Independence Hall of Fame inducts four new athletes

by Martin McConnell

The Independence Athletic Hall of Fame welcomed four new members to its ranks on Jan. 21. Inductees Brian Calvey, class of 2015; Halle Dorko, class of 2015; Rebecca Molnar, class of 2012; and Jennifer Wisniewski, class of 2015, gathered at Independence High School to be inducted and offer their thoughts after looking back on their athletic careers.

Hall of Fame Chairman Tim Skoczen was able to watch each of the inductees make their marks in a Blue Devils uniform. According to Skoczen, it was an honor to watch each of them grow into young adults before eventually leaving the school.

“Most importantly as people, [they’re] phenomenal,” Skoczen said of the inductees. “As good as they were athletically, they’re even more impressive as the people they were. They were dedicated students, so they became dedicated athletes.”

Brian Calvey graduated in 2015 with three letters each in football and track and field. According to teammates and coaches, he was consistently in the best shape of anyone on the field.

Throughout his career, he was named CVC All-Conference in track and field on three separate occasions, and All-Ohio in 2012. Additionally, he set the IHS record for the 400-meter dash at 49.20 seconds.

“I feel grateful to be part of this,” Calvey said. “I think something that makes Independence so special is the same people that are cheering you on when you’re seven years old, are the people in the stands at your last game as a senior.”

Halle Dorko was a defensive menace during her time with the Blue Devils’ girls soccer team, winning the team’s defensive MVP in 2012. She was a CVC All-Conference selection for three years running from 2012 until 2014.

Before graduating in 2015, Dorko was also a two-year team captain in soccer, and a one-time team captain in basketball and softball. She was first-team All-Conference for the CVC all four years in basketball.

“It’s nice that everyone can recognize us and just see how much we love it, and how much we put into it,” she said.

Rebecca Molnar was the ace of a vaunted Blue Devils softball pitching staff. Throughout her career, she claimed not only three season pitching school records, but six career pitching records.

Molnar was also named team captain in softball for her senior 2012 season. She won a CVC conference MVP award, a team MVP award, an All-Conference selection, and a CVC Conference Championship in 2011 alone.

“I never realized how much sports would shape me as a person,” Molnar said. “But now that I’m no longer playing, I’m able to reflect. I never dreamed that I would be joining this group, but it’s truly an honor.”

Jennifer Wisniewski participated in cross-country, track and field, and soccer. She set the school record for scoring with 27 goals in a season. She won the team offensive MVP award in soccer three years in a row between 2012 and 2014, and was first-team CVC All-Conference in those same years.

In cross-country, Wisniewski was named the CVC Most Valuable Runner in 2013, and was All-Ohio in 2012 and 2013.

“It’s so cool to be back here today,” Wisniewski said. “Congratulations to everyone. I’m truly honored and humbled to be receiving this tremendous honor today.”

Skoczen explained that throughout the 35 years of the hall of fame’s existence, only the best of the best have been able to claim a spot. He said the high criteria speaks to the hall’s athletic prestige.

“Over 35 years, I think we’re at 112, 113 people in the hall of fame,” Skoczen said. “There are definitely kids who have gone through, my kids included, who know it’s a big deal.” ∞

Hall of fame inductees (l-r) Brian Calvey, Halle Dorko, Rebecca Molnar, and Jennifer Wisniewsk stand by their plaques. Photo by Martin McConnell.