Blair Sports Hall of Fame: Class 19 inducted after two-year delay | News, sports, jobs

Mirror image by JD Cavrich Lifetime Achievement Award winner Julie Roseborough laughing during a light moment of John Hayes’ Hall of Fame speech on Saturday night.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted life around the world since 2020, and caused a two-year delay to attend the 19th induction ceremony of the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame.

But for all the honorees and their family members who were finally recognized Saturday night at the Blair County Convention Center, the wait was worthwhile.

“I am so fortunate to be recognized in the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame,” Tawny Nardoza-Schmidt, a 5-time District 6 swimming champion at Holidasburg High School who became a 19-time American swimmer at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and was inducted into the IUP Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. “Swimming is a very demanding sport, and participating in swimming sets a drive in me to achieve it.

“Tonight, this honor brings my career to its final chapter,” added Nardoza-Schmidt, who won six championships at the Penn State IAAF Conference.

Nardozza was one of five individual volunteers honored at this year’s event, two of whom were honored posthumously.

Joining Nardoza as Blair Hall’s singles trainee on the podium on Saturday was former Bellwood Antis High School football coach John Hayes and world-renowned surfing champion Eric Malone.

The two recruits recruited posthumously were former Bishop Gilvoyelli Catholic and University of Mississippi Distinguished Basketball Team Eddie Miller, and 15-time National Hot Rod League champ John Lingenfelter.

Julie Roseborough, who is currently celebrating her 56th season as an athletics coach at Bellwood-Antis, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the hall.

Also recognized were the 1970 Bishop Guilfoyle boys’ basketball team that won the State Class A championship of the Pennsylvania Catholic Athletics Association, as well as recent Hall scholarship winners—current high school seniors Bailey Garver of Claysburg-Kimmel and Parker Gregg of Central.

Pittsburgh television sports personality Stan Safran once again served as event director, and former college guest and pro player Doug Flute was the guest speaker.

Eddie Miller’s son, Patrick, accepted his late father’s introductory award, and Patrick’s speech produced more audacity than any other speech to an existing audience.

Patrick recalled his father’s sense of humor, and his focus on cultivating personal relationships and friendships over individual accomplishments.

Patrick had the audience in stitches when recounting his father’s recollections of the parsonage’s use of an Oxford priest’s friend, Ms. To throw a party—with University of Mississippi sorority members among those invited—while the priest was out of town.

“My dad had a big smile and an infectious laugh,” Patrick Miller said. “His days at Ole Miss were some of the best days of his life.

“He valued friendships and relationships more than anything,” Patrick said of his father, who died earlier this year at the age of 75.I would like to thank the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame Committee for founding Eddie. This is a first-class event.”

Hayes won 323 games in his illustrious 48-year coaching career, spending the last 38 seasons at the Bellwood Antiques after coaching at next-door Blue Devils rival Tyrone in his first 10 seasons.

Like every other recruit in the hall on Saturday, Hayes gave kudos to his comrades, describing his wife, Victoria, with whom he shared 52 years of marriage, as “my rock and the wind under my wings.”

Under Hayes’ direction, the Bellwood Football Program became one of the most successful football programs in the state, and remains today.

“The credit goes to many others, including the coaching staff, school boards, and the great support from our community, but the success we had as a program came to be expected and delivered consistently, and the most important component of that success was Hayes said.

Born in Hollisburg, Malone has become the most prolific FISB competition, winning 43 titles in his career – including eight IJSBA world titles (seven pros and one amateur) between 1995 and 2010.

Malone recognized his father, Jane, and his late mother, Bonnie, as two of the biggest factors in his success.

“My mom helped me navigate my personal and professional life, and my dad was my number one fan and mechanic,” Malone said. “I am extremely honored to be inducted into the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame, but you wouldn’t be an eight-time world champion without the support of so many people – including, for me, my coach, my mentor, and my family.”

John Lingenfelter died at the age of 58 in 2003 from injuries sustained at an NHRA event the previous year. A native of East Freedom, he has made an international name for himself as one of the most loyal drivers, engine builders, and loyalists in motorsport.

Lingenfelter’s brother, Charles, accepted his induction award.

“John was a humble person, but he had a burning desire to excel in everything he did,” said Charles Linningfelter. “John would be overwhelmed by being inducted into the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame, and it is a great honor for John’s family members – many of whom still live in Blair County – to see him inducted.”

Roseborough started the girls’ track and field program in Bellwood-Antis and has trained school boys and girls across country and field hockey teams for many years.

“There are people I coached who are now in their 70s, and people I coach now are still teenagers,” Roseborough said. “I have had the privilege of coaching hundreds of girls, and I love them all.”

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