Reflections Magazine Issue #54 - Fall 2000 - Page 34

Sports & More 1 34 Seven Saints Selected for Hall of Fame he Siena Heights Hall of Fame welcomed seven new members at induction ceremonies held September 30 during Alumni Weekend. New inductees are: softball All-American Tanya Dickerson ‘95 (who was unable to attend), basketball greats Brent Tucker ‘94 and Larry Bryant ‘89, track & field All-American Jimalatice “JT” Thomas ‘92, soccer-andsoftball standout Shelly Vanderveen ‘91, All-American wrestler Bob Meszaros ‘85, and Adam Benschoter ‘96, the first Siena baseball player to be drafted. The Hall of Fame also honored the 1990 women’s soccer team, which placed third at the NAIA National Championships in Erskine, SC. Guest speaker and former Saint Mike Smith ’80, now vice president of Nederlander Management in Cincinnati, recalled the early years of Siena Heights athletics and the growth that has taken place since. “We early participants really take a lot of pride in your accomplishments,” he told the current athletes. “A lot of things have changed, but lots has stayed the same. The spirit continues.” JT Thomas spoke movingly about the importance of Siena Heights in her career success, noting that, as an athlete and student leader, she gained experience dealing with diversity and personality differences, conflict resolution, leadership and disappointment. “It’s not about where you get your degree,” she said. “It’s what you do with that degree. The experience at Siena Heights is MORE than Ivy League!” Photos: 1. Shelly Vanderveen, “one of the greatest all-around athletes in SHU history,” played on the only two women’s soccer teams (1988, 1990) and the only softball team (1990) to advance to the NAIA national championships. Now a police officer in Claremont, CA, she has participated in state and world Police Olympics winning medals in boxing, tennis, softball, and soccer. 2. Coached by Phil Weaver (left), the 1990 women’s soccer team won 6 of its last 8 games and placed 3rd at the NAIA National Championship. The team finished 14-7 overall with 4 of its 7 losses against NCAA Division I teams. 3. Adam Benschoter, a lifetime .329 hitter, 2 played all nine 3 positions for the Saints. Drafted by the San Francisco Giants as a catcher, he played 2nd, 3rd and 1st base in a two-year stint in the minors. He and his wife Kristi and two sons live in Manchester, where Adam is a teacher and coaches varsity baseball and junior high football and basketball. 4 5 4. JT Thomas (at right with her sister), “the greatest sprinter” in SHU track & field history, was a seven-time NAIA All-American from 1990-1992. She still holds four indoor and four outdoor SHU records. She lives in Silver Spring, MD, with her husband, Louis Gilbert, and is Uniserv Director for the Maryland State Teachers Association. 5. Brent Tucker (left) and Larry Bryant are the #1 and #2 all-time scoring leaders in SHU men’s basketball. Tucker, with 2,122, career points, also holds records for most career 3-pointers (396), most points in a season (760) and highest season scoring average (22.3); he now lives in Ceresco, MI. Bryant, the only men’s basketball player to be named both an NAIA All-American and NAIA All-American Scholar-Athlete, scored 1,624 career points. Now a VP at Comerica Bank, he also coaches inner-city baseball and lives in Southfield with his wife Dory ’88 and two daughters. 6. Bob Meszaros (shown with former coach Gale Shinall and former athletic director Pat Palmer) was four-year captain of the wrestling team, earning NAIA All-American honors in 1985 and All-Catholic honors in 6 1983 and 1985. Now manager of Internet services for Strata-G Communications in Cincinnati, he lives in West Chester, OH, with his wife Patti and their two sons.