By Duane Cochran
Times West Virginian
Seven of Fairmont State University’s best student-athletes received their just due here Friday evening when they were inducted into the FSU Athletic Association’s Hall of Fame during a banquet and ceremony at the Falcon Center.
The Class of 2013 includes: Kara (Morris) Adkins (women’s basketball), Todd Anderson (football), Martin “Sonny” Bartic (football), Terry Deremer (baseball), Ted Echols (men’s basketball, baseball), Kristy (Renfro) Menker (women’s swimming) and Brian Tristani (men’s basketball).
The first inductee last night was (Morris) Adkins, who is one of only three women’s basketball players in Fairmont State history to garner first-team All-WVIAC honors for three straight years. The former standout forward, who played for FSU from 1996-2000, still ranks fourth all-time in school history in career scoring with 1,775 points. She also ranks third in FSU history in career rebounds with 942.
(Morris) Adkins averaged 16.2 points per game for her career, which is the fifth-best career scoring average in Lady Falcons’ history. Her 19.0 points-per-game average as a sophomore in 1998 is still the 10th-highest single-season average in school history.
For her career she connected on 621-of-1,481 field-goal attempts (41.9 percent) and 480-of-652 free-throw attempts (73.6 percent). Her career free-throw percentage is tied for seventh all-time with fellow Hall of Fame member Kristen (Gattuso) Owens.
“When I think of Fairmont I think about the good times and the tough times,” said (Morris) Adkins. “I think about pushing through those tough times and reaching career goals through hard work. My teammates here meant the world to me, and I left Fairmont having had an amazing basketball career. But more important than that to me was I formed amazing friendships here. Sports records can be broken, but true friendships can never be broken.
“I tell my children I hope in the future you find a sport to play that you love and that you have a team of lifelong friends like mommy does. I’m truly blessed by this award and by the many outstanding people who helped shape my life while I was here.”
Former FSU football standout Todd Anderson was the second individual to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame last night. Once Anderson, who led North Marion High School to the 1997 Class AAA state title, got on the field as a true freshman for the Falcons in 1998, it didn’t take him long to show people he was going to be something special. Five games into his college career he took pass from fellow Hall of Famer Bryan Harman and went a school-record 98 yards for a touchdown in a win over WVU-Tech.
Anderson, a two-time first-team All-WVIAC selection, went on to become one of the most prolific receivers in school history. He owns Fairmont State records for career receiving yards (3,085), career touchdown receptions (33) and single-season receiving yards (1,140). He is also the only receiver in school history to go over the 3,000-yard mark in receiving yards for his career, the only player in school history to top the 1,000-yard mark in receiving yards for a single season, and his 33 TD receptions are 10 better than anyone else has ever been able to achieve for the Maroon and White.
His 16.1 yards per catch for his career is also an FSU record for receivers with 100 or more receptions during their careers. He currently ranks second in school history in career receptions with 192.
With the WVIAC now disbanded, Anderson will forever remain sixth in conference history in career receiving yards (3,085), tied for sixth in touchdown receptions (33) and 10th in career catches (192). During his tenure at the school from 1998-2001, FSU went 26-13, including 21-8 during his final three seasons and won the 2000 WVIAC championship.
“It’s truly an honor to stand here before you tonight and accept this award,” said Anderson. “Athletics play such an important role in one’s life. They teach you dedication, competitiveness, hard work and discipline – things that will help you in all aspects of your life.
“People who know me know I like preaching that teamwork makes the dream work. I know I would not be here accepting this honor if it were not for all of my teammates doing their jobs around me on the field. I want to thank so many of them for coming here tonight. Playing football here and getting an education here was special for me, and I only hope I can give back to this school and this community as much as they have given me.”
The third inductee was Martin “Sonny” Bartic. A standout fullback/linebacker for Fairmont State from 1965-67, Bartic helped the Falcons cap a perfect 11-0 season and claim the 1967 NAIA national championship with a 28-21 victory over Eastern Washington in a game played at old Mountaineer Field in Morgantown.
The Falcons went 26-2 during Bartic’s three seasons as a letterman and claimed a pair of conference titles. He was a first-team All-WVIAC selection in 1967 and finished his career with 872 yards rushing and eight touchdowns. His 602 rushing yards in 1966 led Fairmont State. He also picked off four passes during his career as a linebacker.
Bartic went on to have a successful high school coaching career, most notably at Rivesville High School where he coached the 1975 Rams’ football team to a perfect 10-0 record.
“I transferred back here from Marshall University and was fortunate to be here during the golden era of Fairmont State athletics,” said Bartic. “We took winning for granted. We won a national championship in football. Our basketball team played for a national championship, and our baseball team was outstanding. It was a very special time period, and I was blessed to have played for some very special coaches like Deacon Duvall, Joe Bundy and Squibb Wilson.”
Former Fairmont State baseball star Terry Deremer was the fourth inductee. Deremer, who played both second base and shortstop for the Falcons, was a two-time, first-team All-WVIAC selection during his career and helped lead Fairmont State to a 55-24 record during his tenure at the school, three league titles (1967, 1968, 1970) and two appearances in the NAIA National Tournament.
During his senior season in 1970, FSU finished 19-5 and advanced to the national tournament. He was selected by the New York Mets in the 29th round of the 1970 Major League Baseball Draft and played three seasons with the Mets’ organization at Pompano Beach (A), Visalia (A) and Memphis (AA).
He went on to become the head tennis coach at West Virginia University and was also a teaching pro at Lakeview Resort. He was twice selected as the Eastern Region Coach of the Year (1988 and 1990) when he was with the Mountaineers and in 1992 was named the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year. In 1991 he won the 35-and-over West Virginia state championship in tennis.
“The best thing about Fairmont is I made friends here for life,” said Deremer. “I grew up with Jim Mertens, and he talked me into coming here to play baseball. I came without a scholarship, and Squibb Wilson never got to see me play until the spring of my freshman year. Squibb is so dear to my heart. He helped shape a lot of our lives. During the time I was here we had five players drafted. That says something about the kind of athletic talent we had here at Fairmont.
“You know it’s pretty easy to talk about Fairmont because the people here are wonderful people.”
The next inductee, Ted Echols, was a two-sport standout for Fairmont State from 1970-72 starring both on the hardwood and the diamond for the Falcons.
He was a three-year letter-winner for the Falcons’ basketball team and helped lead FSU to an impressive 81-13 record (.861) during those three seasons, one WVIAC title and an NAIA National Tournament appearance.
During the spring, Echols played first base for the Falcons in baseball and twice earned first-team All-WVIAC honors. He was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 25th round of the 1972 Major League Baseball Draft. He was the 582nd player selected that year.
“I probably never would have achieved what I have in life if it were not for the support system that I received here at Fairmont State from my teammates, the coaches, the student body and the faculty and administration,” said Echols. “During the time I was here at Fairmont probably the most important times for me were the practices, the games and winning. But you know that’s long gone now. Looking back now the most important thing for me was the relationships I built and established while I was here. So many people played a role in my success.”
Kristy Renfro-Menker was the sixth individual to be enshrined last night. She earned All-America honors in the pool 10 times for Fairmont State during her stellar career. Five were first-team honors, while the other five were honorable mention. Seven of the All-America honors came in individual events, while the remaining three were as a member of a relay team. She was also a three-time all-conference selection.
At the 1999 NCAA Division II Championships, she helped lead FSU’s women to an 11th-place finish by earning All-America honors as a member of the school’s 200 free relay and 200 medley relay teams. That same year she was an honorable mention All-American in the 200 free, 500 free, 100 breast and as a member of the 400 free relay team.
She was the only female qualifier for Fairmont State in the 2000 NCAA Division II Championships and single-handedly led the Falcons to a 13th place finish in the event. She earned All-America honors in the 200 free (fourth place), 500 free (fourth place) and 1,650 free (seventh place) and was an honorable mention All-American in the 100 breast. (Renfro) Menker set six individual school records while at FSU, five of which still stand. She also helped set three school records in relay events and she set four pool records, two as an individual and two as a member of a relay team.
“I had a great college experience here at Fairmont State, and this is a great honor for me,” said (Renfro) Menker. “One thing I always tried to strive for after college was to use my degree and I’m proud to say so far I’ve achieved that.
“I came here to play volleyball and basketball. I actually was supposed to be a teammate of Kara’s. I went for a swim one day and then had a CPR and lifeguarding class and (former FSU swimming) coach (Ed) Denny was determined to get me in the pool to swim for him. I wasn’t sure I had it in me to swim, but he talked me into participating in one meet and it went well. Needless to say, if it wasn’t for coach Denny’s persistence and determination to get me in the pool, I wouldn’t be standing here before you tonight.”
The final inductee of the evening was former men’s basketball star Brian Tristani. The East Fairmont High School graduate was the rare combination guard for Fairmont State who could not only score with the basketball, but distribute it equally as well.
Tristani is FSU’s all-time leader in assists with 525 and ranks 14th in school history in points scored with 1,785. The first-team All-WVIAC selection in 1988 and two-time All-WVIAC Tournament Team pick in 1985 and 1988 also holds the school records for career 3-point field-goal percentage (47.7 percent) and single-season free throw percentage (94.7).
Tristani, who helped lead FSU to a 70-46 record from 1985-1988, is still sixth in school history in career made 3-point field goals with 134 and his 21.5 scoring average in 1987 is tied for the 13th best all-time performance for a single season in FSU history.
Tristani and fellow FSU Hall of Fame member Tim Murphy shared the 1985 WVIAC Tournament’s Heart and Hustle Award when they helped lead the Falcons to their second straight appearance in the league tournament’s title game.
“I’m still the all-time leader in assists? Who would’ve thought that?” said Tristani with a laugh. “There’s a lot of people who wouldn’t believe that.
“Seriously, this award is very, very special to me because I grew up watching Fairmont State basketball and so many of the great players who played here like Davey Moore, Leroy Loggins, Kevin Beaford and Vance Carr. They were my idols and my dream was always to play at Fairmont State. I got to play four years here and now to receive an honor like this means the world to me. I can assure you this will have a prominent place on my man cave wall.
“Like the others who spoke here tonight before me, I was fortunate to be surrounded here by great people – both players and coaches. They helped me achieve success both on and off of the court. I was also a two-time Academic All-American while I was here and I’m really proud of that.”
The 2013 Hall of Fame inductees will be introduced today prior to Fairmont State University’s 2 p.m. homecoming football game with West Liberty University at Duvall-Rosier Field.