “Gug” Gugliemini (1985).  Danny and Mara Gilmore, have three children.  Sammy Gilmore, Lauren Gilmore (2016)  and Alex Diehl (2017)    

Thomas Andrew "Tom" Orehowsky - Class of 1960 - Coach 

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Tom wasn’t a member of any athletic teams while a student at Manatee because he had to work, but he started running on his own during high school and college. He ran competitively after college in local road races but, in 1977, was hit by a car when finishing a training run. He suffered severe compound fractures in his ankle, and thankfully, the surgeon was able to put him back together, but his fast-running days were over, and that’s when he started using the email name slojogrto that he still uses today.

Tom became the MHS Cross Country Boys Coach in 1976, and they added the girls in 1977 and then the track coach in 1988. From 1990 – 2004, the Manatee Cross Country and Track distance runners were a dominant force in our running community. Manatee teams placed high in most of their regular season Invitational Meets with numerous achievements at the District, Region, and State Meets by individual male or female runners or teams. In 1995, Matt Sisk and Amy Zientara were the first 4A male and female Mile State Champions from the same school in the same year in Florida High School Track History.

In Tom’s last year before retirement (2003-2004), the Girl's Cross Country team won County, District, and Region and placed 7th at the State Meet, and Tom was awarded Tri-County Coach of the Year.  In addition to Tom’s MHS coaching success, he has been the Executive Race Director of the Bradenton Runners Club since 1997, was awarded the Rod Steele Award for being the National Volunteer of the Year in 2008 by the Road Running Clubs of America, Was a course referee at the 2019 USA Track & Field   Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta; Was a Staff Coach at the University of North Carolina Ashville/Smoky Mountain Running Camp and is currently a Staff Coach at the Atlanta Track Club Wingfoot Running Camp at University of Alabama Birmingham. Tom won the 2021 Bart Starr Award as Outstanding Track and Field Official for the Central Florida Track Officials Association and has been a Florida High School Athletic Association Track & Field Official since 2006.

 

Tom was nominated by Rae Ann Darling Reed. He is retired and has two sons, Chad Orehowsky (1985) and Keith Orehowsky (1987), and is engaged to Lee Markey Lewis (1965)  

Richard Stanley "Rick" Pearson - Class of 1976 - Student Athlete - Golf 

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Rick was the Captain of the golf team in 1975 and 1976 and was its best player, averaging 36 (par) for the nine-hole events on challenging courses. He received MVP and Most Outstanding Athlete awards for his consistent performances and leadership and All-Area First Team and All-Suncoast Team golf honors.

 

Beyond high school, he was a state-wide champion twice in the Florida Junior amateur tournament, twice the best in the Florida amateur championship, and the individual champion in the 1980 SEC Golf Tournament, making him the SEC Player of the Year and a second-team All-American. Making this even more impressive is the fact that this took place at a time when the competition in Florida, particularly the Bradenton/Sarasota area, was at the highest level of achievement, including PGA Champion Paul Azinger, who played for Sarasota High School.

Rick received a BA in economics at the University of Florida (Go Gators) and then launched a professional career on the PGA and Nike tours, where he won three championships. Rick was chosen by the players of the Hogan/Nike/Nationwide/Korn Ferry Tour to serve six years on the Player Advisory Council, which met with the PGA Tour commissioner quarterly to help lead and shape the direction of the tour. He later worked for the PGA Tour at PGA TOUR Entertainment for 15 years, managing the entire technical department and the film/media library. He currently works for CCS Presentations as a Project Manager.

 

He has been married for 40 years to April Davis Pearson, and they have two grown children.

Rick was nominated by Judge Scott Makar (1977), our 2022 Outstanding Alumni.

 

Andrew Grey "Andy" Torgeson - Class of 1967 - Student Athlete - Baseball, Basketball, Football , Track

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Andy didn’t have degrees or letters after his name; he was never the president of a club, but he was an incredible athlete. He was born into a baseball family as the son of Earl Torgeson, who played in the Big Leagues. From the time he was a toddler, he had his own baseball uniform and dressed out and went to batting practice with his Dad every day in the summer. When he was older, he sat in the dugout during games with some of the best of the big league.

It’s been said he was the best all-around athlete in Manatee High School history. He lettered in football, basketball, baseball, and track.

In football, Andy was a member of the All County “1965” Dream Team” as a punting specialist; he was the 1966 All County Defensive Team Half-Back, ran 97 yards for a touchdown, threw a pass over 59 yards, and punted a football 77 yards. He was the fifth person to receive the coveted Tommy Paul Award and was selected by the press corps as the outstanding senior player in the homecoming win 40-13 over Jefferson. He had the longest run, a 56-yard punt return, threw one touchdown pass, and had an aerial called back and kicked 4 of 5 extra points. Altogether, it accounted for 104 yards, 7 of 14 passes completed, and his punt and kickoff returns amounted to 103 yards in that game. He held the record for most passing yards (335 yards) and most completed passes in a single game for forty years. As a sophomore, he was an All-Western Conference pick in basketball and named to the All-Group 12 tourney in St. Petersburg. 

Andy was a baseball switch hitter at Manatee but hit with more power as a lefty. He had a football scholarship with FSU, but before the season started, he decided not to play football. Instead, he went to Ft. Myers Edison Junior College, where his MHS Coach, Thimlar, offered him a place to play basketball there.

Andy later signed with the New York Yankees minor league team and was a Class A Fort Lauderdale Yankees member. The manager, Ed Bastian, said, “Andy’s definitely a major league prospect. He has the ability, and it all depends on how he applies his tools”. 

Andy passed away in 2017 at the young age of 68 after suffering for many years with Cystic Fibrosis. He is still remembered by his MHS classmates and fellow teammates, who respected him as a great competitor and one of the best all-around athletes they had ever seen.  

 

Wesley Chadwick "Chad" Choate, Sr. - Contributor

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 Chad Choate started his career at Manatee High School in 1962, teaching geography and coaching the football team's defensive line. He coached football until becoming the Assistant Principal in 1969 and followed Wheeler Leeth as principal in 1974. A great player on the team when Chad first started coaching at Manatee, graduated in 1963, went on to college, and started a career in coaching elsewhere. However, in 1981, that individual came back to his Alma Mater and was hired by Chad as the Head Football Coach and Athletic Director. That individual was Joe Kinnan, who went on to win five state championships with the ‘Canes.

An article in the “Manatee Magic” book states, “You need only stop by the Hawkins Stadium pressbox come an autumn Friday night to see how much football means to Choate. He’s the one who screams instructions down to the field like only a coach would”. The article states that he never missed a varsity football game in his 28 years at Manatee. Wesley retired in 1991 but could still be found in the stands when the varsity team played and still screaming instructions from the stands. He passed away in 2018 at the age of 87 after fighting many illnesses over the years.

Wesley was nominated by his grandson, Chad Choate, and is survived by his widow, Myra Choate, and their three children, 7 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandchild who are all Manatee High graduates. 

1985 Boy's State Championship Tennis Team 

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With three State Champions on the team, they took on the best and won the state. It was Coach Chip McCarthy’s first year at Manatee as the tennis coach, and he made a huge difference in getting the team looking and thinking like champions. They practiced for two hours, ran for 2 1/2 miles, rested, and then did stretching exercises followed by jogging in place, double knee jumps, more jogging, pushups, jogging again, more double knee jumps, and jogging. The final portion of the practice lasted about an hour and was brutal. The fun had just begun - after another rest, they would hit cross-court for 10 minutes, then volley at the net for 10 minutes, then hit down the line for 10 minutes, most being two-on-one drills with a fourth player chasing balls and feeding them back into a basket. After a few minutes, the kids would be huffing and puffing; their rackets felt like 30-pound weights, but they never quit - not one of them. Before the season started, they decided on two goals – winning the District and the State Championship. As their practices advanced, team members ran at least 35 miles each week and other methods to get in shape, which paid off.

 

In the State Championship game, their number two doubles team totaled 16 points in the two-day competition and edged Miami-Palmetto, which finished with 15. Chris Egan was playing with a pulled stomach muscle and leg cramps, and Chris Westberry, the two MHS doubles players, knew they had to win the match or end up in a tie for the title. Thanks to their gutty performance, it became a reality! 

According to the FHSAA website, they are the only tennis team to win a state championship in the history of our Alma Mater. The team was nominated by Steve Slocum (1984)

Team members are: Steve Bovio (1986), Sam Coyner (1985), Chris Egan (1985), Chad Florian (1985), Greg Fox (1986), Anil Inalsingh (1986), Trevor Kronemann (1986), Mike Landry (1988), Steve Lieberman (1987), Jay Lipker (1985), Darby Meadowcroft (1985), Doug Morrison (1987), Chris Westberry (1985), Tom Wilhoit (1986), Jeff Staab.

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