Six alumni headed to GAHS sports hall

By Michael Johnson -

Kristy (Carter) Akers

Kristy (Carter) Akers

Neil Kool

Mindy Pope

Burt Wood

GALLIPOLIS — They’ll be remembered by local folks for years to come because of their sports exploits.

Gallia Academy High School will induct six new members Friday night into its Athletic Hall of Fame. The new inductees will be recognized at halftime of the Gallia Academy-Rock Hill football game at Memorial Field. The Hall of Fame banquet honoring the new members will be 6 p.m. at GAHS.

The Class of 2016 inductees include Mindy Pope, Neil Kool, Kristina Ellingson, Burt Wood, Terry Wall and Kristy (Carter) Akers.

The six were nominated by former coaches or current members of the GAHS Athletic Hall of Fame, and each individual chosen had a solid career as a student-athlete while participating with the Blue Devils or Blue Angels.

Here’s a brief recap of each of the HOF recipients and their prep accolades:

Neil Kool (Class of 1988)

Kool earned four varsity letters and was a three-time ALL-SEOAL first-team selection in tennis, as well as GAHS Most Valuable Player for Gallia Academy.

His tennis skills took him to Division III powerhouse Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Mich., between 1988-90. There, Kool participated in a match that helped the Hornets clinch its 51st consecutive Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship. The K-College men’s tennis team, as of 2016, has now won 78 consecutive MIAA tennis titles, the longest streak of its kind in any sport at any level in the world. The team was featured in the May 1990 issue of Tennis Magazine.

Kool currently works in the banking industry and is a member of the Cincinnati St. Xavier High School Athletic Boosters and coaches various youth sports teams.

Kristina Ellingson (Class of 1985)

Ellingson earned three varsity letters in volleyball and was a two-time All-SEOAL first-team selection, as well as a two-time GAHS Most Valuable Player pick. She played four years of volleyball at Marshall University, where she earned three letters and the “Best Setter” award her senior season.

In basketball, Ellingson earned three varsity letters and was named “Best Defensive Player” during her senior season at GAHS.

Ellingson also participated for one year in track and three years in softball, earning varsity letters each year in those sports.

In 1985, Ellingson was awarded the Female Athletic Key.

Mindy Pope (Class of 1996)

Pope earned four varsity letters and was a four-time All-SEOAL team member, four-time All-District member, 1996 District Player of the Year, and a three-time All-Ohioan in basketball. She scored more than 1,000 points during her career and averaged a career double-double in rebounds and points scored. Pope also played four years at the University of Rio Grande and was a two-time all-conference and an All-American pick her senior season.

In volleyball, Pope was a four-year letterwinner and three-time All-SEOAL pick.

Burt Wood (Class of 1996)

Wood was a four-year varsity letterwinner in track and field for GAHS. He was also a four-time MVP for the Blue Devils and a four-time All-SEOAL, All-District and All-Regional pick. Wood was a two-time All-Ohio selection, as well.

Wood specialized in the discus and shot put events. He earned first-place finishes in the discus in SEOAL competition (1994, 1996), regionals (1996), and at the Ohio State Division II meet (1995, 1996). He earned second-place finishes in regionals (1994, 1995) and a fourth-place finish at the state meet (1994).

In the shot put, Wood was first in SEOAL play (1995, 1996), regionals (1996) and state (1995). He was second at regionals (1994, 1995) and state (1996), and third place at state (1994).

School officials said Wood, at one time, held state and league track and field records. He eventually went on to compete in track and field at the University of Tennessee.

Wood also earned three varsity letters in football, where he earned a first-team nod his senior season in All-SEOAL, All-District and All-Ohio. He was also voted the team’s best lineman.

In wrestling, Wood collected three varsity letters and was the winner of the Male Athletic Key in 1996.

Terry Wall (Class of 1978)

Wall competed for four years in baseball and was an All-SEOAL pick in 1977 and 1978, the year he was also the team’s MVP. Wall went on to play baseball and earn two letters at the University of Rio Grande.

In basketball, Wall earned three letters and made the All-SEOAL team in 1978, as well as GAHS MVP in 1978.

In football, Wall earned two varsity letters and took home the GAHS Athletic Key for best male athlete in 1978.

Kristy (Carter) Akers (Class of 1997)

Akers won four varsity letters in track and field and was All-SEOAL, All-District and All-Regional in 1996 and 1997. She was GAHS MVP in 1994, 1996 and 1997. She held school records in the long jump, triple jump, triple jump relay, 4-by-200-meter relay, 100-meter hurdles and high jump, as well as the SEOAL meet record in the high jump.

Akers went on to complete for four years at West Virginia Wesleyan College, where she was the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champion in the high jump (1998, 1999 and 2001) and triple jump in 2001.

Akers was awarded the Female Athletic Key in 1997.

Kristy (Carter) Akers (Carter) Akers

Neil Kool Kool

Mindy Pope Pope

Burt Wood Wood

By Michael Johnson

Reach Michael Johnson at 740-446-2342, ext. 2102, or on Twitter @OhioEditorMike.

Reach Michael Johnson at 740-446-2342, ext. 2102, or on Twitter @OhioEditorMike.