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Six Hawks & Two Teams To Be Inducted

WATERLOO –Five athletes, a builder and two teams will be inducted into the Athletics and Recreation Hall of Fame on Friday, September 19th as part of the festivities of Homecoming Weekend 2008.

This year’s inductees include former varsity athletes Niki Budalic (soccer), Jacqueline Grahek (hockey), Tara Ross (cross-country & swimming), Rohan Thompson (football) and Jim Zwolak (golf) as well as Randy McGlynn in the builder category and both the 1987 men’s and 1993 women’s soccer teams.

“These individuals achieved excellence, whether it was through academics, athletics, or by contributing to others,” said PETER BAXTER, Wilfrid Laurier’s Director of Athletics and Recreation. “As inductees to the Hall of Fame, they are now part of an elite group known as Golden Hawk history makers.”

Hosting the event at the Senate and Board Chamber on the campus of Wilfrid Laurier will be CTV Southwestern Ontario sports anchor Randy Steinman.  Here’s a look at the accomplishments made by these individuals and the teams:

Entering Laurier’s Master of Business Administration program from James Madison, an NCAA division one school, Niki Budalic competed two seasons with the purple and gold, earning OUA first team all-star status both years. Budalic was a key member of the 2001 national championship team, defending the team’s championship. Armed with a powerful shot and creativity; he was Laurier’s top goal scorer during the championship run (five goals post season) and played an integral role as part of the team’s attack all season long.

Jacqueline Grahek’s overwhelming skill and determination made an immediate impact on the women’s hockey program upon her arrival at Laurier in 1999. A left-winger with a knack for both the offensive and defensive sides of the puck, she continues to sit fifth in the team’s record books for points in a career (40 goals, 45 assists) and goals in a career (40). Grahek was a crucial member of the 2001-02 team that went undefeated in the regular season (19-0-1) for the first time in its short history, en-route to an OUA Championship. Her efforts did not go unrecognized, earning OUA second team all-star status that year and the following season where the program finished with an OUA silver.

Tara Ross left Laurier as arguably the best long-distance runner to ever wear a Golden Hawk uniform. An extremely gifted dual-sport athlete (cross country and swimming), Ross represented Canada at the U23 Triathlon World Championship in her final season at Laurier and finished fifth.  Following her sophomore year, she was named the team’s most valuable player for three consecutive years, as well as being named an OUA first team all-star in 2001. In her second sport, her efforts earned her recognition as the team’s MVP twice.

Rohan Thompson, a graduate of 2003, was a key member of the football team from 1999 to 2003. He quickly established himself by dressing as a rookie linebacker on the Golden Hawks defense and starting five games in his first season. A leader both on and off the field, Thompson had a career best 46.5 tackles in his final season with the purple and gold to give him a career total of 165.5 total tackles. Despite suffering two season-ending injuries, Rohan was named an OUA first team all-star in 2000 and 2002, as well as the team’s most valuable player in his final year, 2002.

Jim Zwolak’s career at Wilfrid Laurier University was remarkable. In his first season with the Hawks, Jim was named both rookie of the year and most valuable player. His MVP streak continued as he won the team award for the next three years. Zwolak was also recognized as an OUA first team all-star in every season he played.  In 2002-03 he was recognized as Wilfrid Laurier Universities top male athlete as the President’s Award recipient by leading his team to medal in every regular season tournament they played in.  He was also crowned the OUA individual champion in 2002-03 with a three stroke victory in the OUA championship.

Randy McGlynn is this season’s builder inductee. A former student at Laurier and member of the Golden Hawk football team, Randy understands the student-athlete experience and this has helped him contribute to the athletics department. McGlynn took the reins as the inaugural president of the Golden Hawk Club in 1999. As president, he has helped to continue the pride and tradition involved in Laurier athletics with Golden Hawk alumni. The department of athletics and recreation has been able to offset the declining levels of traditional funding through the fundraising efforts orchestrated by both the Golden Hawk Club and the 5th Quarter Club. These fundraising efforts have helped support current Golden Hawks through providing improved facilities, better coaching and establishing several athlete support systems to allow them to fulfill both their athletic and academic goals. Throughout the years, he has made annual donations to Laurier and has included a gift to Laurier in his will. Randy says that, “In the end, you want to contribute to things that are of some significance to your life, and university athletics is very important to me.”

The 1993 women’s soccer team has emerged as one of the most successful soccer teams in the history of the program. In his first year as Head Coach, Barry MacLean led the team to an undefeated regular season, culminating in an eventual OWIAA championship victory in which the team was up 4-0 before the half. Leading the way for the team were three All-Canadian players: Gigi Cignini, Sonya Ritcey and Helen Stoumbos. Notably, Stoumbos went on to play for the Women’s Canadian National Team from 1992-2000 and became the first Canadian to ever score a goal in the World Cup. The team also consisted of five current Laurier Hall of Fame members, not including the Head Coach.The team’s undefeated streak reached a high at the OWIAA Championship as they went on to win by a score of 4-0. Following the victory, the team advanced to the Canadian championships where their only loss of the year was suffered at the hands of Dalhousie (0-1). They then went on to win their remaining two games to capture the bronze medal, and finish their season with only one loss on their record.

The 1987 men’s soccer team consisted of several gifted athletes and compiled an impressive record.  At the helm was Laurier Hall of Fame Head Coach Barry Lyon, along with an impressive cast of players consisting of five CIAU All-Canadians as well as four current Hall of Fame members. Among these extraordinary athletes was Lyndon Hooper, who represented Canada over 60 times internationally and  Peter Gilfillan who also represented Canada on the international stage. With this special cast of players, the team suffered only one loss throughout the 14 game regular season. The team then cruised to an eventual OUAA Championship with victories over Guelph (7-0), Western (1-0) and Toronto (1-0).  They then travelled to McGill for the National Championships and defeated the home team (2-1) to secure a birth into the CIAU Championship game. The Hawks would then lose 1-0 to the University of Victoria Vikes and claim a national silver medal.

Tickets and information about the Hall of Fame are available on the Golden Hawk website at www.laurierathletics.com

Wilfrid Laurier University’s Department of Athletics & Recreation is home to 23 varsity sports as well as numerous intramural, recreation & fitness programs. Laurier’s varsity teams have brought home 50 provincial championships as well as 10 national championships in 97 years of competition.

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