Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees Recall Their Favorite Memories
The last time an athlete walks off Wilkes’ athletic fields or exits the gym, he or she takes a host of memories and lessons. It’s true for the six alumni inducted this year into the Athletics Hall of Fame. Honored during a January ceremony following a Freedom Conference basketball double header, the 23rd class of inductees represents six sports.
Here they share memories and talk about the lessons they have carried forward into their lives after Wilkes.
Brian Gryboski ’99 — Men’s Basketball
Where he is now: Gryboski is a territory manager for Boston Scientific Neuromodulation, a medical device company.
Colonels sports career: Gryboski was an integral part of three Middle Atlantic Conference Championships and four straight NCAA tournament teams, including a Sweet 16, Elite 8 and Final 4 run. An All-ECAC selection, he stands as the all-time leader in games played with 116 and career wins. He ranked seventh in field goal percentage (50.1), sixth in free throws with 313 made and 11th in rebounds with 623. He finished his career with 1,120 points, good for 25th on the school’s all-time scoring list.
Most memorable Wilkes moment: “My most memorable moment as an athlete was during my junior year basketball season when we defeated Rowan and Hunter on consecutive days at the Marts Center to earn a spot in the Division 3 Final Four for the first time in school history.”
Tracy Engle McDonald ’97– Field Hockey
Where she is now: McDonald is a 10th-grade English teacher in the Florida Keys, where she also coaches cheerleading and advises the yearbook staff. Here family has an online sales business.
Colonels sports career: A three-time All-Freedom First Team selection, McDonald anchored the cage for Wilkes for four years. She holds the career record in shutouts, with 16, as well as consecutive shutouts, with five in 1994. Her eight shutouts in 1994 also ranks tops in school history in a single season as well as her 0.83 goals against average in 1995. She started in 67 of 68 games in goal for Wilkes registering 574 saves during her career with a 1.15 career goals against average. She led Wilkes to Freedom League titles all four years while in net as well as the ECAC Mid Atlantic championship in 1993, 1994 and 1996 and the NCAA Playoffs in 1995.
Most memorable Wilkes moment: “The most memorable moment I recall at Wilkes as an athlete was any time Colonel Bob (Wachowski) came to an away game. We didn’t get many fans on the road, so it really meant a lot to us to have him there.”
Brett Trichilo ’05 – Football
Where he is now: An engineer, Trichilo is a product specialist in Region Americas for Sandvik Process Systems in Wayne, N.J.
Colonels sports career: Trichilo earned the Melberger Award as the best player in Division III college football in 2003 and 2004. A three-time All-Middle Atlantic Conference selection, including twice being named MAC Player of the Year in 2003 and 2004, Trichilo also was a two-time All-ECAC and Division III All-American selection. He holds the all-time career records in scoring, with 384 points, and rushing, with 5,837 yards. He has a season record in rushing with 2,185 yards in 2003. He finished his Wilkes career with individual game records in points (30), touchdowns (5) and yards rushing (316).
Most memorable Wilkes moment: “Like most college experiences, there are too many to count. It was a fantastic four years. I consider myself extremely lucky… If I had to single out one particular thing, I would say the people.”
Gerry Willets ’71 – Wrestling
Where he is now: Willets works as an engineer at a health-care facility and also works as a supply salesman near his home in Byram Township, N.J.
Colonels sports career: Willets starred on the undefeated 1971 Wilkes wrestling squad during his four-year career. He claimed the Middle Atlantic Conference title at 167 pounds before finishing as the national runner-up at the same weight class. He finished his career with a 38-9-2 career record and .796 win percentage on the mat.
Most memorable Wilkes moment: “My most memorable moment as an athlete at Wilkes was the day I won my semi-final match at nationals in Fargo, N.D. I defeated the number-two seed to make it into the finals.”
Justine Nemshick-Yeager ’94 — Field Hockey
Where she is now: Nemshick-Yeager is a teacher in the Crestwood School District in Mountain Top, Pa., where she’s also assistant varsity field hockey coach.
Colonels sports career: A four-year starter on defense for Wilkes, she played a crucial role in two championship seasons for the Lady Colonels including a 1993 ECAC title and 1994 ECAC Mid-Atlantic championship. She was named a Freedom League First Team All-Star in her junior season serving as team captain. Although primarily a defender, Nemshick tallied career marks of 18 points on six goals and six assists on the offensive end of the field.
Most memorable Wilkes moment: “My most memorable moment as an athlete at Wilkes was my senior year when we won the ECAC Mid-Atlantic Title.”
Michelle Zawoiski ’87 — Women’s Basketball/Softball
Where she is now: After a long career with PPL, Zawoiski started her own dog-grooming business, Pretty Paws, Too!, which she continues to operate successfully in Mountain Top, Pa.
Colonels sports career: Zawoiski, a four-year member of the letterwomen’s club, starred on the basketball court and softball field during her career at Wilkes. She finished her career on the court with 952 points while earning All-Middle Atlantic Conference honors on the softball field in 1983 and 1985 as an infielder. She was also awarded the Wilkes Woman Athlete of the Year during the 1983-84 season.
Most memorable Wilkes moment: Zawoiski commented it was too hard to choose just one out of so many during her Wilkes years.