'Apollo Rocket' leads A-K Valley Hall of Fame class
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For years, racing fans have been thrilled following the career of Ed Lynch Jr., known as the “Apollo Rocket.”
On May 18, Lynch will be rocketing into the Alle-Kiski Valley Sports Hall of Fame, along with seven other inductees.
The local hall of fame's 44th induction banquet will take place at 7 p.m. at New Kensington's Clarion Hotel.
The Western Pennsylvania Rookie of the Year in 1983, Lynch has raced at Lernerville Speedway and 58 other tracks in 14 states. At Lernerville, he is the leading Sprint Feature winner with 105 victories.
Overall, he has 229 career feature wins and was named in December 2009 as a member of the Decade's Dazzling Dozen by SPEEDTV.com.
Here are the other inductees:
• A 1988 Riverview High School graduate, Cappa was a Valley News Dispatch all-star in football, basketball and baseball. He led the WPIAL in strikeouts two seasons. At West Virginia University, Cappa was a three-year letterman at tight end and played in the 1989 national championship game against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.
• A 1982 Valley High School graduate, McCloud was all-conference in football and all-section in basketball. He received a scholarship to Robert Morris and played on the Colonials' 1983 NCAA Tournament team and remains among the school's all-time leaders in steals and rebounds.
• A 1980 Freeport High School graduate, Perroz coached Valley to the PIAA state softball title in 2011 and guided the girls to WPIAL titles in 2007 and ‘10. As an athlete, she captained the volleyball, softball and basketball teams at Freeport and played softball and basketball at Slippery Rock University.
• In his 44th season as Deer Lakes boys volleyball coach, his teams have won four WPIAL titles and two PIAA titles. His volleyball teams have made the WPIAL playoffs 14 times in the last 15 seasons. A 1965 graduate of the former East Deer Frazer High School, he played football for the Bucks, but was never exposed to volleyball until college.
• A 1966 Tarentum High School graduate, Thompson lettered in baseball, football and basketball with the Redcats. He played baseball three seasons at Point Park College and won 268 basketball games as a head coach at Springdale and Deer Lakes. Thompson had nine of his teams qualify for the WPIAL playoffs.
• An East Vandergrift native, Uskuraitis was in the banking industry locally and began volunteering on the A-K Hall of Fame steering committee and served 35 years, the last 15 as chairman. He also served as president of the original, 48-member Kiski Area School District Board of Education.
• A posthumous inductee, Sturga was All-WPIAL Class A from 1933-35 as a Springdale High School football player. He had to leave high school during his senior to work in a coal mine to support his family during the Great Depression. Later, as a fullback/linebacker/kicker for the Springdale Athletic Association, he excelled when semi-pro football was a fall staple in the A-K Valley.
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