The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

College

February 14, 2012

Pitt-Johnstown announces fifth Hall of Fame class

JOHNSTOWN — The Pitt-Johnstown Athletics Hall of Fame will induct a pair of two-sport standouts, a former men’s basketball career scoring leader, a national champion wrestler and one of the top guards in women’s basketball history.

The fifth class will be added to the hall during an April 21 banquet at UPJ’s Living/Learning Center.

Inductees include: Mike Gresik, baseball/basketball, 1981-1985; Quinn Harris, basketball, 1988-93; Maureen “Mo” Latterner-Brown, women’s basketball, 1981-1985; Teri Menett-Cruse, women’s volleyball/women’s basketball, 1987-1991; and John Strittmatter, wrestling, 1995-1999.

Additionally, Johnstown businessman Jim Dewar will be recognized for his meritorious service to UPJ and the Mountain Cats athletic program. The 1999 NCAA Division II national championship wrestling team also will be spotlighted.        n Mike Gresik, baseball/basketball: Gresik excelled in both sports, establishing himself among the leaders in NCAA Division II as well as the former Mason-Dixon Athletic Conference. At the time of his 1985 graduation, Gresik had become UPJ’s second all-time leading scorer in basketball and had produced an impressive .468 career batting average in baseball.

Gresik became a starter during his freshman season in basketball under coach Jim Basista. The Johnstown native then played three years under coach Clyde Horner, netting 1,238 career points and grabbing 502 career rebounds. His point total still ranks 13th all-time at UPJ.

The former Bishop McCort High School star was a two-time Mason-Dixon Athletic Conference selection in basketball and led the NCAA Division II in scoring for a two-week period during the 1984-85 season at 26 points a game. He scored in double digits 58 times during his career, including three

30-plus games and 21 games with 20 or more points. In one of his top hoops performances, Gresik scored

23 points and had a career-high 21 rebounds against Mount St. Mary’s during his senior season.

A pitcher-first baseman, Gresik had a 10-3 career record and 2.51 earned run average on the mound and a .468 batting average with 14 home runs and 61 RBIs. He capped his career by hitting for the cycle against Grove City College. The exclamation point was a Gresik home run hit during his final college at-bat.

n Quinn Harris, basketball: Harris was a key cog as the UPJ program ended more than a decade without producing a winning season.

He broke the UPJ career scoring record with 1,490 points, a mark that stood from 1992 until 2000.

The Clinton, Md., native made an immediate impact for coach Chris Kristich’s team as a true freshman and capped a stellar career as a senior with then first-year head coach Bob Rukavina. As a senior, Harris averaged 17.3 points a game and helped the Mountain Cats go

16-11 for their first winning season since 1979. Also during that 1991-92 season, Harris passed Pitt-Johnstown Athletics Hall of Famer Rich Ragans’ career scoring mark that had stood for

14 years. Justin Walther eventually broke Harris’ standard in 2000.

Harris still ranks fifth on UPJ’s all-time scoring list and is sixth on UPJ’s all-time career scoring average list with

16.1 points a game. His

564 rebounds rank 10th all-time at UPJ.

n Maureen Latterner-Brown, women’s basketball: Latterner-Brown joined a program already established as a proven winner in 1981-82. By the time she graduated in 1985, Latterner-Brown was among a group that elevated the Lady Cats program to an elite level – first in NCAA Division III and later in Division II.

A two-time All-American player under hall of fame coaches Clyde Horner and Jodi Gault, Latterner-Brown was part of UPJ teams that posted a 95-11 record, made four NCAA Tournament appearances, advanced to the national quarterfinals in 1984 and held the nation’s top ranking during the 1984-85 season.

The Bishop Carroll High School graduate still holds UPJ’s all-time record with

754 career assists. She was an honorable mention American Women’s Sports Federation (AWSF) All-American as a sophomore in 1983 and was a first-team All-American in 1985.

The Cresson native was a Kodak All-District selection in 1985. She also holds UPJ assists records for a season (157), a game (16) and her 18 of 23 effort from the free throw line is a single-game mark. Her

1,237 career points rank 17th all-time at UPJ.

After graduating from UPJ, Latterner-Brown continued her athletic career in a new sport and was part of the United States Handball Team in the 1988 Olympic Games. She also earned a gold medal with the 1987 U.S. team in the Pan-American Games. The Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame inducted Latterner-Brown in 2004.

n Teri Menett-Cruse, women’s volleyball/women’s basketball: Menett-Cruse was a force on the basketball and volleyball courts while also receiving recognition for her outstanding academic achievements.

The Conemaugh Valley High School graduate still holds UPJ’s single-season field goal percentage record in basketball and her 12 kills in one game of a best-of-3 volleyball match is a standard at UPJ.

On the basketball court, Menett-Cruse was a leader on coach Jodi Gault’s teams that won an East Regional championship and two Mid-East Conference titles. UPJ was ranked in the NCAA Division II Top-10 during three of her four seasons.

In 1988-89, Menett-Cruse set the Lady Cats single-season field goal percentage record by shooting 64.5 percent (81 of 141). A second-team Mid-East All-Conference selection as a senior, she still ranks 19th on UPJ’s all-time rebounding list with 561 boards.

Under volleyball coach Clyde Horner, Menett-Cruse led the team in kills during her sophomore, junior and senior seasons.

She had 12 kills against

St. Francis in one game of a best-of-3 match. She made five all-tournament teams and was named most valuable player at the Carlow College Invitational.

Her ability to maintain a high academic standing while juggling two sports enabled Menett-Cruse to earn the Pitt Undergraduate Athlete Award in 1990. The honor is presented annually to only one athlete from the entire University of Pittsburgh system. Menett-Cruse currently coaches the Conemaugh Valley girls basketball team. She led the program to a state runner-up finish in 2006.

n John Strittmatter, wrestling: Strittmatter certainly knows what it means to be a national champion.

The Cambria Heights High School graduate was part of UPJ’s two NCAA Division II national championship teams in 1996 and 1999.

Strittmatter was an individual national champion in 1999 after finishing as an individual national runner-up in 1996.

After starting his career as a true freshman at Penn State, Strittmatter transferred to UPJ prior to the 1995-96 season and immediately joined the Mountain Cats starting lineup under coach Pat Pecora.  He won an East Regional championship and was second nationally at

118 pounds that season. Three seasons later, Strittmatter wrestled at 133 pounds and won the national championship.

A three-time All-American with first-, second- and fifth-place finishes, Strittmatter also was a three-time National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) All-Academic Team selection. In 1999, Strittmatter and his brother Jody, also a Pitt-Johnstown Athletics Hall of Famer, shared the Lowell Shaffer Award presented to the university’s top scholar-athlete.

John Strittmatter was part of four regional championship teams and four Top-5 national team finishes. His 112-15 (.882) career record ranks 13th on the UPJ all-time wins list. He still holds UPJ’s regular-season win mark with 35 victories and the overall season win record with 41 at 133 pounds.

Dewar will receive the Meritorious Service Award. Dewar developed the Crawford Fund to assist Pitt-Johnstown student-athletes in the 1970s. A past president of the Crawford Fund, he is still a member of the UPJ Advisory Board. For more than 30 years he was a member of the Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Business Hall of Fame.

The 1999 UPJ wrestling team posted seven regular-season wins over NCAA Division I opponents, including Ohio State University and Clarion. Pecora’s team went 23-2 in dual meet competition.

Jody Strittmatter became the first Mountain Cat to win the title at the prestigious Midlands Open at Northwestern University. UPJ won the Division II Dual Championship with a 4-0 record, including a 21-16 win over No. 2-ranked Nebraska-Omaha.

Seven Mountain Cats won individual East Regional titles and nine wrestlers advanced to the national tournament in Omaha, Neb.

The national championship ultimately was determined by UPJ’s Troy Barbush defeating Nebraska-Omaha’s Chris Blair in the 165 pound title bout. UPJ won the national team title by a 110-105.5 score. The Strittmatter brothers and Barbush each won national titles.

Ethan Brownback was a national runner-up, and Tony Clark, Isaac Greeley and Jaison Klingensmith each earned All-American honors.

Jody Strittmatter was named the national tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler, and Pecora was named National Coach of the Year for a second time in his career.

The 1999 Mountain Cats also led the nation with nine NWCA All-Academic Wrestling Team members.

For more information on the hall of fame banquet, contact the Pitt-Johnstown Athletic Department at 269-2000 or visit www.pitt.johnstown.edu.

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