Six inducted into Ames High Athletics Hall of Fame 2023 class

Posted October 24, 2023

Ames High Athletics has announced the addition of six people to the Hall of Fame. Five former athletes and a long-time coach of several sports are included in this class. A complete list of every Ames High Athletics Hall of Fame member can be found online: https://ameshighathletics.org/info/ames-high-athletics-hall-of-fame/

Barry Best ’73 (Baseball) –

Best played multiple sports at Ames High; a letterwinner in football, basketball, and baseball. Best served as football team captain in the 1972 season and additionally being named team captain of the 1973 Ames High baseball team, collecting All-State honors en route to a state runner-up finish. Best would continue his baseball career at the collegiate level, with a pair of stints at DMACC and Iowa State.

Jessica King ’12 (Tennis)

King was a four-year letterwinner for the girls tennis team from 2009-2012. King is the program’s all-time wins leader with a career singles record of 96-4. King also owned a doubles record of 36-2 and the Little Cyclones never lost a team dual in King’s four years, finishing a perfect 56-0 with four team state championships. King played for a season at Northern Iowa before finishing out the last three years of her collegiate career at Lindsey Wilson College, where King collected a pair of regional doubles titles and was a three-time All-Mid-South Conference First Team Selection and an NAIA Women’s Tennis All-American.

Evelyn Qin ’10 (Tennis) –

Qin earned a varsity letter in all four seasons on the Ames High girls tennis team. Qin played in the first two seasons of what eventually turned into a 59-match winning streak and encompassed four straight state team titles, two of which were earned in Qin’s junior and senior seasons. Qin also collected a state title as a junior in doubles and finished runner-up as a senior in the singles bracket. Qin would play collegiately at Washington University in St. Louis.

Toria Simmons ’88 –

One of the best-ever sprinters to compete in the storied Ames High girls track program, the late Toria Simmons’ ability on the track really manifested itself starting her junior season. Simmons served as anchor leg on the state champion 4×100 and 4×200 relay teams, culminating in winning the team IGHSAU state title that year. Ames would repeat as team champion in 1988, where Simmons would double her gold tally on the 4×100 and 4×200 teams, being named to the Elite All-State Girls Track team.

Taylor Flummerfelt ’13 –

Several names could adorn the Mount Rushmore of Ames High girls swimming greats. Taylor Flummerfelt was a key component to the program’s eventual dominance in the 2010’s decade, which saw the Little Cyclones claim eight team state championships; three of them (2010, 2011, 2012) were with Flummerfelt in the water. Flummerfelt won three individual state titles in her time as a Little Cyclone (twice in the 50 Freestyle, once in the 100 Freestyle). Additionally, Flummerfelt was a member of four relay state titles and holds school records in the 50 Freestyle, 200 Freestyle Relay, 200 Medley Relay, and 400 Free Relay. Almost most impressive of all, Flummerfelt captured the prestigious 4x4x4 distinction as a four-year letterwinner, four-year state qualifier status, four-year state meet scorer.

Bruce Vertanen (Coach) –

Bruce Vertanen is one of the most tenured coaches in the history of Ames High Athletics. Vertanen has served in a variety of coaching roles: from girls and boys basketball, to sprints and throws in track and field, Vertanen really made his mark by his service to the football program. Vertanen was a member of the staff for a total of 284 varsity football games, the final 19 years of which were served as the program’s head coach. In Vertanen’s time as football head coach, the Little Cyclones won 106 total victories, highlighted by an undefeated regular season and state quarterfinalist finish in 2013.

Joshua Dobbs – Distinguished Service Award

Dobbs, a 1994 AHS graduate, is the 2023 recipient of the Ames High Athletics Distinguished Service Award, presented to individuals that enhance the experience of Little Cyclone student-athletes. Dobbs, known as Dobber in the athletics community, has been the baseball scoreboard operator for 33 years. Additionally, Dobbs operates scoreboards for basketball, football, volleyball, and wrestling contests.

James (Tom) Emmerson ’55 – Distinguished Alumni Award

Emmerson, the recipient of the the 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award, had a long and fulfilling career in journalism and academia. The award designated to former Little Cyclones who held the mantra “Ames Hi Aims High” to the highest standard was bestowed on Emmerson for his efforts in historically documenting the Rhineland Crisis and serving as the Journalism department chair at Iowa State University. He fought to save the journalism major in 1998, when the Board of Regents were looking to potentially cut it due to “unnecessary duplication” of the major among other regent schools in the state. More recently, Emmerson has served as a reported for the Ames High Alumni Association’s newsletter and also was part of a successful effort to name the new auditorium at Ames High School after former and longtime drama instructor, Wayne “Hank” Hansen.