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ABAC Athletics Hall of Fame Announces 2017 Inductees

February 24, 2017

Seven individuals and one team will be inducted into the Class of 2017 of the Athletics Hall of Fame on April 7 at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

ABAC Athletics Director Alan Kramer said the 2017 class includes the 1964 state championship men’s basketball team, tennis player Luiza Biktyakova, softball standout Lacy Whatley, soccer star Katrina Duncan-Marshalleck, men’s basketball player Worth Hartry, golfer Joey Dixon, Tift County Recreation Department Director Craig Sowell, and the posthumous induction of Alton Hudgins, a former ABAC volleyball coach, women’s tennis coach, and intramural director.

“It’s our 10th year for the Hall of Fame, and I believe it’s one of our best groups ever,” Kramer said.  “That 1964 team of Coach Benny Dees has always been a team that people continue to talk about.  And some of these individual athletes just had unbelievable careers.”

Tickets to the 6 p.m. dinner and ceremony in Gressette Gymnasium are $35 per person.  The event also includes top award winners from the ABAC Alumni Association as a part of the 2017 Homecoming Week activities.

Tickets can be purchased from the ABAC College Advancement Office at (229) 391-4900. The deadline to purchase tickets is March 27.  There will be no tickets sold at the event. For more information on the 2017 Homecoming Week, interested persons can visit the web site at www.abac.edu/homecoming.

Led by Tommy Dial, the Golden Stallions of Coach Benny Dees stormed to the 1964 state basketball championship in Statesboro.  Dial was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, and Gwendell McSwain and Jimmy Scearce were named to the All-Tournament team.  Cook Holliday and Jake Popham were also key contributors.

Biktyakova won the national championship at #2 singles for the 2001 ABAC women’s tennis team.  She also teamed with Natalie Drabova to win the national title at #1 doubles in 2001.  Biktyakova became the first ABAC female tennis player to win the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Small College Tournament in Dallas in October of 2001.

Duncan-Marshalleck scored 26 goals to set the record for most goals in a season at that time for the ABAC soccer team in 2008.  She added 23 goals to that total in 2009 to finish her ABAC career with a then school record 49 goals.

Whatley was a National Junior College Athletics Association First Team All-America selection in 1991 and 1992 when she led the ABAC softball team to the national championship in 1991 and to a second place finish in the national tournament in 1992.  She compiled a .486 batting average in 1992 to lead the Fillies to a school record 53 wins.

Hartry averaged 23.1 points and 18.6 rebounds for the ABAC basketball team during the 1972-73 season.  The Golden Stallions of Coach Lowell Mulkey recorded an 18-14 overall record and lost in the first round of the national tournament.  Hartry was named the Most Valuable Player for the team during both his freshman and sophomore seasons.

Dixon was selected for first team All-America status in 1984 and 1985.  He finished 10th in the individual competition in the 1984 national golf tournament when the Stallions of Coach Wayne Cooper wound up fourth in the nation. ABAC won the state title both years that Dixon played.  The Stallions were eighth in the national tournament in 1985.

Sowell is a 1982 ABAC graduate who has been the director of the Tift County Recreation Department since 1993.  Under Sowell’s leadership, Tifton plays host to thousands of visitors each year for various recreation department tournaments and events.  Thanks to Sowell and his staff, ABAC was able to play its first season of intercollegiate soccer on a recreation department field.

Hudgins joined the ABAC staff on July 1, 1993 as the intramural director.  He also coached ABAC’s only intercollegiate volleyball team for four years from 1995-98.  The Fillies won the state championship in 1998.  Hudgins coached the ABAC women’s tennis team for four years from 2002-05.  The Fillies won the state championship each year.  Hudgins passed away on Nov. 16, 2012.
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