Decorated class tabbed for North Hills Sports Hall of Fame
They span over four decades, but the 2017 inductees of the North Hills Sports Hall of Fame will forever be linked together.
Keith Brown, Liz Cleary, Zach Hebda, Margo Malone and Sal Marsico will be acknowledged for their achievements at the 22nd annual North Hills Sports Hall of Fame dinner at 6 p.m. Sept. 21, at Rico's Restaurant in Ross Township.
The inductees also will be honored the following evening at Martorelli Stadium during North Hills' football game against Moon.
“It is an honor to be inducted into the North Hills Hall of Fame,” Malone said. “During high school, I was inspired by the many amazing athletes and coaches previously inducted and am humbled to be included in the group.”
Malone will be the youngest of the inductees as a member of the Class of 2012. During her time as an Indian, Malone was a cross country and track star. As a junior, she won the PIAA championship in the 1,600 meters. In her career, she finished in the top five in the PIAA championships twice in cross country and three times in track.
On the WPIAL level, Malone won two championships in cross country and four in track. Malone earned a full athletic scholarship to Syracuse, where she was the 2015 ACC champion in the 10,000 meters and had eight top-three finishes at the ACC Championship, making her the highest scoring distance runner in Syracuse history.
“It is extra special to be recognized a few years after graduating while all of the wonderful memories are so fresh,” Malone said. “I have so much appreciation for the teachers, mentors and coaches North Hills provided. I feel blessed knowing that the school set me on path to pursue professional running.”
Joining Malone as an inductee is Brown, one of the top multi-sport athletes to wear a North Hills jersey. A member of the Class of 1981, Brown played football, basketball and baseball. His main sport was football, where he played at tight end and served as the kicker. He also led the Indians to their first undefeated season and holds the school record for most extra points. He earned a scholarship to Louisville, where he played four years and earned the Athletic Academic Achievement Award.
“I was honored, and honestly surprised, to receive the call from NHHS to let me know of my induction,” Brown said.
Cleary, a member of the Class of 2003, is one of the top swimmers in North Hills sports history. She broke the school record in the 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle relay. She also was the WPIAL champion in the 50 freestyle. She went on to swim at West Virginia, where she was the team captain and named to the academic athletic honor roll.
Cleary has returned to her roots and serves as the varsity head coach for the North Hills boys and girls swimming and diving teams, and a head coach of the North Hills Aquatics Club.
Hebda, a member of the Class of 2011, joins Malone as another inductee for his accomplishments in cross country and track and field. In 2010, Hebda was named the Gatorade Cross Country Athlete of the Year.
Hebda enrolled in the U.S. Naval Academy and became one of the top runners in program history. He led Navy to two Patriot League Championships and was an All-Region runner. His time of 29:55 in the 10,000 meters ranks among the best in Navy history.
Marsico will be an inductee after coaching at North Hills for more than 30 years. During that time, he served as the boys soccer coach and softball coach. He was named Section Coach of the Year three times and was named Northern Area Coach.
Putting together the event for the inductees is activities coordinator Michelle Zimmerman. The event is a community program and not affiliated with the North Hills School District.
Drew Karpen is a freelance writer.