Harvard Varsity Club Inducts 14 Members into Hall of Fame

Harvard Varsity Club Inducts 14 Members into Hall of Fame

Harvard inducted 14 new members to the Varsity Club Hall of Fame May 3 (David Silverman). 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – 14 former Harvard student-athletes were inducted into the Harvard Varsity Club Hall of Fame in a ceremony held at the Harvard Club of Boston May 3.

Elissa Hart-Mahan '98, Daniel Ezra '98, Brian Ralph '98, Michael Zimmerman '92, Tasha Cupp '98, Michael Ferrucci '98, Thomas Blake '98, Mike Kiedel '98, Ivy Pochoda '98, Michal Gattnar '98, Thomas McLaughlin '98, Andrew Rueb '95, Allison Feaster '98 and Matt Birk '98 were all welcomed into the Hall of Fame at the 47th induction ceremony, while Mike Giardi '94 served as the master of ceremonies at the event.

Hart-Mahan is the first former women's volleyball player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. A four-year letterwinner for the Crimson, Hart-Mahan earning first team All-Ivy League honors in 1996 and 1997. She also set the career record for blocks (287) and solo blocks (142) while ranking second all-time in kills (1,398). She also holds the school single-season records for kills (511), solo blocks (53) and total blocks (138), which helped her earn the Mary G. Paget Prize and the Harvard-Radcliife Foundation for Women's Athletics Prize as a senior.

Ezra helped guide the men's squash team to four consecutive national championships and Ivy League titles between 1994 and 1998. The two-time Ivy League Player of the Year won the 1996 individual national championship, while placing second his other three years at Harvard. He was also named to the All-Ivy League first team and NIRSA All-Tournament four times and to the All-America first team three times.

Ralph was the catalyst for the most successful teams in not only Harvard baseball history but Ivy League history, as well. The 1997 Ivy League Player of the Year helped lead the Crimson to a program and Ancient Eight record 36 wins in 1997. His 21-game hit streak was a school record at the time and he also tied the single-season home runs with 10 in 1997. Ralph ranks tied for seventh career home runs (18) and is tied for third in single-season hits (64). The two-time All-Ivy first-team selection also helped lead the Crimson to victories over Nicholls State and Tulane in the 1998 NCAA Regional.

 A three-time First Team All-Ivy selection in singles and a four-time choice in doubles, Zimmerman was a key contributor during the dominant run of men's tennis in the 80s and 90s. During his time in Cambridge, the Crimson was consistently ranked in the top-15 nationally and won four consecutive Ivy League championships between 1989 -1992. The 1989 EITA Ivy League Rookie of the Year was also tabbed twice as the EITA Ivy League Player of the Year in 1991 and 1992, and he was named an All-American in doubles (1991 and 1992) and singles (1992).

Zimmerman qualified for the NCAA singles championships three straight years, and he also reached the ITA National Indoor Doubles Championships finals. Additionally, he was named the ITCA Region I player of the Year after winning the ITA Northeast Regional Indoor Championship.

On the softball diamond, Cupp did it all for the Crimson. The 1998 Ivy League Pitcher of the Year led Harvard to a perfect 12-0 mark during conference play her senior season en route to the Crimson's first Ancient Eight title and NCAA tournament appearance. Cupp helped Harvard top Holy Cross and crosstown rival Boston College in the tournament before the team fell to Oklahoma in the regional. A four-time All-Ivy Selection (First Team 1998, Second Team 1995-97), she holds the program records for wins (59), shutouts (17) and innings pitched (563.1). She still ranks in the top-10 in 12 different pitching categories, including ERA (1.80) and strikeouts (475).

Ferrucci established himself as one of the best attackmen in the history of Harvard lacrosse. The 1998 All-New England Player of the Year ranks second all-time in career goals (131), seventh in assists (79) and third in points (210). He was a First Team All-Ivy selection in 1998 and a second-team pick in 1996 while also earning All-America Honorable Mention status both years. A two-time recipient of the Harvard Lacrosse Outstanding Player Award, he guided the Crimson to an at-large bid in the 1996 NCAA Tournament, which saw the Crimson top Hofstra, 15-12, in the opening round.

The 1997 EITA/Ivy League Player and Sportsman of the Year, Blake, continued the dominant lineage of the men's tennis team. An instrumental part of the Crimson winning four Ivy League championships during his time at Harvard, Blake earned the 1998 Regional ITA/Farnsworth Senior Player of the Year (Northeast), the 1998 Regional I ITA/Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship and the 1998 ITA Van Nostrand Award.

 While he experienced great success during his senior year, also being named the EITA/Ivy Senior of the Year, he was an All-American in 1996 in singles and in 1997 in doubles, pairing with Mitt Arnold to earn a spot on the All-EITA First Team in 1997 after earning second-team honors the previous two seasons. Additionally, in singles play, Blake was a two-time All-EITA first-team selection in 1996 and 1997 and a second-team pick in 1995.

After spending his first two years at Florida, Kiedel transferred to Harvard and quickly made his mark in the pool and in the record books. His first year in Cambridge saw Kiedel earn first team all-conference honors in the 200 freestyle and the 400 and 800 freestyle relay teams. He went on to earn first-team accolades in the 100 and 200 freestyle, the 200 individual medley, the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle relays and the 400 medley relay his senior year.

Kiedel set the school record in the 200 freestyle (1:34.94), and he also posted the second fastest time in the 500 freestyle. He won four individual conference titles during his time at Harvard and helped the Crimson win a pair of Eastern Championships. An All-American in three different events, he went on to swim for the German 800 freestyle relay team in the 2000 Olympics.

Pochoda's arrival in Cambridge coincided with one of the women's squash team's most successful runs. After being named the Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 1995, she went on to earn Player of the Year honors the following season. She was a four-time First Team All-America and All-Ivy selection, and she went on to conclude her career with an individual national championship in 1998. A two-time captain, Pochoda, guided the Crimson to three team national championships and Ivy League crowns.

In just two years at Harvard, Gattnar made his mark on the fencing program. A transfer from Lawrence College, he placed seventh and 11th in the epee nationally to earn All-America and All-Ivy honors in 1997 and 1998, respectively. Gattnar was also the 1998 IFA Champion in the epee, while, in 1997, he helped the Crimson place eighth nationally and win the IFA Championships. Prior to attending Harvard, he won the NCAA National Championship in 1995.

McLaughlin excelled on the soccer pitch in leading the Crimson to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances in 1994 and 1996. He holds the school record for assists in a season (15) and is third all-time in career helpers (25). The 1997 Ivy League Player of the Year was also selected to the All-Ivy First Team twice and the All-Ivy Second Team once. In 1996, he guided Harvard to a postseason win over Boston University, 3-2, en route to the second-most points in a single season (41). After he finished his career at Harvard, the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer selected him in the third round of the 1998 MLS Draft.

Current men's assistant tennis coach Andrew Rueb made an impact on the courts long before he picked up the coach's whistle. A two-time EITA/Ivy Player of the Year selection, Rueb was a key component of three Ivy League titles during his playing days. The John M. Barnaby Most Valuable Player Award winner as a freshman, Rueb went on to be ranked as high as 34th in the country as a junior. During his senior season, he went undefeated in competition and was named the EITA/Ivy Senior of the Year and the Region I ITA/Farnsworth Senior Player of the Year, reaching the round of 32 in both singles and doubles at the NCAA Championships. Rueb was also a two-time GTE District I Academic All-American in 1994 and 1995, and he received the John P. Reardon '60 Award, which is given to the male senior athlete who exemplifies scholarship, character, leadership and athletic ability.

Feaster rewrote the Harvard women's basketball record books, as, perhaps, the greatest women's basketball player in Ivy League history. A three-time Ivy League Player of the Year and four-time first team All-Ivy selection, Feaster holds the Harvard records for career points (2,312), rebounds (1,157), offensive rebounds (440), steals (290), field goals made (771) and free throws made (472). She was named Ancient Eight Player of the Week 21 times, and she ranks second in points and third in rebounds and steals in conference annals.

The 1995 Ivy League Rookie of the Year led Harvard to three straight Ivy League titles and helped orchestrate one of the greatest upsets in NCAA tournament history when the No. 16 Crimson stunned No. 1 Stanford, 71-67, in the opening round of the tournament. Feaster was the 1998 Radcliffe Prize Recipient, which is given annually to the best senior student-athlete, before getting drafted by the Los Angeles Sparks fifth overall in the 1998 Women's National Basketball Association Draft. She played in the WNBA for 10 years and currently plays professionally in Europe.

Rounding out the honorees was former football standout Birk, who just retired from the National Football League after a stellar 15-year career. During his time at Harvard, he was a three-year letterwinner, who blossomed as a senior. In his final year, he was named to the All-Ivy, All-New England and All-ECAC first teams, anchoring an offensive line that helped the Crimson offense accumulate 4,236 yards en route to an Ivy League crown.

Birk was drafted by the Minnesota Vikingsi n the sixth round of the 1998 NFL Draft, becoming just the 15th Harvard player to hear his name called. The 2011 Walter Payton Man of the Year and a six-time Pro Bowl selection, Birk retired a champion after helping the Ravens win Super Bowl XLVII.

The Harvard Varsity Club has been instrumental to the success of Harvard Athletics since it was founded in 1886. The Varsity Club preserves the traditions, fosters the ideals, and advances the interests of Harvard Athletics through a wide range of activities for our 20,000+ members. The selection and induction of Harvard's finest athletes into the prestigious Hall of Fame is one example of the many functions provided by the Varsity Club.