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Hall of Fame Class of '16 announced
Monday, March 14, 2016

After waiting for years to make its mark on the national stage, Fredonia had two women win national championships in less than one week.

 

When Julia (Hopson) Williamson won the 20-pound weight throw at the 2009 NCAA Division III indoor track & field meet, she became the first Fredonia woman to stand atop a national podium. Five days later, Kelly Sponholz did likewise when she won the NCAA Division III 3-meter springboard diving championship with a record score. The two 2009 graduates and four others will be inducted into the Fredonia Blue Devil Athletics Hall of Fame during Homecoming weekend on Saturday, Oct. 22 at Cranston Marche.

Tim Gebauer (Men's Basketball, '98), Casey (Mazurek) Hennessy (Softball, '07), and Scott Horsington (Men's Diving, '08) along with honorary inductee Jim Polvino ('67) complete the Class of 2016.

Williamson's journey to Fredonia's first national title included five All-American certificates, the 2008 NCAA Atlantic Region Female Field Athlete of the Year award, 13 SUNYAC throwing championships, six SUNYAC Women's Outstanding Field Athlete awards, and outdoor and indoor conference, SUNYAC meet, and school records, some she still holds. A Keeper of the Dreams Scholarship Award winner, Williamson was a finalist for 2009 NCAA Female Athlete of the Year and was chosen as one of 10 artists to have their work displayed at the 2009 NCAA Convention. Author of a children's book, Williamson is a current assistant coach for the Blue Devils.

Sponholz qualified for four straight NCAA Swimming & Diving championship meets. Competing on both 1-meter and 3-meter springboards, she earned two honorable mention All-America certificates as a freshman and All-America honors the remaining six years. Her crowning achievement came in 2009 when she won the NCAA 3-meter with 516.50 points for 11-dives -- a Division III record. Sponholz also won eight straight SUNYAC titles, four straight SUNYAC Female Diver of the Meet awards, and SUNYAC's 2009 Grace Mowatt Award, as the outstanding female student-athlete in swimming & diving. A past Blue Devil grad assistant coach, Sponholz teaches in the Pembroke (N.Y.) school district and is the girls' diving coach at Clarence High School.

Gebauer was 1997-98 SUNYAC Men's Basketball Player of the Year his senior year. He was also First Team All-SUNYAC that year and his junior season as well as team MVP both seasons. Gebauer scored 1,177 career points -- No. 5 in program history and ahead of eight current Hall of Fame members. Gebauer holds the Fredonia single-season record for free-throw accuracy (81 of 95, 85.3 percent) and has the 10th highest single-season scoring average (17.3 points per game). He also ranks among the top 10 in single-season points and three-point field goals. The Blue Devils won 19 games during Gebauer's freshman season. No Blue Devil men's team has won 19 games since.

A right-handed pitcher, Hennessey won a school-record 14 games, saved three games, and earned her first of two All SUNYAC awards as a freshman in 2004. She was among 2004 NCAA D-III leaders in strikeouts, saves, and earned run average. and graduated in 2007 -- her second All-SUNYAC season -- ranked No. 24 on the Division III career list of strikeouts per game (7.59). She holds school career records for wins, pitching appearances, games started, complete games, shutouts, innings pitched, strikeouts, and groundouts, plus has the second-lowest career earned run average and allowed the lowest opponents' batting average. A former Blue Devil pitching coach, Hennessey also ranks fourth in Blue Devil career fielding percentage.

Like Sponholz, Horsington's resume includes teaching and coaching. He is a music instructor and diving coach at The College at Brockport as well as director/conductor of the Brockport College-Community Orchestra. After posting a 22-0 freshman season, including 2004 SUNYAC men's 1-meter and 3-meter titles, Horsington opted out of the NCAA meet because it fell on the same weekend as two concerts with the Fredonia Symphony Orchestra. After a two-year hiatus from competition, Horsington returned in 2006-07 and qualified for nationals two successive years, earning one First Team and two Honorable Mention All-America awards. A former Fredonia Lanford Presidential Prize nominee, he won SUNYAC's Dr. Sam Molnar Award as the top male scholar-athlete in all sports.

Polvino, a retired Earth Science teacher, started keeping the men's basketball scorebook in 1961 while still in high school and has been at it ever since. His streak of 55 consecutive seasons -- including four seasons while attending Fredonia -- is believed to be the longest in all of NCAA. He also kept the women's basketball book for many of those seasons, served as official scorekeeper of the SUNYAC Basketball Tournament, and scored Blue Devil baseball games during the '60s. Polvino's longevity was the subject of a feature story in the NCAA magazine and on its website when the streak reached 50 seasons in 2010-11. He joins President Emeritus Dallas Beal, Bud Carpenter, John Clendenin, Vice President for Student Affairs Emeritus Bob Coon, John Fitzgerald and Mary Phillips as honorary inductees.

The Hall of Fame induction dinner is part of 2016 Homecoming Weekend. Reservations can be made by calling the Department of Athletics & Recreation at (716) 673-3101 or (716) 673-3102 or by emailing Fredonia Director of Athletics Greg Prechtl at gregory.prechtl@fredonia.edu.







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