Super six: Warwick Athletic Hall opens its doors for second class

By on August 12, 2015
Collage of Warwick Hall of Famers

All these years later, Bob Wolfe wasn’t sure how many folks in Lititz still remembered his era.

It’s been more than five decades since the former four-sport star played a leading role in the Warwick football team capturing the Conference crown, and the Warrior basketball and baseball teams both winning Section championships in the 1962-63 school year. He also placed at the County track and field meet.

But his legend stretches a long way.

And Wolfe is getting his due with induction into Warwick’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He received a phone call from Athletic Director Ryan Landis last Friday informing him of the honor.

“When (Ryan) called me, I said the first thing that comes to mind is I can’t imagine that there’s enough people left around that would remember that long ago,” laughed Wolfe, an All-Conference QB in 1962 who earned a four-year athletic scholarship to play football at Colorado State University.

Wolfe was one of five that Landis contacted last week with the good news. Legends in their own right, Jeff Martin, Jerry McDonald, Ganne Way (Watson) and Andrew Wenger will join not only Wolfe in Warwick’s second Athletic Hall of Fame class, but Veterans selection (pre-Warwick High School era) Ray Kreider as well.

From a list of 39 nominees, the Hall of Fame committee pared the candidates down to the top 12 vote-getters. From there, the 2015 Class was selected. A ceremony for the inductees will be held prior to Warwick’s football team hosting Manheim Central in its home opener on Friday, Sept. 4, with festivities getting underway at 5 p.m. at Warwick Middle School. The pre-game reception is open to the public, at a cost of $8, where sandwiches and sides will be available. There will also be a ceremony at halftime of the football game.

“Their resumes speak for themselves,” Landis said. “Part of the process that I like is talking to different people that watched them in their prime or played with them or coached them. They reassure just how special these different individuals were. And when you talk to people, the memories come back, smiles are on their face and they light up when they reminisce. The other thing with this particular group was the range, starting with Ray being back in the 1940’s, then Bob in the 1960’s all the way up through Ganne and Andrew Wenger most recently. It’s quite a range of some of the more successful individuals that Warwick has seen in a variety of sports.”

All living inductees are planning to attend the ceremony, with the exception of Wenger, whose Philadelphia Union team will be playing in San Jose, Calif. on Sept. 5 in Major League Soccer action.

Jeff Martin, shown here wrestling in his final State Tournament as a Warwick senior, ended his illustrious career with two PIAA silver medals and one bronze.

Jeff Martin, shown here wrestling in his final State Tournament as a
Warwick senior, ended his illustrious career with two PIAA silver medals and one bronze.

Jeff Martin

Martin, a 1991 Warwick grad, holds the distinction of being the Warriors’ first wrestler to reach the State finals, finishing his illustrious career with two PIAA silvers and one bronze while compiling a record of 130-11. He also was a four-time Lancaster-Lebanon League and Sectional champ, along with a three-time District Three gold medalist.

Even with all of his accomplishments, however, it’s the camaraderie he had with his teammates that stands out when he reflects back.

“You miss that,” said Martin, currently a 16-year veteran of the State Police. “When you get older and life comes at you … back then you think life is so hard and all you’re doing is sitting in school and you get to play sports. I mean, you’ve got it made. It was always fun being part of a team, and of course, I remember just battling it out with my brother Scott every day in practice and kinda making each other better. Just the friendships you develop, not just in wrestling, but through all sports, I miss that. I certainly appreciate that.”

Martin also played football as a freshman, in addition to playing four years of baseball. But for much of his career, he battled through injuries. In fact, he had two or three knee surgeries by his sophomore year and he had neck surgery after graduating from Warwick. Yet, Martin is humble when talking about those hurdles.

“I was dealing with it,” he said, “but heck, every athlete goes through stuff.”

To go into the Hall of Fame with his former coach Jerry McDonald is a special honor.

“I think it’s pretty neat that I go in alongside him,” said Martin, who was the L-L Wrestler of the Year in 1989-90 and an L-L Wrestling Hall of Fame inductee in 2005. “He was so instrumental in everything I did back then in reaching my goals. And I think it’s well past due for him. I always respected him, I always thought he was a great coach and he certainly belongs in there, I think.”

A resident of Cornwall, he has two sons, 9-year-old Cal and 7-year-old Asher. Martin is hoping that they eventually catch on to the sport in which he enjoyed a Hall of Fame career.

“It’s coming up on 25 years, I was surprised to hear from (Landis),” he said. “I’m just very humbled and it’s an honor. There have been a lot of great athletes to come through Warwick.”

Long-time Warwick wrestling coach Jerry McDonald guided his teams to 13 Section championships and two District Three crowns while compiling an impressive 318-75-2 record over his 27-year career.

Long-time Warwick wrestling coach Jerry McDonald guided his teams to 13 Section championships and
two District Three crowns while compiling an impressive 318-75-2 record over his 27-year career.

Jerry McDonald

There have been a lot of great coaches at Warwick too, and McDonald certainly ranks among the best of them. In 27 years at the helm of the Warrior wrestling program, spanning from 1975-76 through 2002-03, he compiled a record of 318-75-2. Along the way, he coached 64 Sectional champs, 19 District champs, 20 State medal-winners and three State finalists in Jeff Martin (1988 and 1990) and Kyle Narkiewicz (2003).

“Really, I just remember what great kids I had over the years,” said McDonald, who recently stepped down after coaching Warwick’s junior high wrestling team from 2010-11 through 2014-15. “Plus, the parents have been so supportive over the years. And the administration and the athletic directors that I’ve had over the years, everyone’s been so supportive.”

Of course, many of those kids wrestled during a golden era in the program’s history when the Warriors won 10 straight Section crowns from 1975-76 to 1984-85. That was during a time when the L-L League was set up in a two-Section format.

“It was a great time,” said McDonald, whose teams won 13 total Section crowns and District titles in 1981 and 1997. “It really was a very exciting time in those years.”

He brought impressive credentials with him to Warwick, having earned a State bronze at Morris Hill (N.J.) and then capturing a PSAC gold medal at 145 while wrestling at East Stroudsburg University.

In his time on the bench with the Warriors, he was a multiple-time Coach of the Year and he received District Three Triple-A Coach of the Year accolades in 1980-81.

The phone call he received from Landis last Friday added to what was already a special day for McDonald.

“It’s funny how it worked out &tstr; it was my (69th) birthday,” he said. “I told (Ryan), ‘Thanks for the birthday gift.’”

It was also a gift to coach a wrestler the caliber of Jeff Martin, and he is thrilled to enter the Warwick Hall with his former star pupil.

“I had so many good wrestlers and he was certainly outstanding,” said McDonald, who was inducted into the L-L Hall of Fame in 2005. “I mean, I’m really, really happy that someone I was able to coach is going in at the same time. I’m sure there will be other wrestlers that will go in there too in the future. But it’s exciting going in with Jeff.”

Ganne Way is shown on the medal podium at Shippensburg University  with her PIAA State gold after winning the girls Triple-A 800-meter run  in a school-record time of 2:10.31 in her final high school race in 2003

Ganne Way is shown on the medal podium at Shippensburg University
with her PIAA State gold after winning the girls Triple-A 800-meter run
in a school-record time of 2:10.31 in her final high school race in 2003

Ganne Way

Way, a 2003 Warwick grad, provided Warwick track and field fans with a charge of excitement in 2003 when she won the PIAA State Triple-A gold medal in the 800 at Shippensburg University in a school-record time of 2:10.31. It’s her No. 1 highlight from a high school career which earned her an athletic scholarship to the University of Kentucky.

“I still get tingles about it because it was just like the culmination of a career,” Way said. “I was never as nervous for a race than I was for that State final race. You’re talking NCAA Championship races, trying to get qualifying times for Olympic Trials, USA Championship races, and I think it was because it was my senior year. It was my last shot, coming in as the first seed &tstr; it was really my race to lose, if you think of it like that. And I wanted to do it for me, but I also really wanted to do it for my coach, Ed Nixdorf, and my parents (George and Pam), who had always been there. So it was a lot of pressure.”

Throughout her career at Warwick, Way, the 2003 Grosh Scholarship winner, had plenty of other great memories also. Such as competing on the 4×400 relay that broke the school record in 2002. And winning State gold with the Warwick field hockey team as a sophomore, the program’s third-ever PIAA championship.

Her accomplishments with the Lady Warriors were a precursor to a tremendous collegiate career, in which she was a three-time NCAA qualifier, an All-Region and All-SEC selection and an SEC champ in 2006 while running the anchor leg for Kentucky’s distance medley relay. In that race, she outkicked a University of Florida runner to the finish on the Gators’ home turf.

“It was pretty exciting,” she said.

Coincidentally, Ganne now resides in Gainesville, Fla. with her husband Luke and their soon-to-be 2-year-old Declan. Luke is an assistant professor at the University of Florida in the school of accounting, while Ganne is an academic advisor at the school.

She’s expecting the couple’s second child in November. Before that, however, Ganne is looking forward to returning to Lititz on Sept. 4 for the Hall of Fame ceremony.

“It was really an exciting phone call from Ryan. Just so appreciative. Obviously, I was really excited,” said Way, who also was a two-time qualifier for the USA Championships while running professionally for Brooks. “I really like what he’s doing with Warwick athletics. The recognition of athletic alumni who have represented Warwick at the highest possible level, that is something that real athletic programs do and I emphasize the word ‘program.’ In this role as the new AD, that leadership is already showing. There’s so many good athletes that have come out of Warwick in so many sports that to be in the second class is awesome.”

Andrew Wenger, the PA State Player of the Year as a senior and a two-time Adidas High School All-American at Warwick, challenges a Manheim Township player for the ball in his final season playing for the Warriors.

Andrew Wenger, the PA State Player of the Year as a senior and a two-time Adidas High School All-American
at Warwick, challenges a Manheim Township player for the ball in his final season playing for the Warriors.

Andrew Wenger

“Awesome” is one word to describe the soccer career of Andrew Wenger, who was a freshman when Warwick won the PIAA State Triple-A crown in 2005. In addition to being named the PA State Player of the Year as a senior, he was a two-time Adidas High School All-American and received All-State honors in his junior and senior campaigns with the Warriors.

The 2009 Warwick grad described his reaction as one of surprise when Landis called with the news about the Hall of Fame.

“I just didn’t expect that call. I felt honored,” said Wenger, who was also named to the U-17 U.S. National Team in 2007 and the U-20 U.S. National Squad in 2008. “It’s a pretty cool thing that they started that. There’s some pretty remarkable people that were inducted into the Hall of Fame last year and I’m sure will be in the future, so I’m honored to be in that group.”

Reflecting on his playing days at Warwick, winning PIAA gold is naturally one memory that stands out.

“That was probably the highlight of my high school career,” he remarked, “and unfortunately I guess, it came at the beginning, but it’s better to have it than not at all. But other than that, I just played with a lot of great people. I enjoyed playing with them and playing for coach (Dale) Stoltzfus those four years and we had a lot of fun. It didn’t always go perfectly on the field, but I think we still found some success the remaining three years (after winning PIAA gold). And it was an exciting experience.”

The excitement continued at Duke University, where he started every game and was named the winner of the Herman Award in 2011, presented to the top Division-One soccer player in the nation. He tied the single-season record for most goals scored while playing with the Blue Devils, and he was an NSCAA All-America First-Team selection in 2010 and 2011. Wenger earned ACC Freshman of the Year accolades in 2009, ACC Defensive Players of the Year recognition in 2010, ACC Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2011 and All-Conference First-Team accolades from 2009-11.

At the conclusion of his career at Duke, Wenger was selected first overall by the Montreal Impact in the MLS Draft in 2012. Currently, he is a forward with the Philadelphia Union.

With the Union playing in San Jose, Calif. on Saturday, Sept. 5, he will be unable to attend Warwick’s Hall of Fame ceremony. Asked what he might have included in his speech, Wenger said, “I may be able to give a speech electronically, I don’t know yet. But I would probably just reminisce a bit about some of the people I played with and some of the experiences that we shared.”

Wenger, though, is expecting to be in Lititz on Oct. 13 when the Warrior soccer team hosts McCaskey. That night, they are bringing back members of Warwick’s State championship team for a 10th-anniversary reunion.

“That will be a cool experience to see everyone again,” he said.

in 1962, Bob Wolfe accepted a scholarship to play football at Colorado State University, where he received All-America Honorable Mention following his senior season with the Rams.

After earning All-Conference QB recognition at Warwick High School
in 1962, Bob Wolfe accepted a scholarship to play football at Colorado State University, where he received All-America Honorable Mention following his senior season with the Rams.

Bob Wolfe

It no doubt was a cool experience to watch Wolfe work his magic during is playing days with the Warriors in the 1960’s. He was an All-Conference QB in 1962 and captain of the squad which won the Conference of the Roses title. He also was a guard/forward for the basketball team and a shortstop for the Warrior baseball team, winning the batting title in 1963 and finishing runner-up as a junior. Then in the summer after he graduated from high school, Wolfe led the Lancaster County American Legion League in batting.

“(Basketball) probably was not my best game,” said Wolfe, a 1963 Warwick grad. “My best game was baseball and football. But I did well and I was always glad to be part of the team and help us win … I was fortunate that at a certain given time and place, I happened to be there and was surrounded by a lot of other great athletes and it was a fun time in my life.”

With the Colorado State Rams, Wolfe handled kickoff and place-kicking duties (field goals and extra-points) in his sophomore and junior years. He started at QB in the second half of junior season and then was under center again as a senior, directing the Rams’ Delaware Wing-T.

He also played first base on the Colorado State baseball team.

When his football career was finished at CSU, he earned All-American Honorable Mention.

“That’s probably one of the things I was most proud of that a little kid from Lititz, Pennsylvania went to &tstr; not a big school, but to a great level-one school &tstr; and played well enough that someone thought enough of me to give me All-America Honorable Mention,” Wolfe said. “I’ve always been very proud of that. And to be perfectly honest with you, receiving this (Hall of Fame) honor is something that ranks right up there with it. It’s very humbling … I do plan to attend (the ceremony) and hopefully I’ll run into some people that I haven’t seen in a long time. It’s always a good time when I run into those people.”

Read more on Wolfe in the Aug. 20 issue of the Lititz Record Express in a “Where Are They Now” feature.

Ray Kreider

A three-sport star in football, baseball and basketball from 9th through 12th grades, Ray Kreider (Class of 1946) attracted interest from several major college football teams, including Ohio State University, but accepted a full scholarship to play on the gridiron at Gettysburg College.

Kreider, a captain for the football and basketball teams, received the Lancaster County Player of the Year Award in 1946. Teammate John Hanna, of Lititz, said, “No one was a better passer, punter, or kicker than Ray.”

He also recalled Kreider thanking players who blocked for him when he was given the ball to run. While Kreider did most of his damage as a running back, he also had the opportunity to pass the ball on many occasions. His name is on the Lancaster Barnstormers’ monument plaque for the Lancaster County Chapter of the Hall of Fame baseball players listed from that era. According to his brother, Ellie Kreider, he was able to play every position in baseball. Kreider passed away in 1996.

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