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Athletics Hall of Fame

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Chris Mayersk’08 MBA’10, Baseball

One of the most feared hitters ever to step into the batter’s box at Wilkes, Mayerski played six different positions over his career while managing a .336 career batting average. He ranks in the top five in multiple offensive categories, including ranking at the top in career home runs with 36 and most RBI’s with 167. Mayerski ranks second in games played with 146, second in at-bats with 518, and second in total bases with 344 while ranking fourth in hits with 173, doubles with 41, triples with 11, and fifth in runs scored with 132. A four-time All-Freedom Conference selection, he also was a 2006 American Baseball Coaches Association Mid-Atlantic All-Region selection. Mayerski was named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association National Hitter of the Week in April 2006 and was named the conference Player of the Week four times. Mayerski was named Rookie of the Year in 2005, Team MVP in 2006, and was a team captain his junior and senior seasons.

Where he is now: 

Mayerski is the executive director of undergraduate admissions at Wilkes University. 

Most memorable Wilkes moment: 

“My most memorable moments were a series of events in the 2007 playoffs. I hit two home runs in a win against King’s (College) in a semifinal game and then we went on to beat DeSales the next game to win the conference championship. I also hit a home run in our regional playoff game against TCNJ (The College of New Jersey). This was significant because that home run earned a date with my future wife, Kelly.”

How athletics influenced his life after college: 

“Being a student-athlete at Wilkes helped prepare me in many ways for the role I am in today. Leadership, mentorship, collaboration and teamwork are all important aspects of my job here at Wilkes and having the opportunity to be both an athlete and coach at Wilkes was instrumental in my progression as a higher education professional.”

Alison McDonald Sabados ’09 PharmD ’11, Women’s Tennis

McDonald was an integral part of the first three teams to win a Freedom Conference Championship in the program’s current 13-year run of titles. McDonald ranks sixth all-time in both singles wins with 62 and singles winning percentage at .861 (62-10). She went 32-4 at No. 2 singles in her career for an .889 winning percentage. She was a four-time First Team All-Freedom Conference selection, including being named the Rookie of the Year in 2005-2006. In addition, McDonald secured one MAC singles title and two doubles championships.

Where she is now:

McDonald is a clinical pharmacist at WellSpan York Hospital in York, Pa., specializing in critical care. She lives in Duncannon, Pa.

Most memorable Wilkes moment:

“My most memorable moment was winning the conference championship for the first time and advancing to the NCAA playoffs. That season sparked many years of championships to follow!”

How athletics influenced her life after college:

“There are so many lessons from athletics that translate into life skills. Tennis in particular requires teamwork but also independence and self-assessment since there is an individual component. I learned the most from my losses and became mentally tougher as a result. In doubles, communication and working cohesively with your partner are key. Being a captain also helped me gain leadership skills and I continue to use those skills in my role as a pharmacy preceptor. Also, being a student athlete in pharmacy school helped establish my time management skills which got me through residency and helped me stay on top of projects, meetings, etc.” 

Melissa (Kennedy) Shaffer ’89, Women’s Basketball and Softball 

Shaffer appeared on both the basketball court and the softball diamond for four years at Wilkes. On the court, Shaffer tied for eleventh for most steals in a single game with seven against King’s in January 1989. A 1989 All-MAC Northwest selection at catcher in softball, Shaffer was named the 1987-1988 Wilkes Woman Athlete of the Year and the 1989 Letterwomen president.

Where she is now: 

Shaffer works as a human resources coordinator and payroll specialist for Little League International in South Williamsport, Pa., where she resides.

Most memorable Wilkes moment:

“Receiving the Female Athlete of the Year Award in 1989.”

How athletics influenced her life after college:

“The lessons during my four years at Wilkes as an athlete/student had taught me self-discipline in setting and achieving goals both personally and professionally; helped in developing a strong work ethic, collaboration and teamwork and, most importantly, developing and maintaining meaningful relationships.”

Arthur Trovei, Wrestling

One of the most decorated wrestlers ever to hit the mat for the Colonels, Trovei was an integral part of four of the most accomplished wrestling teams under head coach John Reese. Trovei earned national recognition as the sixth national champion in Wilkes wrestling history in 1974 at 142 pounds. Hr also served as a leader on the 1974 NCAA Division III National Team Champion at the first Division III Championship, which was hosted by Wilkes. A two-time All-American at 142 lbs in 1973 and 1974, Trovei also captured Middle Atlantic Conference Championships in 1972 and 1974. He won an individual championship at 134 pounds at the 1971 Wilkes Open, and was also named to the “Silver Anniversary Team.” Trovei has the 19th-best dual-match winning percentage in program history with a 41-6-3 overall record for an .850 win percentage.

Where he is now:

Trovei lives in Port Jervis, N.Y., where he is still actively involved running the family business Arthur Trovei and Sons, Inc., which specializes in truck, trailer and machinery sales and scrap metal recycling. Trovei enjoys family time with his wife Sue, their four children and their spouses and his five grandchildren.. 

Jerry Rickrode, Head Coach, Men’s Basketball

During his time as head basketball coach at Wilkes, Rickrode led the Colonels to a 382-191 record, accumulating a winning percentage of .667, among the best all-time in NCAA Division III history for coaches with at least 10 years of experience. Under the guidance of Rickrode the Colonels posted winning seasons in 20 of his 22 years as head coach, including seven campaigns in which they registered at least 20 wins.
He also holds the Division III record for being the fastest coach to reach the 200-win mark, achieving it in his first 249 games.

Arriving at Wilkes in 1992, Rickrode led the Colonels to 17 MAC and Freedom Conference playoff appearances, including a run of10 straight from 1992-2002. He also led the Colonels to five straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including four Sweet Sixteens, three Elite Eights and one Final Four appearance during the most successful run in Wilkes men’s basketball history.
During the 2000-01 season, Rickrode led Wilkes to a 23-3 record, the Freedom Conference championship, and the school’s sixth berth in the NCAA Tournament in seven years. During the 1997-98 campaign, the Colonels posted a 26-5 overall record, won the MAC title, and advanced to the Division III Final Four for the first time in school history. Both the 1995-96 team, which fashioned a 28-2 record, and the 1994-95 team advanced to the Division III Elite Eight. During Rickrode’s tenure, the Colonels were ranked number-one in Division III twice.
While at Wilkes, Rickrode coached 38 All-Conference performers, 11 All-ECAC players and six conference Rookies of the Year. Among his most accomplished players was three-time conference Most Valuable Player and the 2000-01 Jostens Division III National Player of the Year, Dave Jannuzzi. Six players and three teams under Rickrode’s guidance have been inducted into the University’s Athletic Hall of Fame, including the 1998-99 team inducted this year.
Rickrode was honored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches as their Mid-Atlantic Regional Coach of the Year after the 2000-01, 1998-99, 1997-98 and 1995-96 seasons. Previously, he was named the Freedom Coach of the Year on three occasions, including 2000-01.

Where he is now:

Rickrode is senior gifts officer in the advancement division at Wilkes University. He has returned to coaching basketball as the head coach of the Wyoming Valley Clutch, a men’s professional team in the American Basketball Association. It reunites him with former player Dave Jannuzzi, one of the team’s founders. The team finished the 2019-2020 season undefeated, 20-0.

1998-1999 Men’s Basketball Team

Some members of the 1998-1999 men’s basketball team returned to Wilkes for the team’s induction into the Athletics Hall of Fame. Pictured from left at the induction ceremony in February are head coach Jerry Rickrode, Damon Heller ’00, assistant coach Jay Williams, Chad Fabian ’00, Brad Sechler ’03, Greg Barrouk ’02, Brian Gryboski ’99, Scott Cleveland ’99 and T.J. Ziolkowski. 

The 1998-99 Wilkes men’s basketball team captured the program’s third MAC Championship in four seasons while making the seventh straight appearance in the MAC tournament. After capturing the conference crown, the team advanced to the NCAA Division III Sweet Sixteen.

The team finished the season 25-4 under head coach Jerry Rickrode and assistant coaches Mike Barrouk, Jay Williams, and Dave Clancy. All-Conference players included first team selection and conference MVP Dave Jannuzzi along with second team selection Chad Fabian. In addition, Jannuzzi was named First Team All-ECAC, First Team NABC Mid-Atlantic All-Region, and Second Team NABC All-American. Jannuzzi also was named to the MAC Executive Director’s All- Academic Team.

Team members include Greg Barrouk, Bernie Brown, Scott Cleveland, Chad Fabian, Mike Ferkler, Bill Gallagher, Artie Gotzmer, Brian Gryboski, Damon Heller, Dave Jannuzzi, Wes Kovach, Brad Sechler, Jason Sheakoski, Kevin Walsh, and T.J. Ziolkowski. 

The team’s co-captains, Scott Cleveland and Brian Gryboski, represent the team in this story. 

Scott Cleveland ’99, Co-Captain and small forward

Where he is now: 

Clevland lives in McDonald, Pa., near Pittsburgh, and is director of environmental, health, safety and regulatory at Olympus Energy.

Most memorable Wilkes moment: 

Winning the MAC Championship against Lebanon Valley

How athletics influenced his life after college:

Athletics taught me that you don’t have to be the most talented on the court or the smartest in your field. If an opportunity is presented to you, give it everything you have and you have a chance to be successful. It also taught me you need a team of people all working together for each other in order to achieve success.

Brian Gryboski ’99, Co-Captain and power forward

Where he is now:

Gryboski lives in Mountain Top, Pa., and is regional business director at Boston Scientific Neuromodulation.

Most memorable Wilkes moment: 

I have two  memorable moments as a member of the 1998-1999 team. First was beating Lebanon Valley on their court for the MAC championship, our third in four years.  The second was defeating Franklin and Marshall at home in the second round of the NCAA tournament to win our 31st consecutive home game, a streak that spanned two entire seasons where we didn’t lose a single game at the Marts Center.  

How athletics influenced his life after college:

 As a three-year starter for Coach Rickrode, I had the opportunity to play for not only the best D3 coach of all time, but also the toughest coach.  Coach Rickrode helped instill in me a mental and physical toughness that allowed success on the basketball court which I have successfully transferred into the business world as a regional director at Boston Scientific Neuromodulation. 

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