Columbia HS Athletic Hall of Fame class unveiled

Now in 12th year, induction banquet will be held May 5 at Maplewood Country Club

MAPLEWOOD/SOUTH ORANGE – The Columbia High School Athletic Hall of Fame is proud to announce its 2016 Induction Class.

The Hall of Fame committee is now in its 12th year of inducting some of the greatest athletes that went to Columbia High School.

The induction banquet will be held Thursday, May 5, at The Maplewood Country, which every year gives up its building the whole day for this special event.

For information on the banquet, call President Harvey Weissbard at 973-230-2084.     

The following are the inductees:  

ROBERT SCHEU, Class of 1956, football

Robert was First Team All-Essex, Essex-Hudson, Essex-Union, and Metropolitan. In addition to his fine football career at Columbia, he also was a three-year varsity baseball and basketball player. He played football for Lehigh on scholarship. He won the Flying Cross and Purple Heart in Vietnam.

MATTHEW KENNY, Class of 1972, football, wrestling

Matthew arguably was the best athlete in Columbia High School in the early 70s. He played three years of football and wrestling. In wrestling, he was a District champion and ranked No. 2 in the Region in 1972. He served as captain in Football, Wrestling, and Maplewood Lacrosse Club in 1972, and was All-State and All-American in lacrosse in 1972. A few years later, the program became Columbia High School Lacrosse. He went on to Bowling Green where he played lacrosse on a scholarship.

JAMES SOMERS, Class of 1975, cross-country

James was First Team All-County and All-State in the 880 yards and ran for the University of Connecticut on full scholarship. He ran one of the first 4-minute miles in college at the time.

JAMES DAVIS, Class of 1975, cross-country

James was an Essex County champion, Group 4 state champion, All-State honoree, Columbia High School 2-mile record holder, and captain of the track and cross-country teams. He ran for Lehigh on scholarship, and was a four-year letterman, three-time MVP, and team captain. Together with James Somers, they became the finest duo in the state on the track.

PHIL HARTUNG, Class of 1979, track and field

Phil was a First Team All-Conference, All-County, and All-State discus thrower and Second Team All-Conference, All-County and All-State shot-put thrower. He was a Group 4 state champion, 1978-79, and still holds the school record  in shot put and discus.     

JOHN PERNA, Class of 1983, football

John was All-County in 1981 and 1982, and All-State and All-American in 1982. He played at the University of Maryland on a four-year scholarship.

LINDA HAWKS McDONALD, Class of 1990, soccer

Linda was All-Conference, All-County, All-State and All-American in 1990. She earned a four-year scholarship to Providence College where she played varsity all four years. She was team captain twice.    

DANA CROCKER, Class of 1998, track and field

Dana was a four-year All Group 4 state champion in the 800-meters. She  anchored two national record relays in the 4×800. She also was a distance medley winner in the Penn Relays twice and six-time All-American.

REBECCA SHORE CATTERSON, Class of 2000, swimming

Rebecca was a four-year varsity swimmer who made First Team All-Conference and All-County for all four years and was Third Team All-State for all four years.

She also ran cross-country and track and field for three years.  

MARVIN SPEIDEL, Coach of the year, boys’ gymnastics, 1949 to 1979

The team wa crowned North Section champions in 1974, took fourth place in North Section in 1977,  and crowned state champions in 1979.  He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross Air Medal with 31 missions in World War II.

Team of the Year: 1998 Girls’ Basketball

The team won the state Tournament of Champions title after being runner-up in 1997.

JERRY AURIEMMA, Class of 1971, Peter Cross Award

Jerry is being recognized for his many years of helping the children of the community learn to appreciate athletics, and appreciate the opportunity presented to them. He coached many teams, and raised enormous amounts of money through the years, with the help of his wife Annette, and all the wonderful proud parents who helped to make children appreciate Pop Warner/varsity football, recreation/varsity wrestling, Little League/varsity baseball, Little League softball, and club/varsity gymnastics. All these parents were a very huge part of having their children growing up with athletics, and were very proud to help in any way they could.

2 Responses to "Columbia HS Athletic Hall of Fame class unveiled"

  1. Steven Cabalka   March 24, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    Congrats Matt Kenny! I played college lacrosse with Matthew at Bowling Green State University and was privileged to call him at close friend. He is so deserving!

  2. Dave Adams   March 25, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Congrats to all especially Mat and Jerry my former team mates and friends!!!