By John Bombatch
XENIA — The sixth Xenia Athletic Hall of Fame induction class will include six athletes, a longtime coach, a community contributor and the entire 1985-‘86 Xenia High School wrestling team, it was announced Monday.
Thirty-year track and cross country coach William “Bill” Wilson, football and track standout Dr. David Hazel, record setting swimmer Erin Fawley, soccer and basketball player Kristi Cope Elsman, golf and basketball scoring leader Nick Ungard, teacher, principal and coach Richard Bennett, basketball and track star Shawn Thigpen, MVP wrestler Steve Smith, and the state runner-up XHS wrestling team of ‘85-‘86 will be introduced Jan. 13 at that night’s XHS boys basketball game.
Athletes, coaches and teams from Xenia Central, Xenia, Xenia East, and Spring Valley High Schools are eligible for the Xenia Athletic Hall of Fame, which held its first induction in 2011.
WILLIAM “BILL” WILSON (1954 through 1979) won five Miami Valley League (MVL), Western Ohio League (WOL) and two district cross country championships. Inducted into the Ohio Track and Field Coaches Hall of Fame in 1982, Wilson has served on Xenia City Council and as mayor. He was inducted into the Xenia Educational Hall of Honor in 2010.
DR. DAVID HAZEL (Class of 1970) set Xenia’s single-season receiving record and lead the WOL during the team’s championship season of 1969. A first-team WOL, All-Dayton and All-Southwest Ohio selection, Hazel was a second team all-Ohio selection and went on to play in three Rose Bowls for legendary Ohio State Buckeyes coach Woody Hayes. Dr. Hazel graduated from medical school at Wright State University in 1985.
ERIN FAWLEY (2008) was a high school All-American in the pool, and was a three time scholastic All-American in the classroom. The Greater Western Ohio Conference (GWOC) swimmer of the year from 2006-‘08, Fawley set 11 records at Xenia High and was a state qualifier and finalist from 2005-‘08. She won a varsity letter at Ohio State and was named to the Academic All-Big Ten team.
KRISTI COPE ELSMAN (1993) was named WOL Player of the Year and earned first team all-league, all-area and all-Ohio honors in girls soccer. She holds records for season and career goals and assists at XHS and was a three time MVP. On the basketball court, Elsman was the MVP during the 1992-‘93 season, an all-Greene County selection and a third team WOL pick. She played collegiate soccer at Tiffin University where you’ll find her name still listed among the top 5 in season goals, assists and points.
NICK UNGARD (1952) held the average points per game record at Xenia Central and was an All-MVL and honorable mention All-Ohio selection during his senior year in basketball. He finished sixth and eighth at the state boys golf tournament in 1951 and 1952 respectively, and won many Dayton area golf tournaments. The 1962 Dayton Amateur Match Play champion, Ungard was named to the Dayton Amateur Golf Hall of Fame in 1986.
RICHARD BENNETT (2016) received the F.M Torrence Award from the Xenia Area Chamber of Commerce in recognition of his above and beyond support of the Chamber and the Xenia community. Bennett taught, coached and served as principal at Xenia East and Lincoln Elementary, coached at Central Junior High and served as principal at McKinley Elementary. He’s served on many area boards, including the YMCA, Boy Scouts and United Way, and is the founder of the county’s Head Start program.
SHAWN THIGPEN (1993) was the league MVP on the 1992-‘93 district championship winning XHS basketball team and was the Greene County Player of the Year that season. He was named to the All-WOL first team, was a second team all-SW Ohio selection and was named to the All-Ohio Honorable Mention team. Thigpen was the WOL’s record setting long jump and 200-meter champion and the regional champ. In college, Thigpen was a first team All West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference selection for two consecutive years while at the University of Charleston.
STEVE SMITH (1988) was a three-time WOL and district champion and state qualifier in wrestling. His career high school record at Xenia High was 101-8, placing fifth at state in 1987 and as runner-up in 1988. Smith won the Xenia, Cincinnati St. Xavier and Greater Miami Valley Holiday Tournament during his illustrious career.
The XENIA HS WRESTLING TEAM (1985-‘86) claimed the WOL title, district championship and finished the season undefeated in dual meets. Winners of the prestigious 53-team Miami Valley Holiday Tournament as well as the St. Xavier tournament in Cincinnati, the XHS wrestling team qualified six wrestlers to the state tournament where they finished second overall. Tommy Hoskins placed fourth at state that year while teammates Lawrance Dudgeon and Monty Dagley both won state titles.
There will be an induction ceremony held beginning at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at Faith Community United Methodist Church, located on 100 Country Club Drive, in Xenia. Light hors d’oeuvres and desserts will be served, and any community member may attend. Please contact Gregg Cross for a reservation by calling 937-372-5417. Deadline to make reservations is Dec. 23.