Kenyon's Hall of Fame honors outstanding athletes
In a ceremony held during May's Reunion Weekend, the Kenyon Athletic Association (KAA) Hall of Fame opened its doors for the induction of five individuals and one team. The Class of 2002, which includes Kara Berghold, J. Wilson Ferguson, Holly (Swank) Kromer, Kami Mathews, Gregg Parini, and the 1961 - 62 swim team, entered as the eleventh class to be inducted since the Hall of Fame's inception in 1988. The ceremony included the presentation of the Burchell H. Rowe Award to Thomas Edwards for his many contributions to Kenyon athletics.
Berghold '92 is arguably the best female cross-country runner in the history of the College. She was named a team captain for two seasons and was voted "Most Valuable Player" in all four seasons in which she competed. Her best time of 17:42 in the 5k still stands today as a Kenyon record.
Berghold's superiority did not fade at the conference, regional, or national levels. She was a four-time All-North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) runner, a four-time All-Ohio honoree and a three-time All-Region runner. In 1990, she was the Great Lakes Regional Champion and was named the region's "Runner of the Year."
In her final two seasons, she qualified for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championship and rose to the occasion with a sixth-place finish her junior year and a twenty-first place finish her senior year. In so doing, Berghold became the first All-American cross-country runner at Kenyon and the first two-time, female All-American runner in the NCAC. She capped off her career with the College's "Senior Athlete of the Year" award.
Ferguson '55 was the Lords soccer team's goalkeeper for four seasons. Because his talents were so impressive on the field, he was even named a starter as a first-year student. Throughout his collegiate career, Ferguson started all thirty games and helped the team to a combined record of 17-9-4. Almost a quarter of those games ended in a Kenyon shutout victory.
Ferguson's career total of seven shutouts puts him among the College's top ten goalkeepers. His goals-against average dropped from 2.67 his first season to 1.14 during his senior season. His play did not go unrecognized off campus either. He won All-Midwest Region certificates in three of his four seasons and earned All-American status in both the 1952 and 1954 seasons. He took first team All-American honors in 1952, then collected second team honors in 1954, becoming just the second soccer player in College history to earn the national accolades. While Berghold and Ferguson did their work outside, Kromer caught the attention of spectators inside the Ernst Center. The 1989 graduate created her legacy on the volleyball court.
Kromer played for four seasons, was named the team's "Most Valuable Player" four times and became the first woman in the history of the conference to collect four straight First Team All-NCAC awards. She was also named the conference's "Player of the Year" for three consecutive seasons and led the Ladies to their first two conference championships in 1986 and 1987.
In the 1987 season, she was selected to the All-Region Team, and in 1988 she became Kenyon's first All-American volleyball player. Kromer still owns the College career records for kills, hitting percentage, blocks, and aces. Several of her game and season records still stand as well.
In the pool, Mathews '91 was a driving force behind four of the Ladies' national championships. She won individual national titles in the 100 Free (1991), the 200 Free (1991), and the 200 IM (1989). In addition to winning two titles in the 1991 NCAA Championship, she was named the Division III "Swimmer of the Year."
Equally impressive was the fact that Mathews piled up a career total of fourteen national relay titles and twenty-seven All-American certificates. In 1991 she was named a team captain and Kenyon's "Senior Athlete of the Year," and was nominated for the Honda Sports Award, along with Olympians Summer Sanders and Janet Evans.
Mathews, who has been the head men's and women's swim coach at Oswego State University since 1994, also competed in the Olympic trials, was an Academic All-District award-winner and broke five national records while at Kenyon.
Parini '82 has been nationally recognized as both a swimmer and a swim coach. As a swimmer, he was a member of Kenyon's first three national championship teams. As a coach, Parini has directed the Denison University Big Red teams since 1987. In 2001, his women's team won the NCAA Championship and he was voted the women's national "Coach of the Year" for the third time in his career. He was also twice named the national men's "Coach of the Year."
In his own swimming days, Parini was Kenyon's team captain and "Senior Athlete of the Year" in 1982. He was an eighteen-time All-American and became the College's first national sprint champion, with back-to-back titles in the 50 Free and one title in the 100 Free. He also was a member of four championship relay teams, giving him a career total of seven national titles.
Over the course of his collegiate career, he was a part of five NCAA record times, including being the first Division III swimmer to finish the 50 Free in under 21 seconds. Parini was named the team's "Most Valuable Player" in 1981 and won the team's "Coach's Award" in 1980.
The 1961 - 62 swim team becomes the sixth team to enter the KAA Hall of Fame. During that season, the Kenyon men lost just one dual meet, to the University of Cincinnati, a national powerhouse at the time. The Lords placed fourth in the Big Ten relays and defeated Mid-American Conference schools Bowling Green, Ohio, Miami, and Western Michigan. The team also finished off all of its Ohio Athletic Conference competition on its way to winning the program's ninth straight conference championship.
During the course of the season, in which the team posted a 9-1 mark, the Lords set nine College records and seven conference records. Senior co-captain of the team and member of the KAA Hall of Fame's first induction class, Philip Mayer, went on to the NCAA Championship where he placed sixth in the 200-yard backstroke. These accomplishments all came at a time when there was no Division III and every team competed at the same level.
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