As the final holes of the NCAA golf tournament at the Loomis Trail Golf Club in Blaine,Wash., approached, Gavin Smith found himself in the clubhouse tied for second place, three shots behind leader Gene Webster of Cal State San Bernardino. Although Smith had enjoyed an outstanding four rounds, it appeared his efforts would land him just shy of the national championship.
But Webster proceeded to double bogey the sixteenth and eighteenth holes, dropping him out of the lead and putting Smith in a playoff with Ferris State’s Kelbi Lee. After Lee just missed his putt on the first extra hole, Smith calmly drained a twenty-footer from just off the green to become IUP’s first NCAA golf champion and only the second national golf champion in school history. (Rick Hrip ’68 won the NAIA championship in 1968.)
Smith’s win was the first for a golfer from the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference and only the fifth for a player from a northern school in the forty-seven-year history of the event. His win earned him first-team All-America honors and the Arnold Palmer Award presented by Callaway to the Division II individual medalist.
Smith’s heroics helped the Crimson Hawks finish in twelfth place in the team standings, matching the 1993 squad for the best team finish in sixteen years under head coach Fred Joseph.
Smith wasn’t the only IUP athlete to bring home top honors during the spring. Nafee Harris became the twelfth national champion in IUP track and field history and the first in a jumping event when he took first place in the long jump at the NCAA meet held in San Angelo, Tex.
Harris moved up from second to first on his final attempt of the competition, leaping a school-record 26 feet, 1 3/4 inches, more than two inches farther than anyone else in the meet. Combined with a win in the 800 meters by Sean Strauman ’08, M’09 a year ago, IUP has claimed individual national titles in track and field in consecutive seasons for the first time since the 2001 and 2002 campaigns.
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Harris was part of an All-America team in the 4x100-meter relay, teaming with Hopeton Bailey, Tristan Taylor, and Kevin Raymond in taking eighth place. Raymond was also fifth in the 400 meters, Maddy Outman finished sixth in the 400-meter hurdles, and Tiffany Corle placed eighth in the javelin to each earn All-America accolades.
For Raymond and Outman, it marked the first time IUP has had an All-American in those events. Corle, who was seeded sixteenth in the javelin entering the meet, became the fifth IUP woman to achieve All-America status in the event and first since Heidi Miller Maxwell ’96 in 1995.
Outman was also named the Most Outstanding Overall Athlete at the PSAC outdoor meet after receiving the same award at the conference indoor championships. At the outdoor meet she won the heptathlon and 100-meter hurdles and helped IUP tie a school record with ten event titles.
More than forty IUP athletes were honored at the university’s annual athletics award dinner in April at Folger Hall’s Crimson Event Center. Headlining the evening were the selection of baseball player Ryan Mostyn ’09 and women’s basketball player Kylie Miller ’09 as the Scholar-Athletes of the Year.
Mostyn graduated in May with a 3.92 grade point average and a major in business marketing. He received the PSAC Top 10 award for combined athletic and academic excellence, served as a two-time team captain, and attended the 2008 NCAA National Student-Athlete Leadership Development Conference in Orlando.
On the field, Mostyn played in a school-record 172 games and enjoyed his finest season in 2008, when he batted .313 with nine doubles, four triples, five home runs, twenty-nine runs scored, and thirty RBIs in helping the Crimson Hawks reach the PSAC playoffs for the first time in ten years.
Miller, an elementary education major, recorded a 3.85 grade point average at IUP and completed her degree with her student teaching assignment at East Pike Elementary School in Indiana during the spring semester. She helped lead the Crimson Hawks to three consecutive PSAC championships and three berths in the NCAA tournament, including a trip to the East Region final in 2007.
A two-time team captain, Miller reached the 1,000-point plateau in the next-to-last game of the season and also finished her career ranked fourth in 3-point field goals made with 101, eighth in steals with 203, and tenth in assists with 303.
She was actively involved in many community service events, including a lead role with the Susan G. Komen Shoot for the Cure Classic that donated over $42,000 for breast cancer research over the past four years.
Miller was joined by fellow seniors Jahzinga Tracey ’09 and Staci Heberling ’09 in leading IUP to an unprecedented four-year run in women’s basketball. The trio combined for more than 4,000 points and ninety-six wins in 125 games in their careers.
Tracey received most of the postseason accolades, including a second-straight appearance on the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-America team, a first for the IUP women’s basketball program. She also received her second PSAC West Player of the Year and PSAC tournament Most Valuable Player awards and finished among the top players in conference history.
Tracey ranks sixth in the PSAC record book with 2,101 points, fourth in steals with 378, and eighth in rebounds with 1,092. Along with Sherri Leysock Williams ’91, she is one of only two players in IUP women’s basketball history with 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
The Crimson Hawks men’s basketball team continued its ascent toward the top of the PSAC and Atlantic Region. IUP improved from six wins in 2006-07 to thirteen a year ago and increased that to twenty-two victories and a trip to the NCAA tournament during the 2008-09 campaign.
At the region tournament, the Crimson Hawks knocked off perennial Division II power Virginia Union, the 2005 Division II national champion, in the opening round. The team was rewarded with the selection of Gerald Brooks and Darryl Webb to the all-conference first team and Julian Sanders as the PSAC West Rookie of the Year—the third-straight IUP player to earn that award, following Brooks in 2007 and Webb in 2008.
Several other athletes received postseason awards during the spring. In baseball, Colby Betz was named to the All-PSAC West first team, and T.J. Nichols and Paul Bingham were chosen to the second team. Betz and Nichols were also tabbed to the Daktronics All-Atlantic Region squad, while Shane Melhorn received a Golden Glove award for fielding excellence from Rawlings and the American Baseball Coaches Association.
Marissa Leslie was recognized as the PSAC Central Softball Rookie of the Year, the third IUP player to receive the award in the past six years.
Alex Daughenbaugh and Megan McCormick were on the all-conference first team, and Leslie, Sam Goettman, and Erin Holloway were on the second team. Daughenbaugh was also chosen as a member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Atlantic Region team, and Kristen Tunno earned the same honor from Daktronics.
IUP athletes are known for their successes in competition and in the classroom, but they achieved a different type of distinction in April when they joined forces to grow the national bone marrow registry, a list that is used to match donors with patients who need treatment for leukemia. The drive was spearheaded by Jim Smith ’98, the offensive coordinator for the IUP football team, and nearly half of the almost four hundred Crimson Hawk athletes showed up at Memorial Field House to fill out an information form and allow a swab sample to be taken from their mouth. If they are suitable donors, they will be put on the registry and possibly called if they are a match.
The 2008–09 track and field season was the final one for longtime head coach Ed Fry, who announced his intention to retire earlier in the year. Fry has been at IUP for more than four decades as men’s cross country and track and field coach and was at the forefront of the addition of women’s programs in both sports thirty years ago.
He was a four-time PSAC Coach of the Year in cross country, and his influence can be seen in the number of his athletes who have been inducted into the IUP Athletic Hall of Fame, a total that is at ten, with many more to follow in the coming years. In his honor, IUP’s annual home track and field meet was renamed the Ed Fry Invitational.
Robert “Doc” Raemore, Fry’s assistant coach for several seasons, was in the news in February when he was elected to the Pennsylvania High School Track and Field Hall of Fame. Raemore, who also has a highly successful dentistry practice in Indiana, won five PIAA titles during his prep career at Williamsport High School, including victories in the 100, 220, and 440 dashes as a senior in 1958.
It is the goal of every track and field coach to see his or her athletes succeed and win championships. Fry and Raemore have experienced that on many occasions, and IUP graduate Mike Woodward ’00 learned how it feels in May when the Carlisle High School jumps coach tutored Ashley Corum to the PIAA Class AAA title in the triple jump.
Two former IUP coaches, Jack Henry ’69 and Tom Kennedy, were inducted into the Indiana County Sports Hall of Fame in May. Henry played on the legendary Boardwalk Bowl team of 1968 and helped the Indians win seventeen of nineteen games in his two seasons after transferring from Penn State.After graduating he has been an offensive line coach at ten universities, including IUP between 1986 and 1990, and four NFL teams, including a stint with the Steelers.
Kennedy was a fixture on the diamond at IUP and Indiana County for the better part of three decades. He was a volunteer assistant baseball coach at IUP for seventeen seasons and was the head coach from 1997 to 2005, winning 149 games while overseeing the transition to Owen Dougherty Field on the university’s South Campus.
Tim Buffone ’02 and Laura Hall ’03, M’05 were selected for inclusion in the Armstrong Hall of Fame in April. Buffone was a member of the IUP football team and earned first-team All-PSAC West honors as a nose tackle three times. He went on to play two seasons with the Ohio Valley Greyhounds of the now-defunct National Indoor Football League and was on league championship and all-conference teams both years.
Hall is the most decorated player in the history of the IUP volleyball program. She was a three-time PSAC West Player of the Year, twice named to the Division II All-America team, and was the national Scholar-Athlete of the Year for volleyball following her senior season. She led IUP to the 2002 PSAC title when the Indians won thirty-three of thirty-seven matches and were the No. 1 seed and host team for the NCAA regional tournament. Hall is currently a reading specialist at Shannock Valley Elementary School and an assistant volleyball coach at West Shamokin High School.
Buffone and Hall were joined in the Armstrong Hall of Fame by Steve Aungst ’92, who transferred to IUP from Pitt and was a reserve defensive back and special teams player during the 1991 season. Aungst moved on to chiropractic school in South Carolina and owns his own practice, Back To Wellness, in Powell, Tenn.