Alumni honored during homecoming

Skylar Blankenship
Sports Editor

(pictured from left to right) Andrew Matonak, Lindsay Bradt, Emmanual Marc, Darnell Stapleton, Robert Jojo, and Justin Hoyt. PHOTO BY THOMAS MARRA | The Hudsonian Student Newspaper

(pictured from left to right) Andrew Matonak, Lindsay Bradt, Emmanual Marc, Darnell Stapleton, Robert Jojo, and Justin Hoyt.

Former student-athletes, coaches and a contributor to the the Athletic Department were honored at the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Reception as part of Homecoming Weekend.

“It has been 10 long years since our last ceremony, and I am happy to bring the event back to the college. There have been thousands of student-athletes over the years, but this year’s class is among some of the most elite student-athletes of all time,” said Justin Hoyt in the provided program.

In attendance, besides the inductees, were family, friends, administration and the athletic department, as well as others showing their support and pride for those inducted. Together, they created an atmosphere of pride, gratitude and accomplishment.

A common sentiment that Suzanne Kalkbrenner, assistant to the President, shared with those in the audience was, “We brought back … great athletes, and even better people.”

Each inductee gave a speech with the common themes of gratitude, hard work and memories. They also talked about the lessons they learned and the lasting bonds they made while at the Valley.
Lindsey Bradt, a 2002 graduate, was inducted for accomplishments in basketball and softball. Bradt received numerous awards and recognitions during her career at Hudson Valley,including the Lester Higbee Memorial Award as the Most Outstanding Athlete, twice.

Tracey Chesebrough (Sears), a 2007 graduate, was inducted for her accomplishments in softball. While at the Valley, Chesebrough earned the Mountain Valley Conference Player of the Year on two occasions, and was also credited with setting pitching records for the NJCAA Division III.

Kristina Jenkins, a 2007 graduate, was inducted for her accomplishments in bowling. Some of the honors Jenkins received as a Hudson Valley student include a two-time All-American, as well as recipient of the Kerm Helmer Award and Betty Jo Graber Award.

Emmanuel Marc, a 2005 graduate, was inducted for his accomplishments in football. While studying at Hudson Valley, Marc received the Offensive Most Valuable Player for the JC Football Network, and was also named 2003 NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year.

Darnell Stapleton, a 2005 graduate, was inducted for his accomplishments in football. After Hudson Valley, Stapleton went on to Rutgers University as a scholarship student-athlete, followed by being signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Robert JoJo, Hudson Valley’s football coach from 1997 to 2004, was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his contributions to the football program. He guided the team to four Region Three Championships. He also received the 2004 Paul Bishop Award.

Willie Hammett, a 1966 graduate and former Dean of Students and Vice President of Academic Affairs, was inducted for his contributions as an athlete and administrator. As a student, Hammett was on the basketball and cross country teams.

Former head coach Ron Kuhl accepted the award on behalf of the 2001 men’s ice hockey team. The team had a 16-game winning streak and went onto to win Nationals, a first for the Valley’s Program.

The event began with time for people to socialize, enjoy some refreshments and have the chance to get settled before the ceremony.

Hoyt gave the opening remarks, followed by a few words from President Drew Matonak. Hoyt spoke again to wrap up the festivities.

Chris Onorato, a sports photojournalist from NewsChannel 13, acted as the master of ceremonies.
The induction and reception took place in the lobby of the McDonough Sports Complex, which is where the Athletic Hall of Fame is located. The event was catered by Mazzone.

Later on, during the halftime of the Vikings homecoming game against Milford, the inductees were honored.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: