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Greats Recognized from Women’s Soccer, Women’s Basketball, Football, Baseball and Broadcasting
Benedictine College has announced the 2022 Class for the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame, with the induction ceremony set for Saturday, Oct. 29, during the school’s Homecoming Weekend. Catherine (Gerst) Dooley ’01, Jessica (Vercande) Patterson ’99, Michael Rieker ’82, and Thomas K. Kautz ’78 will be recognized during halftime of the football game and will be inducted at an evening banquet. Tickets for the banquet are available online.
Katie Gerst ’01 played Women’s Soccer for the Ravens from 1997 to 2000. Her play, presence on the field and leadership helped lay the foundation for Women’s Soccer to be a force for many years to come. She became the first woman soccer player at Benedictine College to be nationally recognized. She was 1st Team All-Conference, 1st Team All-Region, and an All-American Honorable Mention all four years of playing. In her sophomore year, she was the dominant defender that propelled the Ravens to their first conference championship.
Katie received a Business degree from Benedictine College and an MBA from the University of Missouri, Saint Louis. She is married to Brian Dooley and the couple has two daughters, Piper and Penny.
Jessi Vercande ’99 achieved such a level of success in women’s basketball that it is hard to remember that she only played at Benedictine College for two seasons. In that brief time, she set records and achieved national recognition, while helping former head coach Steve Huber build women’s basketball into a top NAIA program. In her two-year career, she scored 1,060 points and still ranks second and third in single season scoring with 531 points in 1998-99 and 529 points in 1997-98. She led her team to the conference title and to the NAIA Division II National Tournament both seasons, getting all the way to the Sweet 16 in 1998. Jessi was the Conference Player of the Year for the 1998-99 season and is the only 1st Team All-American in program history.
She has been married to fellow Raven and former football player Dallas Patterson for 22 years. They have two children, Kegan (20) and Sydni (18).
Michael Rieker ’82, played all-out on the gridiron as well as on the diamond. He set a record for punt returns in a season, predominantly because he would never call for a fair catch. He was also perennially among the team leaders in tackles. He demonstrated the same aggressiveness on the basepaths and led the nation in stolen bases in 1982, setting a Benedictine single-season record of 47.
In baseball, Rieker was predominantly an outfielder, but also served as a utility infielder. He was named to the NAIA All-District 10 team in both 1981 and 1982 and served as a team captain those same years. He was selected as the Team Most Valuable Player his senior year. He was equally successful in football, where he played safety in addition to his special team duties. Over three seasons (1979-81), he recorded 173 tackles with a career high of 82 during the 1979 season. In his final season, he was named both Team Most Valuable Defensive Player and Team Most Valuable Player.
A native son of Atchison, Kansas, Tom Kautz graduated from Benedictine College in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English. He began his broadcasting career as a nighttime board operator on Atchison’s KARE Radio in 1977 while still a student. He was mentored by Benedictine Hall-of-Famer Bill Ervin and entered the broadcast booth in 1979. Following the passing of Mr. Ervin in 1981, Tom became the home and away voice of Raven Athletics on the air. In more than 40 years of broadcasting, he has only missed nine football games and is proud to have called over 470 Benedictine football games and over 1,900 Benedictine basketball games. Since 2010 he is fortunate to have been joined by his son Gus Kautz ’09 on the air as the broadcast team.
He has also brought his professional play calling to high school sports as he also broadcasts local high school football and both boys’ and girls’ basketball games. Tom has given college and high school sports in Atchison a “big time” feel unparalleled by most NAIA and high school programs.
Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.