Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College athletics department held their annual Hall of Fame brunch, where four past Blazers student-athletes were enshrined into the Hall of Fame at the Maguire Center Sunday afternoon. This year's inductees included Jill Bigos (2009), Tina Fontaine (2004), Jeannette Nunez (2010), and Aswad Thomas (2009).
Jill Bigos was a four-year member of the cross country program and is the current Elms Course school record holder with a time of 20:50, which was set in 2008 at the Blazers Invitational at Chicopee Memorial State Park. She also holds the school record for any 5-kilometer course, which she achieved twice at the Blazers Invitational and the Western New England University Invitational, both in 2008.
As a sophomore in 2006, Bigos finished 15th overall (24:54) at the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Championship and helped guide the Blazers to a fifth place finish as a team. She followed that performance with a tenth place overall finish at the NAC Championship in 2007 with a time of 23:07 and was named Second Team All-NAC. As a senior, Bigos placed second overall with a time of 21:31 at the first-ever New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Championship and was named First Team All-NECC after helping Elms place third as a team.
At the time of induction, Bigos, who garnered the league's first-ever NECC Runner of the Week award, is listed third and seventh on the Elms Course school record list with times of 22:13 and 22:44, respectively, set at the Blazers Invitationals in 2007 and 2006. She is also listed fifth, seventh and tied for eighth on the Elms' School Record list for any 5-kilometer course. She clocked times of 21:31 at the 2008 NECC Championship; 21:41 at the 2008 James Earley Invitational; and a time of 21:50 at the 2008 UMass-Dartmouth Invitational.
Tina Fontaine was a two-sport athlete competing in three season of softball and three season of basketball for the Blazers. On the softball diamond, Fontaine was instrumental in helping the program become the first-ever sport in Elms history to qualify for the NCAA Division III Championships in 2003. Elms finished the 2003 campaign with a 28-7 overall record, which still stands as the highest win total in program history. As a junior, Fontaine was named to the NCAA East Regional All-Tournament team after hitting .400 in the Blazers' games against William Patterson University and Union College in 2003. In 2004, Fontaine was named the NAC Player of the Year and First Team All-NAC after hitting .357 with a team-best 129 at-bats. She tied for the team-high in hits (46) and steals (19), while leading the Blazers in runs (34), and doubles (10).
At the time of induction, Fontaine is listed second on the program's all-time stolen bases list (47); tied for third all-time in doubles with 23; tied for fourth all-time in triples (7); and tied for fifth on the program's all-time home runs and walks list with five and 42, respectively.
On the hardwood, Fontaine competed in her sophomore, junior and senior years, and as a senior in 2003-04, was named Honorable Mention All-NAC. In 76 career games played on the basketball court, Fontaine scored 525 points, totaled 485 rebounds, and notched a stellar 33.6 field goal percentage.
At the time of induction, Fontaine is listed in the program's top 10 for free throws made in a single season (108 in 2003-04), free throws attempted in a single season (152 in 2003-04) and rebounds in a single season (209 in 2003-04). She is alos listed sixth on the program's all-time list with 485 rebounds and fourth in the program's all-time list for rebounds per game (6.4).
Jeannette Nunez becomes the first-ever Women's Volleyball player to be inducted into the Elms Athletics Hall of Fame. A two-year member of the program, Nunez was named the 2007 NAC Player of the Year, First Team All-NAC, and was the NCAA Division III women's volleyball statistical champion for aces per set. She followed her record-setting junior season by being named the NECC Player of the Year and a First Team All-NECC selection following the league's inaugural season in 2008.
At the time of induction, Nunez is listed in the program's records as first all-time in kills per set with 3.69; second all-time in kills with 811; second all-time in service aces with 190; fourth all-time in digs per set with 2.87; and tied for fourth all-time in total blocks with 53. She also holds individual season records in kills (329); kills per set (3.87); aces (127); aces per set (1.49); and individual match records in kills in three sets (20); kills in four sets (28); kills in five sets (26); aces in three sets (13); aces in four sets (13); aces in five sets (11); and digs in four sets (31).
Aswad Thomas was a two-year member of the Blazers Men's Basketball program in 2007-08 and 2008-09, helping Elms to a two-year record of 49-9, which included a 26-2 record in 2008-09, which still stands as the program's highest-ever win total.
As a junior, Thomas helped the Blazers capture their fourth consecutive NAC Champions title and helped lead the Blazers to the program's first-ever, and the school's first-ever, victory in the NCAA Division III Championship play (71-53 win over the University of Scranton). For his efforts, he was named Honorable Mention All-NAC.
Following a tremendous junior campaign, Thomas completed an equally impressive senior season. He was named First Team All-New England Collegiate Conference (NECC), was the NCAA Division III Statistical Champion in steals per game (4.6), ranked seventh nationally in assists (7.2), and helped the Blazers to their best-ever national ranking (12). During the 2008-09 season, the men's basketball team was honored as the NCAA Division III Statistical Champion in steals per game and scoring margin.
At the time of induction, Thomas owns the programs' single-season record for steals (130 in 2008-09) as well as the second place mark (109 in 2007-08); and is listed second and third on the program's single-season assists list with 201 (2008-09) and 168 (2007-08). He is also listed second all-0time in both career steals (239) and assists (369).