Hall of Fame inducts four new athletes and two teams

With the occurrence of homecoming this past weekend at Geneseo, four new members were inducted into the Geneseo Sports Hall of Fame.

Gena Tallarini Batchelder, class of 2002, George O'Brien, class of 1987, Jill Almansberger Edwards, class of 2002 and Jennifer Turkovich Lorenz, class of 2001 became the newest members of the Hall of Fame last Saturday night.

Batchelder, a member of both the 1998 and 2001 women's tennis SUNYAC championship teams, became the first women's tennis player ever to be inducted into the Hall of Fame with a combined career record of 89-30. She said her most memorable achievement as a player was "winning SUNYACs as the No. 1 single [her] senior year." Though she lost the No. 1 singles final as both a sophomore and a junior, she said, "That particular win has been what I worked for my entire tennis career."

The second honoree was men's soccer striker O'Brien, whose marks for goals scored, assists and points still rank in the top five on Geneseo's all-time list. He listed his most memorable moment at Geneseo as scoring the game-tying goal late in a game against Oswego in 1984, as Geneseo took the lead soon after. He thanked his fraternity brothers for coming to many games during a time when men's soccer had very few spectators. His 36 career goals remain third all-time at Geneseo.

The third inductee, Edwards, was a softball player chosen as a two-time All-SUNYAC selection. Edwards is second in Geneseo history with 180 hits and is the school leader in runs scored. She led the Lady Knights to the 2002 SUNYAC title in her senior year and became Geneseo's first-ever softball player to become an All-American as a sophomore.

Edwards said she did not even plan on playing softball when she first came to Geneseo, only trying out after she did poorly at volleyball tryouts. She thanked her parents for attending all of her games, as well as her teammates, noting that they "wouldn't have been so successful if [they] hadn't been so close."

The last member to be inducted Saturday night was Lorenz, who joined Batchelder in becoming the first member of her sport to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. She joined the lacrosse program in its third year of existence and led the team to a 28-16 record in her last three years at Geneseo.

Lorenz was a three-time first team All-SUNYAC selection and a two-time All-New York State selection, as well as a recipient of the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence in 2001; the highest honor a SUNY student can achieve. She thanked her coaches for teaching her that "success is a journey, not a destination," adding that she felt "very honored and privileged to be a become part of [the Hall of Fame]."

Also honored for their athletic contributions to the school were Art Hatton, former vice president of College Advancement and president of the Geneseo Foundation, and the 1998 and 2001 women's tennis teams, who won SUNYAC championships. Hatton, who was inducted into the "Legends of Blue Knights" category, has made countless contributions to Geneseo athletics and helped organize an intramural faculty and staff hockey team. He also founded the Blue Knights Roundtable Booster club in 1978, since renamed the Roundtable Athletic Association.

The ceremony was a tremendous event and a special part of a great homecoming weekend, showcasing the best of what Geneseo's athletics has to offer.