The 38th Hall of Fame class will be inducted at a dinner ceremony on Friday, Oct. 21 as part of Homecoming Weekend festivities. The new Hall of Famers will also be re-introduced at halftime of the Bucknell-Lafayette football game on Saturday, Oct. 22.
The Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame was established in 1979 to honor the very best in the history of Bison athletics. This year’s induction brings to 251 the number of outstanding student-athletes, coaches, administrators and friends of Bucknell whose contributions are forever preserved in the Hall of Fame.
MEGHAN FREESE ’04 is one of the finest sprint freestylers in the history of the Bucknell women’s swimming program. After 12 years in the books, Freese smashed fellow Hall-of-Famer Margaret Grunow’s school records in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events. Freese also graduated ranked No. 2 all-time in the 100 backstroke, and she helped break three more Bucknell records in relays.
A three-time All-Patriot League performer, Freese turned in one of the best Patriot League Championship meets in league history in 2003, when she swept the 50 and 100 freestyles and also won gold medals with three different relays while helping Bucknell to the team title in the very first championship meet ever held in the brand-new Kinney Natatorium. That would be the first of four straight Patriot League crowns for the Bison women’s swimming team.
Freese won three straight Patriot League titles in the 50 free, and she captured the 100 free in 2003 and 2004. She capped off her career by winning the Christy Mathewson Award as the top athlete in her class at Bucknell.
JAMES HEIZMAN ’96 placed 13th in the hammer throw at the 1996 NCAA Track and Field Championships, making him Bucknell’s first All-American in that sport in 14 years. Heizman shattered the school record in the hammer with a toss of 209 feet, 3 inches, a mark that would remain in the books for 17 more years.
Heizman earned a Patriot League gold medal in the discus throw during his senior year, and he also graduated with the school record in the indoor 35-point weight throw.
Heizman continued to compete in following graduation, and he placed fifth in the hammer throw at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials in Sacramento, California. His throw of 229-8 was about eight feet shy of a top-three finish, which would have sent him to the Olympics in Athens, Greece.
RON HESS ’00 was an outstanding distance runner who won Patriot League Male Performer of the Meet honors three times during his career – at the indoor and outdoor championships in 1998-99 and at the outdoor meet in 2000. He was a two-time All-Patriot League performer in cross country, helping the Bison to team titles in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Hess finished fourth at the league championship race in 1997 and 1998, and after battling mono for half the season in 1999, he finished 20th.
Hess captured four Patriot League indoor titles, including three in the mile (1998-2000) and one in the 1000-meter run in 1999. He added two more Patriot League outdoor titles, winning the 800 meters in 1999 and 2000.
Hess’ name litters Bucknell’s all-time top-10 lists both indoors and outdoors, and he was also a two-time Academic All-American (1999 and 2000) and five-time Patriot League Scholar-Athlete selection during his career (three times for indoor track and twice for outdoor track). Hess received the league’s highest academic honor when he was tabbed Patriot League Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year for all sports in 1999-00. He was a member of Patriot League 25th Anniversary Team and the Patriot League All-Decade Team for track & field.
WILLIE HILL ’98 was the Most Valuable Player on the record-setting 1997 Bison football team that finished 10-1. That year, he earned Associated Press Second Team FCS All-America honors after posting 133 tackles, sixth-most in team history. Also an American Football Coaches Association All-American in 1997, Hill finished his career with 317 tackles, six sacks and two interceptions.
Hill played outside linebacker for three seasons, and then moved to inside linebacker as a senior to replace graduated All-American Brandon Little. Hill started all 33 games over his final three seasons and was a key part of coach Tom Gadd’s vaunted defenses. The Bison led the Patriot League in total defense in all three of his seasons as a starter, and the team captured the 1996 Patriot League championship before breaking the school victory record a year later. Hill captured the Christy Mathewson Award before graduating in 1998.
TONY PAXTON ’81 began his water polo career at the University of Michigan, but he transferred to Bucknell after the Wolverines discontinued their program. Paxton then became a three-year starting goalie for the Bison, leading the team to three straight Eastern championships from 1978-80. Those teams also placed sixth, fifth and seventh, respectively, at the NCAA Championships and had a combined overall record of 86-10-3. The 1980 team set a school record with 31 wins, and the 1978 squad won a record 21 games in a row.
Paxton backstopped a terrific defense, and he holds Bucknell season (.657) and career (.633) save percentage records. He also graduated as the team record-holder in career saves (833), despite playing only three years. His school record stood for 21 years before being broken in 2001. Paxton was named to the All-East First Team in 1978, 1979 and 1980, and he was an honorable mention AAU All-American in 1980.
VICKI QUIMBY NIGRINI ’02 is one of the finest post players in Bucknell women’s basketball history. She was a four-time All-Patriot League selection, twice earning First Team honors. As a senior in 2002, Quimby captained Bucknell’s first-ever NCAA Tournament Team.
Quimby led the Bison in rebounding three times and graduated as Bucknell’s all-time leading rebounder (902, which today ranks second to Hope Foster). Quimby also graduated with 1,570 career points, which ranked No. 2 at the time and is fourth today, and she also ranks fourth in steals (231), fourth in free throws made (380) and attempted (585) and fifth in scoring average (13.5). Last year, she earned a spot on the Patriot League 25th Anniversary Team.