Armstrong Hall welcomes 11 new members
In 1989, Jody White's mission was to lead Freeport back to the WPIAL football playoffs.
White rushed for more than 1,000 yards, was the Valley News Dispatch Player of the Year and was named to the Associated Press' all-state first team at linebacker. Freeport made it to the WPIAL final at Three Rivers Stadium, losing in the final minute.
Now, Capt. Jody White, a Marine, is on a different mission: protecting our nation in Iraq and Afghanistan.
White, who has won numerous medals and honors for his service, will be one of 11 awardees at the 39th annual Armstrong County Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet, set for 5:30 p.m. May 1 at Laube Hall in Freeport.
Leechburg High School has been to the WPIAL softball playoffs 24 years in a row, and a major contributor, Stacy Pastva Legace, will be inducted. Pastva Legace, now a teacher in the Girard School District in Erie County, was undefeated as a pitcher in two regular seasons and led the Alle-Kiski Valley in strikeouts in 1998 as a junior.
Kiski Area High School graduate and Parks Township native Joe Woods recently interviewed with the Steelers to be their defensive backs coach. The Steelers settled on Carnell Lake, but Woods remains with the Minnesota Vikings in the same capacity.
Few local athletes have appeared in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd" feature, but Kittanning's Scott Patterson is one of them. Patterson made it in 1977 after scoring 10 goals in a hockey game; he later played for the Louisville Ice Hawks, a farm club for the Hartford Whalers.
Eugene Yajko helped Leechburg to the 1965 WPIAL football title and was one of the WPIAL's top running backs. After playing linebacker at Pitt, Yajko went into medical administration and currently is chief human resources officer at Laurel Health System in Wellsboro.
Another inductee is Kittanning wrestling great Steven Rood, who was 100-19 with the Wildcats. Later, he was 58-12 at Fairmont State and placed third in the 1976 U.S. Olympic trials. More recently, he has been wrestling and golf coach at Cranberry High School in Venango County.
Former Freeport football standout Andy Crocker received the call to the hall. Crocker helped the Yellowjackets to homefield advantage in the 1991 and '92 WPIAL playoffs and was named to the Associated Press' small-school, all-state second team at offensive line. He later played four scholarship seasons at Duquesne.
Robert Trenchik was part of Ford City's impressive basketball tradition, helping the team to section titles and back-to-back appearances in the 1945 and '46 WPIAL semifinals. He also returned an interception 91 yards to lead Ford City to a victory over Kittanning. He turned down an offer to pitch in the Philadelphia Phillies' farm system, instead enlisting in the Army.
Adam Doverspike, a graduate of the former Shannock Valley High School, lettered in football, basketball and baseball. He once scored 15 touchdowns in a season and later led the basketball team in scoring before going to Clarion University.
Receiving induction in the special awards category are hall founding member John (Spy) Brochetti. A long-time historian for the hall of fame committee, Brochetti served in the Marines at Guantanamo Bay.
The other special awardee is Deidre Shaffer, former basketball and softball coach at Shannock Valley. She is now dean of students at Rosemont College.