Middlebury College names 10 athletes to its Hall of Fame
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury College earlier this summer announced its 2015 class of inductees into the Middlebury Athletics Hall of Fame class. Just the second class to be inaugurated, this year’s group includes graduates from five different decades, from as early as 1932 and as recent as 2001.
The class includes five men and five women who, combined, played a dozen different sports for the college. One of the inductees is also being honored for his service as a coach and administrator.
The induction ceremony and dinner will be held Nov. 7.
John Corbisiero, a member of the class of 1950, transferred to Middlebury from Notre Dame and enjoyed a standout football career, establishing school records for most yards gained, most yards per carry, and most touchdowns in a season and career. A three-sport athlete — he also played hockey and baseball — Corbisiero was drafted by the Chicago Bears, but opted to sign with baseball’s Boston Braves, for whom he played professionally before enlisting in the Air Force and serving in World War II and the Korean War.
Alfred “Sonny” Dennis, a member of the class of 1955, starred in football, basketball and track at Middlebury, earning accolades in all three sports. On the hardwood, Dennis concluded his basketball career with the record among all Vermont schools for most points in a single season and a career (1,544), earning all-state honors for each year of play. As a football player, Dennis was renowned for his long and electrifying touchdown runs, and during his junior year, he won every track race he entered.
Amy DiAdamo Foster, a member of the class of 1997, was a three-time All-American lacrosse player, who scored more goals (228), contributed more assists (119) and recorded more points (347) than any other player in women’s lacrosse history at the college. Her single-season point totals during her sophomore, junior and senior years account for three of the top four efforts in the Middlebury record books. In each season of competition, DiAdamo’s teams advanced to the NCAA final four, a run that included a national title her senior year.
Heidi George, a member of the class of 1998, was a three-time NCAA champion in the 1,650-meter freestyle event and is the only swimmer in Panther history to win three consecutive national titles in the same event. George set a Division III national record in 1996, finishing the race with a time of 16:40.16, an accomplishment that stood for 14 years. George is also the school record-holder in the 1,000-meter freestyle.
Roy Heffernan, a member of the class of 1978, excelled at football and lacrosse at Middlebury. As a running back, Heffernan set records that stood for two decades and currently stands as the second leading rusher in school history with 2,631 yards on 474 carries — an achievement he set in just three years. His single game mark of 311 rushing yards — set in a 42-28 win over WPI — is still the school record. On the lacrosse field, Heffernan led the Panthers to four consecutive ECAC championships, twice earning All-American honors.
Sladja Kovijanic Carton, a member of the class of 1993, is the most prolific scorer in the history of women’s basketball at Middlebury, holding records for most points in a season (648 in 1993) and career (1,602), despite playing just three years. During her senior campaign, Kovijanic led the nation in scoring, averaging 30.9 points per game, and earned All-American honors, becoming the first women’s basketball player in school history to achieve such honors. Kovijanic also holds program records for most three-point field goals made in a season (80 in 1993) and a career (185).
Michelle Labbe Hunter, a member of the class of 2001, was a three-time All-American and the AHCA Division III Women’s Hockey National Player of the Year in 2001, leading the Panthers to a mark of 89-8-1 during her four seasons — a record that includes not a single loss to a Division III opponent. Labbe holds the program record for most assists in a career, contributing 132 in 105 games, and is second among all goal scorers with 108 goals. During Labbe’s career, the Panthers won four-consecutive ECAC championships and two national titles.
Walter “Duke” Nelson, a member of the class of 1932, had a significant impact at Middlebury as an athlete, coach and administrator. Nelson played three sports and coached six, among them football (23 years), men’s hockey (22 years) and men’s golf (26 years). Nelson’s teams won more than 500 career games with him as a head coach and he served as president of both the American Hockey Coaches Association and the New England Golf Coaches Association. He also served as Director of Athletics from 1956-1969.
Jeff Thomsen, a member of the class of 1983, scored more goals (181), recorded more assists (129) and tallied more points (310) than anyone else in the history of the men’s lacrosse program — despite playing fewer games than contemporary athletes do. His 5.96 points per game is good for sixth in the history of Division III men’s lacrosse. Thomsen, who also holds the single-game record for points (11 against New Haven), was a three-time All-American.
Karin Von Berg Noyes, a member of the class of 1981, was an outstanding distance runner at Middlebury, winning the New England Cross Country championship as a sophomore, while twice earning All-American honors in track and field. Von Berg still holds the NESCAC Championship meet record for best time in the 1,500-meter race (4:28, set in 1979). That season, she finished fifth among all Division I, II and III runners in the national 5,000-meter race, recording a time of 16:59.1, which stood as a school record for 34 years.
The Middlebury Athletics Hall of Fame is located in the Peterson Family Athletics Complex. The Hall of Fame opened in January 2015, in conjunction with the opening of Virtue Field House, and the inaugural class of 2014 was inducted then. The Hall of Fame will induct up to 10 individuals a year. To be eligible, former student-athletes who are nominated for consideration must be at least 10 years removed from their final year of collegiate competition. Coaches, administrators and staff must have served with distinction and be a minimum of five years removed from their employment with the college in order to receive consideration. Pre- and post-Middlebury accomplishments can factor into a nominee’s candidacy as long as the accomplishments fall within the sphere of athletic achievement, and bear some connection to the nominee’s athletic career at Middlebury.
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