by Alyssa Fasolo
In 1995, the Juniata College Sports Hall of Fame was established to recognize individuals who made outstanding contributions to the athletic program. Every other year, a new class of Hall of Famers is inducted.
The 2016 Hall of Fame induction class includes four athletes who all excelled in their athletic careers here at Juniata. Ronald J. Poruban, Tom Devine, John Creuzberger and Carli (Dale) Lehr were all athletes who left their mark on their sport and on Juniata’s athletic department as a whole.
Poruban graduated from Juniata in 1963. As a three sport athlete, Poruban excelled in football, baseball and track and field at the collegiate level. He earned a total of seven letters in his career at Juniata: four in football, two in baseball and one in track and field.
Among his accomplishments, Poruban was selected as a two-time all-MAC football player as a quarterback and safety. He helped the team go 21-9 over the course of his career. Poruban also led the team in passing all four years of his time on the team and in offense for three straight years. He was named team MVP in 1962.
Despite the amount of individual success Poruban has achieved, he credits many of his accomplishments to his teammates, parents and the lifelong friends he made at Juniata.
“(When I found out I was being inducted) I said, ‘Here is my condition: I will accept, only if I can accept on behalf of all of my teammates,’ because that’s the way it should be,” Poruban said in his induction speech.
Devine is a 1983 Juniata graduate. He was a two sport athlete, participating in both football and baseball. At the time of his induction, he ranked second of all time on Juniata’s career and season interception lists. He was also a member of the 1981 MAC Co-Champion team, leading the nation in interceptions with 12. In 1982, Devine was selected as the MAC Player of the Year as well as Juniata’s defensive team MVP, as he picked off 11 passes, which ranked second in the nation.
Devine was recognized as a two-time All-MAC first team honoree, an ECAC first team, all-region selection in 1982, a five-time ECAC weekly honor roll recipient and a two-time ECAC player of the week.
Devine attributes much of his success to the hard work he put in all throughout his career.
“I wanted to play so bad,” Devine said in his speech at the induction ceremony. “I worked so hard in my off season- I really did.”
Devine also gives a lot of credit to his parents, who hugely influenced his athletic career and his outlook on the game.
“We never thought about individual accomplishments,” Devine said. “It was always about the team. Speaking of my parents, they’re in Heaven now, but my mom and dad- they loved Juniata.”
Creuzberger graduated from Juniata in 2001. He excelled as a thrower on the track and field team. Among his accomplishments, Creuzberger was a five-time Middle Atlantic Conference shot put champion. He never threw less than an impressive 41-1.5 feet to win an event. At the time of his induction, Creuzberger ranked third among the all-time outdoor shot put leaders.
In addition to shot put, Creuzberger also scored in discus three out of his four years at Juniata. He earned second place his senior year. Creuzberger scored a combined 58 points at the MAC outdoor championships over the course of his career, ranking him third among all men’s performers since 1993.
Creuzberger stated in his speech at the induction ceremony that his passion and love of sports from early on in his life is what drove him to success at the collegiate level.
“When you’re living in it, you don’t necessarily think about whether you’re doing it right then at that moment,” Creuzberger said. “You know, thinking about it now, fifteen years later, it’s like, ‘Wow, I really did all those things. That’s pretty cool.’ But along with all that, it brings back memories of my earlier life as a student athlete back at the university. But more so, it brought back memories of my childhood. As a young boy I was always interested in sports. I had played football, wrestling and track and field during my junior and senior high years at Hollidaysburg Area. My true sports passion was always shot put and discus in track and field.”
Lehr is a 2005 Juniata graduate. She was a setter on the women’s volleyball team. She was a four year starter and letter recipient, and, among many other accomplishments, was given the Charles Bargerstock Award. Lehr is currently the all-time leader in assists with a total for 6,385. She was a four year First Team MAC All-Star and was the MAC Player of the Year both her junior and senior years. Lehr was also named the AVCA Regional Freshman of the Year in 2001 in addition to earning AVCA Second Team All-American honors in 2002 and First Team honors in both 2003 and 2004.
Lehr was a member of four MAC Champion and NCAA Regional Champion teams. The Eagles participated in the NCAA Final Four Lehr’s freshman, sophomore and senior seasons, claiming the national championship her senior year. Lehr was named Tournament MVP that season. Also during her senior year, Lehr was named the AVCA National Player of the Year for Division III.
Lehr not only excelled on the court, but she also dominated in the classroom. She was a three-time MAC Honor Roll selection, a COSIDA Academic All-American and a 2004 COSIDA ESPN Academic All-American of the Year for Women’s Volleyball and all Sports.
While giving her speech at the induction ceremony, Lehr discussed that the topic of personal success is not an easy one for her to talk about due to the fact that many of her accomplishments are because of her team.
“Really, everything that I’ve accomplished has been accomplished because of the great teams that I’ve been on,” Lehr said. “There’s not any of those awards that I would have received if I hadn’t been on a team. So all of that is really just a credit to the great coaches and the great teams that I’ve been a part of.”
Categories: Volume 97 Issue 10 Sports