ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Elmira College inducted 6 all-time great Soaring Eagles into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame.
Saturday was a special one for Elmira College, as 6 of the greatest players, coaches, and teams where immortalized in the school’s Hall of Fame. Elmira College’s Meier Hall played host to the 2023 Hall of Fame Night and 18 Sports Director Andy Malnoske emceed the event, introducing the inductees. The new Elmira College Athletics Hall of Fame Class included the best of the best in hockey, soccer, volleyball, cheerleading, and basketball.
Elmira College Director of Athletics, Rhonda Faunce was thrilled to honor and reconnected with the inducted athletes and coaches.
“There is a great group here this year, said Faunce. I haven’t seen some of them in 10 or 11 years. There are plenty of emotions and you get flooded back with memories of how it used to be.”
On the ice, former men’s hockey captain Kurt Kalweit was honored as a part of the 2023 class of inductees. As a player, Kalweit earned 2 All-American honors and holds the 4th most career goals in program history (95), as well as several single-season records. Kalweit went on to play four years of professional hockey, before later entering the coaching scene. The standout on the ice returned to EC as an assistant, coaching under Glenn Thomaris. Kalweit is entering his 24th season as a volunteer assistant with the Soaring Eagles Men’s Hockey program.
Inducted from the EC women’s hockey program was 3-time captain Kayla Coady. While wearing the purple and gold, Coady earned the 2009 NCAA D3 Player of the Year and ECAC West Player of the Year. In addition, Coady was named Elmira College Athlete of the Year both in 2007 and 2009. The standout on the ice helped EC to a pair of ECAC West Championships along with NCAA Tournament appearances. Coady has the 2nd most points in program history (182), in addition to several single-season records.
On the volleyball court, few matched up to Sasha Zavadska. The Slovakian standout player brings one of the most impressive resumes to the 2023 EC Hall of Fame Class. Zavadska made an immediate impact at EC, making Empire 8 Second Team All-Conference in her freshman season. In her sophomore year, Zavadska stepped up to the Empire 8 First Team and took Player of the Year honors. One year later, the standout earned the same accolades and led the Soaring Eagles to a regular season title in the Empire 8. As a senior, Zavadska made her 3rd Empire 8 First Team and capped off her career with the 2nd most kills (1,967), 3rd most digs (1,506), and 2 single-season records for kills.
18 Sports caught up with the 2-time Empire 8 Player of the Year, who was honored by the Hall of Fame induction.
“I am just very honored and thankful to receive this, said Zavadska. It means the world to me and is a legacy that I can leave for whoever.”
Another inductee from the new class remains one of the greatest basketball players in Elmira College Basketball history. Women’s basketball standout Mary Kay Babcock served as a dominant force on the hardwood in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Once Babcock wrapped up her career at EC, she had set the program records for points per game (17.6), rebounds (1,128), rebounds per game (13.6), and field goals made (632). In addition, the standout on the court has the 2nd highest free throw percentage (80.4%), and the 3rd most points in program history (1,457).
Also inducted into the 2023 class was cheerleading great Courtney Diehl. Diehl earned the 2010-11 and 2011-12 Most Valuable Cheerleader from Competition Cheer and EC Female Athlete of the Year in 2011. The standout cheerleader led EC to 2 Empire Cheer Championships, an American Cheer and Dance Championship, and multiple regional titles. Diehl was a part of the EC Cheer teams in 2010, who finished fourth in NCA National Championship, placed second in NCA Preliminary Round in 2011 by 1/10th of a point, and finished 2nd at nationals in 2012.
Last but not least, the 1997 Elmira College Women’s Soccer team and head coach Tim Barerra joined the 2023 class. The 1997 Elmira College Women’s Soccer team posted a 14-4-0 record and soared to the only appearance in the NCAA Tournament for the program. The impressive run was led by an outstanding group, featuring Suzanne Weller, Allison Conte, and Christine Baldauf. At least one of the three players previously mentioned hold a career or single-season record in every listed category for the program. Susan Mikulec and Holly Newman also hold several records for Elmira College, standing tall in net in 1997. Mikulec is the career record holder for wins and shutouts in program history.