Bucknell Hall of Fame inducts two major classes

Holly Burns, Sports Co-Editor

On Oct. 22 and 24, the Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame Committee formally inducted their 42nd and 43rd classes. While the 42nd class was announced in the Spring of 2020, the induction was postponed to this Fall in order to accommodate an in-person ceremony. 

The Hall of Fame was first established in 1979 to honor the most accomplished and distinguished in the history of University Athletics. Honorees include student-athletes, coaches, administrators and friends who have made exceptional contributions to the athletics community. 

A four-year member of the University Athletics community myself, it was enlightening to hear the continued passion each of these athletes have for their sports and the University. Each of these athletes were shaped by their successes in their respective sports, and continue to inspire Bison athletes to strive for excellence on the field, in the classroom and every aspect of their life.

Read below to learn about each of the inductees from 42nd and 43rd Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame classes. 

Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2020

Mike Deckert ’84, Men’s Cross Country

Deckert was part of one of the most accomplished cross country squads in the history of the University, finishing 12th at the NCAA Championships, and going 39-0 in dual meets during his four years. Deckert himself was an All-East honoree, and placed 94th at the NCAA Championship. Deckert still holds the fourth-fastest steeplechase time in school history, and holds top-10 times for the outdoor 5,000 meters, outdoor 10,000 meters and indoor 5,000 meters. In addition to his running accolades, Deckert earned six ECC Scholar-Athlete awards and was a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection. 

Jabulani Powell ’02, Football

Powell is one of the best running backs to come out of the University football program, rushing the schools second-highest rushing yards with 2,919 in his career. Powell set the University and Patriot League single-game rushing record against Cornell in September of 2000 with 282. He posted 12 career 100-yard rushing games in his time as a Bison. Powell earned Second Team All-Patriot League and Honorable Mention on the Don Hansen Football Gazette All-America Team in 2000.

Theresa Dennis Simko ’03, Women’s Cross Country

Dennis was an exceptional distance runner for the Bison, running in two NCAA Cross Country Championships, and was an All-Patriot League honoree in all four of her years. Dennis was also a top-performer on the track team, earning an additional four All-Patriot League Honors. She was named to the 2016 Patriot League 25th Anniversary Team. 

Christa Sawko ’07, Women’s Track & Field

Sawko won gold medals in seven of the eight Patriot League Championships she participated in. During her junior year, Sawko qualified for the NCAA regionals, and even earned a 14th place finish. Sawko also held several of the school’s track and field records upon graduating, including the outdoor 800 for 11 years, and the indoor 1,000 and outdoor 1,500 for seven years. She earned several All-East certificates, and an ECAC gold medal.  

Jennifer Dervarics ’09, Women’s Soccer

Dervarics was part of one of the most threatening Bison offenses, alongside another fellow Hall of Fame inductee, Christa Matlack. Dervarics was named Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year in both her junior and senior seasons, as well as a three-time All-Patriot League selection. At the end of her senior year, Dervarics tallied 91 career points on 36 goals and 19 assists. During her time as a Bison, Dervarics led the team to a 2005 Patriot League title, and two regular season titles in 2006 and 2007. Dervarics had a professional stint with the Philadelphia Fever after graduation. 

Conor O’Brien ’10, Men’s Soccer

O’Brien was a talented attacking midfielder, earning Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year  awards his junior and senior seasons, and earning the University’s first soccer All-American in 33 years during his senior season. He was also a three-time All-Patriot League honoree, and a three-time All-Region honoree. O’Brien was also named one of the 15 semi finalists for the Hermann Trophy. As two-time captain, O’Brien tallied 26 goals and 25 assists over the course of his career. O’Brien went on to a successful overseas pro career in several locations, including Denmark and Austria. 

Andy Rendos ’10, Wrestling

Rendos was a four-time NCAA qualifier, and an All-American. Rendos also holds the second-highest total for career wins with 121, only second to fellow Hall of Famer, Kevin LaValley. Rendos finished second at EIWAs as a junior, fourth as a sophomore, and third as a freshman. Rendos posted 14 straight wins to end his career, finishing with a total 26-2 record. 

The Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2021

Julia Diaz ’95, Women’s Tennis

Diaz was a two-year captain for the Bison tennis squad, posting a 34-11 record in singles, and a 26-6 record in doubles. She holds the one of the best winning percentages in Bucknell tennis history with a .779. Diaz was a doubles All-Patriot League selection in 1993 and 1994, as well as the Patriot League All-Decade Team in 2001. Diaz earned the No. 1 position from her freshman year on, and would have been even more successful if she didn’t sustain a knee injury during her junior season. 

Jenny Snyder ’99, Softball

One of the most successful University softball players, Snyder earned Second Team All-Patriot League honors as a freshman, and First Team honors in the remainder of her seasons as a Bison. Snyder posted a .336 batting average over the course of her career, and is the second leader in all-time hits with 189. She graduated with several team records including games played with 166, games started with 163, assists with 472 and at-bats with 563.

Kyle Walter ’06, Baseball

Walter was the first player in University history to earn four All-Patriot League nominations. He tallied 210 career hits, 45 doubles, and a .337 batting average. An excellent hitter, Walter led the Bison to a 2003 Patriot League Championship and NCAA appearance. While primarily a center-fielder, Walter also made awesome contributions to the squad as a left-handed pitcher. After the University Walter was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays, and played three years in the minor leagues. 

Amanda Faust ’09, Field Hockey

After being named Patriot League Rookie of the Year in 2005, Faust went on to be a four-time All-Patriot League selection, and the first Bison field hockey player to earn First Team All-Region honors. Although she was primarily a defensive player, Faust tallied several points on penalty corners. She completed her career with 29 goals and 34 assists for a total of 92 points. 

Andrew Cohen ’10, Men’s Golf

Cohen is one of the University’s best golfers. He was part of two Patriot League Championship squads and he made two NCAA Regional Appearances. Cohen finished in the top 10 in all four of his years at the Patriot League Championships, and earned the league title during his junior season in 2009. 

Kevin LeValley ’11, Wrestling

LeValley was a two-time All-American after he finished seventh at the NCAA Championships in 2010 and 2011. He set University records for number of wins in a season with 42, and 127 in his career. As a senior, LeValley posted superb stats, with a .919 winning percentage, and ranking as high as No. 2 nationally. LeValley was a two-time captain, and made three trips to the NCAA Championships. He was also a three-time EIWA placewinner. After the University, LeValley competed internationally, and was ranked as high as 12th in the world. 

Christa Matlack ’11, Women’s Soccer

A strong scorer for the Bison, Matlack earned Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2009 and 2010, and was a three-time First Team All-Patriot League honoree. Over her career, Matlack netted 32 goals, 14 assists and 78 total points. When Matlack was a Bison, the women’s soccer program went 20-7-1 against Patriot League opponents. Also an excellent student, Matlack was the first player in University women’s soccer history to earn NSCAA Scholar All-America honors as a junior and senior. 

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