CSS Announces Inaugural Athletic Hall of Fame Class

By KBJR News 1

CSS Announces Inaugural Athletic Hall of Fame Class

July 8, 2011 Updated Jul 8, 2011 at 5:02 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- Four athletes, a coach, and one team will be inducted into the inaugural class of the St. Scholatica (CSS) Athletic Hall of Fame.

The Saints will enshrine cross country runner Susan Immer (1987-90), volleyball player Vickie Winkler (1983-86), baseball player Ben Sickler (1994-97), hockey player Andy Speak (1974-78), head baseball coach John Baggs (1991-2009), and the 1974-75 national champion men's hockey team.

"After 40 years of Saints athletics, it is very appropriate to take the opportunity to recognize the excellence of our past,” Athletic Director Don Olson said. “It will be a great honor to recognize the inaugural class of the St. Scholastica Athletics Hall of Fame. They represent the 'best of the best'.”

The induction ceremony will take place Friday, October 14 on the CSS campus, the same weekend of Homecoming 2011 for the Saints.

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Susan Immer (Cross Country)

Immer was the first St. Scholastica runner to qualify for the NCAA Division III National Meet in 1990. At nationals, she placed 24th overall, which led her to be named a NCAA All-American, the first CSS athlete to earn that honor.

Immer was also on the 1988 team that won the National Little Colleges of America Association (NLCAA) championship and 1989 squad that won the National Small College Athletic Association (NSCAA) Championship. She took first place in the 1989 championship meet.

Immer still currently owns the third fastest 5k time in program history. Then head coach Scott Keenan described Susan as the most coachable athletes that he has worked with.

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Vickie Winkler Anderson (Volleyball)

Winkler was a three-time NLCAA All-American and was a two-time Midwestern Women's Collegiate Conference (MWCC) All-Conference selection. She was part of the 1983 and 1984 teams that won the NLCAA title.

Winkler was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament in 1983. In 1984 and 1985, Winkler led the Saints to MWCC conference titles and in '84 Winkler was named to the MWCC All-Tournament team.

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Ben Sickler (Baseball)

Sickler was the first All-American for the Saints baseball program when he received the honor twice in 1996 and 1997. He was also a three-time all-region selection.

Sickler, who is the only CSS baseball player to have his number retired, was honored by the Midwest Sports Channel as the Division III Male Athlete of the Year in 1997.

He is the only three-year captain for the Saints and still holds program records for wins (11) and strikeouts (113) in a season. In 2010, Sickler was named the captain of the Saints' 25th anniversary team.

He threw a no-hitter against Mount St. Claire during the 1995 season and struck out 15 Lebanon Valley batters in 1996, the second-most in a game in CSS history.

During the 1996 season, Sickler broke nine program records, both on the mound and at the plate.

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Andy Speak (Men's Hockey)

Speak was a three-time NAIA All-American for the CSS Men's Hockey team in the mid-70s and was part of two NAIA National Championships in 1975 and 1977 and the runner-up squad in 1976.

He was named to the all-tournament team in 1976 and 1977. Speak is CSS's all-time leading scorer (232 points) and is the career leader in both goals (112) and assists (120).

He also holds the record for most points (74) and goals (34) in a season and most points (8) and goals (7) in a game.

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John Baggs (Head Baseball Coach)

Former head baseball coach John Baggs is the winningest coach in CSS history. Baggs was hired in 1991 as the youngest head coach in the country at the time and built the Saints baseball program into a national powerhouse.

In his 18 years, Baggs accumulated a record of 567-204-3 (.734), produced 21 All-Americans, had 14 players sign professional contracts and received the Louisville Slugger Coach of the Year award 12 times.

Beginning in 1996, Baggs guided the Saints to 12 NCAA/NAIA Regional Tournaments and a NAIA Regional Championship in 2000.

The Saints had the highest winning percentage of any NCAA Division III program in the 2000s. CSS dominated the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference under Baggs, winning the regular season title every year since 1997.

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1974-75 Men's Hockey Team

In just its third year of existence, the 1974-75 men's hockey team captured the NAIA National Championship defeating top-seeded Gustavus Adolphus College 7-1.

The Saints were led that year by head coach Del Genereau and had many players from the local area. A total of 15 players were from the Twin Ports, while four more were from the Iron Range.

Goaltender Bill Courchaine, center Steve Sertich, forward Bob “Buzzy” LaFond, and defensemen Randy Norgard were named to the All-Tournament team. Mike Dalton was an All-American choice that year.

The Saints finished with a 23-5 record. The 23 wins are the most in a season in program history and the five losses are tied for the fewest in a season.

Posted by Zach Schneider
zschneider@northlandsnewscenter.com

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