GREENVILLE, Pa.—Seven Tomcats and a legendary coach will be inducted into the Thiel College Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday, June 4.
The Thiel College 36th Athletic Hall of Fame induction class will include: John Bresnan '95 (track & field), A.H. Davis '03 (basketball), Mike Donato '71 (football), Patrick Fire '85 (football, track & field), Owen Lenkner '78 (wrestling), Justin Napotnik '04 (football), and Katie (Mound) Vertes '05 (soccer, track & field, golf). In addition, celebrated coach Wayne Petrarca will be inducted posthumously.
"We are proud to celebrate the careers of these eight deserving Tomcats and look forward to their official induction in June," said Thiel College Director of Athletics Amy Schafer, M.S. "This year's class represents multiple sports over decades of competition and brings back many fond memories."
Bresnan was a four-year letter winner and a three-time national qualifier in the decathlon (1992-94). He earned All-American status with his third-place finish at the national championships in the decathlon in 1994 (6,595 points). He earned eight Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) track & field titles during his career, three of which were in 1992 (200-meter dash, 400-meter dash, 1,600-meter relay).
A Greenville High School graduate, Bresnan has been a teacher in the Reynolds school district since 1999. He has served as Reynolds' head track & field coach since 2007. He has coached multiple PIAA state medalists, including Kara Mostoller, a state champion, who went on to compete at the University of Nebraska.
A native of Boardman, Ohio and a Boardman High School graduate, Davis is Thiel's career leader in points (1,683). He was a four-time All-PAC selection, earning three first team nods (2001-03) and a second team honor as a freshman in 2000. A member of the PAC 60th anniversary team, Davis helped lead the Tomcats to the PAC title in 2000.
In addition to being the program's leader in points, Davis is also the career leader in field goals (684). He ranks third in program history in free-throws (295), fifth in blocks (79) and eighth in steals (128).
A native of Sharon, Pa. and a Sharon High School graduate, Donato was a three-time All-PAC First Team honoree at linebacker from 1966-68. He was also a two-time All-District pick (1967, 1968) and a two-time First Team All-Lutheran All-American (1967, 1968). Donato was also a Small College All-American in 1968. He led the Tomcats in tackles from 1966-68. In 1967, he recorded 83 tackles, 14 of which were for a loss of yards, and intercepted a pass. He tallied six career interceptions.
A member of the PAC 60th anniversary team, Donato helped the Tomcats win the PAC title in 1967. Donato went on to play independent semi-pro football with the Shenango Valley Blasters for three years after his collegiate career at Thiel College. He was inducted into the Mercer County Hall of Fame in 2012.
Donato coached high school football in the district for more than 20 years. He was the head football coach at Kennedy Catholic from 2003-06 and served as an assistant at Sharon High School, his alma mater, for nearly 20 years. Donato has served Thiel as an assistant football coach the last two seasons.
Fire was a four-year letter winner in football and track & field for the Tomcats. Fire holds the school record and ranks fourth in PAC history in tackles in a single season, 146, 1984). His 27 tackles in a single game (vs. Carnegie Mellon, 1984) are the most in school history and the second most in PAC history. Fire was named an All-PAC Second Team selection for his efforts on the gridiron in 1984. Fire was also a two-time PAC champion in the javelin (1983-84).
Lenkner was a four-time national qualifier (1975-78) for Thiel's wrestling team. Wrestling at 150 pounds, Lenkner was a PAC champion in 1976. He was the conference runner-up in 1975 and placed third in 1977.
Napotnik was a three-time All-PAC selection at running back, including a pair of second team nods (2002-03). He amassed 2,194 career rushing yards, the fifth most in program history, and his 13 rushing touchdowns tie him for the 10th most in school history. Napotnik averaged 4.4 yards per carry, the ninth best average in program history.
In 2003, Napotnik ran for 225 yards on 39 carries in a 31-28 win over Kenyon. His 39 rushing attempts are the second most in program single-game history and his 225 rushing yards rank fourth in school history. In addition, his 78-yard run on Sept. 23, 2000, is the fourth longest rush from scrimmage and helped the Tomcats earn a 13-12 victory over the Thomas More Saints.
Napotnik was a 2003 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District II Second Team selection. Napotnik was named to the PAC Academic Honor Roll three times, and he was the recipient of a National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame Post-Graduate Scholarship.
Mound competed in soccer, track & field and golf. In 2003, she was part of Thiel's 4x100-meter relay team, which placed third at the PAC Championships (53.37 seconds). She also finished fourth in the long jump (14-5.25) and fifth in the javelin (91-1.0) at the 2003 PAC Championships.
Mound was most successful in soccer. She holds program career records for points (79) and goals (33) while ranking second in program history in assists (13). She was a four-time All-PAC selection, including three first team nods (2001-03) and a second team honor (2004). A three-year team captain, Mound set single-season program records for points (32) and goals (14) in 2003.
Petrarca began his career at Thiel College in 1966, serving as a professor of health and physical education along with coaching duties. He remained a professor until his retirement in 2001.
Petrarca was the head coach of Thiel's baseball team for 13 seasons (1976-79, 1981-89). The Tomcats won 88 games under Petrarca and captured the school's first-ever PAC title in baseball in 1981. Petrarca also mentored PAC Player of the Year Dave Rhodes in 1981. In 1987, he led the baseball team to a 14-4 record, was named the PAC Coach of the Year and mentored Larry Fowkes, the PAC Player of the Year.
From 1978-81, Petrarca served as head football coach, compiling a record of 18-16-2. The Tomcats' best season under Petrarca was in 1979 when he led them to a 6-3 record. In 1980, Petrarca coached Paul Fiore, who was named to the Academic All-America Second Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Prior to his time as head football coach, Petrarca served as the team's defensive coordinator for multiple seasons and was a part of the Tomcats' PAC titles in 1967 and 1972.
Petrarca also coached Thiel's swimming & diving team and served as an assistant track & field coach. A Grove City High School graduate, he earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from Slippery Rock University.
Petrarca served as a high school football referee and a high school and college basketball referee in Western Pennsylvania for more than 25 years. He was inducted into the Mercer County Hall of Fame 1994. Petrarca passed away Aug. 4, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Ann; sons Stephen and John; and daughters Cynthia and Ann-Rene.
The Thiel College 36th Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony is part of the two-day 2016 Athletics Reunion Weekend, which will begin at 9 a.m. on Friday, June 3 with the annual Blue-Gold Golf Outing at the Greens of Greenville. Reservations for the Blue-Gold Golf Outing are $100 per person and will be accepted through Friday, May 20. Sponsorships for the golf outing, which are available at varying levels, are also being accepted through Friday, May 20.
Also on Friday, June 3, an Athletics Reunion Weekend reception will take place at 6 p.m. The reception is free of charge for those who register before June 3. Housing will be available for the two-day event for a small fee.
The 36th Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 4. Tickets are $20 apiece.
About Thiel College
Thiel College is an independent college founded in the Lutheran tradition. Located in Greenville, Pa., the College offers 60 majors and minors, 24 varsity sports, and an 11:1 student-faculty ratio. The College is also home to a new Master of Science in speech-language pathology and 2Master of Business Administration. Both master’s degree programs offer innovative and accelerated five-year paths which allow students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years. The speech-language pathology program also has an accelerated 15-month graduate-level program. The M.B.A. program also has a 12-month post-graduate program.A dedicated faculty paired with dynamic research and internship opportunities produce numerous graduate school and job placements. Coeducational from its beginnings, the College remains committed to combining tradition with innovation as it celebrates 150 years.