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2011-12 Northwestern Athletics Hall of Fame Class Includes Traviolia
Dec. 20, 2011
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern University will induct five former student-athletes into its Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday, Feb. 17, 2012. The Hall of Fame's 28th class also will be honored at halftime of the Northwestern-Minnesota men's basketball game the next evening on Saturday, Feb. 18. The induction ceremony and dinner take place at 6 p.m. at the Allen Center on Northwestern's Evanston campus.
The Athletic Hall of Fame was inaugurated in 1984 to honor former athletes, coaches and administrators who have helped establish a proud tradition in intercollegiate competition at Northwestern. Individuals are eligible for Hall of Fame recognition beginning five years after their final competition at NU.
Earning induction into NU's prestigious Hall this year: Cristelle Grier (women's tennis), Steve Schnur (football), Brad Traviolia (wrestling) and Christy Wicke (women's swimming). Northwestern also is inducting Jon Vegosen (men's tennis), currently chairman of the board and president of the United States Tennis Association, in an honorary capacity. This year's five inductees increase Northwestern's Hall of Fame membership to 150. Following are brief summaries of the inductees' careers with their years of athletic participation (in parentheses):
Brad Traviolia, Wrestling (1987-90) -- Brad Traviolia was an instrumental member of Northwestern's NCAA fourth-place team in 1990, which was the Wildcats' best national finish as a team until it was matched by the 2007 squad. Traviolia won the Big Ten Championship that year in the 167-pound weight class before going on to finish as the NCAA runner-up with a 40-win season. He also was an NCAA qualifier for the 1989 National Championships.
Traviolia finished his career with a 122-30-1 overall record to earn an .801 career winning percentage. He is tied for fifth on Northwestern's career wins list, and is on NU's top 10 single-season wins list with 40 victories in his All-America year of 1990 and 39 in 1989. As a freshman, he was honored with Northwestern's Jack Riley Fall Trophy.
Traviolia currently serves as deputy commissioner of the Big Ten Conference. The Syracuse, Ind., native joined the conference office in 1997.
Cristelle Grier, Women's Tennis (2002-06) -- Cristelle Grier, who played number-one singles for Northwestern's nationally ranked women's tennis team for four consecutive years, is arguably the Wildcats' most successful player, having compiled a school-best 181-38 record. Her 46-1 record in Big Ten Conference play remains the best career singles record in league history.
Along with doubles partner Alexis Prousis, Grier took home the NCAA doubles national championship in 2006, becoming only the second doubles team in program and Big Ten history to claim a national title. She earned doubles All-America honors in three seasons.
As a singles player, Grier was the first student-athlete in NU history to receive All-America accolades four consecutive years. She also became the first player in conference history to be named the Big Ten Player of the Year three times (2004-06). In 2004, Grier finished the year with a 40-5 singles record, setting a then-school record for wins in a season. Grier was named the ITA Midwest Player of the Year in 2006 and was the ITA's 2005 recipient of the Cissie Leary Sportsmanship Award. She also was Northwestern's Big Ten sportsmanship award recipient in 2006.
During her tenure, Northwestern captured Big Ten Conference titles every year and in 2006, the Wildcats advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA National Championships.
Steve Schnur, Football (1993-96) -- Guiding Northwestern to back-to-back Big Ten football championships, Steve Schnur finished his illustrious career with the top winning percentage by an NU quarterback-- 19-8 (.704). He also is the only signal caller in Northwestern history to guide the Wildcats to a pair of Big Ten titles.
Schnur was the consensus (coaches and media) first-team All-Big Ten quarterback in 1996 and a Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award finalist when he guided the Wildcats to their repeat Big Ten championship. He also was one of 10 finalists for the Davey O'Brien national quarterback award. A team co-captain in 1996, Schnur led the Big Ten in passing efficiency and ranked second in total offense. He led the Wildcats to a number of thrilling victories, especially in 1996 when Northwestern earned its "Cardiac Cats" nickname. Schnur was named Northwestern's team MVP as well as its Offensive Team MVP that season.
Schnur remains a fixture in NU's top-10 career lists for passing yardage (5,612, seventh), completions (443, seventh), passing TD's (32, sixth), pass efficiency (121.3, fifth) and total offense (5,542, seventh).
Schnur is also the only quarterback in NU history to lead a team to a pair of New Year's Day bowl games.
Christy Wicke, Women's Swimming (1992-95) -- Christy Wicke is the only swimmer in team history and among a select few in Big Ten history to have captured four consecutive conference championships in a single event (100 butterfly). She finished her career as the most dominant 100 butterflyer in Northwestern history. Her best time in the 100 fly (54.19), set in 1995, stood for 13 years as one of Northwestern's oldest school records until it was broken by Katie Braun in 2008. She also held the school record in the 100 breast for several years after establishing her mark in 1992 and was a member of school record efforts in the 200 and 400 medley relay events.
During her career, Wicke earned at least one All-America honor in each of her four seasons, compiling nine in total to lead Northwestern to three-straight 11th-place national finishes from 1993-95. She also was named a CSCAA Academic All-American, a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a four-time All-Big Ten selection.
Wicke finished her competitive swimming career at the 1996 Olympic Team Trials.
Jon Vegosen, Men's Tennis (1970-73) -- A former varsity team captain and a member of the Big Ten's all-conference squad in 1973, Jon Vegosen has remained a leading tennis advocate for much of his adult life. Currently serving a two-year term as chairman of the board and president of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), his duties also include serving as a member of the Compensation and International Committees as well as representing the USTA on the Grand Slam Committee and the ITF Constitutional Committee.
Jon began working locally in Chicagoland with the Chicago District Tennis Association (CDTA). He served on its Board of Directors for over a decade, including a term as president, and in 2002, was named the CDTA's Volunteer of the Year.
Nationally, Jon was initially named chair of the USTA Collegiate Committee and first vice president of the USTA. In the vice president position, he served on the USTA's Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Master Plan Study Group. He also served as board liaison for the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Advocacy Committee and the Creative Opportunities Task Force.
Jon and his wife, Shari, along with their two sons, Jared and Spencer, were presented with the prestigious Ralph W. Westcott Award in 2004, an honor that recognizes the USTA's Family of the Year.