Edinboro welcomes 2019 Hall of Fame Inductees

Category:  Sports
Friday, October 4th, 2019 at 11:30 AM

The Edinboro University Athletic Department Hall of Fame inducted nine new members and gave out their Lifetime Achievement Award on Sept 27.

Mike Ruzzi, of Erie News Now, hosted the event. President Guiyou Huang gave a speech honoring the athletes, ending it with, “We Fighting Scots are passionate about sports.”

Dr. Katherine Robbins, director of athletics, then gave a speech thanking the athletes, saying they, “paved the way for our current student athletes.” She then ended with information on scholarships and the athletic fund. She thanked the McBride family for their donations through the John “Butch” McBride Memorial Scholarship.

Accomplishments and statistics in this article are provided by Edinboro Sports Information.

Chris Amico was the first athlete to be honored. He played defensive tackle for the Fighting Scots during the back-to-back championships in 2004-2005. He was named PSAC West Defensive Player of the Year in 2005. Amico found ‘Boro through his brother, who also played here, and said that the time here was “the best memories of my life.” He also joked that he wanted to be in warm-ups for the Edinboro, California game.

Next was Amico’s teammate Chris Avery, a former defensive back for the Scots. He held the previous record for interceptions (20) until 2018, when it was broken by Zuril Hendrick (21). In 2005, he had a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown. Avery talked about his time as an athlete and how a coach said that one day he’d make the hall of fame. His response was that he doubted they’d give a “trash talking defensive back” a speech.

His speech kept the crowd enthralled, asking the audience at the end: “what is one thing you did not do today that you could do tomorrow that will make a better place for all of us the next day.”

Alex Clemsen, the next inductee, won four PSAC championships during his time wrestling for Edinboro. He qualified for nationals four times, as well. In his senior year, he finished fourth and earned All-American honors. He graduated with the highest GPA of any Edinboro wrestler in program history. He gave his speech over video, as he’s a wrestling coach at the University of Maryland. In his speech he talked about remembering what it was like to sit in the crowd (as the event used to be traditionally attended by all student athletes).

Gabriela Hnilkova, from the Czech Republic, transferred to Edinboro in 1998 and competed in track and field and cross country until 2000. She earned All-American honors three times total, with two in cross country and one in track (10,000-meter run).

In 1999, she was the NCAA Division II East Region Runner of the Year and PSAC Women’s Cross Country Runner of the Year. Hnilkova talked about the hardships she faced moving to the U.S. and thanked the school for “giving me an opportunity to be the best I can be.”

Jenna Newman was the next inductee. She led the volleyball team in kills most of her career in Edinboro. She is one of two volleyball players to earn AVCA All-American honors. Newman holds Edinboro’s record for attempts. “I’m super humbled by it, luckily I was able to witness more then half of you in action in your perspective talents,” said Newmann in her speech. 

Deonte Penn, another inductee from the wrestling team, qualified for nationals three times. He set the school record at the time for pins in a career. He won the EWL title twice along with two PSAC titles. He talked about his career and how he got to Edinboro by setting goals for himself every step of the way. His mom, who was told no trouble happens in ‘Boro chose for him, but now he calls it a “blessing.”

Greg Sarbak joined the list of men’s swimmers to make the hall of fame. He belongs to Edinboro’s all-time swimming team. He was a nine time All-American. He joked that he competed long ago and that the team didn’t actually know how great they were. “It was a very gratifying experience being part of the team,” said Sarbak.

Dana Webb holds many records for Edinboro softball. She holds the record for career home runs, RBIs, games played and doubles. She is tied for the lead in triples. Webb was one of the athletes that talked about when she first found ‘Boro, saying she (and her mom) took exit 166 and she “fell in love.”

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