ROCHELLE — Rochelle Township High School inducted the Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2022 during a ceremony at the Douglas A. Creason Athletic Complex on Friday. The four honorees recognized include Danny Schacht, Katie Schwartz Travis, Ronda Poliska and Jason Harper.
Danny Schacht, a 2005 graduate of RTHS, is the son of Jim and Nancy Schacht and was a three-year varsity letter winner in the boys basketball program from 2002-05 under head coach Russ Zick. Danny had great success for the Hubs both as a team and individually on the hardwood.
“Danny was an absolute delight to coach,” former head basketball coach Russ Zick said. “Always a great player and many times fantastic. He gave 100 percent, 100 percent of the time.”
While playing basketball as a Hub, Danny was a part of two NCIC Conference Championship teams and the undefeated conference championship team in 2005. He was also part of two IHSA Regional Championship teams in 2004 and 2005. Dan was a two-time NCIC All-Conference player, Sauk Valley All-Area Team and an Honorable Mention All-State Player in 2004-05.
He is scattered throughout the record board in the RTHS boys basketball program. His career stats place him at 10th all time in scoring with 1,182 points, second all time in steals with 158 and fourth all time in assists with 312. His single-season records are fourth all time in assists in a season with 137 (03-04), sixth all time assists in a season with 125 (04-05) as well as third and fourth all time in steals in a season with 82 (03-04) and 76 (04-05).
After his high school career, Danny had a successful career at Kishwaukee College for two years and then at North Central College. Dan currently lives in Northwest Arkansas and works for Stroud and Associates. He is married to Holly Schacht and has two children.
Katie Schwartz Travis was an accomplished three-sport athlete at RTHS. She earned 12 varsity letters while participating in volleyball, basketball and track. She was also a member of National Honor Society and was awarded the 2011 Rochelle News Leader Scholar Athlete Award.
In volleyball, Katie received All-Conference honors all four seasons. She earned the RTHS Offensive Player Award in 2009 and 2010 and was the RTHS kills leader in 2010. Katie was also Academic All-Conference.
In basketball, Katie was a school record holder for made free throws in a single season while also finishing in the program’s top three in steals, assists, and scoring. She finished her career with 1,234 points. She was voted Most Valuable Player for her team in 2009, 2010 and 2011. In 2009 and 2010, she was named a candidate for the Walter Payton Player of the Year award. Katie was also part of the All-Tournament Team for the Forreston Thanksgiving Tournament in 2010 and a Player of the Year Candidate for the Western Sun Conference in 2010. She was All-Conference all four years and a member of the Illinois Coaches Association Honorable Mention All-State Team in 2011. In 2011 she also participated in the NIC-10 Rising Star-All Star Basketball Game.
In track, Katie qualified for the IHSA State Championship in the high jump in 2009. In 2011 she was a member of the 400-meter relay team that broke the RTHS school record. The 2011 RTHS girls track team went on to win sectionals and advance to state. As a team, they finished fifth at the state meet.
Upon graduation, Katie attended Illinois State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Today, Katie is a fifth-grade language arts teacher in Texas. Katie is married to Cameron and has a 2-month-old son.
Jason Harper, son of Dan and Kathy Harper, was an accomplished three-sport athlete at RTHS from 1999-2003 where he earned seven varsity letters while participating in football, basketball and baseball.
In football, Harper played cornerback for two conference champion and state semifinalist teams. Harper received multiple NCIC All-Conference honors and Dixon Telegraph All-Area honors at his cornerback position. In his senior year, Harper was named to the Class 5A Illinois High School Football Coaches Association All-State Academic Team.
While playing basketball, Harper was a guard on multiple conference champion, regional champion and sectional finalist teams. He received multiple NCIC All-Conference honors and Dixon Telegraph All-Area honors in his junior and senior seasons. Harper led the team in free throw and field goal percentages. He holds the RTHS record for 3-point percentage in a season and career and he represented RTHS as a state finalist in the IHSA State 3-Point Shootout his senior year.
In the spring, Jason played second base and outfield for the Hubs. In his senior season, Harper received All-Conference honors, making him an All-Conference athlete in all three sports that year.
Harper received All-Academic honors for each sport in which he participated and was a four-time Ironman as part of the RTHS weight lifting program. Upon graduation, Jason attended Knox College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education. Harper has been employed by the Rochelle School Districts for the past 11 years. Harper coached 13 total seasons as an RTHS assistant in football, basketball and baseball.
He is married to Eryn McCulloch Harper and has three boys, Conrad, Isaiah and Grady.
Mrs. Poliska has worked at RTHS since January of 2001, and since the 2002 school year, she has been the athletic director’s administrative assistant. She has innumerable responsibilities, including calling officials, coordinating contracts and practice spaces, running student eligibility and any other duties as assigned. She has been highly effective in the position since the day she started.
Ronda’s two biggest strengths are working with people and being very organized. She takes pride in making sure things in the athletic department office run efficiently and correctly. She handles many tasks in the office that affect many other people, groups, and the community and they all run smoothly. Along with her organization, she takes the time to get to know our students, staff, and parents to make sure they are taken care of.
She works with students to make sure they are successful in the classroom as well as on the competition fields. She is patient and flexible when dealing with situations and always puts our students first. Mrs. Poliska is truly on call 24/7 and we greatly appreciate her. It is very challenging to keep an Athletic Director’s office running smoothly and efficiently, but Mrs. Poliska excels at doing just that. In fact, she knows all facets of how to run the athletic office and probably could be our athletic director.
For the past 21 years Mrs. Poliska has been a staple in the everyday lives of our staff, students and community. She is an irreplaceable component in our school and especially in the athletic department.