2016 Inductee:  2005 WVC Men's Soccer Team

Reilly Kneedler

Reilly Kneedler

The 2004 season came to an end in just about the worst way imaginable for the Wenatchee Valley College men’s soccer team. The Knights qualified for the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges tournament, but were forced to forfeit five wins and a tie for using an ineligible player. The WVC players were devastated. “There was a lot of crying,” said Nelson Zaldivar, the Knights’ coach. So when the team reconvened at the start of the next season, it had only one goal in mind: end the year in just about the best way imaginable – crying tears of joy. The Knights were able to do just that. The 2005 WVC squad won the first NWAACC title in the program’s history, beating East Region foe Walla Walla 2-0 in the championship game. The victory capped an unbeaten season for the Knights, who posted 18 wins and five ties. “We had something to prove. (The ending to the 2004 season) gave us motivation,” said Alvaro Valencia, a sophomore defender. “It helped that we had a family environment. From the very beginning, everybody got along. Not a single person had a negative bone in their body. We encouraged each other at practices and games.” “I had some core players coming back, and I had a great recruiting class,” he said. Any doubt that the players might have harbored was wiped away after they posted a convincing 8-0 win in their first game against a bigger, stronger Olympic squad. “From there, we never came down,” Valencia said. The turning point in the Knights’ season came after the team settled for ties in a pair of matches it thought it should’ve won. The Knights’ captains called for a players-only meeting to talk about ways to improve, and after that, “there was no stopping us,” Zaldivar said. Freshman forward Ceveriano “Junior” Garcia, the team’s prized recruit, led the NWAACC with 30 goals, including two scores against the Warriors in the title match. Sophomore defender Juan Viveros was named as the East region most valuable player. Other key players included Valencia; sophomore midfielder Luis Galvan; freshman forward Trevor Barber; and sophomore midfielder Carlos Cabrera. WVC scored 77 goals and allowed just 21. “We had six (region) all-stars, some amazing players,” Zaldivar said. “We were good at everything.”


2015 Inductee: Sandy Cooprider

If you have taken in a Wenatchee Valley College soccer, baseball or fastpitch event, enjoyed an evening at an AppleSox game, cheered for Wenatchee LaCrosse or Wenatchee FC, then you have experienced the vision of Sandy Cooprider. Sandy’s 46 year association with WVC began as a student-athlete member of the football teams in 1965 and 1966. Upon graduating from Montana State University where he played defensive back on two Big Sky Championship teams and spending one year as a graduate assistant football coach at Whitworth College, Sandy returned to WVC in 1971 as a full time physical education instructor, head baseball and assistant football coach. Coop was named head football coach in 1977. His quarterback that year and again in 1978 was ESPN celebrity Kenny Mayne who was recognized as an Honorable Mention NJCAA All-American in 1978.   In 1983, WVC won the NWAACC Football Championship with a record of 9-0-1, the best in school history. Over the years, Sandy was honored with the prestigious 1993 Paul Harris Fellow recognition by the Rotary Foundation as well as. In 1995, Sandy was recognized with the Wenatchee North Rotary Sports event’s “Presidential Award” for outstanding contribution to area youth and the community. Coop was inducted into the NWAACC Hall of Fame in 2006 and in 2007, he received the same honor as he was inducted into the Wenatchee Valley College Hall of Fame. Sandy coached college football for 22 years, 14 of them as the head coach of the WVC Knights. When combining the years Sandy spent coaching football at the collegiate, high school (varsity assistant at WHS) and middle school, the total years spent coaching the game he loves totaled 44 years.  Sandy and Cheryl, his wife of 48 years, have three children, Shawn, Lisa and Josh and five grandchildren, Nate, Sophie, Cooper, Stella and Claire.

World photo: Sandy Cooprider at Paul Thomas Sr. Baseball Field. Wenatchee Valley College.

World photo: Sandy Cooprider at Paul Thomas Sr. Baseball Field. Wenatchee Valley College.