POMONA, CA — The University of La Verne community celebrated its decorated athletic history with the induction of eight former athletes and its second team to the Athletics Hall of Fame at its biennial induction ceremony on Saturday.
The 16th Hall of Fame class includes: the 1981 Women's Volleyball AIAW Division III National Championship Team, Richard (Dick) Hepner (Football), John Verhoeven (Baseball), William Lawson (Track & Field), Tricia Schary (Volleyball), Scott Lindeen (Baseball), Jared Carvitto (Swim & Water Polo), Chelsea Sherier (Track & Field), and Rizal Amin (Golf).
The inductees, along with their friends, family and, old teammates shared terrific stories and chronicled how their experience at La Verne shaped their lives.
Legendary coach Jimmy Paschal and players Pam Sloan, Sue Habecker, and Cindy Ronzoni spoke on behalf of the 1981 team, the second national championship squad in La Verne history.
La Verne provost Dr. Johnathan Reed gave the opening remarks and interim director of athletics Scott Winterburn University welcomed the alumni back and congratulated the new inductees.
1996 Hall of Fame inductee Rex Huigens served as the master of ceremonies and Dr. Marilyn Oliver gave the invocation.
La Verne Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2019
The 1981 La Verne Volleyball Team was the second La Verne squad to win a national championship and is the second team to be inducted in the Hall of Fame. Led by head coach Jim Paschal, the Leopards defeated Linfield 3-0 on La Verne's home court to claim the final Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women Division III Volleyball Championship. Sue Habecker, Robin Holland, and Eileen Kamidoi each earned spots on the AIAW All-Tournament Team. In addition, Kamidoi and Habecker were named to the AIAW All-America Team. The Leopards won their third straight SCIAC Championship that season in an incredible run that included 12 SCIAC titles in 14 seasons. The win also launched the Leopards into NCAA competition the following season that began a run of 11 straight NCAA Tournament appearances.
Richard (Dick) Hepner '53 was one of the stars for the La Verne football team in the early tenure of famed coach Roland Ortmayer. Hepner starred at tackle and end on both sides of the ball for the Leopards and served as team captain during his senior season. He was half of the "Covina Duo" who, along with teammate Ed Dunahoo, created havoc for opposing offenses. Hepner was a core member the La Verne squad during an era when the Leopards in addition to playing SCIAC opponents, also faced off against the likes of Arizona State, junior colleges, the San Diego Navy base, and the California Institute for Men in Chino. In addition to his impact on the gridiron, Hepner was also a member of the Leopards' basketball team and served as La Verne student body president.
John Verhoeven '74 was an ace for the Leopards during the 1974 season who helped continue the dominance of the La Verne baseball teams in the 1970s. In his lone year at La Verne, Verhoeven earned NAIA First Team All-American honors, NAIA First Team All-District honors, and First Team All-SCIAC honors and helped the Leopards win their third straight SCIAC title. That season he compiled 14-1 overall record and posted a 1.17 ERA while striking out 115 batters and walking just 19 batters in 118 innings. Verhoeven was drafted by the California Angels and pitched in the major leagues from 1976-1981 for the Angels, White Sox and Twins. He later went on to serve as the head coach of the Biola University baseball where he led the Eagles for 16 seasons, earned GSAC Coach of the Year honors five times, was named NAIA Region II Coach of the Year twice, and left as the all-time winningest coach with 546 wins and a program-best winning percentage of .644.
William Lawson '04 enters the La Verne Hall of Fame as one of its most celebrated track stars. He earned All-American honors in 2003 in the 400 meter hurdles during his final season in the green and orange. He dominated at the SCIAC level winning individual titles four straight seasons in the 400 meter hurdles becoming the first Leopard to win a SCIAC title in the same event in four straight seasons. Lawson also added a championship in the 400 meter dash in 2002 and was a member of the 2001 La Verne Men's Track and Field SCIAC Championship squad. He left La Verne with program records in the 400 meter hurdles, the 400 meter dash, and as a member of the 4x400 meter relay team. His time of 52.20 seconds in the 400 meter hurdles is still the top mark in Leopard history.
Tricia Schary Olson '05 led the storied La Verne volleyball program for two seasons. In her tenure as a Leopard, Schary garnered First Team All-American honors in 2003, Second All-American honors in 2004, and earned All-West Region accolades in each of those seasons. She helped lead the Leopards to back-to-back NCAA Division III Final Four appearances and was selected to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team in 2004. Nationally she ranked 21st in NCAA Division III with a .379 hitting percentage. At the conference level, Schary made her impact felt immediately, leading the SCIAC in hitting percentage in her first year in the conference on her way to earning the 2003 SCIAC Player of the Year award. Schary was named First Team All-SCIAC in both of her seasons at La Verne and led the Leopards to SCIAC titles in 2003 and 2004, part of a run of nine straight titles.
Scott Lindeen '05 was a five-year member of the La Verne baseball team who capped off his Leopard career with a bang. In 2005, Lindeen garnered Second Team All-American honors, First Team All-West Region accolades, and First Team All-SCIAC honors. That year Lindeen had a spectacular season on the mound, finishing with a 10-2 record, a 1.90 ERA, and 93 strikeouts on his way to being named SCIAC Player of the Year and the 2005 Anthony P. Scafani Sportsman of the Year. Lindeen had one of his most memorable highlights during his junior season when he threw a no-hitter against Pomona-Pitzer. Lindeen helped the Leopards win back-to-back SCIAC Championships in 2004 and 2005. Following his senior season, Lindeen was drafted by the Florida Marlins.
Jared Carvitto '06 is one of the best swimmers in La Verne history. He was a three-time NCAA qualifier and earned All-American honors in 2006 after finishing fifth in the 200 yard breaststroke at the NCAA Division III Championships. That season Carvitto claimed three individual SCIAC Championships, finishing first in the 100 yard breaststroke, 200 yard breaststroke, and 400 yard individual medley on his way to earning the SCIAC Championships Swimmer of the Meet award. His La Verne records in the 200 yard butterfly (1:54.34) and 400 yard individual medley (4:06.48) still stand today. Carvitto also excelled in water polo earning Second Team All-American honors in 2005 and served a two-year stint as the team captain. Carvitto was named the 2006 Anthony P. Scafani Sportsman of the Year.
Chelsea Sherier Rutherford '07 was a two-time All-American as a member of the Leopards' women's track and field squad. A star pole vaulter for the Leopards, Sherier earned All-American honors in 2005 at both the national indoor and outdoor meets. In her final year on the La Verne squad, Sherier was named the 2007 West Region Female Athlete of the Year. At the SCIAC level, she won a SCIAC title in the pole vault in 2006 and helped the Leopards win a SCIAC Championship in 2005. Sherier set the La Verne record in the pole vault with a mark of 12-02½ that still stands today.
Rizal Amin '09 is one of the most accomplished golfers in La Verne history. Individually, Amin was a three-time PING All-American earning first-team honors in 2009 and 2007. He was named the 2008 Lee Fulmer SCIAC Golfer of the Year and was honored with the 2008 Jesse Clark Sportsmanship Award that season. Amin was a three-time All-SCIAC selection earning a spot on the first team in 2008 and 2009. He also earned PING All-West Region recognition in 2009. During Amin's final three years on the team, the Leopards won three straight SCIAC Championships (2007-2009) and qualified for the NCAA Championships in each of those seasons. The Leopards finished the 2009 season as the NCAA Division III runners-up.
Watch the 2019 Ceremony
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