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Nashville News Stories From The Year That Was

By Alex Haglund
and Brent Huelsmann


Tragedy struck Nashville when Marty, Kim and Piper Gutzler and cousin Sierra Wilder were killed in a January 2 plane crash in Lyon County, Kentucky. Sailor Gutzler, 7, was the only survivor of the crash.

Hornets football coach, Tim Kuhn led a swarm of Hornets on Honors List. Kuhn earned the Belleville News-Democrat Coach of the Year award, after the Hornets finished the season with eight wins. Running back Quayd Novak earned a spot on the All-State Team, as well as the the All-South Team. Novak was joined on the All-South team by Royce Newman and Peyton Renken.

The NCHS FFA Chapter was recognized as a three-star National Chapter.

Congressman John Shimkus presented a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol to the Village of New Minden commemorating the November 27, 2013 tornado there.

The Hornets bounced back from a loss to Teutopolis to claim a share of the NIT Championship. The Hornets defeated Mascoutah 63-39 before defeating Central 48-28. The Hornets got a share of the title thanks to Central defeating Teutopolis earlier in the tournament.


County offices including those of the County Clerk, Treasurer, and Supervisor of Assessments moved out of the County Courthouse and into the Community Center while the courthouse started a renovation which would take more than a year.

The Jr. Hornets captured the state title as the SIJHSAA Class-M Tournament held last weekend at Rend Lake College, beating Pinckneyville 49-36 in the championship game. Carson Parker and Bryce Bultman did the heavy lifting for the NMS offense, combining for 38 of the team’s 49 points.

The Fire Department responded to calls at Nashville Primary School and NCHS following malfunctions due to a power outage.

Nashville linemen signed letters of intent to hit the field at the college level, as Colby Aussieker, Peyton Renken, and Nick Wolf all signed to play in college. Aussieker signed to play at Lindenwood University, Renken signed to play at McKendree, and Wolf signed to play at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Traveler’s Restaurant on U.S. Highway 51 near DuBois was ravaged by a fire early in the morning on February 9. Keith Addison was later arrested and charged with a burglary alleged to have occurred there on the same morning as the fire, and in December of 2015, was charged with two counts of arson for the fire.

Hornettes captured their 16th straight regional title with a win over Dupo. The Hornettes defeated Dupo 39-18 in the championship game of the Red Bud Regional.

Despite the bankruptcy of Radio Shack as a corporation, Steve Haertling, owner of Haertling’s Radio Shack stated that Nashville’s store wasn’t going anywhere.

The NCHS Music Boosters introduced their Music Patrons program to help sponsor the band in competitions.

Linda Borowiak was hired as the Health Department’s new environmental health practitioner.

Rosalee Boreup was named Volunteer of the Year by the Nashville Chamber of Commerce.

Washington County Hospital was recognized for their speedy heart attack care by Good Samaritan Regional Health Center.


Will Reinburg was named coach of the year by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association.

The Hornets season ended at the Carlyle Regional as they fell to the Mater Dei Knights. A slow start doomed the Hornets, as Mater Dei sprinted out to an early lead and never looked back on the way to a 60-40 win.

The City of Nashville held an open house for their newly constructed street shed.

Virgil Range was hired as the superintendent of the Nashville City Golf Course.

A race that started years ago will continue in college for Patrick Neill, who signed as a runner with the Lindenwood University-Belleville cross county and track teams.

A memorial gathering with a balloon release was held at the Mill Ponds on March 15, Sierra Wilder’s birthday.

Daley Buchanan, a versatile player for the Hornets, signed a letter of intent to join the KC softball squad.

Both NCHS’ Scholar Bowl and Olympiad Teams were bound for state level competition. The two Olympiad Teams finished second and third in the state.

The Nashville Hornettes golf team recently held the postseason banquet and named the team’s award winners. Madison Frerker (MVP), Sara Guetersloh (Most Improved), and Hope Rueter (Hornette Award), all were honored. Frerker tied for first place at the SIRR Conference Meet, and Rueter, Sara Guetersloh, and Jill Guetersloh also earned All Conference honors. Rueter also medaled at the regional by finishing fourth overall.


Sarah Herrmann and Kane Lamczyk of the NCHS FFA Chapter won state proficiency awards.

Senior harriers were honored during the cross country awards banquet. Patrick Neill, Abby Wroblewski, Alex Orr, Austin Blumhorst, Derek Malawy, and Jordan Love all were honored.

In the April 7 consolidated elections, Erik Rolf and Dennis Kellerman were elected to the Nashville City Council. Paul Barczewski, John Hallock and Tom Speedie were elected to the NCHS board; and Janine Pieszchalski, Eric Jones, David Engele and Shawn Knepp were elected to the CCSD 49 board.

The Hornettes softball team was still unbeaten
after 10 games after picking five wins in one week.
Emily Thompson hit a grand slam and Maci Ingram
overpowered the Annies in Nashville’s 5-1 win at Centralia.

The Hoyleton Lions Club hosted a fried chicken dinner at the Hoyleton Community Club building.

The NCHS Drama Club presented ‘The Wizard Of Oz,” with Dorothy being played by Abigail Hall.

Fall sports teams at NCHS were honored with IHSA Team Academic Achievement Awards. Topping the list of Nashville teams was the Hornettes’ volleyball team with a team GPA of 3.76. Girls golf had a team GPA of 4.68, and the girls cross country team scored a 3.61 team GPA. In boy’s sports the Hornet golf team had a 3.61 GPA and the Hornet harriers put together a 3.28 team GPA.

A strong showing in the field events helped the Hornets claim the trophy of their own invitational meet. Nashville athletes finished first or second in five field events on the way to a 138.2 team score, topping Freeburg by 18 points for the top spot.

The City of Nashville honored outgoing city council members Susan Finke and Keith Reckmann.


The Okawville Police Department was honored for training in Project 16.

Hornettes take sixth at the Nashville Invitational. Easten Hepker had the Hornettes’ lone top finish. Chester was the top performing team of the 19 teams participating in the event. Emily Harper took third in the shot put, Allyson Grabowski was fourth in the triple jump and Taylor Cook was fourth in the 300 meter hurdles.

Anthony Harper, a key member of the Hornets golf team that finished third in state, signed his letter of intent to play golf at Blackburn College.

The Washington County Sportsman Club held their kids fishing derby.

The Hornets bass team competed at the Rend Lake Sectional last week. Hornet anglers pulled in more than 20 fish, but not all met the 12-inch keeper limit. Nashville’s boat #1 with Ryan Kell, Hunter Cooper, and Alex Klie finished with 5 lbs 3 oz, and the second boat, Doc Shaeffer, and Isaiah Guinzy hauled in 2 lbs 8 oz to finish seventh.

A fire at 442 W. St. Louis in Nashville brought out the Nashville Volunteer Fire Department.

A new digital projector was installed at the State Theater.

Jordan Love signed with the Kaskaskia College cross country team for next season. His running career began in seventh grade, and his junior and senior years saw the Hornets advance to the state cross country meet twice, with Love usually near the top of the list of Nashville finishers.

Julia Stemper and Stone Soup Shakespeare visited English classes at NCHS to hold workshops on Shakespearian acting and archetypes.

Dean Troutman, 84, passed through Nashville on a 700 mile trek through Illinois to help make money to sponsor a park in memory of his late wife, Peggy.

Wroblewski set to run for the KC Blue Angels in the fall. Wrobelwski made the transition from distance runner in track to cross country harrier during her sophomore year, after getting advice from her teammates.

Versatile big man Dylan Mueller signed to play basketball at Kaskaskia College next season. Mueller’s versatility is not limited to the basketball court. He also was a standout receiver on the Hornets’ football team, and he pitched and played infield for the baseball team.

Students from St. Ann School and Trinity–St. John came out to Mike Chwasczinski’s farm to learn about the world of dairy.


The bell (and later in the month, the steeple) were returned to the top of St. John’s Lutheran Church in New Minden, after they had been knocked down by the November 2013 tornado.

Hornettes beat Carterville in 15 innings to claim sectional championship. The Hornettes survived a 15-inning marathon of a ballgame to beat Carterville 2-1 for the championship of the Carterville Sectional. It was Karly Stanowski’s run scoring single in the bottom of the 15th inning that did it.

DuQuoin beats the Hornets 5-2 to win the Nashville Secitional. After advancing to the championship of the Nashville Sectional with a win over Carmi (White County), the Nashville Hornets were upended by DuQuoin to put an end to their season. The Hornets finished the season 29-7-1.

The 10th annual Walk With The Dogs for Pancreatic Cancer brought out 418 total walkers.

Daniel Thorson, catcher for the Hornets baseball team, has signed to play baseball with the McKendree University Bearcats. Thorson has four years of experience playing varsity baseball for the Hornets. After playing basketball and baseball at NCHS for four years, Thorson will now focus on playing baseball.

Emily Thompson, who has been in the middle of the Hornettes recent softball success, will keep playing softball as a member of the McKendree Bearcats.

Dave Hylla’s Good Times Polka brought out Andy Brown, 12, of Ashley, to play accordion with the band.

The Nashville Hornettes softball team took on all challengers and emerged victorious at the IHSA Class 2A State Finals by defeating Brimfield. Nashville’s Mackenzie McFeron scampered home on a broken play to give the Hornettes’ a 1-0 victory and a state championship in an 11-inning classic in East Peoria.

Washington County 4-H held their first color run at Washington County State Lake.

Oakdale’s County Kitchen was gutted by a fire early in the morning on Monday, June 15.

Royce Newman, who is entering his senior year at NCHS, gave his verbal commitment to play football for the University of Missouri. Newman, who plays tight end and defensive end for the Hornets, is projected to play offensive line in college, but says he will have to get bigger.

For more than two decades Wayne Harre has been on the bench in one sport or another for Nashville Community High School. That run came to an end when the Hornettes’ softball team hoisted the state championship trophy last week. Harre took over as athletic director after the departure of Neil Hamon last year.

Amber Lehde discovered four baby screech owls in a tree near the State Lake. The owls were take by a rscue group to be rehabilitated.


The 41st Illinois Shriner All Star Game was held June 20 at Illinois Wesleyan College in Bloomington and NCHS sent several representatives to the event. Hornets Peyton Renken, and Dylan Mueller were chosen as players on the East Team, and Nashville coach Tim Kuhn was invited to coach.

A survey of Washington County Millenials highlighted their concerns for more jobs, more attractions for young people, and a more supportive community for small businesses.

Alicia Williams, 18, of Hoyleton was killed in a car crash.

Congressman John Shimkus entered a statement into the permanent congressional record recognizing the Illinois State Champion Nashville Community High School Hornettes softball team.

Travis Volz was named the marketing manager of The Nashville News.

The Nashville Hornettes recently honored the track athletes following the spring season. Taylor Cook (Most Valuable Runner), Easten Hoepker (Most Valuable Field Athlete, Mariel Elliott (Rookie Award), Rachael Kell (Rookie Award), Christine Garner (Most Improved) and Allyson Grabowski (Most Valuable Runner) were all honored.

A fire bell returned to the Village of Hoyleton after a long absence was rededicated at a ceremony held at Hofbraufest.

Alan Ray Bowers, 75, of DuBois, was killed in a traffic crash.

With the end of the school fiscal year, NCHS Superintendent Wendy Davis retired with Ernie Fowler taking her place.

Tom Speedie took over as president of The Nashville Chamber of Commerce.

Dennis Gregory began his job as the new director of the Nashville Public Library after the retirement of Linda Summers.

The restaurant Frankie’s on the Hill opened in Nashville.

Enrollment at NCHS dipped this year, according to the enrollment classifications recently announced by the Illinois High School Association. NCHS’s enrollment had been steady at around 400 students for the last few years, but this year the IHSA pegs Nashville’s enrollment at 380.

More than 300 people attended the Washington County Farm Bureau’s Ice Cream Social.


Hoyleton Upholsdstery was destroyed due to storms on Sunday, August 10. No one was injured.

Tyler Wall won the SIGA Junior Players Championship golf tournament, held at Rend Lake Golf Course. He finished with a one over par round of 73, which tied him with Kolton Pavloff of DuQuoin. Tyler birdied the third hole of a sudden-death playoff to secure the win.

William Wyciskalla put in new benches, a basketball hoop and a flagpole at the Little Bear Campground at the State Lake.

Four NCHS teams have qualified for the IHSA Team Academic Achievement Awards. The academic achievement awards recognizes the teams that maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher throughout their respective season. The four teams that achieved the requirements are: girls softball, boys baseball, boys track and field, and girls track and field.

The NCHS English Honors IV Class produced a multimedia project called “Passing The Torch” which told tales of the Holocaust and its survivors.

The Bowers home in Nashville was ravaged by fire on Friday, August 7.

The Nashville girls golf team got their season underway with the NIT. The tournament featured Nashville, Massac County, Pinckneyville, Carterville, Okawville, Mascoutah, Waltonville, Trico, and Centralia. The Hornettes finished 1st in the event with a score of 178.

The city of Nashville approved hikes to the rates of both sewer and water services, which would first appear on the November 1 bills.

Brent Huelsmann was hired as the sports editor for The Nashville News.

Joseph Kehrer, of Albers, was fined nearly $2-million by OSHA for forcing Mexican Laborers to remove asbestos from the old Okawville School with inadequate protective equipment.


Hoyleton author Deb Obermeier released her first novel, “A Simple Stitch – A cOmmon Thread”.

The Nashville Hornets kicked off their 2015 season with a 22-6 victory over the Carlyle Indians. The Hornets defense swarmed the Indian’s offense holding their running game to just 73 yards and six yards in the second half. The Hornets running game ran wild running the ball over 50 times, for 289 yards.

Joan Lincoln and Patricia Coen donated a portrait of Theodore Rueter to the Washington County Historical Society. Students from Steven Turnipseed’s Urban Design Studio senior Architecture class at SIU-C would focus on Nashville (as well as Pinckneyville and Murphysboro) during their fall semester.

The Hornets boys golf team took on 9 other teams on September 10 as they hosted the Nashville Invitational. The teams participating were Nashville, Pinckneyville, Sparta, Waterloo Gibault, Chester, Greenville, Carterville, Murphysboro, Mater Dei, and Okawville. The Hornets came out on top with a score of 158.

Nashville City Council member Dean Huge resigned from the board, with former board member Sue Finke appointed to complete his term.

The body of Juan Carlo Sanchez Mora was recovered from Washington County State Lake after a late night boating accident.

The Nashville Hornettes volleyball team came home with first place at the Rangerette Classic that was held on September 12 at Benton High School. The Hornettes defeated Grayville, Johnston City, Woodlawn, Carlyle, and Benton on their way to the championship.

Nashville man Chuck Stern makes bows and arrowheads from scratch using primitive techniques and materials.

The Hornets football team got their conference schedule underway as they took on the Anna-Jonesboro Wildcats on September 18. A hard fought matchup, Nashville’s defense stepped up late as the Hornets got the win 35-21 to stay unbeaten on the season.

West Washington School District hired a new principal, Keith Senior.

It took three games but the Hornettes pulled out a thrilling victory against conference rival Pinckneyville on Thursday September 24. Nashville got off to a slow start in the match they fell behind early. The Hornettes were able to tie the game early, but could not break through and take the lead throughout the matchup. The Hornettes got as close as two as the match wound down, but the Panthers took home the first match 25-21.


The Hornets golf team ran away with the Southern Illinois River to River Conference Tournament that was held on Tuesday September 29, at Hickory Ridge Golf Course in Carbondale, Illinois. Nashville won the Mississippi Division by 7 strokes over Carterville.

The annual reunion was held at the Nashville Community Center,.

The Hornets dropped their first game of the season as they traveled to take on the Carterville Lions on Friday October 2. The Lions came into the game with a record of 2-3. The Hornets were 5-0 going into the matchup. The Hornets lost the game by a score of 13-20.

A busy week for the Hornettes volleyball team, as they took on conference foes DuQuoin, Anna-Jonesboro as well as winning the Triad Round Robin Volleyball Tournament. The Hornettes defeated DuQuoin by scores of 25-21, and 25-10. The Hornettes then moved on to face off against Anna-Jonesboro. The Hornettes dropped the first game 23-25 before bouncing back in the second game 25-22. In the third game the Hornettes fell just short losing 18-25. The Hornettes then won the Triad Round Robin Volleyball Tournament by defeating Collinsville, Chatham/Glenwood, and Salem. The only loss in the tournament came in a three set match against Triad.

The Nashville boys golf team advanced to state where they competed this past weekend at the IHSA Boys Golf State Finals. The Hornets golf team finished tied for 11th at the state finals with a score of +155. The Hornets were led by senior Tyler Wall, who finished with a score of 163 in the tournament.

The NCHS School Board declined to move on with a football coop agreement with the West Washington School District.

Although the Nashville High School girls golf team, did not advance to state as a team, the Hornettes were still represented as sophomore Hope Rueter, qualified for the state tournament as an individual. Rueter shot a 108 in the first round which placed her 94th overall on the leaderboard, Rueter improved in round 2 shooting a 104, which moved her up on the leaderboard. Rueter finished tied for 89th at the state tournament.

The Nashville Volunteer Fire Department responded to a fire at the Conners property on North Carolina Road on Monday, October 19.

Zachary A. McCrary, 24, of Pinckneyville, was killed in an auto wreck on County Highway 12.

Okawville hired new police officer Brian Salvi and part-time officer Alex Hawthorne.

After 5 seasons at the helm of the Hornettes Softball team, Dempsey Witte resigned. Witte, although coach for only 5 years, became the winningest coach in program history. Witte passed Chad Malawy, 156 career wins, last season against Central, and finished with 173 wins. Witte’s record at Nashville is 173-19 an incredible .901 winning percentage.

The Hornets beat Pinckneyville at Homecoming. Tianna Kozuszek was named NCHS Homecoming Queen.

The Dentistry from the Heart Day held at the Nashville Dental Center helped to provide free dental care for 54 people.


The Nashville Hornets football team kicked off the playoffs with a thrilling win over the New Berlin Pretzel’s on October 31. In a game that saw more comebacks than time would allow, the Hornets came out on top of a back and forth game. The Hornets drove 65 yards with less than three minutes left in the game. Andrew Kash found Hunter Schultze in the end zone with 17.6 seconds left on the clock, to get the win for Nashville.

Nashville WWII Veteran Harry Malawy service included a one year stint as a POW in Italy.

The Hornettes volleyball team put up a valiant effort but fell just shy of advancing in the postseason as they were defeated by Wesclin 21-25, 25-16, 16-25. The loss ended the season for the Hornettes who finished the season with a 21-13 record.

The City of Nashville approved a rate hike for water supply to the Villages of Hoyleton and New Minden and to the Washington County Water Company.

The Hornets started quick in their second round playoff game against the Niantic-Sangamon Valley Storm, and never looked back cruising to a 45-18 victory on Saturday. The Hornets came out of the gates quick scoring taking a 20-0 lead after the first quarter on their way to a blowout win.

The Nashville Hornets used another strong start, to put away their opponent in the IHSA Class 2A Playoffs. The Hornets faced off against the Athens Warriors this past Saturday at Hornet Field. The Hornets used a stingy first half defense and a balanced offense to defeat Athens 35-14.

After Dempsey Witte announced his resignation, the Hornettes softball program would need a new coach. Shaun Renth, the current athletic director at Trinity St. John’s, will be the next Nashville High School softball coach. The Hornettes softball team is coming off their second Class 2A title in the last five years. The Hornettes are one of the most successful programs in Illinois State history.

SIU-C Urban Design Studio students presented their plans for Nashville to members of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce.

The Nashville Hornets cinderella season ended this past Saturday as the Hornets fell to the Auburn Trojans by a score of 6-22. The Hornets finished with 9 wins on the season and just four losses. This season saw Nashville make it to the football semi-finals for just the third time in school history. The Hornets fought through a tough schedule that included four playoff teams in the regular season, Wesclin, Carterville, DuQuoin, and Columbia.

“Sierra’s Ray of Sunshine,” a playground dedicated to the memory of the late Sierra Wilder, was constructed in Nashville’s Memorial Park.

St. Ann School held a luncheon for police, fir and other first responders at their school on Veteran’s Day.


Santa arrived at the L&N Depot in Nashville on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, officially christening the newly restored building.

Sophomore Brandon Schnitker was named as a part of the 2015-16 SICA All-South Cross Country selections for 1A. Schnitker was a part of the Hornets cross country team that advanced to state.

Illinois Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti visited Washington County Hospital.

The owls found by Amber Lehde in June were re-released into the wild, near where they were originally discovered.

Nashville golfers were also the part of the SICA All-South 1A selections. Hope Reuter was the only member of the Hornettes golf team to be selected. Reuter, a sophomore, advanced to state as an individual, after shooting an 81 at sectionals and finishing fourth place. Reuter finished in 89th place at state. The boys golf team had two selections named. Both Riley Edwards and Tyler Wall were selected. Edwards, a senior, was one of the top finishers for the Hornets all season, and the top overall finisher at Regionals, shooting a 73. Edwards advanced as part of the Hornets team that went to state. Edwards finished 31st at state. Wall, a senior, finished in the top two of tournaments three times this season, including the Regionals. Wall finished 18th at state.

David Paskiewicz, 59, of Ashley, was killed in a farming accident on December 10.

Five NCHS FFA members, Morgan Dodson, Josh Rynski, Tricia Herrmann, Clark Wisely and Patrick Suchomski, received their American Degrees at the National FFA Convention and Expo in Louisville, Ky.

Paul Welte, the electronics instructor at NCHS, received a $500 grant from Tri County Electric to help build a color LED display with his students.

Maci Kellerman, Allyson Grabowski, and Mackenzie McFeron were all selected on the Class 2A South Volleyball team. That would not be the only honor the trio received, as they all were selected for the Southern Illinois River to River Conference 2015 All-Conference Volleyball Team- Mississippi Division.

After winning their first two games of the Nashville Girls Thanksgiving Invitational Tournament, the Hornettes would drop their last two games, to finish in fourth place. The Hornettes began the tournament defeating Wesclin and Okawville before dropping games to Mascoutah and Collinsville. Mascoutah took home the championship after defeating Massac County in the championship game. Defending champion Collinsivlle took home third place.

After defeating Wesclin in the first round of the Lebanon/Wesclin Thanksgiving Tournament, the Hornets moved on to face Wesclin and Columbia. The Hornets easily handled Wesclin, defeating the Warriors 63-28. Nashville then moved on to face off against Columbia with the championship on the line. The Hornets could not find a rhythm, as they lost to Columbia 51-68. Brady Bultman and Royce Newman made the All-Tournament team.

Alex Kubiak, senior member of the Hornettes volleyball team, has signed her letter of intent to play volleyball next season for the Rend Lake Warriors. Kubiak finished this season 2nd on the Hornettes with 154 kills, and had 28 aces on the season, and was fifth on the team with 197 service attempts in 81 games for Nashville.

The new Kaskaskia College Nashville Education Center neared completion, with members of the sterring committee getting a tour of the facility.

Kayla Wesselman, senior member of the Nashville Hornettes volleyball team, will be suiting up for the Rend Lake Warriors next season, after signing her letter of intent on Friday, December 18. Wesselman finished third on the Hornettes team this season with 164 digs. Wesselman also knotched 18 aces on 190 service attempts in 80 games for Nashville.