By Grace Hamlin
The College’s athletics department inducted new athletes into the Hall of Fame on Oct. 21. The induction ceremony was held in the Brower Student Center where eight former athletes were honored along with the 1984 wrestling team and the 2000 women’s soccer team.
“It’s so inspiring to see all of these athletes being honored for their careers in such a great way,” freshman soccer player Jaime Girtain, a mechanical engineering major, said. “It motivates me to try my best to be as good as these athletes when I train and play in games.”
Kevin Walzak, one of the athletes who was honored in the induction ceremony, was a wrestler who won 97 matches in his career and won the 1981 NCAA championship in the 177-pound weight group. He was awarded with the Metropolitan Conference championship twice and ended his last two seasons with a 30-2-1 record.
"It's an incredible honor to be considered one of the elite athletes in the history of this institution," Walzak said in an article written by Andy Edwards for TCNJ Athletics. "Everyone needs a place to grow and mature, and TCNJ was that place for me."
Penny Kemf was a field hockey and lacrosse player who was an All-American and National Champion in both sports. She was a part of the four teams that were inducted into the College Hall of Fame.
“It’s so impressive to see these graduated TCNJ athletes be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” freshman Maddie Freda, who is currently undecided, said. “I’m a big fan of sports and TCNJ athletics so it’s really cool to see TCNJ honoring these athletes in such a great way.”
Darrin Ross was a football player at the College who contributed to the NJAC titles that his team won in 1990. He earned a total of 10 sacks in 1990 which makes him 10th within the football program.
"The greatest gift football gave me," Doss said according to Edwards, "is the gift of hope - to embrace the endless possibilities the world holds."
Erica DiStefano was a track and field athlete who earned All-American honors nine times for high jump and hurdles. DiStefano also won eight NJAC awards and the Outstanding Female Athlete honors at the 2002 championship.
"I knew that this was where I wanted to be when I grew up," DiStefano said, according to Edwards. "Learning of my acceptance to TCNJ was one of the happiest moments I could share with my family. My childhood dream of becoming a Lion had come true."
Ava Kiss was the first athlete in Lions history to win an NCAA swimming championship in the 100 butterfly in 2008. She had an astonishing time finish of 55.08 seconds to award her with the title. Michael Klimchak was a part of the men’s tennis program where he earned ITA and NCAA All-American honors. He still remains the most victorious in program history with 144 wins in singles. Hillary Klimowicz was on the basketball team at the College where she earned WBCA Division III player of the year. She is ranked second in the program for career points with 1,413.