Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, will honor seven of its alumni and former student-athletes at the 2008 Athletics Hall of Fame dinner, being held Saturday, July 26, as part of the campus’ 2008 alumni reunion weekend. The evening begins at 6 p.m. with a reception on the Senat Hall lawn followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. in McGarvey Commons.
The campus will induct seven members into the 2008 Hall of Fame Class to recognize their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the college. They are Marc Burchanowski, Ron Derian, Sandy Mishic, Kevin Rinehardt, Ryan Ruta, Julie Stocker and Beth (Calhoun) Wisniewski. 2008 marks the 16th class of inductees since the Hall of Fame was established in 1991.
In addition, the Behrend Lions Athletic Association will recognize five teams of distinction: the 1998-99 men's basketball team, which captured the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) title, and the 1998-99 women's basketball, 1998 women's tennis, 1998 women's soccer and the 1998-99 women's softball teams, which each won Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) championships.
The Behrend Lions Athletic Hall of Fame honors individuals and teams, and currently has 100 individuals and 10 teams as members. The Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Behrend Lions Athletic Association. Penn State Behrend hosts an induction ceremony and dinner annually.
Marc Burchanowski '99
Marc Burchanowski was described as "an impact player who elevated the baseball program during his four years as a starting catcher followed by four years as an assistant coach," said Brian Streeter, director of athletics. "He enriched the program by providing a new level of toughness to the team and unparalleled leadership for the Behrend Lions and Head Coach Paul Benim."
Burchanowski was revered for his arm, helping pitchers excel from the bump. As a sophomore, he guided the program to its highest win total as an NCAA Division III school and was previewed by Collegiate Baseball as a "player to watch."
During his junior and senior years, Burchanowski was chosen to guide the program as its team captain and was then picked as the team MVP. In 1997-98, he was named Penn State Behrend's Male Athlete of the Year.
During a stellar senior year, Burchanowski led the blue and white to a campus-record 23 wins. He posted a .318 average with 27 RBIs, the third most in a single-season. In addition, Burchanowski was named to the first-ever AMCC All-Conference baseball team.
Burchanowski, a lifetime .321 hitter, finished his career ranking second in games played with 117, third in RBIs (69) and runs scored, fourth in doubles, steals (32) and in hits (106) -- tying Hall of Famer Reese Wetzel.
A Franklin High graduate, Burchanowski earned a bachelor of science in business, liberal arts and science. He currently teaches science at North East Elementary and is helping to expand its baseball program.
Ron Derian '98
Ron Derian, a four-year basketball player for the Behrend Lions, entered the men's basketball program as a hardworking and physically tough player. He earned ECAC honor roll recognition as a freshman and finished his career by guiding the blue and white to the program's second berth in the ECAC Tournament under head coach Dave Niland.
Derian routinely led the team in minutes played. The 6'4" forward served as the program's captain and started 89 of the 95 games in which he participated.
His versatile skills enabled him to excel in multiple facets of the game. Derian racked up 908 career points, while also dishing out 179 career assists. As a junior and senior, he led the team in rebounds per game at six. Derian is ranked eighth all time for career rebounds with 538 as well as fourth in career steals (111), fifth in career free-throws made (239), and 13th in assists at the end of his career.
After the 1996-97 season, Derian was awarded Penn State Behrend's Male Athlete of the Year and the basketball program’s Most Valuable Player. Additional career accolades include Defensive Player of the Year, two-time Hustle Award winner and MVP of the Behrend Tip-Off Tournament.
Derian, a graduate of Steel Valley High, earned a bachelor of science in management information systems. He is the director of admissions at Education Management Corp. (EDMC) in Pittsburgh.
Sandy Mishic '98
Sandy Mishic was a "top-notch performer" for Penn State Behrend's cross country team and club track and field teams, according to former Head Coach John Drew.
Mishic competed in the campus' inaugural cross country season in the fall of 1996. She paced the blue and white by finishing first for her squad in all five invites that she raced and routinely set new marks on the courses she competed.
In 1997, Mishic immediately raised the bar for herself and the program by finishing as the campus' top runner in all eight meets -- winning the individual titles at the Penn State Behrend and La Roche Invitationals Mishic set course records at both locations and guided Penn State Behrend's women's team to the program's first ever team title.
In addition, she placed second at Thiel College's event and the AMCC Cross Country Championships. Personally, she raced to a 20th place finish at the NCAA Mid-East Regionals, was named to the 1997 All-Region Team and was honored with the Herb Lauffer Leadership Scholarship Award.
For the 1997-98 academic year, Mishic was named Penn State Behrend's Female Scholar Athlete of the Year, the cross country program's Most Valuable Runner, and was also named to the first-ever AMCC All-Conference and All-Academic Teams during her outstanding career. Mishic earned dean's list each semester.
A graduate of Kane High School, Mishic earned a bachelor of science in biology. She is an early intervention physical therapist.
Kevin Rinehardt '98
Kevin Rinehardt made waves early during his soccer career at Penn State Behrend. "He was a standout soccer player and people took notice," Dan Perritano, head coach, said.
Rinehardt scored — sometimes game-winning goals — in victories against Oswego, John Carroll and La Roche, which earned the team a key AMCC win.
As a junior, Rinehardt led the program to the school record for wins and was named to the Western Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Soccer Conference All-Star team. As a regular member of the dean's list, he also earned Penn State Behrend's Male Scholar Athlete of the Year for the 1995-96 academic year.
Rinehardt followed suite during his senior year, which featured a record-breaking 13 wins and an appearance in the AMCC Championship game.
At the conclusion of his career, the team captain ranked No. 1 all-time in games played (71) for the Behrend Lions along with fellow inductee and teammate Ryan Ruta. Rinehardt guided the Behrend Lions to 39 wins over his four seasons of play and ranks in the top 25 for points scored in a career.
Rinehardt, an Academy High School graduate, earned a bachelor of science in biology. He is teaching at Ashtabula Area City Schools and is still actively involved in the soccer community as a coach.
Ryan Ruta '98
Ryan Ruta used his speed to motor and his feet to maneuver around opponents on the pitch during his four-year run on the men's soccer team. "As a midfielder, he found ways to make those around him better," Streeter said. "He distributed the ball with accuracy and skill."
At the end of his playing career, Ruta ranked No. 1 on the all-time charts for career assists with 17 and second in single-season assists with seven during his sophomore season. He was then named to the Western Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Soccer Conference All-Star Team. In addition, Ruta earned MVP honors after Penn State Behrend captured the Lochbaum Tournament title.
As a senior, Ruta also led the team to a campus record for wins with 12 in 1997. His career culminated with a 1-0 win over Frostburg State in the inaugural AMCC Soccer Championships. In the 75th minute of the scoreless contest, Ruta's pass to teammate Thomas Helmkamp proved to be the game-winning goal and earn the program's first league title.
Ruta was selected as Penn State Behrend's Scholar Athlete of the Year and earned the Herb Lauffer Leadership and Scholarship award. He played in 71 matches — a program record at the time — and ranks in the top 25 for career points.
The Gates-Chilli High School product also led the blue and white to 38 wins during his four years, and the team's first-ever regional ranking.
Ruta earned a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering and now is a process engineer for Javlyn Inc. in Rochester, N.Y.
Julie Stocker '96
A three-sport athlete, Julie Stocker maximized her capabilities and techniques while playing softball, soccer and volleyball during her four-year career at Penn State Behrend.
As an outfielder for the softball squad, she guided the team to the ECAC Tournament a record three straight seasons. In 1993, the women won the Southern Region Championship when Stocker led the team in hitting .392 and set a school record with 32 RBIs. She led the program to 98 wins over a four-year span that often hinged upon her .353 career average. To this day, the team's 29-6 record remains the best winning percentage in school history.
Her game-winning hit against nationally ranked Allegheny College knocked off the Gators while propelling the blue and white to the softball program's highest national ranking — 16th in the country. When her career concluded she ranked No. 1 in games played (141), walks (44), doubles (23), stolen bases and home runs, and in the top five for career hits (135), runs (76), RBIs (86), and average (.353). Stocker was named to the ECAC All-Star Team in 1994 and to the TPS NSCA All-Region team in 1995.
On the soccer field, Stocker was an integral part of the 1994 club team that was a perfect 6-0. In 1995 as team captain, she led her teammates to post a 10-3-2 mark in the first ever collegiate season. As a two-year volleyball player, she competed in 100 games and, in 1993, assisted the team in earning the program's most wins in nine years.
Stocker graduated with a bachelor of arts in communications and now works for PGA Tour Productions in St. Augustine, Fla.
Beth (Calhoun) Wisniewski '98
A two-sport athlete and Harbor Creek High School alumna, Beth (Calhoun) Wisniewski is "the best two-way player to ever suit up for the Behrend Lions softball program," said Streeter.
A two-time Penn State Behrend Female Athlete of the Year honoree, Wisniewski's senior season was marked by unparalleled success in 1998. After batting a school record .543, she concluded her career ranking No. 1 in the record books for career average (.434), hits (165), RBIs (95) and doubles (39), and ranked fourth in career runs while only striking out nine times in 380 career at-bats. This performance earned her NCAA All-Region honors, NSCA All-American Scholar-Athlete honors, AMCC MVP and Pitcher of the Year, and Penn State Behrend softball's MVP. Wisniewski also set a college mark for eight RBIs in a single-game and is ranked in the top five in virtually every offensive category in the record books.
This four-year softball letter-winner and team captain worked for 30 mound wins and posted a strong 2.57 ERA while completing 44 of the 55 games she started and logged 398 innings pitched -- topping the charts in all those categories. After leading the program to the ECAC Tournament as a freshman, Wisniewski was named to the NCAA East Region All-Star Team and followed a year later with additional honors.
In conjunction with her successful softball career, Wisniewski played two years of volleyball. As the starting middle-hitter, she guided the team to the 1997 AMCC regular-season championship and is currently ranked in several career statistical categories.
Wisniewski earned a bachelor of science in management information systems. She coached the campus' softball pitching staff for three seasons and is now employed by Spectrum Control.
For information, contact Penn State Behrend athletics at (814) 898-6180 or visit http://www.behrend.psu.edu/athletics.