2016

Danett (Jones) WolfeWhile it was basketball that proved to be her ticket to college, it was also her excellence in volleyball that made Danette (Jones) Wolfe a multi-sport standout athlete at Salem Community High School.

A 2001 SCHS graduate, Wolfe had to wait two years for a talented senior class that won 63 games during that span to crack the Lady Wildcats lineup. Once she got her chance as a junior in the 1999 season, the middle hitter was named the North Egypt Conference Most Valuable Player Award. Besides her individual honor, Wolfe helped Salem compile a 25-7 record to along with an NEC and Class AA regional championship. Wolfe won another NEC MVP Award in volleyball during her senior season in 2000, as she helped the Lady Wildcats put together a 22-6 record and another NEC title.

Although Wolfe also had to wait until her junior season to crack the Salem starting lineup in basketball, she proved to be a valuable sixth man as a sophomore for the 1998-99 Lady Wildcats squad that went 28-3, won the NEC championship and advanced tot he Class AA Elite Eight. Jones averaged 8.2 points per game as a sophomore and earned NEC Honorable Mention status. Wolfe proved to be an early threat from long range, as her 38.5 percentage from three-point territory (25-65) ranked ninth best in school history at the time of her induction. She also qualified for state competition in the Country Financial Three-Point Shot competition.
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1996 Boys Cross CountryWinners of six regular season invitationals to go along with North Egypt Conference and Class AA regional and sectional championships,the 1996 Salem Wildcats cross country team put together one of the best seasons in school history.

Led by individual championships by Chris Owen, Salem kicked off its season by winning the Murphysboro and Granite City Invitationals. The Wildcats displayed their team depth when they won the Herrin Invitational with their junior varsity squad led by a fourth place finish by Willie Shuler. The Wildcats won their fourth straight race to start the season when they claimed the title at the Mt. Vernon Invitational, as Salem had the first or second place finisher in five of the seven flighted races.

Salem suffered its first setback of the season when it finished second to Naperville North at the Downers Grove Invitational, but the Wildcats still had three of the top ten runners led by a third place finish by Chris Owen.
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Paul SaikiaOne of the top baseball coaches in NCAA D-III history, the roots for Paul Saikia’s success began at Salem Community High School.

A 1980 graduate of SCHS, Saikia was a stellar pitcher for the Wildcats having tossed a no-hitter against Mt. Vernon in a contest where he had the game’s only hit and the game’s only run.

Saikia continued his baseball career as a player at Eastern Illinois where he was part of a Panthers squad that reached the NCAA D-II World Series. Saikia transferred to Rend Lake College and transferred again to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
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Erin McMullen AhartErin (McMullen) Ahart went several places where no Salem Community High School girl runner had ever gone before and in many case have gone since during her cross country and track career.

Ahart will always hold the distinction of being the only girl to win four North Egypt Conference individual cross country championships, as that league disbanded in 2003. When Ahart won the first four of those NEC titles in 1996 as a freshman, she did so by establishing a new Salem Bryan Park Course record with a time of 12:06. Ahart had to be at her best that day because teammate Trisha (Hustedde) Richards also broke the course record.
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jeff thayerAlthough his record has since been broken, 1995 Salem Community High School graduate Jeff Thayer left the Wildcats basketball program as it’s all-time career scoring leader. Thayer entered what turned out to be his final game needing 18 points to pass Jim Gaule’s previous school mark of 1,052 points. Late in Salem’s Class AA regional championship game loss to the Centralia Orphans Thayer delivered and finished with a new career standard of 1,057. Thayer’s 23 points in that game marked the 31st consecutive contest he scored in double digits.
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