2023 WCJC ATHLETIC HALL OF FAME - College honors five former student athletes

December 05, 2023
2023 WCJC ATHLETIC HALL OF FAME - College honors five former student athletes

Five former Wharton County Junior College athletes were recently inducted into the WCJC Athletic Hall of Fame. From left are Roberta Lima, volleyball, class of 1996; Doug Duncan, rodeo, class of 2009; Hank Allen, basketball, class of 1959; Mike Booker, golf, class of 1975; and Cade Goodman, rodeo, class of 2015.

WHARTON, TEXAS – Moving from an international city of millions to a small Texas town in order to play volleyball may sound like a risky move, but to Roberta Lima, it was a decision that literally changed her life.

“It was a big journey, it was a big challenge,” said Lima, a Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, native who played volleyball for WCJC in the mid-1990s. “I had a really good time here at WCJC. This is where everything started.”

Lima and four other former WCJC athletes were recently inducted into WCJC’s Athletic Hall of Fame during a ceremony held in the Pioneer Student Center on the Wharton campus. Each inductee was recognized and received a plaque, a medallion, and permanent recognition on a display located in the Gene Bahnsen Gymnasium. Lima flew with her family from Brazil to be on hand for the special event.

A committee comprised of faculty members and athletic department staff selected this year’s recipients. WCJC Athletic Director Keith Case said it was difficult to narrow the list down to only five.

“They were successful in the arena and on the court, but they were really successful later in life,” he noted.

Like Lima, fellow Hall of Fame inductee Mike Booker traveled a long way to play for WCJC. A Downey, Calif. native, Booker was recruited to play golf for the Pioneers in the early 1970s. It was a prime example of culture shock – but of the best kind.

“Coming to Wharton showed me the beauty of small-town living,” Booker said. “The people here were not only friendly but authentic. WCJC was a foundation for my life.”

Inductee Hank Allen didn’t have quite so far to travel. A Glen Flora native, Allen played basketball for the Pioneers from 1957 to 1959, playing under legendary WCJC Coach Johnnie Frankie.

“I’m happy to be receiving this Hall of Fame award from WCJC,” Allen said. “It was a great pleasure going here.”

Two former members of the WCJC Rodeo Team were also named to the 2023 Athletic Hall of Fame. Cade Goodman was a steer wrestler for WCJC in 2014-2015, and Doug Duncan rode bulls for the Pioneers in 2008-2009. Both cowboys excelled in their chosen event, earning spots at the College National Finals Rodeo before embarking on professional rodeo careers.

“The years that I had here (at WCJC) were great,” Goodman said. “It was an honor and a blessing.”

Duncan was similarly impacted by his time at WCJC, though he stressed that fulfillment in life is ultimately about something more than personal achievement.

“I got my happiness off accolades, but looking back, what got me out of that was understanding that happiness comes from service to others,” Duncan said.

Named to the 2023 Athletic Hall of Fame were:

  • Hank Allen – Allen played basketball for the Pioneers from 1957 through 1959, playing forward under Coach Johnnie Frankie. From WCJC, Allen headed to Texas A&I in Kingsville, serving as co-captain for the Javelinas basketball team. His time in Kingsville was cut short as he was drafted and served two years in the United States Army. In 1972, he obtained an accounting degree from Texas Southern University. In 2007, the City of Wharton presented Allen with a proclamation in honor of Black History Month. He is further depicted in a Black History mural located in downtown Wharton.
  • Mike Booker – Booker headed to Texas from California in 1973 to play golf for WCJC. At WCJC, Booker and his teammates made their mark against conference foes and nationwide opponents alike. With a solid foundation in place, Booker headed to the University of Houston to continue his athletic career. He was selected to the All-Southwest Conference Team, the All-American Team and was a member of the NCAA National Championship team of 1977. Booker would turn professional afterwards, playing on the PGA Tour and earning an incredible amount of awards, including being inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame of 2019.
  • Doug Duncan – A native of Alvin, Texas, Duncan was the 2007 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) Southern Region Bull Riding champion and a College National Finals (CNFR) qualifier. He began competing professionally in 2008 and was named the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) Rookie-of-the-Year. He won the largest indoor and outdoor rodeos: the Houston Rodeo and the Calgary Stampede. He was later named one of the Top 35 bull riders in the world. He made the PBR World Finals in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.
  • Cade Goodman – Goodman competed in the steer wrestling and tie-down roping events for WCJC, earning the 2014 College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) Steer Wrestling Championship as well as the Southern Regional Reserve Champion Steer Wrestler. After WCJC, Goodman transferred to Texas A&M University. Goodman was named the PRCA Texas Circuit Champion Steer Wrestler in 2022 and qualified for the 2023 NFR Open. He was the PRCA Reserve Steer Wrestling Rookie-of-the-Year in 2019.
  • Roberta Lima – A native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Lima was recruited by former WCJC volleyball coach Harold Shilk and distinguished herself on the court, earning First Team All-American honors in 1994, making the All-Region team for the southeast region in 1996 and earning Second Team All-American honors in 1997. She continued her athletic career at St. Edwards University, where she also obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in business administration.

The WCJC Athletic Hall of Fame was created in 2021 to recognize outstanding former WCJC athletes and friends of the college. Each recipient receives a plaque, a medallion, and recognition in a permanent display located in the hallway outside the Gene Bahnsen Gymnasium on the Wharton campus. As of 2023, there have been 25 inductees.