Five welcomed into Warwick’s Hall

By on September 12, 2018
Former Warwick star Craig Wagaman (44), shown firing up a jump shot, grabbed 24 rebounds to help the Warrior boys basketball team defeat Donegal 67-53 at the Farm Show Arena for the Lancaster County title in 1969.

Former Warwick star Craig Wagaman (44), shown firing up a jump shot, grabbed 24 rebounds to help the Warrior boys basketball team defeat Donegal 67-53 at the Farm Show Arena for the Lancaster County title in 1969.

Induction ceremony for Class of 2018 set for Friday

Recalling his track and field career back in the 1960’s, Craig Wagaman could only laugh.

“There was nothing there,” said the 1969 Warwick High School grad, who competed in the low and high hurdles, in addition to the triple jump. “It was something to do in the spring to stay active.”

As for his basketball career?

That was a different story.

His opponents were doing anything but laughing trying to match up with the 6-foot-5 center.

In fact, Wagaman pulled down an unprecedented 24 rebounds while helping the Warriors knock off the Ken Keener-coached Donegal Indians 67-53 for the County title at the Farm Show Arena in 1969.

“Keener (who later had a successful stint coaching at Warwick) went on with his team and won District Three,” Wagaman said, “so that was a very talented team.”

Wagaman was talented not only as a player, but also as a Warwick varsity girls hoops coach and junior high boys coach for a combined 34 years.

And his exploits earned him a spot in the Warwick Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2018, along with Matt Becker, Emily Cameron, Alyssa Manley, and Shelby Pontz-Bowman.

The induction ceremony will be held this Friday, Sept. 14 prior to the Warwick football team hosting Hempfield. A pre-game reception is open to the public, at a cost of $5, where food will be available. Doors will open shortly before 5 p.m. For anyone interested in attending the reception, please email Warwick Athletic Director Ryan Landis at rlandis@warwicksd.org. There will also be a ceremony at halftime of the football game.

From a list of 37 nominees, the HOF committee pared the candidates down to the top 10 vote-getters. From there, the 2018 Class was selected.

Matt Becker

A 1997 graduate of Warwick, Becker was taken back to a lot of fond memories from his high school days when he received the phone call from Athletic Director Ryan Landis informing him of the Hall of Fame selection.

“I was really excited,” said Becker, who coaches fourth-grade at Fulton Elementary in the Ephrata School District and serves as an assistant on the Mounts’ baseball team. “It’s hard to believe I’ve been out of high school as long as I have been. No matter how old I get, I always think about different things — big games and things like that when I can relate it to coaching or something else that’s going on. It was real cool. It was very much appreciated.”

One of those big games in which Becker competed was the District Three Triple-A championship baseball game in his junior year, when the Warriors suffered an 8-7 loss in 12 innings to Chambersburg. In that game, the Warriors — who were coached by his father, Tom — overcame an early 6-0 deficit, and then in the bottom of the ninth with the score tied 6-all, Becker nearly stole home to win the game, but was tagged out on a close play.

“Actually, my dad and I talk about that all the time,” said Becker, who is the school-record holder in stolen bases and still holds the single-season record for hits. “We both agree, I think we surprised the umpire. I still to this day believe that I was safe.”

From Warwick, Becker went on to play baseball on a scholarship at Millersville University. He played the majority of his games at second base for the Marauders, but he started at three different infield positions during his career there, helping MU advance to the NCAA Division-Two World Series as a freshman and then to the Regional championship game as a junior.

“Up until Jon Sheehan took over (as MU coach) and they started being pretty successful, we pretty much held all the records,” Becker, 39, said. “We had a really good team.”

It wasn’t just on the baseball diamond where he excelled, however. Becker also started at QB for the Warrior football and reached the 1,000-point milestone for the WHS boys basketball team. He still ranks third on the Warriors’ all-time scoring list with 1,127 points.

“One of the things I always remember is I knew I was probably never going to play football in college and I really wasn’t sure if I was going to play basketball or baseball,” he recalled. “But I would never give up any of the memories I have. I can’t even imagine sitting down and thinking to myself, ‘OK, I’m just going to pick one of these to do. Which one am I going to focus on?’ It’s hard to put into words how much I appreciated and how much I looked forward to the next sport.”

Warwick’s Emily Cameron, swims the breaststroke leg of the 200 yard IM, at the PIAA class AAA Swimming and Diving Championships at Bucknell University Wednesday March 17, 2010.
CHRIS KNIGHT, The Patriot-News

Emily Cameron

The 2013 Warwick grad was a seven-time State champion while becoming the L-L League’s most decorated swimmer. But when Cameron looks back on her Warwick days, the 2010 PIAA Swimmer of the Year talks about the relationships that she developed during her career.

“Definitely the times in the pool and at States and just spending time with people at those meets (are my favorite memories),” said Cameron, who also competed for two years in cross country at Warwick High School. “The relationships I made that still carry on to this day were probably the biggest things I’m thankful for.”

She described her emotions about being inducted into the Warwick Hall as “extremely honored.”

“I think my cheeks actually got a little red when I got the email (from Landis),” she said. “I’ve been thinking about Warwick, reflecting back on just how fast time has flown by, and when I got that email, it was a pretty cool feeling.”

It also had to be a cool feeling putting together her impressive list of accomplishments, which included breaking three State records. She deflected praise to the many who supported her.

“Looking back, it’s the classic thing of, it takes a village,” Cameron said. “It wasn’t just me that put the work in. It was the early hours that my parents (Paul and Lisa) would drive me to swim practice from the ages of 8 to 16, and it’s the coaches that believed in me along the way. It’s (Warwick head swim coach) Mark (Daum), it’s (assistant) Ric (Joline), it’s (State medalist) Dain (Bomberger). It’s all those people that really help to make the experience what it was.”

Following Warwick, she went to the University of Georgia on a swimming scholarship and won two NCAA Division-One championships with the Lady Bulldogs. During that time period, she also competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Nowadays, Cameron is still residing in the Athens, Ga. area, where she has turned her focus toward competing in triathlons. Later this month, on Sunday, Sept. 23, she will tackle the Augusta 70.3 Half-Ironman.

“It’s great, it’s a lot of hard work,” Cameron said. “I think the joy that I get from it comes from the races and seeing people and again creating those relationships because that’s what drives you in life and I think that motivation is what I need to get me through the hard training days.”

Alyssa Manley

A 2012 grad, Manley is currently playing with the U.S. Women’s National Field Hockey Team and became Warwick’s first-ever Olympian when she competed at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

But prior to that, in the fall of 2011, she helped to lead Warwick to the L-L League title and a trip to the PIAA State finals against Hempfield, where they suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 OT loss.

“It was definitely disappointing that we lost,” Manley recalled, “but it was really cool being able to play another L-L team. I remember it being a good game and it was very back-and-forth. I’ve played with girls that were on that Hempfield team too, so it was just cool.”

At season’s end, Manley, a center mid-fielder, took home First-Team All-State, All-Region and All-American honors.

But the thoughts of playing for coach Bob Derr and with a close group of teammates are her fondest memories from her high school field hockey career.

“I think being able to go out on the field and learn every day from coach Derr was just so great and being able to play with such great girls — it was just always so much fun,” said Manley, who also played lacrosse at Warwick. “It was hard work, but it was a lot of fun.”

The fun times didn’t end there. She went on to Syracuse University, where she helped the Orange win the NCAA Division-One field hockey crown with a 4-2 win over UNC in 2015.

“That was the highlight of my career at Syracuse,” said Manley, a Third-Team All-American as a sophomore and then a two-time First-Team selection in her junior and senior campaigns. “I couldn’t be more proud of the team that I played with and the girls I played with.”

Since 2015, she has been playing with the U.S. National Team, having won a gold at the Pan-Am Games that same year with the Americans.

Due to playing in the Four Nations International Tournament from Sept. 12-16, Manley will miss Warwick’s Hall of Fame ceremony. But she described it as an honor when she got the news from Warwick Athletic Director Ryan Landis.

“I was surprised,” Manley said. “One, I didn’t know when (the HOF selections) came out and it was just kind of a shock that I was inducted in. It’s a real honor to go into the Warwick Athletic Hall of Fame with all the amazing athletes that have come out of there.”

Shelby Pontz Bowman

Bowman was a three-sport star in field hockey, girls basketball and tennis prior to graduating from Warwick in 1969.

“I was honored and happy to be remembered almost 50 years later,” she said of her Hall of Fame selection.

Teamwork and sportsmanship were two of the biggest values she learned while playing athletics at Warwick in the late-60s.

“Although we only had three sports for girls in those ‘old’ days, we had excellent coaching and great support from the school, parents and town people,” Bowman recalled. “I was always proud to say I went to Warwick.”

Bowman and her teammates certainly experienced that support when the Lady Warriors won the Lancaster County field hockey Championship in her junior year, and the Lancaster County basketball title in her senior season.

Those still rank as two of her proudest memories from her Warwick days.

“You have to understand that there were two leagues and the winner of each league played for the County Championship — that was it,” said Bowman, who averaged two goals per game and was named All-League as arguably the league’s best field hockey player. “No moving on, or anything like today with District and State Championships. All my friends played field hockey and quite a few of the same athletes played basketball as well. Winning the singles championship in tennis my senior year was also a proud moment.”

After graduating from Warwick, Bowman played at West Chester, where she was a three-time All-College player and was named to the USA Team, for whom she competed from 1970-74, including a trip to the World Championships in New Zealand in 1971. She went on to become the head field hockey coach at Cornell for 20 years, in addition to serving as an assistant for the lacrosse team.

In basketball, she was named All-League while leading Warwick and Lancaster County in scoring.

Asked about her favorite memories, Bowman said, “Enjoying the camaraderie of my teammates. We had a lot of fun playing for Warwick. Mowing the field hockey field one Sunday was something I would never forget. They would never mow it short enough, so we did it ourselves. It did not go over very well with the administration, but it was nice and short.”

Former Warwick star Craig Wagaman (44), shown firing up a jump shot, grabbed 24 rebounds to help the Warrior boys basketball team defeat Donegal 67-53 at the Farm Show Arena for the Lancaster County title in 1969.

Former Warwick star Craig Wagaman (44), shown firing up a jump shot, grabbed 24 rebounds to help the Warrior boys basketball team defeat Donegal 67-53 at the Farm Show Arena for the Lancaster County title in 1969.

Craig Wagaman

Describing his reaction upon hearing that he was elected to the Warwick Hall, Wagaman said it was one of surprise.

“I had mixed emotions. I certainly don’t like to toot my own horn or anything like that,” Wagaman said, “but I certainly appreciate whoever nominated me and the committee voting on me as one of the five. So I was pleased with it.”

Warwick fans were certainly pleased with the season that Wagaman and his basketball teammates had during the 1968-69 season, who improved to 19-1 with their County-clinching win over Donegal before losing to Daniel Boone in Districts.

“We had a very good team,” Wagaman recalled. “We had a number of starters that were very good at scoring. I wasn’t one of the big offensive scoring people. My job was more or less to rebound and play solid defense.

“I was 6-foot-5 at the time. Actually, I was sorta on the thin side at that time, like 185, 190 pounds. So nothing like I am today,” he laughed.

From Warwick, he went on to play hoops at Millersville University during the era when freshman weren’t permitted to play varsity. In his senior year, he was a co-captain for the Marauders.

“Dick DeHart was the coach. We were NAIA at that time,” Wagaman said, “and we went 21-5 my senior year and won the NAIA District 19.”

Not long after graduating from MU, he took over as the head coach for the Warwick girls basketball program, starting a 17-year tenure which lasted from 1978-95. During that time, his Lady Warriors went 22-3 in 1982-83 and won the Section title while setting the record for most wins in school history. That stood for eight years until Wagaman led the Warwick girls to a 24-2 record in 1990-91. Along the way, they won the Section and L-L titles.

“I don’t care which year, whether it was the L-L championship, the Section championship, or the year we went .500,” said Wagaman, who also worked as a teacher at Lititz El for 35 years, “I was very blessed and very fortunate that all the players, no matter what their talent level was, gave me 100 percent and played as hard as they could. Obviously, those teams that won the championships had a little more talent overall from top to bottom, But all those teams were special.”

After taking a break from coaching when he and his wife, Lee Anne, started a family, Wagaman returned to the coaching ranks to mentor Warwick’s junior high boys for 17 years, first with the eighth-graders before moving up to the freshmen team.

“It was an enjoyable time, both as a student and an athlete at Warwick,” he said. “I was fortunate to play under excellent coaches who were not just concerned with winning, but developing the players because most of them were teachers. And I probably really enjoyed the coaching aspect more than as a player because coaching is an extension of teaching in the classroom. And again the players — whether they were the varsity girls or junior high boys — and the relationships you develop with the players and the coaches I worked with, there were just a lot of fun memories.”

 

About

One Comment

  1. Jeremy Sommers

    September 12, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    Matt, you were safe! I was taking my lead on 1st and started to run in to celebrate a district title when I saw the catcher miss the tag. Congrats on the Hall of Fame.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *