GODFREY – In 2013, two former standout soccer players and a third place national qualifying baseball team joined the ranks of distinguished athletes who make up the Lewis and Clark Community College Trailblazers Athletics Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame recognizes individuals and teams who, through leadership and character, have made exceptional contributions to the honor and prestige of Lewis and Clark Community College in the field of athletics, and who have continued to demonstrate the values imparted through intercollegiate athletics.
Inductees are selected by a committee of college officials and local media. This year, they are Meghan Rooney, Jacqueline “Ray Ray” Cole and the 1996 Trailblazers Baseball team.
“We are proud to recognize our newest inductees for their outstanding contributions to Lewis and Clark Athletics and its rich tradition of excellence,” said Lewis and Clark President Dale Chapman.
The 1996 Trailblazers Baseball team, a JUCO World Series team, was led by Head Coach Randy Martz and Assistant Coach Doug Stotler. The team had a 34-25 season, won its regional and district championship games and went on to play and win third place in the championship finals.
The team consisted of mainly in-district players, and had no All-Americans — which made the team even more special.
The team included: Brady Arview, Kyle Bone, Jeff Coles, Mark Darr, Bob Frischmann, Andy Funk, Drew Garrison, Dave Gaworski, Pete Kleeman, Nick Knight, Rob LaMarsh, Jim McGibany, Hayden Powers, Eric Pruitt, Mike Pryor, Randy Roentz, Josh Slusser (deceased), Jon Varady, Chip Wiley, Mike Zangori, Randy Martz (coach), Doug Stotler (assistant coach).
“It was an honor to coach these guys,” said Head Coach Randy Martz. “They had the talent and commitment. They played hard and worked well together as a team, and it paid off.”
Team member Jeff Coles said getting to play in the JUCO World Series and placing third was an amazing experience.
“We will always remember the great times and amazing postseason run we had,” Coles said. “The neat thing looking back now is how close these guys still are, and the friendships that we all have this many years later. It’s an honor to be recognized and inducted into the hall of fame.”
As a player, Meghan Rooney earned top stats in scoring and assisting at L&C, as her team posted a 22-2 record in 2003 and 19-3-2 record in 2004.
Rooney, a midfielder from St. Charles and daughter of L&C Head Soccer Coach Tim Rooney, earned All Conference, All Region, All District and National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All American athletic honors both seasons. She received First Team All-American from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) in 2003 and NSCAA second team in 2004.
After Lewis and Clark, Rooney continued playing soccer at McKendree University, where she assisted her team in earning two National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Region V Championship Titles, which lead to the NAIA National Championship Tournament. After graduating from McKendree with her bachelor’s degree in elementary education, Rooney returned to Lewis and Clark as a member of the soccer coaching staff and served as assistant coach for two years. During this time she assisted in coaching the 2008 Women’s NJCAA National Championship Title team.
Presently, Rooney is assistant coach for the women’s soccer team at Fontbonne University in St. Louis, where she has served on the coaching staff for two seasons. This past season, Fontbonne won a share in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) championship title — the first time in school history that their women’s soccer team has won a SLIAC title.
In addition to coaching, Rooney is a graduate student in Fontbonne’s Early Intervention in Deaf Education program and will graduate this year with a master’s degree in deaf education.
“It is an honor to be recognized and inducted in the hall of fame,” Rooney said. “We had a great team while I was here at Lewis and Clark and I feel proud I was part of that team.”
Rooney’s former teammate and fellow inductee, Jacqueline “Ray Ray” Cole, also had two successful soccer seasons at L&C. The forward from Kansas City led her team in scoring in 2003 and 2004.
Both years, Cole received All Conference, All Region, All District and the NJCAA All American athletic honors. She was ranked No. 15 in the nation in scoring during the 2004 season and was selected first team to the NJCAA and NSCAA.
Cole went on to play soccer at McKendree University, leading her team to two NAIA Region V Championship titles and taking them to the NAIA National Championship Tournament. She later helped lead the team to nationals as a student assistant coach.
“I want to thank Coach Rooney, my teammates, and parents for their support,” Cole said. “Playing soccer at Lewis and Clark was a great experience, and I’ll always cherish the memories from that time.”
Cole earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational communications at McKendree. She currently is employed at Stifel Nicolaus in the Mutual Funds department.