Cleveland’s Athletic Hall of Fame Welcomes Newest Inductees


Clarion photo Ashley Lytle

All of the inductees pose together with their plaques.

By Sophie Weir, Reporter

A four-time top goal scorer, a champion wrestler, a softball star, and the entire men’s varsity basketball team of 1962. All were inducted into Cleveland’s athletic Hall of Fame Friday, Feb. 17.

This 25-year-old tradition was created as a way to honor graduates and coaches who were superior athletes and mentors. Though each inductee has pursued a separate career, they are united as Warrior alumni, and their names will forever be inscribed side by side in the Cleveland Hall of Fame.

The winners were picked out of several nominees by a panel of Cleveland graduates. It may have been a hard choice, but it’s not hard to see why these athletes in particular were chosen.

Ken Gemma, class of 1987, was district champion wrestler and participated in baseball and football. He went on to become coach of youth wrestling, baseball and softball.

Shauna Trussell is a 2009 graduate, three-time league baseball player of the year and was an all-league and all-state nominee.

Josh Heiney played college soccer and baseball after graduating in 2002, and is now a soccer and baseball coach.

Almost all of the 1962 varsity men’s basketball team members were inducted, with two original players having passed away and two on vacation. With the guidance of coach Art Verment, they finished third in the state tournament and were victorious as city champions during their season. It was incredible to see a 50-year-old basketball team come together with support from Cleveland students young and old.

However, the real star of the show was Greg Franks, former football and basketball player through high school and college. He was granted the award of merit, recognizing not only his athletic achievements, but his generous contributions to Cleveland and the community since his graduation in 1982. He has been a dedicated contributor to Cleveland athletics and booster club, including fundraising for the varsity football trip to California, donating two new scoreboards for the gym, and contributing to sponsored fundraisers and team events for the booster club. He has spent almost 30 years giving back to his community.

Jan Watt coordinated the event, with the help of athletic directors. Watt was very proud of the student turnout, calling it “the largest crowd we’ve ever had – I thought our student body did a great job saluting these people. It was very impressive.” Her high praise reflects how important it really is to give thanks to some of the most significant community leaders and athletes of our school.

Said Watt, “I think it’s always important to recognize achievement and accomplishment, and as you can tell from this, these people were highly regarded in the league and in the state for what they accomplished.”