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Eleven set to be inducted next Sunday


February 16. 2013 3:35PM
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The Luzerne County Sports Hall of Fame will induct the class of 2012 at a ceremony to be held Aug. 19, at the Ramada Inn on Public Square.


Tickets to the 28th annual induction banquet must be purchased in advance. For more information, call 824-7133.



Merle Bainbridge

Football team captain and class president, he was the quarterback at West Pittston High School, a two-year starter on the basketball team, and a track and field standout.


His football career continued as quarterback at Lafayette. He also earned a master's degree from Temple.


A first-team West Side Conference performer in football, he finished third in the javelin in his senior year.


Bainbridge went on to coach six seasons at West Pittston and a year as an assistant at Wyoming Area. He was also the head coach at Spring-Ford for 11 seasons and an assistant at Coatesville for three seasons and Ursinus College for 13, serving as defensive coordinator.


He retired in 1994 after 34 years serving his communities as a teacher. Bainbridge and his wife, Alberta, live in Royersford. They have two sons, Merle Jr. and Mark, and six grandchildren, Ian, Emily, Max, Weston, Mariah and Matthew.



John P. Gorham

Currently the principal at Nanticoke, he was a track standout for Wyoming Valley West and Penn State who reached the U.S. Olympic trials in 2004.


With the Nittany Lions, Gorham set a number of records and was a four-time All-American specializing in the long jump. He won an IC4A championship and placed multiple times at the Big Ten Championships.


He won a PIAA long jump title as a senior at Wyoming Valley West, where he was also sixth in the triple jump and a 100 meters semifinalist. He set a long jump record for the Spartans – and District 2 – with a leap of 24 feet. Gorham won four district championships at Wyoming Valley West.


Gorham resides in Kingston with his wife, Tracey, and their four children, twins Cole and Jack, 9, Noah, 6, and Gracen, 4 months.



Kevin Gryboski

The former major league pitcher played in six organizations in a 15-year professional career.


Gryboski was best known for his time with the Atlanta Braves, where he was a set-up man in their vaunted bullpen during their dominance of the National League East.


He was also a member of the Mariners, Rangers, Nationals, Pirates and Giants organizations, and received Rookie of the Year consideration in 2002 with the Braves. He went 2-1 with a 3.48 ERA in 57 games in his major-league debut season. He retired with a 12-8 career record and a 4.07 ERA in 238 major league games.


Gryboski was a two-sport standout at Bishop Hoban and then Wilkes. The Venetia resident is married (wife Leah) and has two children (K.J., 7, and Kaylee, 6).



William James

An all-state honorable mention as a senior at Nanticoke, he was a member of the school's Class 3A state basketball championship team, which defeated Hickory Township 56-46 at the Farm Show Arena in Harrisburg.


James averaged 17 points and 14 rebounds during his varsity basketball career, scoring more than 1,100 points for the Trojans. He was the Wyoming Valley All-Star MVP as a senior. He also batted around .333 during four varsity seasons with the Nanticoke baseball team.


He went on to play Sunday baseball in the Wyoming Valley League and modified fast-pitch softball in New Jersey for 25 years, winning more than 200 games as a pitcher and batting better than .400 as a pitcher, center fielder and shortstop.


James is employed by the New Jersey District Water Commission. He lives with his wife, Anna, in Totowa, N.J.



Richie Kiewlak

A standout at Nanticoke, he was a member of the school's Class 3A state basketball championship team of 1961.


Kiewlak scored nearly 700 points in two varsity seasons with the Trojans and was an all-state honorable mention. He also played four varsity seasons with the Nanticoke baseball team, batting .444 during his junior and senior seasons.


He went on to an eight-year career playing semi-pro baseball, batting .375. He prowess on the diamond led to a tryout with the Philadelphia Phillies.


Kiewlak retired from U.S. Steel Corporation and currently lives in Fairless Hills. He and his wife, Patricia, have been married 46 years. They have two sons, Richard Jr. and David, and three grandchildren, Eric, David and Ryan.



Kenny Legins

The two-time all-state basketball player at Nanticoke (1960-61) went on to play Division I college basketball at George Washington, accepting one of 39 scholarship offers he received.


Legins scored 607 points as a senior at Nanticoke and posted nearly 2,000 points during his high school career, which he capped with a Class 3A state championship in 1961.


At George Washington, he was a three-time All-Southern Conference selection as well as captain of the Colonials for his final three seasons at the university.


He became a teacher and coached basketball, advancing professionally to retire as vice president of Abitibi Bowater Paper Co., in 2008. He resides in Plymouth, Mass., with his wife, Barbara. They have two sons, Kenneth Jr. and Keith.



Bob McFadden

Currently a wrestling official in the PIAA and the NCAA, he was a three-sport standout at Meyers in the 1980s for his efforts in cross country, wrestling, and track and field.


McFadden was a three-time letter winner in cross country, qualifying for states in 1986. In track and field, he won district gold and silver while helping the Mohawks to a state team championship.


His featured sport was wrestling, where he was 95-9-2 – including an undefeated record in 55 dual matchups. He won two Northeast Regionals and twice placed third in the state. He continued wrestling at Bucknell, where he posted a 12-8 record in two seasons with the Bison.


He also played nearly a decade of modified softball as a sharp-hitting second baseman. He earned a bachelor's degree from Wilkes and a master's from Misericordia. He lives in Sugar Notch with his wife, Tracy, and children, Scott and Todd.



Dave Anthony Shipula

He starred in youth baseball and basketball in Hanover Township and college at King's, which he sandwiched around time as a student-athlete in Virginia.


Shipula attended Staunton (Va.) Military Academy for high school, where he played basketball for four years. As a senior, he was the team's outstanding player. He averaged 16 points and 18 rebounds per game.


At King's, he was a starter for two seasons on the basketball team and was a Division II All-ECAC honoree during his junior campaign. Shipula extended his basketball career by playing in France in 1977.


Since college, he has been an avid softball player and coached a number of youth leagues, and has served on the PIAA Oversight Council. Shipula has been active in the community in a number of causes as well.


He lives in Hanover Township with his wife, Sharon, and three children, Alexis, David and Alyssa.



Jill Hockenbury Snowdon

A multi-sport athlete in both high school and college, she excelled at both levels.


Snowdon played three seasons of soccer at King's, setting records for goals in a season (15) and career (37), assists in a season (9) and career (24), and points in a season (39) and career (98). She was a three-time MAC all-star.


She also played a season of basketball and was a member of King's first lacrosse team.


She started her college career at PSU Wilkes-Barre, where she played a season on the men's soccer team, scoring one goal.


She played four years of basketball at Bishop Hoban, scoring more than 800 points and leading the team to the state Class 3A final. She also played three seasons with the Hoban soccer team, taking her junior season off to join the track team as a sprinter.


Snowdon lives in Dallas with her husband, Brent, and children William (6) and Elizabeth (3).



Jeff Snyder

A master of martial arts with three black belts, he overcame injury to resume a hall of fame career.


Inducted into the Grandmaster Coal Hall of Fame in 1991, he was forced to retire due to injury in 1993 after winning more than 150 awards.


He returned to martial arts in 2009 and has added more than 60 titles since. He is a 10-time state champion, with eight of those titles coming in Pennsylvania.


Snyder had won four national championships and two world championships during his career. He has qualified for three events at the 2012 world championships and is ranked No. 1 in the nation in his age group for fighting in Taekwondo.


He works at Nurse Finders and Golden Living Center. Snyder lives in Wilkes-Barre with his wife, Bettie, and children Brock, 3, and Brooke, 1.



Edmund ‘Chick' Witkoski

The star quarterback and basketball player at Plymouth High School recorded one of the longest in state football history.


In a 1939 game against GAR, Witkoski returned a botched punt 107 yards for a touchdown in a 19-13 victory. He was an All-State honorable mention selection.


After high school, he joined the Air Force and continued his football playing as quarterback of the Jackson, Miss., Air Force Base team.


He went on to operate Ed's Market in Plymouth, and after his retirement, worked for Darings Market in Dallas. Witkoski is an avid bowler and polka dancer, regularly featured on WVIA's Polka Party.


Witkoski has three stepdaughters, Theresa Flood, Marge Gushka and Suzanne Smith, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.




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