Hartwick Inducts Six Into Athletic Hall of Fame
A dinner celebration was held at Shineman Chapel House on Saturday, April 22 to welcome the Hartwick College Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2017. The event served to honor the six inductees included in this year’s class.
The 2017 Class of the Hartwick College Athletic Hall of Fame is Kirsten Hudson ’10, Aileen McCarthy ’10, Edwin Ruiz ’05, Ryan Johnson ’02, Mollie Wynia ’99, and Jonathan Schnell ’96.
With the addition of this year’s class, Hartwick has inducted 142 former student-athletes, coaches, teams, and supporters into its Athletic Hall of Fame. The Hall honors those who have made outstanding contributions to Hartwick’s intercollegiate athletic programs. Its purpose is to perpetuate the memory of those who have brought distinction, honor, and excellence to Hartwick through their athletic accomplishments.
After welcoming remarks from emcee Trustee Neal Miller ’72 and Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Meg Nowak, Kirsten Hudson ’10 was inducted by Head Water Polo Coach Alan Huckins.
Huckins put Hudson on par with one of the world’s top players, former Hawk, Australian National Team player, Olympic medalist, and fellow Hall-of-Famer Bronwen Knox ’08.
“I cannot say Bronwen was better than Kirsten,” he said, and further praised Hudson – who still competes internationally – as someone who “didn’t accept anything but the best from herself or her teammates.”
Hudson became the first player in Hartwick water polo history to achieve All-America or All-America Honorable Mention honors in each of her four years of competition. During her Hartwick career, she helped the Hawks to a record of 113-39, an NCAA Tournament appearance, CWPA title, a program-record 32 wins in 2007, and four CWPA Northern Division championships.
She noted that the College changed her life. “If I didn’t come to Hartwick, I would have quit the sport long ago,” she said.
Aileen McCarthy ’10 is the first equestrian scholar-athlete to be inducted into the Hartwick Athletics Hall of Fame.
She was inducted by former teammate and friend Lauren Kamerer ’10, who called McCarthy their team’s “true ace in the hole.”
McCarthy competed for four seasons for the Hawks. In the spring of her sophomore season, she became the first Hawk to qualify for the IHSA National Championships − which she called “her fondest Hartwick moment” − and became the first national champion in the program’s history.
“Having a permanent place on campus is a wonderful thing,” she said of being enshrined in the Hall.
Neither Edwin Ruiz ’05 nor his presenter, former Hartwick men’s head coach and current Syracuse coach Ian McIntyre ’96, could attend the ceremony. Instead, they offered brief remarks, read by current men’s Head Coach John Scott.
Part of McIntryre’s first recruiting class, a group of “Hartwick’s finest athletes, true ambassadors,” Ruiz was called “tough and strong,” and a “game changer.”
In his two years at the College, Ruiz earned All-America and Atlantic Soccer Conference Player of the Year accolades, before being drafted by the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer.
In his remarks, Ruiz thanked his team mates, coach McIntyre, and especially his family for helping him earn the Hall honor.
Ryan Johnson ’02 became just the sixth player since Hartwick football was reinstated in 1992 to be named an All-American.
After registering 2,063 yards total in his first three seasons at Hartwick, Johnson accumulated 1,217 yards on 67 receptions, which included 20 touchdown catches, in his senior year. At the end of the season, he was named the ECAC Northwest Player of the Year and selected to the Football Gazette All-East Region First Team. He then was recognized as both a Hewlett Packard and D3football.com Third Team All-American.
Johnson closed his career with 168 receptions for 3,337 yards and 44 scores, while leading Hartwick to a record of 29-14 with three ECAC Bowl appearances. He still ranks second in touchdown catches, third in reception yards, fifth in receptions, sixth in points scored and total touchdowns, and seventh in all-purpose yards in Hartwick history. In addition, his 20 touchdowns in 2001 still rank sixteenth in the NCAA Division III record book.
Even with lofty on-field statistics, Hartwick teammate and friend Mike Young ’02 called Johnson “an even better teammate than player” during introductory remarks.
Johnson said it was “special to go into the Hall of Fame with athletes from other sports.” He specifically cited the competitiveness instilled in him by Head Football Coach Mark Carr as a major factor in his induction.
Mollie Wynia ’99 was a two-time All-American defender who helped the women’s lacrosse program to its most successful season in 1998.
Wynia earned All-Region Second Team and NYSWCAA First Team accolades in her sophomore season as Hartwick captured the ECAC Mid-Atlantic title. She played in every game as a junior and led the team to a College-record 18 wins and the program’s only appearance in the NCAA Division III Final Four.
Over her four-year career, she aided in 52 victories for the program.
In her introductory remarks, Women’s Field Hockey Head Coach Anna Meyer said Wynia had a dual personality.
“Off the field, Mollie was calm, gentle, and sweet,” Meyer said. “On the field, she was fierce, competitive, pushy, loud, and tough.” Meyer also called Wynia a “force to be reckoned with,” and praised her “win-win-win attitude.”
Wynia noted that as a nursing major, she was dissuaded from pursuing athletics due to the program’s rigorous academic demands. Instead, she noted, “If I hadn’t played lacrosse, I probably wouldn’t have made it through the vigorous nursing program.”
Both Meyer and Wynia joked about the latter’s idiosyncratic use of an orange lacrosse stick and braided hair style, which eventually became the team’s standard on-field look.
Jonathan Schnell ’96 is one of the most decorated men’s swimmers in the history of the program, tying for second in All-America or Honorable Mention All-America honors with 11 in his four seasons. During that period, he helped Hartwick to a 33-9 dual-meet record, three Empire Athletic Association championships, a UNYSCSA title in 1993, and a pair of top 20 NCAA team finishes (1994, 1995).
He is still ranked sixth all-time in the 200 IM, sixth in the 400 medley relay, and ninth in the 200 backstroke in the program’s record books.
“Patience, excellence in planning, temperament, heart, determination, and a will to be better.” These were some of the qualities that landed Schnell in the Hall, according to his inductor, Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Coach Dale Rothenberger.
In his remarks, Schnell reflected on getting to 6 a.m. practices in a snowstorm, and his coach’s almost fanatical attention to timeliness.
Schnell was grateful to be back on campus, “reconnecting with the things that were important to him while at Hartwick.”
He called receiving the award “the ultimate negative split,” a reference to a racing strategy that involves completing the second half of a race faster than the first half.
To conclude the event, Director of Athletics Dr. Kim Fierke called the evening “a celebration of being competitive.”
“You have forever left a mark [on the College],” she told the inductees. “Thank you for everything you have done and what you have become.”