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Norwin's athletic hall of fame born with 14 individuals, 3 teams

| Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The inaugural athletic hall-of-fame induction class for Norwin School District features 14 players and coaches, and three championship teams.

Athletic Director Randy Rovesti's unveiling of the honorees Monday night culminated almost a year's worth of preparation by a selection committee to celebrate the district's athletic successes since its creation in 1958 from a merger of districts in North Huntingdon, Irwin and North Irwin.

The initial class also includes star athletes and a top team before the district's current incarnation.

The class will be inducted during a dinner at Stratigos Banquet Centre on Sept. 24, the night before the homecoming game.

Board member Casey Harper's business, C. Harper Auto Group, is sponsoring the hall of fame, whose members include:

• Sheron Watson, a girls volleyball coach who led teams that won 12 state titles;

• John Naponic, a 6-foot-10 basketball player who sparked Norwin to the 1963 WPIAL championship before playing basketball and football at the University of Virginia;

• Doug Petras, a three-time all-state soccer goalie who played professionally after graduating from Norwin in 1990;

• Suzanne Flaherty-Karrs, who earned three letters in volleyball and basketball during the 1970s and was on two of Watson's title teams;

• Doug Plank, who set a school baseball record for batting average at .526 in 1971 before hitting the gridiron, where Chicago Bears Defensive Coordinator Buddy Ryan named his "46" defense after Plank's jersey number;

• Darci Bodner, a high school All-American swimmer from 1979-82 who later finished fourth in the U.S. Olympic trials in the 100-meter backstroke;

• Steve Yaniga, the high school basketball team's all-time leading scorer and a member of WPIAL championship teams in 1986 and 1988;

• Ronald E. Peduzzi, the high school principal from 1971-96 and a fixture at athletic events;

• Don Rose, who compiled a 215-113 record in 13 seasons for Norwin, Irwin and North Huntingdon high schools;

• Joe McNunn, a three-sport star from 1917-21 whose 1953 Irwin basketball team who the state title and 1960 baseball team grabbed the WPIAL title;

• Lyman Stough, who went 251-78 as a basketball coach for Irwin and Norwin;

• John Abraham and Tom Butler, co-captains of Irwin's 1947 and 1948 state championship basketball squads; and

• Chuck Hursh, an Irwin basketball star in the 1950s who later coached for Norwin.

The committee also chose to honor Norwin's 1960 baseball team, whose WPIAL title was the new district's first; Norwin's 1976 girls volleyball team, which won the state title; and Irwin's 1947 boys basketball team.

"This is going to be a first-class hall of fame, and this got us a good jump start on that," Rovesti told school board members.

Also last night, the board voted to contribute $6,000 to the start of a boys club lacrosse team for the high school.

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