The Ashland University Hall of Fame Class of 2016 consists of six former Eagle student-athletes who continue to rank as some of the best in their respective program's history.
AU's latest Hall of Fame class includes Nick Cordes (cross country/track and field), Bayard Elfvin (men's soccer), JoJo McRae (men's basketball), Craig Pickering (swimming), Shami Vanhook (track and field) and Julie Weir-Gott (softball). This year's six-person Hall of Fame class spans six different sports.
The annual Ashland University Hall of Fame induction will be Saturday, Oct. 8, at 9:30 a.m., in the Faculty Room at the John C. Myers Convocation Center. Reservations can be made by contacting the AU athletic department at 419-289-5441.
Information on this year's Hall of Fame inductees follows:
Nick Cordes (Cross Country and Track And Field/Class of 2003) – Cordes continues to rank as one of the top distance runners in Ashland history. A three-time cross country All-American, he finished second in the 10K NCAA Division II national meet in Ashland in 2002, crossing the finish line in 30:46.5. Also as a senior, Cordes earned men's Division II Co-Runner of the Year and men's Great Lakes Region Athlete of the Year honors, as well as his second Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men's Runner of the Year award.
In track and field, Cordes was a four-time All-American – twice indoors and twice outdoors. His best nationals finish came indoors in 2003, as he took third in the mile run in 4:04.50. The male national indoor Track Athlete of the Year in 2003 and the GLIAC indoor men's Athlete of the Meet in 2001, Cordes still has Ashland records in the men's indoor mile (4:04.50), men's indoor 5,000-meter run (14:18.48) and men's outdoor 10,000 run (29:30.30).
Cordes also was the head men's and women's cross country coach for the Eagles for five seasons (2005-09).
Bayard Elfvin (Men's Soccer/Class of 2003) – As the men's soccer program continues to prepare for its return to the field in the fall of 2016, Elfvin is the best goalkeeper in its history. Elfvin is the Eagles' all-time leader in career goals-against average (1.23) and career shutouts (14), and is third all-time in career saves (245).
In AU single-season rankings, Elfvin is second (0.96, 2002) and third (1.03, 2001) in GAA, and second in shutouts (six, 1999). His eight goals allowed as a senior in 2002 still is the standard for full-time goalies in program history.
Elfvin's career record as an Eagle was 31-12-2. A second-team All-GLIAC pick in 2000, he was Ashland's goalie for the program's first-ever NCAA Division II postseason appearance in 2001. After graduating from Ashland, Elfvin played soccer professionally both outdoors and indoors.
JoJo McRae (Men's Basketball/Class of 1979) – A guard, McRae was one of the Eagles' top players during the decade of the 1970s. In the 1975-76 season, he led the Eagles in scoring (469 points, 17.4 ppg.), was part of a team which went 20-7 and was a regional runner-up and was named honorable mention Associated Press All-American. McRae also averaged 3.3 rebounds and shot 48.9 percent from the field.
In 1976-77, McRae paced then-Ashland College with 131 assists, as the Eagles went 20-6 and again went to the postseason. He averaged 16.3 points (390 total points) and 4.5 rebounds per game, and shot 46.9 percent from the field and 70.6 percent from the free-throw line.
In both 1975-76 and 1976-77, McRae was a key cog for head coach Joe Gottfried in transforming a team which was 8-16 in 1974-75 into one which eventually made three straight trips to the playoffs.
Craig Pickering (Swimming/Class of 2003) – Perhaps the most decorated swimmer in school history, Pickering was an 18-time NCAA Division II All-American and 17-time GLIAC champion. He placed third in the 400 individual medley at 2002 D-II nationals.
The GLIAC male Swimmer of the Year both as a freshman and a sophomore, Pickering was undefeated in dual meets and conference championships in individual events, and led the team to conference titles, in both seasons. He still has school records in the 1,000-meter freestyle (9:20.88) and 400 individual medley (3:59.10).
Pickering earned second-team Academic All-America honors twice (2002 and 2003), was the AU Male Student-Athlete of the Year in 2003, and was a four-time nominee for the award.
Shami Vanhook (Track And Field/Class of 2006) – One of the top women's sprinters in school history, Vanhook earned 10 All-American honors (five indoors, five outdoors) as an Eagle, including an indoor national title in the 200 dash in 2005 (24.34 seconds).
Vanhook earned four GLIAC postseason awards – indoor women's Athlete of the Meet twice (2004 and 2005) and outdoor women's Athlete of the Meet twice (2004 and 2005).
She continues to boast school records in the indoor 60 dash (7.50), indoor 200 dash (24.19), indoor 4x400 relay (3:44.23), outdoor 100 dash (11.69), outdoor 200 dash (23.68), outdoor 400 dash (53.66) and outdoor 4x400 relay (3:39.13).
Julie Weir-Gott (Softball/Class of 2001) – In a long line of impressive catchers in the history of Ashland softball, Weir-Gott ranks at or near the top. A third-team All-American as a senior, she also was a three-time first-team all-region choice, as well as a second-team all-region selection as a sophomore.
Weir-Gott, a two-time first-team All-GLIAC pick and a two-time second-team All-GLIAC choice, continues to rank among the program's all-time leaders in career games played (213), at-bats (602), hits (202), RBIs (144), doubles (44), home runs (21) and walks (74). She also is tied for the program record in single-game doubles with three.
Weir-Gott also served as an assistant coach for the Eagles from 2001-07.