Bethel Park honors Sports Hall of Fame inductees



Saturday 25 September 2021 | 11:01 am

Five decades spanning a span of 41 years were pictured at this year’s Bethel Park Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

The 2020 Hall of Fame class was announced on September 17 ahead of the Gateway-Bethel Park non-conference football game at Black Hawk Stadium.

The inductees are Alan Smith (1969), Doug Michalke (1971), Van Richardson (1982), Wes Richardson (1989), Danielle Gratton (2005) and Adam Lazenga (2010).

Under normal circumstances, Bethel Park inducts members into the Sports Hall of Fame each year in December.

“This class was originally scheduled to be inducted in December 2020, but covid restrictions have forced us to delay an outdoor event this fall,” HOF President Tony Fisher said.

Fisher has been in charge of Athletic HOF since 2010 and works with a committee made up of Bill Bonaccorsi, Jim Knapp, Steve Pokrajac, Vic DiPrampero, Matt Short, Gabe August, John Lorenzi and athletic director Dan Sloan.

To be eligible for the HOF exam, an athlete must have graduated from Bethel Park High School (at least five years ago) and played a school sport or club in Bethel Park. Coaches must have coached at BP for at least 10 years.

Ron Evans, graduated from Bethel Park in 1960, is the founder of the Athletic Hall of Fame.

Plaques of all inductees line the display cases in the high school gymnasium, said Fisher, who acknowledged the career highlights of each of the inductees (see below) during the HOF ceremony at the stadium.

A reception with light refreshments was organized in honor of the six winners.

Adam lazenga

Lazenga was a four-year-old soccer and wrestling newbie from 2006 to 2010, and was one of the most decorated athletes of two sports in the school’s history.

He has been selected three times in all football conferences, won All-WPIAL accolades, was named to the Terrific 25 Tribune-Review and was named Team and All-State MVP in 2009.

Lazenga helped the Black Hawks win their only WPIAL football title, spurred the team to two consecutive conference titles as well as advance to the 2008 PIAA Championship game.

In wrestling, Lazenga has had 135 career wins, setting records for wins (45) and bowling (30) in one season. He won three section titles, was a WPIAL silver medalist and in 2010 was WPIAL heavyweight champion.

He led Bethel Park to its only WPIAL crown in 2009, and has twice placed in the state tournament.

Lazenga continued his football career at Pitt and was named to the Big East varsity team twice.

“It’s humbling to be able to be recognized in the same Hall of Fame that I crossed paths with and loved growing up,” Lazenga said. “Some of my best memories are obviously the championships, but also the time spent with teammates and friends. bus trips, changing rooms, etc. These are the moments we remember the most.

Van richardson

Two of the inductees are brothers who played on the grill.

Van Richardson played football at BP from 1979 to 1981 and was instrumental in bringing the Black Hawks to the WPIAL Finals in 1980. He was twice selected in all linebacker conferences, the All-WPIAL winner and, in 1981, was named second team. all-state.

Richardson captained the West Virginia team in 1985 and helped the Mountaineers win two bowls.

Wes richardson

Wes Richardson played football at Bethel Park between 1986 and 1988 and was a two-time all-conference linebacker.

He continued his career at WVU, where he was hailed as a second-team All-Big East selection and finished 13th on the program’s all-time tackling list.

In 1993, Richardson and the Mountaineers won the school’s first-ever Big East Conference football title, winning a playoff trip to the Sugar Bowl.

Danielle Gratton

Gratton received seven college letters – four in basketball and three in volleyball.

She finished her hoops career with 1,122 career points, winning all 10 All-State First Team, All-WPIAL and Tribune-Review accolades. She led BP to back-to-back section crowns and the 2005 WPIAL Championship game.

She played collegially at Illinois and Ball State, and was a third-team All-MAC selection as a senior.

Gratton has received various academic accolades including ESPN The Magazine / CoSIDA Academic All-District, Academic All-Big Ten and All Academic Conferences.

In volleyball, Gratton was an All-WPIAL second-team selection and saw the Black Hawks win a sectional championship in 2004.

Alain smith

Smith was a letterter for four years on the swim team from 1966 to 1969, leading the Black Hawks to four consecutive WPIAL crowns.

He has been a three-time PIAA silver medalist in the 200 and 400-meter freestyle events, and three-time WPIAL titlist in both events. He was also a member of the PIAA 400 freestyle relay team, which broke all records in 1969.

Smith set the school and pool record in three freestyle events and two relay events, then swim collegially at Kent State. As a preparation coach, he guided St. Martin’s (La.) To 24 state championships.

“I was the product of a great recreational program for young people,” Smith said. “I loved sports and played everything from youth football to basketball to competitive swimming. I’m glad leaders and stars have a way of being recognized. The PIAA didn’t recognize a state championship at the time, but we were the better team and scored far more points than any other high school in the state competition in 1969. Individually, being a WPIAL champion was a challenge. reward knowing I was the best in Pittsburgh, and doing High School All-American crowned my career.

Doug Michalke

Michalke was also a letterter for four years in swimming, including 1968-69 when the Black Hawks won back-to-back WPIAL titles. He has been selected four times in all states and as part of the WPIAL, and has won two PIAA gold medals in the 200 IM and the 400 freestyle relay.

Michalke broke school records in six different events. He and his teammates broke the WPIAL record in the 400 freestyle relay.

He continued his career at the US Naval Academy and qualified for the NCAA in the 400 and 800 freestyle relays. He coached high school swimming in Atlanta for 30 years.

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