Inaugural Class Selected For Wheaton College Athletics Yowell Hall Of Fame

Inductees to be honored on October 4

NORTON, Mass. – The Department of Athletics and Recreation is proud to announce the inaugural members of the Wheaton College Athletics Yowell Hall of Fame class, who will be inducted on October 4, 2013, at 7 p.m. in the Emerson Dining Hall on campus.

The Yowell Hall of Fame Class of 2013 will comprise former executive director of athletics Chad Yowell, current men’s and women’s tennis head coach Lynn Miller, Judith Alper Smith ’57, Deborah Simourian Jamgochian ’76, Ann Zarchen Knoblock ’81, Janet Kelly ’86, Kim Sears ’00, Chris Denorfia ’02 and Amber James ’04. The 1983 field hockey team will be the first squad honored with the Tritons Team Award.

"I am very excited to welcome seven alums, two staff members and one exceptional team into the inaugural class of the Wheaton College Athletics Yowell Hall of Fame,” said Director of Athletics and Recreation John Sutyak ’00. “The concept of an athletics hall of fame at Wheaton was developed ten years ago in a joint committee consisting of athletics and alumnae/i relations staff. I want to thank those individuals, as well as our current selection committee for helping us to start a new tradition honoring the outstanding athletic achievements of our alumnae/i."

The Yowell Hall of Fame is intended to honor and give lasting recognition to those individuals who, either through participation, support or interest, have made outstanding contributions in the athletics arena, and specifically to the Wheaton College athletics program. The individuals and teams enshrined within have not only brought recognition, honor, distinction and excellence to Wheaton and its intercollegiate athletics program, but they also have continued to demonstrate in their lives the values imparted by intercollegiate athletics.

Named after Wheaton’s original synchronized swimming team, one of the earliest organized teams on campus, the Tritons Team Award is intended to honor some of the great and pioneering teams in college history. The Tritons were one of the pioneering members of collegiate synchronized swimming in the early 1940s, helping to organize one of the first conferences designed to conduct intercollegiate competition.

CHAD YOWELL – Wheaton’s executive director of athletics from 1988–2011, Yowell was named the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Northeast Director of Athletics of the Year during the 2003–04 academic year. Under his leadership, Wheaton won eight NCAA championships and 13 Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) titles, and earned four NACDA Directors’ Cup top-25 finishes. During his 23-year tenure, 358 student-athletes claimed All-America honors, more than 200 received national academic awards and more than 300 won academic all-conference accolades. Yowell also turned an eight-sport women’s athletics program into a 21-sport coeducational program that garnered national attention.

LYNN MILLER – For 33 years, Miller has fulfilled her commitment to excellence on campus not only as a head coach, but also as an administrator. She has coached the women’s tennis program since 1980 and the men’s tennis squad since 1989, in addition to guiding the women’s basketball program from 1980–84. In addition to her coaching duties, Miller served as the director of athletics from 1986–88, the intramurals director (1990-97), sports information director (1991–93), facilities manager (1993–2000) and a physical education instructor for 25 years (1980–2004). Miller, who was inducted into the United States Tennis Association (USTA) New England Hall of Fame in 2012, has collected USTA Women’s Coach of the Year honors (2010) in addition to three New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Women’s Coach of the Year accolades, two NEWMAC Men’s Coach of the Year honors and one NEW 8 Women’s Coach of the Year selection in 1989. Among all three sports, Miller has amassed a 609–429–2 overall record for a .587 winning percentage. Miller will enter the women’s tennis season this fall five victories shy of 600 between both the women’s and men’s tennis programs.

JUDITH ALPER SMITH ’57 – Inducted into the USTA New England Tennis Hall of Fame in 2013, Smith’s name has been prominent in the national senior circuit for nearly four decades. Smith, who won a gold ball in 75 doubles at the USTA National Senior Women’s Grass Court Championships in 2012, has earned no.1 rankings in women’s doubles and mixed doubles in several age categories since the 1980’s. In New England, Smith has been ranked first overall in senior women’s doubles and continues to represent the region in national tournaments. Smith has also garnered many accolades as a high school coach leading the Newton South High School women’s squad to a state championship in 1976 among other distinctions.

DEBORAH SIMOURIAN JAMGOCHIAN ’76 – Although Wheaton did not sponsor a golf team, Jamgochian earned a first-place tie in the 1975 Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) national individual golf championship. She ultimately fell in a four-hole aggregate playoff. Jamgochian won the Eastern Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (EAIAW) championship during the national championship year. The list of championships is abundant for Jamgochian as she claimed the Massachusetts State Amateur title in 1974 and 1977, the EAIAW crown again in 1976 and the New England Amateur championship in 1977. After a 30-year gap of only playing locally, Jamgochian returned to the links, collecting four championships. She captured the Senior French International Open title and Senior Women’s Western Amateur championship in 2007 and the Bermuda Amateur crown and USGA State Team championship in 2008. Jamgochian also placed eighth overall at the British Mid-Amateur Championship in 2008. During that year, she was ranked third overall in the Golf Digest National Rankings in the Senior Women Amateurs division for her performances in 2007. She is also a 16-time Winged Foot G.C. Club champion.

ANN ZARCHEN KNOBLOCK ’81 – Knoblock, who became the first Wheaton basketball player  (among both women and men) to score 1,000 career points, still holds several program records at Wheaton. Knoblock ranks seventh all-time in points scored (1,195), third in field goals (525) and ninth in games played (108). Knoblock’s school record 21 rebounds on February 10, 1981, against Wellesley College remains intact after 32 years, while her 14 field goals made in the same contest is also another program record. Her talents weren’t just limited to the basketball court, as Knoblock was invited to the 1981 AIWA National Tennis Championship and appeared as a finalist in the Massachusetts Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (MAIAW) Tennis Championship in the same year. In her post-Wheaton days, Knoblock was a member of the USTA Senior 4.5 national championship team and 1993 USTA/New England 5.0 championship team, among several other tennis accolades during her career.

JANET KELLY ’86 – The first All-American in the history of Wheaton athletics, Kelly was a defensive cornerstone for the field hockey team from 1982–85 and women’s lacrosse team from 1983-86. Kelly earned College Field Hockey Coaches Association (CFHCA) All-America honors in 1983 to go along with all-region accolades from 1983–85. Kelly, who also was named an MAIAW All-Star, claimed the Wheaton College Female Athlete of the Year award in 1986. She holds a rare honor in Wheaton athletics history as she played for the first team to reach the NCAA Tournament in 1983 (field hockey) and the first team ever to advance to NCAA Final Four in 1986 (lacrosse). Kelly’s 8.07 career goals against average (GAA) in lacrosse still ranks first all-time in the women’s lacrosse record book.

KIM SEARS ’00 – A two-sport all-region student-athlete (field hockey and softball) at Wheaton, Sears compiled a bevy of awards including three National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-America honors (1997–99), four NFCA All-New England accolades and three ECAC New England All-Star selections in softball (1997–99). Sears was also named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) All-New England squad in 1999 to go along with four all-conference selections between the two sports. Academically, Sears is a two-time NFCA Scholar Award recipient and also received GTE Academic College Division All-District I accolades for softball in 1999. Sears’ merits on the diamond alone are more than worthy of Hall of Fame consideration, as she is still tied for the NCAA Division III record in doubles in a season with 69 total, in addition to being the statistical champion in doubles, doubles per game and total bases in 1998 and home runs, home runs per game and runs batted in (RBI) in 2000. Her 415 assists still ranks third all-time in NCAA Division III history. In the circle, Sears collected 105 wins over 871.2 innings pitched, a 1.86 earned run average (ERA) and tossed 115 complete games. Sears ranks third in NCAA Division III history in complete games, fifth in innings pitched and seventh in wins. As a member of the field hockey team, Sears ranks tenth all-time in points (53), goals (21) and assists (11).

CHRIS DENORFIA ’02 – An eight-year veteran in Major League Baseball (MLB) playing for Cincinnati, Oakland and San Diego, Denorfia was an American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) All-America selection in 2002, highlighting several awards he gathered in a Wheaton uniform. Denorfia garnered three New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) All-New England nods and two ECAC New England All-Star selections. He was named the NEWMAC Player of the Year in 2002 and the NEWMAC Co-Rookie of the Year in 1999. In 169 games played for the Lyons, Denorfia hit .403 with 182 runs scored, 164 hits, 56 doubles, 12 triples, 20 home runs, 168 RBI, a .450 on-base percentage, a .617 slugging percentage and 73 stolen bases. He ranks inside the top 10 in program history in every category previously mentioned. Denorfia was selected in the 19th round of the 2002 MLB amateur draft by the Cincinnati Reds.

AMBER JAMES ’04 – Easily the most decorated student-athlete in the history of any Wheaton athletics program, James was a 17-time NCAA national champion and 24-time All-American as a member of the women’s track and field team. She is the only NCAA Division III male or female student-athlete to sweep an NCAA event national title in all four years in both the indoor and outdoor track and field championships (400m). James was voted the Greatest Female Athlete in the 25-year history of the NCAA Division III indoor track and field championship, named to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division III Silver Anniversary Team and selected as the United States Track Coaches Association (USTCA) National Track Athlete of the Year (Outdoors) in 2002. James also won the Honda Award for Track and Field (Outdoors) in 2002 and was named a Honda Award Finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year (Outdoors) in the same year.

1983 FIELD HOCKEY TEAM – The 1983 field hockey team holds claim to earning the first-ever NCAA Tournament berth in Wheaton College history, as the Lyons posted a 12-2-0 record to win a spot in the 16-team NCAA Tournament field that year. Wheaton defeated Salem State College, 2-0, in the opening round before falling to eventual national champion Trenton State College, now known as the College of New Jersey, finishing the year with a 13-3-0 mark. The Lyons’ 13 wins in 1983 still ranks tied for second all-time in program history. Yowell Hall of Fame inductee Janet Kelly ’86 played on this accomplished team, and teammate Maribeth Burke ’86 still ranks first all-time in career wins (35), shutouts (23) and GAA (1.09).  

Members of the varsity team include:

Kathleen Bannon     ’87     Hummelstown, Pa.
Margaret Beebe     ’87     Glencoe, Ill.
Lisa Blank     ’87     Hyannis, Mass.
Elsbeth Brown     ’85     Nantucket, Mass.
Lynn Brown     ’84     Sebago Lake, Maine
Maribeth Burke     ’87     Walpole, Mass.
Patricia Croston     ’85     Brunswick, Maine
Susanah Gardner     ’84  
    Newtown Square, Pa.
Jane Hamilton     '87     Freeport, Maine
Janet Kelly     ’86     Cheshire, Conn.
Nancy Lawlor    
    ’86     Babylon, N.Y.    
Paula Mcfarland     ’87     Walpole, Mass.
Therese Ross     ’86     Cataumet, Mass.
Eileen Salathe     ’87     South Sutton, N.H.
Kristen Sarles     ’87     Baltimore, Md.
Amy St. Cyr     ’87     West Yarmouth, Mass.
Sarah Jane Vokey     ’84     Concord, Mass.
Karen Wentling     ’87     Reading, Pa.
Sandra Yannone     ’86     Old Saybrook, Conn.

Head Coach: Debi Field