The Lawrence County Historical Society Sports Hall of Fame is ready to honor its latest group of inductees.
A total of 10 former standouts in various fields of athletics will be inducted April 26 at the New Englander. The social hour is set for 1:30 p.m., with dinner at 3 p.m.
The 2015 class includes inductees Rick Flora, Michael Hink, Tim Kolodziej, Ralph Litrenta, Forrest McMunn, Kerri Myers, Rob Nogay, Nicole Downing Pauline, Julee Sovesky and Danny Young.
Mark Elisco will receive induction into the Hall of Honor. The 1969-70 Mohawk High boys basketball team earned the Ellis Hoffman Award.
The Hall of Fame will honor the Laurel girls cross country team that captured a WPIAL championship, as well as last year’s New Castle News athletes of the year — Malik Hooker (New Castle) and Tessa Sikora (Wilmington).
Tickets are available at the historical society annex from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, or online at www.lawrencehs.com.
Following are the bios of the inductees:
Flora starred in three sports at New Castle — football, baseball and track and field. He was a three-year letterman in each sport for the Red Hurricane. Flora graduated in 1977.
Flora suffered a season-ending knee injury in a football game his senior year against Beaver Falls. He amassed 102 yards rushing, while adding two catches for over 50 yards in the loss to the Tigers.
As a junior, Flora helped the ’Canes capture the WPIAL Section 3 championship. He rushed 38 times for 418 yards with four touchdowns. Flora hauled in nine catches for 168 yards and a pair of touchdowns, to go along with a kickoff return for a score and an interception as well.
New Castle won a section championship in baseball during Flora’s junior and senior seasons. Flora was named to the all-section team as a junior.
Flora propelled the American Legion Post 343 squad to the regional title in 1976.
Flora competed in the 100, 220 and 800 relay for the track and field team. In AAU competition, Flora ran a 9.8 in the 100 in Salem, Ohio on a cinder track.
Flora later served as the head junior high football coach at Shenango from 1994 through 1997 and he was assistant girls track and field coach at Shenango from 2004 through 2009. Flora was named the boys head track and field coach in 2006.
Flora is entering his 27th season as a PIAA football official.
Hink is a 1966 Union graduate who competed in football and track and field.
Hink earned three varsity football letters for the Scotties. He was a starter on the offensive line for Union as a sophomore, before becoming a two-way starter as a junior and senior.
As a senior, Hink earned all-Tri-County honors on offense and defense, while serving as a co-captain for the Scotties.
Hink also lettered three years for the track and field team. He competed in the shot put, discus and the two-mile run.
Hink attended Geneva College and played football and track and field. He was a two-way starter for the Golden Tornadoes at offensive tackle and defensive guard durng his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons. Geneva kept Hink strictly on defense as a senior.
Hink earned four letters at Geneva in football and was selected to the first-team all-West-Penn Athletic Conference three times. He was honorable mention all-district as a sophomore and junior, while garnering first-team all-district as a senior. Hink was selected an NAIA Honorable Mention All-American at defensive tackle for his senior season.
Hink was a co-captain as a senior and he was selected to the Geneva College All-Time Top 100 Football Team for the period of 1890 to 2001.
Collegiately in track and field, Hink lettered three years, participating in the shot put and the discus.
After graduation, Hink was a teacher and assistant football coach at Riverside High School from 1970 to 1975. He helped the school establish its first varsity football team in 1970.
Hink currently is the interim superintendent in the Union Area School District.
Kolodziej played basketball at Shenango where he graduated in 1981. He lettered three years for the Wildcats.
As a junior, Kolodziej averaged 17.9 points a game and was the third-leading scorer in Lawrence County, tossing in 440 points.
Kolodziej notched 18.1 points per game as a senior, ranking second in the county in scoring (454 points). He was named to the all-Tri-County team as a junior and senior. As a senior, Kolodziej was the Tri-County Most Valuable player runner-up as a senior.
Kolodziej averaged nearly a triple-double in points, rebounds and assists during his junior and senior seasons with the Wildcats. His best career game came against Neshannock, notching 29 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists. Kolodziej paced Shenango in assists his junior and senior years with nearly nine a tilt, including a high of 21 against Reynolds.
Kolodziej and fellow Hall of Famer Gene Matsook paced the Wildcats to the Tri-County co-championship in 1981 and the program’s first WPIAL playoff berth in 14 years.
After graduation, Kolodziej was a two-year starter at point guard for Penn State-Shenango. He averaged more than 14 points and 10 assists a game for his career.
Kolodziej began his coaching career in 1986-87 under Shenango’s Bill McNees. He was an assistant under Mike Othites at Shenango on the team that won the Tri-County junior high championship in 1990.
In 1993-94, Kolodziej became an assistant coach at Freedom under Matsook. The duo helped rebuild the program into a WPIAL playoff squad after a decade removed from the postseason.
Kolodziej now serves as a youth basketball instructor and AAU coach at the Drill For Skill Academy under former Blackhawk coach John Miller.
For more than 20 years, Kolodziej served as editor of the New Castle News. In 2004, he developed the award-winning Crunch football and Bounce basketball websites, which remain popular throughout the county and region. At the time, The News was on the cutting edge of Internet technology, as it was one of the first newspapers in the state to use video to cover local sports.
Kolodziej wrote a popular youth sports column for more than a decade as well.
Litrenta excelled in golf at New Castle, winning three varsity letters.
Litrenta attended Westminster College and was a four-year member of the golf team. He was the team’s MVP as a senior.
Playing for legendary coach Buzz Ridl, Litrenta placed first in five individual tournaments. Litrenta played in four NAIA National Tournaments. The Titans placed 11th in the country in his senior year, the best showing by a Westminster golf team in the program’s history.
Litrenta is a decorated amateur golfer in Lawrence County. His wins after college include the Pennsylvania State Public Links Championship (1993), Tri-State Open Championship (1994) and Western Pennsylvania Amateur Championship (1995).
In 1994, Litrenta won the U.S. Open local qualifier and advanced to the regional qualifier in Cleveland.
Litrenta is a three-time New Castle News Tournament champion as well (2003, 2004, 2005). He finished second eight times in nine years in the event, including seven in a row to seven different golfers.
Litrenta is a two-time club champion at New Castle Country Club and a two-time Western Pennsylvania Golf Association Palmer Cup team member. The Palmer Cup pits western Pennsylvania’s top 12 amateures against the top 12 professionals in a Ryder Cup format.
Litrenta is a teacher with the New Castle Area School District and is an assistant golf coach at Neshannock High.
McMunn, a 1969 New Castle graduate, competed in cross country along with track and field.
As a junior, McMunn was timed in 1:59 during a leg of the two-mile relay. That effort prompted him to try the 880-yard run. His time of 1:58.9 broke the school’s record.
Before concentrating on the 880, McMunn was one of the better mile runners in the area. He finished second in the WPIAL meet that year.
During McMunn’s senior year, he lowered his time in the 880 by two full seconds at the WPIAL qualifying meet by running a 1:56.9. He set a District 1, WPIAL record as well. The old District 1 record was 1:57.9. McMunn led by 40 and 50 yards throughout the race and the nearest competitor was eight seconds off his pace.
McMunn claimed the WPIAl title, rolling to the win in 1:55.4 to establish another meet record. Nobody was within 10 yards of him and when he crossed the finish line, he was 20 yards ahead of the field.
McMunn holds the 880 mark, which is a retired event.
McMunn established course marks in cross country as well. He claimed 13th place in the WPIAL cross country finals.
McMunn started college at Carleton College in Minnesota before transferring to Wisconsin and then to Indiana, where he graduated and now resides.
Myers participated in cross country, track and field and basketball at Mohawk. She graduated in 1993.
Myers competed in cross country as a freshman and took 10th overall in the Tri-County meet, while excelling in the mile, 400 and the 3200, capturing first place. She was among the top finishers in the WPIAL meet as well.
In basketball, Myers averaged 18.4 points a game as a freshman and led the Lady Warriors to the section championship. She netted 40 percent of Mohawk’s scoring output, including pacing the team in assists. Myers averaged six rebounds a game, while pacing the team in steals as well.
Myers drained a last-second 3-pointer to lift the Great Lake Region to a win at the Keystone State game. The team was coached by Suzie McConnell.
Myers was a four-year varsity starter for the girls basketball team. She was the section’s MVP as a junior and senior. Myers propelled Mohawk to a section championship and a WPIAL playoff berth as a senior. She claimed the Lawrence County scoring title that year as well, averaging 21 points a game.
As a senior, Myers established a career-high 37 points. She capped her career with 1,427 points and is the school’s all-time leading scorer.
Myers continued her college career at La Roche.
In 2005, Myers joined the Pittsburgh Passion women’s football team. She ended the season with 1,014 rushing yards on 163 carries and 11 touchdowns. Myers’ rushing total ranked her fifth in the nation that season.
Myers is the Senior Marketing Analyst at Eaton Corporation.
Nogay was a three-sport standout — football, basketball and baseball — at Union, where he graduated in 1992.
Nogay was a three-year letterwinner on the gridiron for the Scotties. he was a first-team all-section choice as a junior at defensive back, and a first-team mention as a senior at quarterback and defensive back.
As a senior, Nogay was a first-team Associated Press All-State selection and was named to the Pittsburgh Press’ Finest 44 squad. He accepted a full scholarship to Pitt to play quarterback.
On the hardwood, Nogay was a three-year letterman and paced the Scotties in scoring all three years of his varsity career.
Nogay paced the county in scoring at 25 points a game as a senior and was the second-leading scorer at 21.9 tallies a tilt as a junior.
Nogay holds the Union record for career 3-pointers made. He was a unanimous first-team all-section choice in his junior and senior years, while earning second-team all-section status as a sophomore. In 1990, he garnered fourth-team Associated Press All-State honors.
Nogay finished his career with 1,592 points, tops in school history.
Nogay collected four letters in baseball at Union. He was a first-team all-section selection as a center fielder in his junior and senior seasons. Nogay was a second-team all-section choice at pitcher as a sophomore.
As a senior, Nogay won the section’s batting championship with a .500 average.
Pitt redshirted Nogay as a freshman and he later transferred to Westminster College to play basketball and baseball.
Nogay notched four letters each in baseball and basketball at Westminster. He was a two-time All-Keystone Empire Collegiate Conference selection in basketball, scoring 1,338 career points.
In baseball, Nogay was the 1995 KECC MVP and he tallied a .517 batting average in 1995 for the Titans to lead the NAIA. Nogay holds the program mark for home runs in a season as well.
Nogay was inducted into the Westminster College Towering Titan Hall of Fame in 2013.
NICOLE DOWNING PAULINE
Downing Pauline excelled in three sports at Laurel — volleyball, basketball and track and field. She graduated in 2001.
Downing Pauline was a first-team all-section and first-team all-section in volleyball. She helped lead the Lady Spartans to the WPIAL championship as a senior, earning the team’s MVP award as well.
Downing Pauline was a first-team all-section selection, while winning the team’s MVP award in basketball. She held the school record in foul shots in a game, finishing her career with 880 career points and 307 rebounds as a point guard.
In track and field, Downing Pauline set the school record in the shot put. She won a WPIAL championship in 2001 in the javelin and shot put, while placing fifth in the shot put and eighth in the discus at the state meet that year. She took fourth in the discus at the state meet as a junior.
Downing Pauline attended Robert Morris University and competed in track and field. She won the Northeast Conference MVP award in 2004-05 for the indoor season and again for the outdoor season. Downing Pauline was an All-NEC selection 13 times.
She was a five-time NCAA regional qualifier — four times in the hammer throw and once in the javelin. Downing Pauline was a three-time All-ECAC selection and the 2004 scholar athlete of the year.
In 2005, Downing Pauline was an NCAA regional finalist. She was a six-time NEC champion — three times in the hammer throw, twice in the 20-pound weight toss and another time in the javelin. Downing Pauline was an NCAA All-American finalist in 2005 in the hammer throw and the weight toss.
She set school records collegiately in the indoor shot put (45-2), outdoor shot put (47-6), hammer throw (188-11) and the weight toss (61-6 1/4).
Downing Pauline was inducted to the Robert Morris Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Laurel Hall of Fame in 2015. She coached varsity volleyball at Laurel after graduation from college before resigning.
Sovesky was a three-year letterman on the Neshannock boys golf team. She didn’t compete her sophomore year because of an injury.
Sovesky was a key piece to the Lancers’ back-to-back WPIAL team championships in 1996 and 1997. She was the girls individual champion in 1996 as well and a qualifier for the PIAA tournament at Penn State University all three years.
Sovesky attended Ohio University on a golf scholarship and she was a four-year letterman on the team. While at Ohio University, Sovesky won four individual medalist titles and led the Lady Bobcats to two team titles.
Sovesky was the medalist at two Bowling Green State Invitationals, the Michigan State University Invitational and the Spring Lake Classic in Sebring, Fla. She snared MAC Golfer of the Week honors numerous times.
After graduation, Sovesky moved to Charlotte, N.C., where she earned the title of Class A PGA Professional, while continuing to play competitive golf. She won the Southern Open Pro-Am at Cabarrus Country Club in Concord, N.C., firing a 67. Sovesky was the lone female in the field.
Sovesky is Director of Instruction and her husband Erik Herberth is a teaching professional. Together, the couple own The Golf Studio at NorthStone in Huntersville, N.C.
Young excelled in basketball at New Castle, where he graduated in 1968.
Young garnered United Press International all-state recognition in 1968 and first-team all-Section 3 as a senior. He was first-team all-Section 3 as a junior as well.
Young averaged 18.5 points per game as a junior and 20.5 points per game as a senior.
Upon Young’s graduation and before the three-point line, he was the second-leading scorer in the history of New Castle basketball behind Walter Mangham.
Young continued his collegiate career at Central State (Ohio) University and was selected to the NAIA District 22 All-Star squad as a junior and senior. He established a school record for foul shooting by making 25 straight free throws.
In addition, Young was a member of the Ohio NAIA District 22 district championship team as a freshman and sophomore. He participated in the NAIA National Championship Tournament in Kansas City as a freshman and sophomore.