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By LARRY GOFFINET
TELL CITY—Three recording-setting athletes, Kyle DeSpain, Phillip Johnson and Katie Chinn Weyer, have been elected to Tell City High School’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
The three will be inducted in a ceremony in Tell City’s auditorium 5:30 p.m. Feb. 7 and will also be introduced at halftime of Tell City’s boys basketball game with Pike Central later that night.
DeSpain, a 1996 Tell City graduate, was a star forward/guard in basketball and pitcher/first baseman/outfielder in baseball.
He set Tell City’s single-game scoring record in basketball with 46 points against Mount Vernon Jan. 5, 1996.
He also had 43 and 41 points in games against Perry Central that season as he averaged 21.5 points per game, the highest average by a Tell City player in 21 years.
A complete player, he also averaged 7.1 rebounds and a team-high 5.1 assists per game that season as he made All-Big Eight Conference for the second year in a row.
He also made All-Big Eight twice in baseball and helped the Marksmen to sectional titles in 1995 and ’96 (when they were also regional runners-up).
He hit three home runs in a game against New Albany April 28, 1995, to tie a school record.
He hit .424 as a junior and .393 as a senior.
He went on to star in baseball for Hanover College, making All-Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference three times and being named Most Valuable Player of the conference his senior year.
Phillip Johnson was the next Tell City boy after DeSpain to average 20 ppg in basketball, averaging 21.3 as a senior in 2001-02.
A 6-foot-4 forward, he scored 1,249 points to finish third on Tell City’s career scoring list.
He also played golf four years in high school.
But it was as a football quarterback that he set numerous school records.
He was the first freshman to ever start at quarterback for the Marksmen and made all-conference at the position all four years—the first three in the Big Eight and his senior year in the Pocket Athletic Conference.
He completed 505 of 904 passes in his career for 6,930 yards and 52 touchdowns.
He more than doubled the previous school record in all four of those categories and was 10th in state history in career passing yards when he graduated.
In his final high school game, a sectional contest against Mater Dei, he completed 29 of 57 passes for 348 yards, all school records.
Mater Dei’s Jake Schiff completed 28 of 38 passes for a state-record 556 yards in that same game.
He and Johnson then both chose to play for Indiana State University and compete for the same position.
Johnson earned the starting spot the third game of his junior season and completed 155 of 308 passes for 1,946 yards that year, the third best single-season total in school history.
But a new coach came to ISU the next year and started a quarterback he had recruited from a junior college, so Johnson served as the team’s punter that season.
Chinn set one Tell City school record in girls cross country that can’t be broken, as she won the Jasper sectional’s individual title all four years of her high school career.
Apparently no girl from any other school has matched that record either.
Chinn qualified for the state cross country meet as an individual three times, the most ever by a Tell City runner. She placed fifth in the semistate and 15th in the state as a sophomore in 1998, the highest state finish ever by a Tell City girl and only one place behind the highest finish ever by a Tell City boy.
She led the Marksmen to consecutive regional titles in 1998 and ’99.
In track she was a two-time sectional champion in the 1600-meter run and also won the 3200 in 1999, becoming only the fourth Tell City girl to win two individual events in a sectional.
She went on to run track and cross country for Belmont University, an NCAA Division I school.
The Bruins won the Atlantic Sun Conference cross country title all four years she was there, with her highest individual finish being 11th.
In track she made All-Atlantic Sun in the 3000-meter steeplechase in 2003.
Now Katie Weyer, she coaches Tell City’s girls cross country and track teams and teaches seventh grade science.
She was an assistant coach for the Marksmen when they won the cross country semistate in 2006.