Wednesday, October 7, 2009

University of Albany Athletics Will Enshrine Five Into Hall of Fame as Part of Homecoming Weekend - UAlbany Sports 2009

Albany, N.Y. - Four former athletes and one athletic administrator will be enshrined into the University at Albany Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday, October 9 at the 26th annual HOF Dinner and Induction Ceremony. A reception for the Athletic Hall of Fame inductees begins at 5:30 p.m., with the dinner and ceremony to follow in SEFCU Arena on campus.

The induction ceremony is part of Homecoming and Family Weekend, which also includes Saturday's football game at University Field with Northeast Conference-rival Duquesne at 1:00 p.m. On Sunday, women's soccer is home against Boston University at 2:00 p.m.

The new inductees and their sports: Bob Conklin '84, baseball; Tovah Atwell (Lisky) '00, field hockey; J.T. Herfurth '00, football; Janna Johnston '99, track & field; and Jack Koelmel, who served as the school's head athletic trainer for 32 years until his retirement in 2006.

With this year's class, there are 124 former athletes, coaches and administrators who have been inducted into the University at Albany's Athletic Hall of Fame.

Bob Conklin (1980-84) -- A three-time all-conference infielder and outfielder, Conklin was one of the top players in the UAlbany baseball program's NCAA Division III era. He was a three-time SUNY Athletic Conference first-team selection.

A native of Spring Valley, N.Y., Conklin moved from third base to left field as a senior. He led the team in home runs (3), stolen bases (15), runs (19) and at-bats (65) in a 21-game schedule. Conklin was the Great Danes' second-leading hitter with a .307 average and 20 total hits. During the season, the co-captain homered in both ends of a doubleheader sweep of Oneonta, and had a three-hit, three-RBI effort versus Cortland. Conklin played for four UAlbany head coaches during his career.

A transfer from Division I University at Buffalo, Conklin batted .380 and had a .560 slugging percentage in his first season with the program as a sophomore. The highlight of his junior campaign included going a combined 6-for-9 in a conference twinbill with Oneonta. He also had two hits in victory over defending SUNYAC champion Cortland and delivered a RBI single in a 3-1 decision against Union at Bleecker Stadium.

Conklin earned a B.S. in psychology from UAlbany before attending Pace University Law School. He is currently a managing partner and attorney with Licata & Conklin in Suffern, N.Y.

He and his wife, Anita, a 1984 UAlbany graduate, have two sons, Christian and Robert. Conklin has served as a baseball coach for the New City Little League and the Clarkstown Stars.

Tovah Atwell (1996-99) -- The most prolific scorer in the field hockey program's history, Atwell was dominant around the cage at both the NCAA Division I and Division II levels. She led the Great Danes to the 1997 ECAC Division II championship and an eleven-win campaign in their first season as a Division I program in 1999.

As a sophomore, Atwell was named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division II All-America squad as a second-team selection. At the time, she established records for goals (18), assists (9) and points (45). Atwell was voted MVP of the ECAC championship when she scored the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Bentley for the title, capping a school-record 17-2 campaign.

In 1998, Atwell was chosen to the Astro Turf/NFHCA Division II All-America first team when she tallied 17 goals and 16 assists for 50 points. The scoring mark is still the program's single-season standard. She shattered the single-game record with six assists against American International.

A tri-captain as a senior, Atwell piled up 34 points on 14 goals and six assists. She ranked among the NCAA leaders in goals (17th) and points (19th). The Great Danes went 11-4 overall in their inaugural Division I season. UAlbany closed out the schedule by winning 11 of its last 12 games. A second-team All-Mideast Region forward, she completed her career as the program's all-time scorer, with 63 goals and 32 assists for 158 points.

Atwell, who hails from West Winfield, N.Y., received her undergraduate degree in communication with a minor in business administration. She serves as marketing director for Junior Achievement of Northeastern New York. Atwell is married to Trevor Lisky, a former midfielder on the UAlbany lacrosse team. The couple has two sons, Merrick and Grayson.

J.T. Herfurth (1998-2000) -- An All-America offensive tackle on the school's first Division I FCS teams, Herfurth became the first and only UAlbany player to have participated in the Hula Bowl Classic as a member of the North squad in 2001.

In 2000, Herfurth was chosen to the Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and Football Gazette Division I-AA All-America first teams. A starter in 31 consecutive games at left tackle, the 6-foot-6, 300-pound lineman was named the Mid-Major Offensive Lineman of the Year by Football Gazette. Herfurth, who was picked to the All-Northeast Conference first team, blocked for a rushing attack that led the conference and was 14th among the national leaders at 215.2 yards per game. The Great Danes accounted for 400-plus yards in offense in six of their last seven games.

Herfurth was named honorable mention All-American and to the All-NEC second team as a junior. The Great Danes, who posted a 7-2 record in their first season at the Division I FCS level, were 13th nationally in scoring (37.0 ppg) and 26th in total yards (424.1 ypg). The offense's two-quarterback system led the NEC in four categories.

A transfer from Penn State University, Herfurth started all 11 games in his first season on the offensive line. UAlbany (10-1) averaged 32.1 points en route to winning the 1998 Eastern Football Conference championship. The offense was evenly distributed between the run (154.2 ypg) and pass (175.7 ypg).

A native of East Northport, N.Y., Herfurth became the first UAlbany athlete to be selected to the CoSIDA University Division Academic All-America national first team and was named the NEC's Fall Scholar-Athlete in the sport of football. He was also voted to the District I all-academic unit three consecutive years. Herfurth received an ECAC Merit Medal as the school's top senior male student-athlete in the 2000-01 academic year.

Herfurth earned his undergraduate degree in sociology with a minor in psychology. He works in law enforcement as a Northport Village police officer. Herfurth and his wife, Stephanie, have a five-year-old daughter, Bailey.

Janna Johnston (1995-99) -- One of the top women's track & field competitors in the program's Division II era, Johnston was a record-setting performer who led UAlbany to the 1999 ECAC and New England Collegiate Conference indoor championships. She held eight school records at the end of her collegiate career.

Despite coming from UAlbany's Division II program, Johnston competed in the ECAC Division I outdoor championship meet as a senior. She established two school marks en route to a third-place finish in the heptathlon. Johnston shattered her own standard with 5,008 points in the seven-event competition and eclipsed the javelin record with a throw of 113-feet, 7-inches. During the indoor schedule, Johnston won the ECAC pentathlon with a program-record 3,452 points. She also captured the NECC indoor high jump crown for the second consecutive year and was second in the long jump. Johnston also went 18-9.75 in the long jump at the UConn Sprint Invitational to set another record.

A two-time all-region honoree, Johnston was named to the 1998 All-East squad in the long jump and heptathlon by Eastern Track Magazine. She was a winner in the NECC indoor high jump and 4x400 relay, plus was second in the long jump. She finished fifth in the Penn Relays' heptathlon and helped set a UAlbany record in the shuttle hurdles relay (57.93) at the same meet.

In 1997, Johnston placed sixth in the heptathlon at the NCAA Division II outdoor championships. She earned All-America recognition by scoring 4,834 points. She captured her second consecutive Collegiate Track Conference heptathlon championship and was also a winner in the long jump. As a sophomore, she won the CTC pentathlon and heptathlon crowns, and was fourth in both the high jump and long jump at ECAC indoors.

A native of Clifton Park, N.Y. and a Shenendehowa High School graduate, Johnston received her B.A. in mathematics with a dual minor in physics and computer science. She received an ECAC Merit Medal as the school's top senior female student-athlete for the 1998-99 academic year and was the Kimberly Toone Memorial Scholarship recipient. Johnston, who is employed at State Farm Insurance as a fire underwriter, has competed in two marathons in Alaska and California.

Jack Koelmel (1970-2006) -- As the school's head athletic trainer for more than three decades and through three divisions of NCAA classification, Koelmel's career touched thousands of students-athletes, coaches and administrators.

A native of Housatonic, Mass., Koelmel arrived on the UAlbany campus in 1970 as a graduate student and assistant on the athletic training staff. During his tenure, Koelmel was responsible for all aspects of the sports medicine program, including preventive training, injury rehabilitation and nutrition counseling. By the time of his retirement in August 2006, he was supervising an an athletic training staff of four assistants, one graduate assistant and several volunteers.

From 1992-99, Koelmel served as the NYSATA region representative. He received his 25-year service award from the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA). Koelmel worked as an athletic trainer at the Empire State Games for seven years, plus taught courses at UAlbany for nearly 30 years.

Koelmel, who celebrated his 61st birthday last April, received his bachelor's degree in physical education from Norwich University in Vermont, where he played basketball and was a member of the freshman football team. At Norwich, he worked as a student assistant trainer. In 1973, he earned a M.S. in educational administration from UAlbany, where he was an instructor in the care and prevention of athletic injuries.

Koelmel and his wife Margo, reside in Ballston Spa, N.Y. He has three stepchildren, Frances, Carl and Ross, and two grandchildren, Shailee (4) and Devin (2).

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

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