CAREER DISPLAY The Hall of Fame accomplishments of Sarah Sumpter, Class of ‘08, includes her running shoes, competition bib, trophies and plaques. (Michael Lucid)

Healdsburg is justifiably proud of its student-athletes, and since 1992 has honored them by inclusion in an Athletic Hall of Fame. There are currently 49 members of this exclusive club, including honorary members, and on Feb. 25 five more names were added to the rolls.

On that Sunday, over 100 of Healdsburg’s most loyal locals gathered at the Villa Chanticleer Annex for the inauguration ceremony for the latest class of inductees. As the newest members of the Hall of Fame, five athletes were recognized for their contributions not only in sports, but for their positive influence in Healdsburg.

Richard Bugarske hosted the afternoon event, held at the American Legion annex. The HOF is cosponsored by the school, American Legion Sotoyome Post 111 and Healdsburg Kiwanis Club. Bugarske is currently the Kiwanis president, chair of the Hall of Fame Committee—and as a vet, an American Legion member. Touching all the bases, as it were.

“The value of athletics in schools is significant,” Bugarske said. “It has a profound impact on individuals, the school and the community. Athletics is powerful and transcendent. It can bridge gaps, bring people together in unique ways and gives many young athletes unbelievable, life-altering opportunities.”

Bugarske presented and narrated a brief slide show that charted the 101-year history of the Kiwanis, the 105-year story of the American Legion and the growth of community sports in Healdsburg. He also spoke of the mysterious origin of the high school’s Greyhound mascot—a 1920s racing car or the arrival of the Greyhound Bus line to Healdsburg in 1930?

The newest inductees included girls volleyball and basketball players, track athletes, tennis players and coaches, and a wrestler. The most emotional recognition was reserved for Sarah Sumpter, class of 2008.

RUNNING FOR HER LIFE – HHS graduate and running star Sarah Sumpter, pictured here competing for the Greyhounds in 2008, has been inducted into the Healdsburg High Athletic Hall of Fame. 

Sarah’s Story

As a Greyhound cross country runner in the fall of 2007, she won both the regional NCS division championship  and the state CIF Division 4 championship in cross country, and was named Press Democrat runner of the year. These high school successes were clouded by anorexia, which she challenged in public and managed to overcome.

Her collegiate career at UC Davis was equally successful, where she set a school record in the 10k and was named Big West Athlete of the Year in 2012. But her struggles with health returned. She was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2010, yet she continued to run when she could and returned to competition.

She was preparing for what would have been her first marathon when she ran her last race—the 4th of July 2015 Kenwood Footrace, where she came in first. She died at home in Cloverdale three months later.

Her career was recounted by one of her running coaches at the time, Carlos Quiroga, as he introduced Brian Sumpter to accept the award for his daughter.

“I am proud of my daughter’s achievements both in high school and college at UC Davis, but most of all I’m proud of my daughter’s indomitable spirit while fighting brain cancer during the final years of her life,” said Sumpter, a Lake County sportswriter.

“She never backed down to any challenge, never made excuses,” he said. “While she wasn’t always the fastest runner in the final years of her life, she was the fastest runner undergoing chemo.”

HOF Class of 2024

The five inductees to the Healdsburg High Athletic Hall of Fame are the 11th class, dating back to the HOF’s founding in 1992 when the first four athletes were selected. The last time a new class was added was 2019, so the old-timers in the audience were chafing for the recognition.

Suzy Charles (Class of ’89), was a multi-sport athlete throughout her Healdsburg career and settled into an All-State volleyball year. She, too, continued to UC Davis, there to become a team leader in basketball.

COACH John Suazo, a ’95 graduate, was a runner, starring in track and cross country.

John Suazo, a ’95 graduate, was also a runner, starring in track and cross country during his junior and senior years. He was a top runner at Dominican, in San Rafael, and is still involved in the Healdsburg community as a soccer booster and Little League coach.

AWARDEE Anne Seppi, at right, was welcomed to the Healdsburg High Athletic Hall of Fame by Tom Kirkpatrick.

Anne Seppi (1999 graduate) is Healdsburg’s most recent Hall of Fame tennis player—a three-time MVP, Sonoma County doubles league champion in her junior year and singles champion as a senior. Add to that her four years lettering in basketball for another well-rounded Greyhound athlete.

Matt Crippes (Class of ’03) was the last called up to receive his plaque. An All-League, All-Empire and All-State wrestler at HHS, he continued with the sport into the military, wrestling with the U.S. Air Force Academy from 2004-2006.

WRESTLER Matt Crippes, class of 2005, at his induction into the Healdsburg High Athletic Hall of Fame.

The five inductees join the other 49 names in the Healdsburg High Athletic Hall of Fame ( in lasting recognition of their contributions to sports and community in Healdsburg.

“It is difficult to summarize thoughts about each athlete,” Bugarske said after the event. “On one of the slides I talk about the value of athletics to the student, their families and the community.  The Hall of Fame celebrates those thoughts.”

Though there are several places with Hall of Fame information at Healdsburg High School, the wall display in Smith Robinson Gym next to the snack window will soon be up to date with all 54 names in the Healdsburg High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

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Christian Kallen has called Healdsburg home for over 30 years. A former travel writer and web producer, he has worked with Microsoft, Yahoo, MSNBC and other media companies, usually in an editorial capacity. He started reporting locally in 2008, moving from Patch to the Sonoma Index-Tribune to the Kenwood Press before joining the Healdsburg Tribune in 2022.


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