COLT ATHLETIC HALL OF FAME INDUCTS CLASS OF 2017

11/6/2017

Six Members Comprise Newest Class; Induction Held Nov. 4 at Kuhl’s Highland House in Middletown

PHOTO: Five members of the Colt Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2017MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – With eight former inductees looking on, the SUNY Orange Colt Athletic Hall of Fame welcomed six new members on Nov. 4 when the Class of 2017 was enshrined during a morning ceremony at Kuhl’s Highland House in Middletown.

The Class of 2017 included Lori Beesmer ’83, Heather Canfield ’99, Michelle Diener ’91, Anthony Evans ’92, Laura Gabella ’02 and George Shurter ’74. The group represented the sports of soccer, softball, basketball and tennis on the women’s side, along with basketball and cross country on the men’s side.

Five of the inductees attended the ceremony. Evans, head basketball coach at Florida International University, was unable to join the group in person, but shared a video acceptance in which he remembered former SUNY Orange head basketball coach Paul Rickard, who passed away in March 2017. A moment of silence was observed in Rickard’s memory and his son Tom, a teammate of Evans and former head coach at SUNY Orange, accepted Evans’ award on the FIU coach’s behalf.

Beesmer was a record-setting soccer player; Canfield led the softball team to two national tournament appearances as a pitcher; Diener excelled in basketball and softball before building a successful hoops career at Wagner College; Evans was a 1,000-point scorer in basketball who has since enjoyed much success as a coach; Gabella won a national tennis championship in singles and two more in doubles; and Shurter led the Colts to two regional cross country team titles and two national championship appearances.

At SUNY Orange, this class brought home three national individual or doubles titles in tennis; set one national junior college soccer scoring record; earned two All-American citations; captured one regional Player of the Year award; earned seven regional all-star awards; helped five teams reach their respective national tournaments, including three that finished among the top four; and led four teams to Region XV championships. In addition, the group posted an individual cross country conference title, a Region XV Player of the Year award, a perfect game in softball and a Mary B. Diana Female Athlete of the Year award.

Following SUNY Orange, the members of this class led four teams to NCAA national tournaments at the Division I level; set school records on career, season and game levels; snagged two Coach of the Year honors; captured two All-American citations; and won two regional and one league Player of the Year awards.

The eight former inductees in attendance included Charlie Cawein and Linda Tjepkema Boychick, members of the inaugural Class of 2012; Gary Dross and Jim Distefano, both inducted in 2014 as part of the 1969 cross country team); Stacey Morris (HOF ’15); and Jack McMahon, Sam Markovits and Dana O’Neill, each of whom was enshrined in 2016.

Hosted jointly by the College’s athletic department and the SUNY Orange Foundation’s Alumni Engagement office, this year’s event featured remarks from SUNY Orange president Dr. Kristine Young; Dr. Russell Hammond, executive director of the Foundation; Athletic Director Wayne Smith; and freshman baseball player Travis Grogan (of Middletown).

The Class of 2017 became the sixth group to be inducted since the Hall’s inception in 2012. To date, 37 athletes, along with the 1969 men’s cross country team, have been selected.

Caption: The SUNY Orange Colt Athletic Hall of Fame welcomed six new members on Nov. 4 when the Class of 2017 was enshrined during a morning ceremony at Kuhl’s Highland House in Middletown. The inductees included (front row from left) Michelle Diener ’91 (basketball, softball), Laura Gabella ’02 (tennis), and Heather Canfield ’99 (softball), along with (back row, from left) Lori Beesmer ’83 (soccer, basketball, softball) and George Shurter ’74 (cross country). Anthony Evans ’92 (basketball) was unable to attend. The Class of 2017 became the sixth group to be inducted since the Hall’s inception in 2012. To date, 37 athletes, along with the 1969 men’s cross country team, have been inducted. (photo by Steve Hedderton)

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