CMU honoring Adams, two hoops teams
She was the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference’s Softball Player of the Century and selected to the conference’s All-Centennial team.
It was just a matter of time before Kelly Adams-Reece made the Colorado Mesa University Hall of Honor.
“I’ve been waiting for the 10 years to elapse to nominate her,” former Mesa coach Kris Mort said. “It got by me last year. I’m really excited for Kelly. It doesn’t feel like it’s been 10 years. She’s well-deserving with her accolades.”
Adams-Reece will be inducted into the Mavericks Hall of Honor at 6:30 tonight in the University Center Ballroom along with the 1958 and 1959 Mesa College men’s basketball teams.
Tickets are $60 per person and available from the CMU Alumni Association by calling 248-1902 or going online at http://www.coloradomesa.edu/homecoming. The social hour is at 5:30 p.m.
“It’s hard to put into words how honored I feel,” Adams-Reece said. “It starts with so many people at a small level. I’m overwhelmed.
“Looking back, the older I get, the more these things mean to me and that I was able to do these things. I was wondering if I could still hit a ball. Those couple years, it was all about the team. We had such good chemistry. It was totally a team thing. They’re the ones that helped me.”
The Ionia, Mich., native transferred to then-Mesa State College in the 1999-2000 school year and quickly made an impact.
“It was an unseen deal,” Adams-Reece said. “I was excited about coming to Colorado. The idea of Colorado and the outdoors drew me in. I felt like I was lucky.”
In the 2000 season, she hit 12 of the team’s 58 home runs as the Mavericks led the nation in home runs, and she led the nation in runs scored with 73. Mesa State (44-12) won the RMAC and South Central Region titles, earning a trip to the NCAA Division II championships.
The next year, she was the NCAA Division II individual home run champion with 21 of the team’s NCAA Division II single-season record of 98. Adams-Reece broke the RMAC record for stolen bases with 47 and was the NCAA leader in runs scored with 72. The Mavericks (42-12) led the nation in home runs, slugging percentage, runs (437) and doubles (105).
Adams-Reece was a two-time All-American at Mesa and was honored as the RMAC all-time top player in softball when the conference celebrated its 100th year.
“In terms of all the tools, Kelly was definitely the true package,” said Mort, now an athletic administrator at CMU. “She had the speed to run things down and a strong arm. There’s not been a player more other coaches say I’m glad she’s gone than her.”
Adams-Reece, 33, and her husband, Justin, now live in Klamath Falls, Ore. She is employed as a wilderness ranger for the U.S. Forest Service.
“I love my job,” she said. “I spend 90 percent of the summer living in a backpack. I hope to do that as long as I can.
“I loved to play ball. I loved to play any sport. I still do CrossFit and yoga.”
The 1958 and ‘59 Mesa men’s basketball teams were the only ones in Mesa’s history to qualify for the National Junior College Athletic Association national tournament.
Mesa Hall of Honor member Wayne Nelson coached both teams during the third and fourth years of his coaching career.
The core players on both teams were Ron Bell, Ron Williams, Jim Wexels, Jim Hanks, John Jaynes, Wayne Jenson and Norman Schulz. Other members of the 1958 team were Rey Naegle, Jim Hitchborn and Gary Cowan. The 1959 team included Gary Flynn, Gene MacAdams, Ron Faulkner, Jack Campbell, Dick Asmus and Dan Hansen.
The 1958 team entered the national tournament 18-11 with four losses to other junior college teams. They went 1-2 at nationals.
The 1959 team was 19-8 and went 0-2 in nationals.
Former Daily Sentinel sports editor Joe Much called the teams “the best in Mesa College history.”