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Three inducted to PL Hall of Fame

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Steve Heslop, left, and Felicia Neznik accept their plaques after being inducted into the Pequot Lakes Hall of Fame on Friday, Sept. 27. Not pictured: Fellow inductee Clayton Foster. Dan Determan / Echo Journal

A former coach and two sibling athletes were inducted into the Pequot Lakes Hall of Fame on Friday, Sept. 27.

Steve Heslop was joined by Felicia Neznik (Foster) in receiving plaques and being honored during a break in the action during the homecoming football game. Also inducted but unable to attend was Neznik’s brother, Clayton Foster.

Heslop’s career began in 1972 as an English teacher at Pequot Lakes High School. He would stay in that position for the next 36 years, coaching wrestling and golf and directing several plays. He is credited with starting the wrestling program in Pequot Lakes.

Steve has worked as a high school volleyball official since 1973, and has served as the announcer at the state wrestling tournament since 1986.

He also served as a radio broadcaster covering Patriot athletics from 2005 to 2012. He was inducted into the Minnesota State High School Golf Association Hall of Fame in 2017, and now has a plaque from Pequot Lakes.

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“It's quite an honor,” Heslop said. “For 36 years, I worked here as a coach and teacher. When you leave or retire, you look back at all. Now, you get a phone call and find out that someone remembers everything you did and they appreciate it. I appreciate the hall of fame for nominating me.”

Neznik was a three-sport athlete at Pequot Lakes, helping lead the Patriot basketball team to a 30-2 record her senior year (2004-05) while finishing second in the Class 2A State Tournament. She holds school records for steals and assists, and is third on the all-time scoring list with 1,942 points.

After graduating, she went on to play basketball at Minnesota State University-Mankato, helping the Mavericks to their first NCAA Division-Il National Championship in 2009.

She now lives in Lakeville with her husband, Joe, and two children.

“This is an amazing award, and I am very honored,” Neznik said. “My father-in-law and sister-in-law (Joe and Heather Neznik) were both nominated into the hall of fame, so it's cool to be a part of that group of people. Being a Patriot from K through 12 was a fun experience in a tight-knit community.

“To be inducted and honored is very cool and, obviously, to be honored with my brother is another very fun aspect of that.”

Her brother, Clayton Foster, was a 2009 PLHS graduate and nine-time state meet qualifier in cross-country and track and field.

He was the first runner in school history to qualify for the state cross country meet, doing so in 2005 - and led the first team to qualify for the state meet in 2007.

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He still holds school cross-country record for the 5K with a time of 16:14, along with school track records in the 800-, 1600- and 3200-meter races.

He currently resides in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, with his wife and daughter. He works as a head cross-country coach and assistant track coach at Edinboro University.

Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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