Benisch Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2017
By Craig Epstein| Published April 6, 2017
On Thursday, April 20, 2017, seven new members will be inducted into the Benisch Athletic Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017.
Inductees include Melissa Beyruti, Pascal Clerigo, Johanna Hedler, Ebony Jackson, Melissa Nunez, Perry Schatzow and Jay Sgaramella. They will be among 124 other members of the Kean University Benisch Athletic Hall of Fame.
Melissa Beyruti Kean’s all-time leading scorer in women’s basketball. She was also a three-time MVP and the recipient of two D’Angola Awards. By the time she retired, she was the NCAA’s all-time leader in both three-pointers and games played.
Her skill, among a number of other factors, propelled the Kean women’s basketball team to three NJAC titles and three NCAA Elite 8 appearances. She was also a three-time WBCA All-American, two-time D3Hoops.com All-American and is mentioned in the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Record Book seven times.
Pascal Clerigo played an important role in the 1992 Kean men’s soccer national-title-winning team. This was the first national championship that Kean had won in any sport. He was also a three-time all-region selection by the NSCAA and all All-NJCA in each of his four years.
In all of her four years, Johanna Hedler received all-conference recognition for her performance as shortstop for the Kean softball team. She also retired as Kean’s all-time leader in runs scored and was a part of the Cougars’ first NCAA berth in 13 years in 2008. Not only was she a superstar on the field, but off the field as well. Helder was twice named Kean’s Scholar-Athlete of the year and earned two degrees from the University.
Ebony Jackson is yet another Kean women’s basketball standout. She ranks 20th in assists in Division III basketball history, owning 639 (a program record). She also retired with the fifth most points in program history (1,250). She was named an honorable mention by both the WBCA and D3hoops.com. This type of play led the Cougars to to two NJAC titles and two Elite 8 appearances.
Melissa Nunez not only succeeded in women’s lacrosse, but field hockey as well. In women’s lacrosse, she was named team MVP in 2005 and is one of only two Kean athletes to ever earn All-ECAC honors. When it came to field hockey, she was twice named team MVP.
Perry Schatzow was awarded the Rawlings Gold Glove for his defense during Kean’s 2007 National Championship run. Not only that, but he knocked in the game-winning run in extra innings to give the program its first NCAA title. He was also a two-time all-region selection.
For his first three years, Jay Sgaramella led the Kean University football team as its starting quarterback. He was a two-year captain and retired with what was then the school-record for completed passes. He also finished second in both passing yards and yards from scrimmage. For his final year, he selflessly switched his position.
Perry and Sgaramella are currently staff members in the Kean University Department of Athletics and Recreation. Perry is the Night/Weekend Supervisor for Intramurals & Recreation while Sgaramella is the Assistant Director of Recreation, Intramurals, Facilities & Event Management.
“This is a huge honor for me to be inducted into the Kean Athletics Hall of Fame,” Sgaramella said, “not only for myself but for my teammates who I played alongside because without their help this would not have been possible.”
He provided a message for any athlete who aspires to play at the collegiate level.
“I would just tell them to continue to work as hard as they can and chase that dream of playing in college,” Sgaramella said. “Listen to their coaches and mentors and work at their craft to help make them the best athlete they can be.”
The 2017 Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Thursday, April 20, 2017 and begin at 6 p.m in the North Avenue Academic Building. For more information, or to purchase tickets, which are $40, contact the Kean Director of Athletics Jack McKiernan at (908)737-0604 or firstname.lastname@example.org.