At 26, former Olympic gymnast Tasha Schwikert is considered an old woman in her sport.
To the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame, she's a kid, especially compared with fellow inductee John Mendoza, the captain of the 1944 Las Vegas High School football team who is in his mid-80s.
This year's inductees have as diverse an age range as any class in the shrine's 14-year history.
At one end of the spectrum are Mendoza and his Wildcats teammates, who went unbeaten and unscored upon and didn't allow consecutive first downs in winning the 1944 state title.
At the other are Schwikert, who grew up in Las Vegas and was a member of the bronze medal-winning 2000 U.S. Olympic women's gymnastics team, and 27-year-old Steven Jackson, who played football at Eldorado High and is the St. Louis Rams' feature running back.
The 1944 Wildcats, Schwikert, Jackson, longtime baseball executive Don Logan and philanthropist Christina Hixson will be honored tonight at the Orleans Arena.
"You don't think of Las Vegas as the type of place where Olympic athletes come from," said Schwikert, who was also on the U.S. team that won gold at the 2003 world championships.
"It's not easy to make the team -- six girls every four years. But I had a great experience thanks to Cassie Rice, my coach at Gymcats, who helped get me there, and I hope I was able to help open the door for other girls in Las Vegas who have the soon.
"I felt it was a little strange to be getting the call, but I wasn't going to say no," Jackson said. "People don't think of Nevada producing successful athletes, especially football players. But I've always been proud to be from Las Vegas and felt it was important to represent the city and the community."
Jackson can point to the 1944 Las Vegas High team for setting a standard of excellence he pursued decades later. Mendoza said it's unlikely any team will duplicate the Wildcats' feat of being unscored upon during an eight-game season.
"We were fortunate we had one hell of a good coach (Harvey Stanford)," said Mendoza, a running back and defensive back. "He put our noses to the grindstone and he brought out the best in us."
Mendoza said as the season wore on, the Wildcats felt the pressure to finish what they had started.
"If anyone missed an assignment, it was all over," he said. "Nobody wanted to be responsible for blowing a play."
Mendoza went on to a distinguished law career in which he served as Clark County district attorney and for 24 years as a district court judge. He said he's grateful to have lived to see his team honored.
"It's been a long time coming," he said. "We always hoped we would be recognized for what we accomplished. The record speaks for itself."
Jackson said he would have enjoyed playing for -- or against -- that Las Vegas squad.
"I would have loved to have been on that team; I would have gotten a whole lot more yards," he said. "But I would have also loved the challenge of playing against them, because what they did was remarkable, and as a football player, you always want to test yourself against the best. And those guys, for that time, were the best. They helped pave the way for me as well as the guys from Vegas who went into the NFL before me, and I'm honored to be going into the Hall of Fame with that team."
Between Schwikert and Jackson and the surviving members of the 1944 Las Vegas team is Logan, who has spent most of his adult life cultivating professional baseball in Las Vegas with the Triple-A Stars and 51s and has been part of the Hall of Fame as a director and board member since it was founded in 1996.
"For me, this is a culmination of sharing an honor with the people I've been able to work with over the years, the friendships I've made and growing sports in the community," said Logan, 52. "This Hall of Fame has always been about recognizing people in all sports. We get a nice cross section every year, and I think it's a wonderful group to be inducted with."
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.