Two All-Americas, a pioneer cross-country runner, a record-setting baseball player, a long-time teacher, coach, and administrator, and the first Owl NCAA basketball team compose the list of 2004 inductees to the Keene State Alumni/Athletic Hall of Fame.
The defensive backbone on a Keene State College men's soccer team that made three trips to the NAIA Championship Tournament during his stellar four-year career (1978-81), Ian Wilson '86 joins the long list of Owl men's soccer players to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. A hard-nosed player noted for his ability to head the ball and ignite the team's offense from his stopper position, Wilson, a native of Bedford Hills, N.Y., was a two-time NAIA All-America.
Geoff Sylvester '96 was one of the Owls' top baseball players during Keene State's final years in Division II. The hard-hitting Sylvester, who played several infield positions and pitched, completed his four-year career (1993-96) with 12 home runs, 89 RBIs, and a robust .353 average, third best on KSC's all-time list. Twice named to All-NECC teams, Sylvester earned All-Northeast honors as a senior after leading the Owls to a berth in the 1996 ECAC Tournament. The Worcester, Mass., native still holds six KSC records, including home runs in a season (eight) and hits in a career (156).
One of the top athletes to wear a red-and-white uniform, Kara Suhie '99 earned induction to the Hall of Fame in the sports of field hockey and softball. A two-time All-Region and Little East All-Star back, Suhie finished her field hockey career (1995-98) with nine goals, 32 assists (third all-time) and 50 points. A member of the 1997 squad that advanced to the ECAC Tournament finals, she helped lead the Owls to the initial LEC title and NCAA tournament the following year. Her accomplishments on the softball field were just as impressive. A versatile player who starred in the outfield and on the mound, Suhie, from Old Saybrook, Conn., became KSC's second softball All-America in 1999. That year she posted a 7-3 record with a 1.42 ERA on the mound and a .376 batting average as the team's leadoff hitter. A career .362 hitter, Suhie earned multiple conference, ECAC, and All-Region honors. Team success followed her on the diamond, where she played on Owl teams that made three ECAC appearances and set a program mark with a 33-10 record on the way to reaching the championship game of the 1999 NCAA Northeast Region.
Julie Dion Choiniere was the cornerstone of an Owl women's running program that began to take flight in the late seventies. The College's first women's cross-country runner, Dion Choiniere trained with the men's team before the emergence of the women's varsity program in 1979. As a sophomore, the Bradford, Vt., native won her first-ever race at the Codfish Bowl and later placed 19th (first among Division II-III runners) at the New England Championships. Dion Choiniere qualified three times for national meets, twice in cross country and once in the 5,000 meters on the track. Although Dion Choiniere just came up short in All-America bids, she set four records at KSC.
As teacher, coach, and administrator, Dr. Sherry Bovinet has worn many hats in a Keene State career that spans 34 years. Arriving at KSC in 1970, Bovinet taught physical education courses ranging from dance and wrestling to science. She started and coached softball and gymnastics teams, leading the 1972 team to the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) Tournament. Moving into administration in 1974, Bovinet served as director of athletics and recreation, Title IX officer, and chair of the P.E. department while maintaining her course load. Switching professions once again, she became the College's head athletic trainer in 1979. She developed and implemented the athletic training major, which became accredited in 1999, and has been director of the athletic training program since 1985. Add her stint as skiing coach and it's easy to understand the impact Boivnet has had at the College. Bovinet, who earned her doctorate from the University of Illinois, is from Shawnee Town, Ill.
The 1989-90 Keene State women's basketball team has the distinction of becoming the first women's basketball program to be inducted into the Alumni/Athletic Hall of Fame. Completing the season with a team-best 23-7 (11-3, NECC) record, the Owls, who tied for the regular season New England Collegiate Conference title, earned the first-ever NCAA Tournament berth by any KSC basketball team. The 10-player team was led by a trio of senior captains, Tina Gonyea '90, Michelle Ziegler '90, and Renee Bernier '90 along with Melinda Treadwell '90, Mary "Muffy" Nesbit '91, and Laura Bennett '93. Bennett, the Owls' all-time leading scorer and rebounder, and Gonyea, KSC's assists and steals leader, were inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998 and 2001 respectively.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony took place Homecoming weekend, Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Lloyd P. Young Student Center.