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Four Inductees to Juniata Sports Hall of Fame Biographies

(Posted October 22, 2001)

Huntingdon, PA - Juniata College will induct its seventh class into the institution's Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Ellis College Center on campus. The evening will begin with a reception in Gibbel Lobby of the Kennedy Sports+Recreation Center at 5:45 p.m. and will be followed by the dinner and hall of fame ceremony at 7 p.m. The formal induction program will begin at approximately 7:45 p.m.

A total of four inductees will be honored this year. Those to be inducted include Kathleen McGowan '90, Gene Rothenberger '55, Patti Ryan '85 and Dave Sparks '72.

The following are profiles on each 2001 inductee to the Juniata College Sports Hall of Fame.

Kathleen McGowan '90 (Field Hockey): A four-year letter winner on the field hockey surface for Juniata College, she will still hold the school record for goals in a career (39) at the time of her induction. The two-year captain started all four years at forward for the blue and gold program. As a freshman, McGowan placed second on the team in total points with six on three goals, while as a sophomore she cracked the cage seven times and recorded the first assist of her career. During the 1988 season, she established a single-season Juniata record with 16 goals and that mark still stood at the time of her induction in 2001. She also passed out four assists as a junior to set a program standard for points in a single season (36). McGowan, who is from Bellmawr, N.J. and a graduate of Triton Regional High School, wrapped up her College Hill tenure with 13 goals and four assists for 30 points. Overall, as of October 2001, she still owned four of Juniata's six scoring records. More importantly, McGowan, who now resides in Ledyard, Conn., was largely responsible for turning the field hockey program into one to be reckoned with in the Middle Atlantic Conference, as Juniata went 21-5-1 during her final two years.

Gene Rothenberger '55 (Track & Field): One of the most successful track and field athletes in the history of Juniata College, he owned the school record for most total points scored in a career at the time of his graduation. Rothenberger, who resides in Boyerstown, Pa. and was a graduate of Boyerstown High School, earned the College's J. Foster Gehrett '16 most valuable track and field performer award for three straight years and became the first athlete to accomplish the feat. A four-year letter winner in track and field on College Hill, Rothenberger won the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) broad jump title three years in a row (1953-55) with leaps of 22-0 3/4, 22-2 1/4 and 22-0 1/2, respectively, when the conference combined both the college and university divisions into one championship. Possibly most impressive about his career is the fact that his long jump record of 23-1 will still stand at the time of his induction. It is a mark that Rothenberger established in Reading against Albright and St. Joseph's in 1954, which was 47 years prior to his induction into the Juniata College Sports Hall of Fame.

Patti Ryan '85 (Basketball): One of just two players in the history of the Juniata College women's basketball program to be a four-time team most valuable player, she was also a two-time Middle Atlantic Conference Northwest First-Team All-Star during her career when the MAC had some of the best players in the country competing. A 5-8 forward, Ryan played a very significant role in the program's success during the mid 80's, including leading the team to a 15-7 record as a senior when five of the seven setbacks came to squads ranked in the top 20 national poll. At the time of her induction, she will rank fifth on the career scoring list at Juniata (1,126 points) and sixth on the all-time rebounding chart (711). Ryan, who is a native of Philadelphia, Pa., and a graduate of Little Flower High School, averaged 14.8 points and 9.4 rebounds a game during her time at Juniata. Overall, she led the team in scoring for three of her four years at Juniata, including a personal-best 359 points as a senior, which still ranks 10th on the blue and gold single-season scoring list. Following her graduation, Ryan, who now lives in Norristown, Pa., remained with the College Hill program for one season as an assistant coach and helped lead Juniata to a 16-6 record.
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Dave Sparks '72 (Football, Track & Field): A four-year letter winner in football, he was an All-Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Northern Division honorable-mention pick and an Eastern College Athletic Conference all-star in his sophomore season as a halfback after leading Juniata in rushing yards with a personal-best 949 yards (fourth-best effort in College Hill history). Sparks ran for 1,970 yards in his career, including 177 yard in 1968, 508 yards on 236 attempts (second-highest total in program annals) in 1970 and 336 yards in 1971, in addition to his 1969 total. A team captain in 1971, he led the 1969 squad in total offense and scoring with 949 yards and 56 points (nine touchdowns and a two-point conversion), respectively. Sparks, who resides in Indiana, Pa., and is a graduate of Indiana High School, also helped the gridiron squad to a 7-2 mark in 1968 when he started several games as a freshman. At the time of his induction, he will rank fourth on the all-time rushing list at Juniata, and his 192 yards on 26 carries at Albright in 1969 still stood as the third-best single-game rushing effort. He was a four-year letter winner as a sprinter on the track and field team and won the MAC 100-yard dash outdoor title in 1971 (10.1 seconds). Sparks was also the indoor champion of the same race that year and he held the 100 record (9.8) at Juniata for many years (pre-meters).

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.