Geneseo inducts five into hall of fame

On Saturday Sept. 25, the Geneseo department of intercollegiate athletics and recreation inducted the five newest members to its sports hall of fame in the College Union Ballroom as a part of Homecoming Weekend.

Female swimmers Michelle Standora-Wolinski and Danielle Schoen '00, women's soccer player Logan Hadzicki-Blask '04, distinguished patron James Leary '75 and men's lacrosse player David Spennacchio '04 were all honored.

The 2004 SUNYAC champion and NCAA-participating men's lacrosse team also received recognition at the ceremony.

Assistant Athletic Director George Gagnier is the chairman of the hall of fame selection committee and served as the master of ceremonies at this weekend's induction. "In my opinion every class is a good class," he said. "We have an abundance of quality nominations so it's always difficult for the committee to select a class."

This year was certainly no exception. Standora-Wolinski led the women's swimming and diving teams to the SUNYAC title in each of her four years, and at the time of her graduation she held one individual and five relay school records as well as three SUNYAC records. She was also an 11-time SUNYAC event champion and 10-time event runner-up in butterfly, sprint freestyle and relay events. Standora-Wolinski also was awarded the Myrtle Merritt Scholar Athlete Award and the Grace Mowatt Award for career achievement in SUNYAC swimming.

The second inductee, Standora-Wolinski's teammate Schoen, had an equally impressive career. She was a 16-time SUNYAC individual and relay champion, holding six school records at the time of her graduation. Schoen also won the Louise Kuhl Award as the most outstanding senior female athlete at Geneseo in 2001 and received the Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence, the highest honor a SUNY student can attain.

Hadzicki-Blask was a four-year starter and striker for the women's soccer team, leading the Knights in three trips to the SUNYAC championship game. She is the program's career leader in goals with 45 and ranks sixth in career assists with 23 and first in career points with 113. During her four years the Knights amassed a 49-23-12 overall record and she was individually a four-time ALL-SUNYAC selection, a SUNYAC Rookie of the year award winner in 2000 and the SUNYAC Player of the Year in both 2002 and 2003.

The only non-athlete to be inducted into this year's class was James Leary whose Geneseo's athletic career was cut short due to injury. For years he held a variety of coaching jobs and led the United States Naval Academy to three straight NCAA tournaments. In March 2008, he established the James N. Leary Endowed Fund for Leadership in Athletics, which has played a major role in helping student athletes.

The last nominee, Spennacchio, was a four-year attackman on the men's lacrosse team; he currently is second in career points with 217, fourth in career goals with 94 and the all-time assist leader with 123 for the program.

"[Spennacchio] was the single biggest impact in terms of our turnaround," said head lacrosse coach and hall of fame nominator Jim Lyons. "He's a guy who just worked his butt off every day and just loved playing the game. He was a great example for everyone that came behind him."

Lyons spoke highly of Spennacchio's leadership skills and determination on the field: "He was like the Energizer bunny," he said. "You don't get a better example, you don't get a better leader, you don't get a better role model than Dave Spennacchio was for us in the four years that he was here."

Spennacchio was also a member of the 2004 SUNYAC championship team that was honored at Saturday's ceremony. "Until [2004] we were really recruiting based on what we thought about Geneseo and what we hoped would happen," Lyons said. "But after that year we could now turn to recruits and say, this is who we are and not who we hope to be."

The ceremony was a huge success and a special occasion for all involved. "I think it means a lot to [the inductees]," Gagnier said. "I think it gives them a sense of nostalgia to relive some of those memories of being on the team and relationships they forged."