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Carleton welcomes five new members to ‘C’ Club Hall of Fame

June 16, 2017 at 1:31 pm
Gary Sundem '67, Bill Ford '82, Paul Blomgren '92, Geoffrey Isaacman '92, Scott O'Reilly '02
Gary Sundem '67, Bill Ford '82, Paul Blomgren '92, Geoffrey Isaacman '92, Scott O'Reilly '02

NORTHFIELD, Minn. -- In conjunction with Carleton College’s Alumni Reunion activities, five new members will be welcomed into the 'C' Club Hall of Fame during the 42nd annual induction ceremony on Saturday, June 17.

The 2017 inductees include three-sport athlete Gary Sundem ’67, football players Bill Ford ’82 and Scott O’Reilly ’02, track star Paul Blomgren ’92, and swimmer Geoffrey Isaacman ’92.

The ‘C’ Club was established in 1976 at which time 19 Carleton legends were inducted either as coaches or as athletes. With this year’s additions, 161 individuals and two entire teams have now been selected for the Hall of Fame.

Gary Sundem '67, football, C-Club inductee 2017GARY SUNDEM ’67

A three-sport athlete for the Knights, Gary Sundem left his mark for Carleton on the gridiron, the court, the diamond, and the classroom. He was awarded the College’s Warren Beson Award for academic excellence and athletic performance in multiple sports. Sundem also captured the Roy W. LeClere Award, which is presented to the Midwest Conference male student-athlete with the highest grade-point average during their junior year while lettering in two or more league sports.

Sundem was a leader for the Carleton football team, culminating in him being named one of the captains for his senior season and winning the Lippert Award in 1966 as the “player who contributes the most to the Carleton football team.”

Sundem, who also played tight end, was voted to the All-Midwest Conference second team that year for his imposing presence at defensive end. Perhaps his biggest game, however, came during his junior season, when he recovered two fumbles—including one for a touchdown—in a Homecoming game against St. Olaf.

As he did in football, Sundem also was the consummate team player on the hardwood. In addition to being a member of the 1966 Midwest Conference championship basketball team, Sundem spent his senior year serving as the coach for the freshman squad. At a time when first-year students could not participate on varsity teams, he was also a constant force for the baseball program, starting at first base for three years.

Bill Ford '82, football, C-Club inductee 2017BILL FORD ’82

Bill Ford played a key role for the Carleton football teams of the late 1970s and early 1980s, helping the Knights to their highest win totals in more than two decades. He established several school passing records at the time and led Carleton to the Midwest Conference division championship in 1979 before captaining the 1980 and 1981 squads to the conference’s second-best win-loss record both years.

After coming off the bench to play both quarterback and safety as a rookie, Ford grabbed the reins of the offense as a sophomore and guided the Knights to a 16-2 ledger as a starter in Midwest Conference play over his final three years. That run included an undefeated division record in 1979, thanks to a road win over preseason favorite Lake Forest, to earn the Knights a spot in the Midwest Conference championship game.

As a senior, he earned All-Midwest Conference honorable mention, and Carleton’s seven victories in 1981 were surpassed only once in program annals at the time, a history that stretched back nearly 100 years.

According to figures from the NCAA, Ford passed 522 times for 3,570 yards with 30 touchdowns over his final three seasons. Although individual statistics are not available for his freshman campaign, Ford’s three-year totals from his sophomore through senior seasons were still enough to move him atop Carleton’s career leaderboard in pass attempts, passing yards, and passing touchdowns. Other team records that he set during his time donning the maize and blue include most touchdown passes in a single season (13 in 1981) and highest single-game competition percentage—73.4 percent versus Ripon in 1980.

Paul Blomgren '92, men's track and field, C-Club inductee 2017PAUL BLOMGREN ’92

Paul Blomgren is an 11-time MIAC champion and four-time All-American while accumulating several school and conference records. Although he spent two years as a wide receiver for the Carleton football program, Blomgren made his mark on the track where his rare combination of speed and determination led to individual conference titles at the 200, 300, and 400-meter distances.

He was also a key part of an unmatched period of success for Carleton relays. The Knights have seen six relays in school history capture All-America status, and Blomgren raced on four of those. He was part of the indoor 4x400, outdoor 4x400, and outdoor 4x100 relays which still hold the school record a quarter century later.

As a freshman, he raced on the MIAC title-winning sprint medley relay. A year later, he repeated as conference champion in the same event, this time helping the Knights post a MIAC Championships record time of 1:34.38, a mark that has not been broken. The outdoor season included all-conference performances in the 100-meter dash and 4x100-meter relay, with the latter qualifying for the NCAA Championships.

His junior year brought even more success. During the indoor season, Blomgren and the sprint medley relay won its third consecutive conference championship. He also claimed an individual MIAC title in the 400-meter dash. During the outdoor season, Blomgren added conference crowns at the 200 and 400-meter distances and earned All-America standing in the 4x100m relay with a third-place finish at NCAA Championships in a school-record time of 41.44. At the end of the year, the coaches awarded Blomgren the Kelly Award as the Knights’ most improved track athlete.

He was voted team co-MVP in 1992 after capping his collegiate career with a trio of All-America awards. He ran anchor on the 4x400 relay’s fourth-place finishes at both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships. Both the quartet’s indoor (3:19.40) and outdoor (3:12.22) times remain the school record and both were tops in MIAC history for more than a decade. Blomgrem also garnered All-America recognition in the outdoor 4x100 relay again in 1992, this time finishing fifth in 41.53. His four All-America awards are tied for third-most in program history.

Geoffrey Isaacman '92, men's swimming and diving, C-Club inductee 2017GEOFFREY ISAACMAN ’92

Geoffrey Isaacman swam four different events at the NCAA Championships—the 100 and 200-yard butterfly plus the 200 and 400-yard IM—and is the only swimmer in program history to be an All-American in the butterfly, a feat he achieved twice. A quarter century after graduation, he still owns the school record in the 200-yard butterfly (1:52.56), making it the oldest individual men’s swimming record at Carleton. He also held the program’s 100-yard butterfly mark (51.65) for 16 seasons and upon graduation ranked second in school history in both the 200 IM and 400 IM.

There might be no better showcase of the breadth and depth of his ability in the water than what Isaacman accomplished at the MIAC Championships. For his career, he was named an All-MIAC swimmer a combined 11 times in six different events: the four he swam at nationals plus the 400-yard medley relay and 800-yard freestyle relay. He was the MIAC’s 200 butterfly champion in 1992 with a time of 1:54.89.

Isaacman was also a very productive swimmer at the national level. As a junior, he earned his first All-America award after finishing seventh in in the 200 butterfly. He also swam the 400 IM at nationals that year, finishing 18th in 4:15.58. Building upon that solid showing, Isaacman did even better as a senior, earning All-America status by finishing fourth in the 200 butterfly in school-record time. He also received All-America honorable mention for his 11th-place finish in the 100 butterfly and competed in the 200 IM, placing 17th overall with a lifetime best time of 1:56.91.

A captain during his senior season, he was rightfully awarded the Warnecke Award in recognition of his contributions to the team through leadership, sportsmanship, and scholarship.

Scott O’Reilly '02, football, C-Club inductee 2017SCOTT O’REILLY ’02

One of the top defenders in Carleton football history, Scott O’Reilly turned himself into one of the best linebackers in the nation. A tackling machine for the Knights, he finished second in program history with 346 total stops (197 unassisted and 149 assisted) and still maintains that spot on the leaderboard 15 years after graduation.

O’Reilly seemed to live in the opponents’ backfield, garnering the fourth-most tackles-for-loss for the Knights with 33, accounting for 104 total yards lost. He was awarded the program’s C.J. Hunt Award in 2000 as the team’s most improved player from sophomore season to junior season as he paced the Knights with 126 stops in 2000 and earned All-MIAC second-team status.

O’Reilly took his game to another level as a senior co-captain in 2001, capturing All-MIAC first-team status and receiving All-America honorable mention. He closed his time wearing the maize and blue in style, matching his career best with 20 tackles in his final career game at Saint John’s.

Once the dust settled, O’Reilly had broken the school record with 143 tackles on the year, good for an average of 14.3 stops per game. Both of those figures were tops in the MIAC as was his 78 solo tackles. His per-game figure ranked fourth in Division III that season while his 8.4 solo tackles per game slotted him third in the country. It’s no surprise that his teammates voted him the squad’s MVP, and O’Reilly is of only two players in recorded team history with multiple games with at least 20 tackles.

Ever the competitor, with his gridiron career now closed, O’Reilly elected to join Carleton’s wrestling program and worked to drop from his football playing weight of 220 lbs. to 197 lbs. in order to fill the vacancy in the Knights’ lineup. Scott quickly amassed a 3-0 record before being medically retired due to a hand injury sustained during the football season.