Augustana University To Induct 8 New Hall of Famers This Week
The Augustana University Athletic Department is preparing for a big week as they will be inducting eight new members to their Hall of Fame.
According to Augustana, the eight inductees are Ali Adamson (women’s basketball), Nate Baumann (baseball), Thabani Gonye (men’s track & field), Ben Nauman (football), Jay Sherer (wrestling), Rachel Stangler (women’s cross country and track & field), Kristi Villar (softball) and Brad Wierda (football).
Here is the complete release from the University on the Hall of Fame inductions this week.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Augustana Director of Athletics Josh Morton is pleased to announce eight individuals that will be inducted into the Augustana Athletics Hall of Fame in 2022. The ceremony will take place on September 23 at 5 Oaks in Sioux Falls. The following day, the defending NSIC Champion Viking football team will host Northern State where the inductees will be honored at halftime.
Tickets for the 52nd Hall of Fame Banquet can be purchased at Augielink.com/HallofFame.
The eight inductees are Ali Adamson (women’s basketball), Nate Baumann (baseball), Thabani Gonye (men’s track & field), Ben Nauman (football), Jay Sherer (wrestling), Rachel Stangler (women’s cross country and track & field), Kristi Villar (softball) and Brad Wierda (football).
"The celebration of excellence at Augustana continues with this Hall of Fame class. It's a great example of just how special Augustana is. The variety of sports and generations honored in our 2022 class shows just how deeply talented Viking athletics has been and these are student-athletes who have paved the way for our current success."
Josh Morton, Augustana Director of Athletics
Ali Adamson (Ovenden) graduated from Augustana in 2007 after scoring more than 1,300 points. She ended her career ranked fourth all-time with 194 made 3-point field goals, a mark that now ranks sixth. Adamson was a three-time All-NCC selection and garnered an Honorable Mention to the WBCA All-America Team in 2007. She twice was named a CoSIDA Academic All-America honoree. Adamson helped lead Augustana to a pair of NCAA Tournaments in 2006 and 2007.
Nate Baumann is one of the best to ever play baseball at Augustana, earning a pair of All-America accolades after earning all-conference honors all four years he competed. He was an All-NCC honoree in 2008 and followed up with three First Team All-NSIC honors, culminating with the 2010 NSIC Player of the Year. He finished his career as the program’s all-time leader in slugging percentage at .712 and concluded his career as the program’s hits leader (now fourth) and runs scored (now third). His 2011 season helped guide AU to its first-ever NCAA Tournament. He is a 2011 graduate of Augustana.
Thabani Gonye holds 14 top-10 marks in Augustana track history. Among those top-10 marks, he is the school record holder in the 60m dash in a time of 6.79 seconds while he is a member of the 4x400 indoor and outdoor school record-holding relay teams. He earned three All-America honors including a national runner-up in 1993 with the 4x400 relay team. He was a two-time NCC Outdoor Champion and holds the third-best time in South Dakota College history with his 46.79 in the 400m. Gonye is currently serving as the President of the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee. He is a 1998 graduate of Augustana.
Ben Nauman is a two-time all-region performer at defensive back for the Viking football team while earning a pair of First Team All-NCC honors. He concluded his career with 13 interceptions, the fourth-most in program history. Nine of those interceptions came in the 2001 season. With prowess in finding the ball, he is the school record holder with nine fumbles recovered and also blocked three kicks. He is the school record holder with two blocked kicks in a single game, coming in a 39-33 win over South Dakota State in 2002. Following his collegiate career, he was chosen to play in the Blue-Gray All-Star Classic and went to Rookie Mini Camp with the Minnesota Vikings. He is a 2004 graduate of Augustana.
Jay Sherer is a National Champion. A four-time national qualifier and three-time All-America honoree, Sherer won the Division II national title at 141 pounds in 2010. He was a member of the national runner-up team in 2010 and third place finishing team in 2011. That 2011 team (more on them below) claimed the NSIC Championship. He garnered an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship following his graduation from Augustana in 2011.
Rachel Stangler (Royer) is a three-time All-America honoree in outdoor track & field and earned another All-America accolade in cross country. She was the NCC Champion in 2004 and 2007 at the NCC Cross Country Championship while earning six NCC Championships in indoor track & field and three gold medals from the NCC Championships during the outdoor track & field seasons. As part of her All-America accolades, she was the national runner-up in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 2008 and placed sixth at the 2007 cross country championships. Stangler is a 2008 graduate of Augustana.
Kristi Villar is a four-time All-NCC honoree and the NCC Freshman of the year in 2003. During both her junior and senior seasons, she led Augustana in batting with a .352 average as a junior and a .396 average as a senior. Defensively as a shortstop, she ended her career as the school record holder with 40 double plays turned (currently second most). She is a 2006 graduate of Augustana, the same year she led the Vikings to a North Central Conference Championship.
Brad Wierda was one of the top defensive linemen in the NCC during his career that included a First Team All-NCC selection in 1977. The Vikings were runners-up in the NCC that season. Following his 1978 graduation from Augustana, he earned tryouts with both the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks, making his way to the final cuts for each team.
In addition to the eight inductees, two teams are honored and three additional awards are given out. The 2010-11 Augustana wrestling team that won the NSIC and the 2010 Viking women’s tennis team that started the current run of 12-straight NSIC Championships will be the teams honored.
The Ole Odney Alumni Coach of the Year is Robin Baker. The 1989 graduate of Augustana is currently the Associate Athletics Director at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. She was a four-year starter for the Viking softball team and went on to serve as the head volleyball and softball coach at Wartburg College. She led both programs to NCAA Tournament berths for the first time in program history. During her time at UW-Eau Claire, she helped the Blugolds capture the 2008 NCAA Division II National Championship. She has also continued to serve on NCAA Volleyball and Softball Regional Advisory Committees and has been the chair of the NCAA Division II Softball National Committee.
The Lefty Olson Award winner for lifetime service and achievement is Carl Gonder. A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Gonder attended Augustana from 1980-84 and earned All-NCC honors in 1983 and 1984. He concluded his playing career with 1,830 points and 845 rebounds. He was inducted into the Augustana Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000. He earned the Lefty Olson Award for a career that has spanned professional basketball (France, England and Australia), a broadcaster and sports writer, the Area Director for Eastern Iowa Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Fund Development Director for Four Oaks Family and Children Services in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In addition, he most recently served with the Hope Community Development Association, an organization that helps men who have been homeless or incarcerated.
The recipients of the Milt and Clara Harvey Award are cited for outstanding contributions of time, service and financial support to Augustana Athletics. This year’s recipients are Bob and Trish Swanhorst. Bob, a 1961 graduate of Augustana, and his wife Trish have pledged a $1 million gift for student-athlete scholarships as announced in Oct. 2020. Longtime members of the Augustana A-Club, the Swanhorsts have many years of dedicated service to Augustana including Trish serving on the Board of Augustana Library Associates and Bob on the board for the Augustana Academy for Seniors.
For more information on Augustana Athletics, you can visit their website.
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