AK Valley Sports Hall of Fame Induction Terry Preece was a 3-sport standout at Oakmont

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Saturday, April 30, 2022 | 9:04 PM


For Terry Preece, there was nothing better than growing up in a small town in the 1960s, not far from the big city.

Preece excelled in athletics for that small-town school – Oakmont High School – serving as a team captain in football, basketball and track.

In football, he set Oakmont records in single-season yardage, gaining 1,579 yards in 1967, leading the Oaks to a 9-1 record. Preece also set the school standard with 22 touchdowns and 143 overall points that same season.

“As a guy being part of a small school like Oakmont, it was excellent,” Preece said. “You got to participate in a lot more athletics. You got to make a lot of lifelong friends, all the way through high school. ”

He also captained the basketball team for two years and lettered three times in track, garnering plaudits in the 100-meter dash, long jump and triple jump.

For his accomplishments on the athletic venues and the respect earned from teammates being a captain in three sports, Preece will be one of 10 inductees at his annual Alle-Kiski Valley Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet on May 21.

Preece will be joined by Chris Como, Jeff Cortileso, Harry “Shorty” Crytzer, Robert Foster, Dianne Haney, Frank Phelps, Lizzie Suwala Sheaffer, Bob White and posthumous induction Rich Kriston in this year’s class.

Preece got to perform under the guidance of the hall of fame coach Chuck Wagner both in football and track.

“He was known to be a stickler for details,” Preece said. “He was just an outstanding individual and coach. He cared a lot about his players and would have many one-on-one conversations. ”

Preece also performed in an era where there will still be a number of community high schools in WPIAL Class B, then the division for the smallest schools.

Said Preece: “We had great Class B schools to compete against. I never thought of playing bigger schools nearby since we had East Deer and Verona, among others. Especially East Deer. In those days, Chuck and coach (Don) Boulton were friends. ”

Much of his youth was spent at Riverside Park, considered a jewel of Oakmont by many. Opened in 1961, the facility has hosted WPIAL football, baseball, softball, track and soccer over six decades.

Daylight football then, as now, was the tradition.

“It didn’t have lights,” Preece said. “I have good memories of getting up on a Saturday morning for a game and it was a better process than Friday nights. I was just a great community to live in. ”

The Oaks compiled a 25-4-1 record during Preece’s three varsity seasons, starting with the 10-0 WPIAL Class B champs in 1965, followed by a 6-3-1 mark in ’66, leading up to the 9-1 mark in ’67. Only a loss at Coraopolis prevented Oakmont from receiving WPIAL title consideration.

As a senior in 1968, Preece won the Allegheny Interscholastic Conference track meet in the long jump and the triple jump.

His first year in college at Grand Rapids College, the team went 9-1 and played in the Wool Bowl in Roswell, NM, defeating Henderson (Tex.) College, 24-0.

Now retired from the home improvement service business, Preece divides his time between Springdale Township and Delray Beach, Fla.

AK Valley Sports Hall of Fame

What: 51st induction banquet

When: 7 pm May 21

Where: Quality Inn, New Kensington

Tickets: $ 30

Contact: Larry Lutz 724-822-3695; Bill Heasley 724-882-3079; Fred Soilis 412-736-1809

Tags: Riverview

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