SPOKANE, Wash. – Four outstanding student-athletes who have made lasting marks on Whitworth University’s athletics history comprise the newest class of the school’s athletic Heritage Gallery Hall of Fame.
Matt Stueckle (football, men’s soccer), Leslie (Nelson) Morrison (cross country, track & field), Natalie Danielson (volleyball) and Cody Stelzer (track & field) will become the 28th class inducted into the Heritage Gallery on October 7, 2017. The induction will take place at 9:00 am in the HUB Multi-purpose room. The ceremony includes a breakfast and reservations can be made by calling 509-777-3224. The cost is $15 per individual.
Stueckle competed at Whitworth in football and soccer, a rare two-sport double since both occur in the fall. He played football for the Pirates from 1996 through 1999 as a wide receiver, place kicker and punter. Stueckle earned First Team All-Northwest Conference in 1997 as a punter. The following year he was named First Team All-NWC as a place kicker and Second Team as a wide receiver. Over four years Stueckle caught 22 touchdowns and hauled in 80 passes, while kicking 15 field goals. He finished his Whitworth football career as the Pirates’ all-time leader in total points (262) and in yards per catch (17.3). He adjusted his academic schedule to play two years of men’s soccer. In 2000, his first competitive soccer season since high school, Stueckle earned honorable mention All-NWC as a defender. The following year he was First Team All-NWC and a Second Team All-American (NSCAA), leading Whitworth to the best goals-against average in NCAA Division III (0.59) and leading the Bucs to their first ever NCAA Division III tournament appearance.
Leslie (Nelson) Morrison was also a two-sport star at Whitworth. She was a three-time NCAA Division III qualifier in cross country and became the Pirates’ first All-American in that sport, finishing in 14th place as a senior in 2003. She was also the Northwest Conference and NCAA West Region runner-up that year. She led the Bucs to a west region title and their first-ever team appearance at the NCAA championships in 2002. On the track Morrison was a three-time Northwest Conference champion in the 10,000 meters and in 2004 she pulled off the 10k – 5k double at the NWC championship meet while setting a conference record in the 10,000. She qualified for the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships as a junior and senior, earning All-America honors in the 10k during her senior season with a sixth place finish. She continues to hold the Whitworth team record and the Northwest Conference championship meet record in the 10,000.
Natalie Danielson will become only the third women’s volleyball player inducted into the Heritage Gallery, joining Any Hayden (class of 1990) and Julie (Weatherred) Jones from the class of 2008. Danielson played at Whitworth for two years (2004 and 2005) after transferring from the Community Colleges of Spokane. A middle blocker, Danielson earned Second Team All-NWC recognition as a junior. The following year she was named the NWC Player of the Year and a First Team NCAA Division III All-American (AVCA) after averaging 4.21 kills and 1.05 blocks per set while leading the conference in hitting percentage (.330). Danielson led Whitworth to a final record of 22-4 and a Northwest Conference title (15-1). The Pirates hosted the NCAA Division III West Region tournament and defeated Colorado College and Linfield before falling to La Verne in the championship match.
Cody Stelzer was a two-time national champion and an eight-time All-American in the high jump over his four seasons with the Pirates’ track and field team. His individual NCAA Division III titles came in 2008 (outdoor) and in 2009 (indoor). He qualified for the NCAA Division III indoor and outdoor national championships in each of his four years and never finished lower than sixth place, becoming an eight-time All-American. Stelzer was also a four-time Northwest Conference champion in the event, setting an NWC championship meet record of 6-10.75 in 2008. He still holds Whitworth’s school records in both the indoor (6-11) and outdoor (6-11.5) events.
The class of 2017 will join a group of 91 individuals and eight teams already enshrined in the Heritage Gallery. The current class, along with all current Heritage Gallery members attending the induction, will be recognized at halftime of the Whitworth – George Fox football game that afternoon.
The Whitworth Heritage Gallery Hall of Fame created in 1989 by the (then-named) Whitworth Crimson Club and the first class was inducted in 1990.