GOSHEN — Two sisters that never competed together in athletics until after they graduated from college will share the spotlight on Saturday as the Honorary Referees for the 25th annual Goshen Girls Relays.
Jonell and Jan Kolb are being recognized for their accomplishments as Goshen High School athletes that were standouts in three sports in the 1980s.
Jonell (Kolb) Detweiler graduated from GHS in 1982 and Jan (Kolb) Lengacher in 1987. Both competed in volleyball, basketball and track and field at the prep level.
“My first thought when Larry Kissinger (GHS Athletic Director) called and told me about the honor was they must have run out of other people to give the award to,” Lengacher said. “I was surprised, because I didn’t think we were that good. As the younger sister I always looked up to Jonell. She paved the way for me.”
Field events begin on Saturday at 9 a.m. with running event finals starting at 10:30 a.m.
“It’s an honor to be recognized with Jonell,” Lengacher said.
It’s also kind of bittersweet as 9 1/2 years ago, Jonell was in a serious auto accident during a bad snowstorm and she suffered a severe brain injury.
“I don’t think she understands everything about what is going on Saturday, but I know she is pleased with what she does,” Lengacher said. “The hardest part of this is the fact she is aware of things that are going on, but can’t quite communicate it other than a word or two.”
Lengacher plans on having her sister there on Saturday.
“That is the plan as of now,” she said. “But a lot will depend on the weather and how Jonell feels on Saturday.”
Both sisters went to Goshen College where they competed in volleyball and basketball. Jonell was an All-Hoosier Conference volleyball selection in 1985. According to the GC Web site, Jonell is sixth in career aces with 154 and ninth in season aces with 60 in 1985. She also has the second-highest blocking efficiency at .374 (85 blocks) also in 1985.