Tioga County Sports Report for Penn York Valley


Tioga County Sports Report
SPENCER — Former S-VE and Cornell University basketball standout Jeff Foote, who went on to play in the NBA and in Europe, headlined the 2019 Spencer-Van Etten Central School District Athletic Hall Of Fame Induction ceremony here Sunday.

In addition to Foote, girls basketball standout Ashlinn Barber, field hockey and softball star Danielle (Doane) Rickner, multi-sport star Harold Shoemaker and the 1967 football team were also inducted.

Ashlinn Barber
A 2007 S-VE grad, Barber was a three-time IAC first-team all-star. She continued her basketball career at William Smith College, where she averaged 12.6 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game during the 2009-10 season. The 9.8 boards were tops at William Smith and in the Liberty League at that time.

Barber was unable to attend, but sent a letter for her mother, Lisa, to read.

She thanked her parents, her sister and her brother for their support, as well as others.

“To my one-in-a-million coach, Ron Miller, I thank you for your support, your encouragement, and the funny jokes that you would often say. To my teammates, I want to say thank for all you have done to help me get where I am. I am very grateful for that.”

She also went on to thank the administration, teachers and other coaches for their support.

“To Jeff Foote, Danielle Rickner and Harold Shoemaker, and the 1967 football team, congratulations on your induction today.”

Barber’s letter closed by thanking her brother, Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Barber, “and all the men and women that currently serve in the military today, and have served in the past. I will forever be grateful for your service and say thank you for all you do to give us the freedoms that we have today.”

Jeff Foote
Foote starred for the Panthers in the early- to mid-2000s, graduating in 2005. He went on to attend St. Bonaventure University, where he redshirted before transferring to Cornell. He would lead the Big Red to three Ivy League championships and a spot in the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2010. Foote was a three-time All-Ivy League selection, being named to the first team in 2010. He was also the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 and 2010.

Following college, Foote signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv of the Euroleague and was sent on a one-year loan to Spanish second division team Melilla Baloncesto. In December 2011, he signed with the Springfield Armor of the NBA Development League. In March 2012, he was called up to the NBA by the New Orleans Hornets and would appear in four games that season but would not score another point. In September, 2012, Foote signed with the Lithuanian club Žalgiris Kaunas and in November 2013, he was re-acquired by Springfield.

“This award is a little extra special, this induction,” said Foote.

“My family has a long history here at Spencer,” he added, talking about his family history in the school district which has included his grandmother, aunts and uncles (one being inducted with the 1967 football team), and his mother.

“I want to thank some people here today,” he said. “First of all, my mom and dad. Without you guys, I wouldn’t be here today. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t be the person I am.”

He also applauded his brother, Jesse, for “paving the way” for him.

“I always had an example what to look for and look to shoot for when it came to basketball. I always wanted to be as good or better than you.”

He also thanked former coaches, teammates and the community for the support he received over the years.

Danielle (Doane) Rickner
A 1992 S-VE grad, Rickner was a five-year field hockey and softball player for the Panthers, and was named the Outstanding Senior Female Athlete and Outstanding Female Four-Year Athlete.

She went on to win two NJCAA field hockey championships with Becker Junior College in 1992 and 1993. She was a first-team All-New England Field Hockey Team selection and NJCAA Field Hockey All-Tournament Team pick both season and was named an All-American in 1993. Becker went undefeated with one tie during her time there.

Rickner continued her career at SUNY Brockport and was named the team’s MVP in 1994 and 1995. A first-team choice on the All-New York State Field Hockey team, she ranks fourth all-time in assists (11), 15th in goals (14) and 16th in points (39), despite playing just two seasons for the Golden Eagles.

Miller had many memories of Rickner, whom he had few “competitive” croquet matches against. And he couldn’t resist poking fun about Rickner and her teammates wanting to wear boxer shorts to practice. He nixed the idea and was later presented with a pair of the boxers, which he still has and brought to the ceremony with him.

“Danielle just wanted to win man,” he said. “She didn’t care who got the points. She just wanted to win.”

“I would like to say I’m very thankful, very humbled by this honor,” Rickner said, who went on to thank family, friends and coaches for their support of her athletic endeavors.

She went on to praise Miller for his role at S-VE.

“This is the kind of coach that folks may not know that we have here, but he’s done a lot for this program and for the school,” she said. “He’s the kind of coach that stayed after practice with you every day. He’s the kind of coach that we would throw 150 pitches every day … We worked hard, we did great things.”

Harold Shoemaker
A 1961 graduate of Van Etten High School, he was a Tioga County three-time all-star in football and a two-time all-star in baseball, and was an honorable mention in basketball. He was also the Section IV doubles champion in badminton. He held the school pole vault record during that era as well.

Shoemaker was also the recipient of the inaugural Van Etten High School Outstanding Athlete award in 1961.

After his scholastic career was over, he coached Little League baseball for six years, was president of the Van Etten Athletic Association for five years, and started the Van Etten Youth Girls Softball League, and helped start the Van Etten Youth Football Association.

“This is an honor and I do appreciate it,” Shoemaker said. “I’d like to thank my family and friends that are here.

He shared a story about making the starting five in basketball, but became ineligible the day before the game, and the impact that had on him.

“It was devastating to me, and it never happened again,” Shoemaker said. “It was a good learning lesson. I realized I had to do both things. I had to play the game and I also had to take care of the studies.”

1967 Football Team
Spencer and Van Etten high schools merged in 1967, giving S-VE its first football team. The successful Spencer squad and struggling Van Etten team were bitter rivals and had to learn to come together for the better good of the new program. The group would go undefeated, beating powerhouse Tioga, 12-7, for the Tioga County Championship.

Players included Paul Banfield, Paul Becken, Mike Berkley, Ron Bowen, Marty Coakley, Gary Decker, Keith Eddy, Larry Ervay, Billy Hager, Al Johnson, Bob Johnson, Dana King, Ken Lampila, Roger Matejka, Jeff Matta, Paul Mattson, Jay Molyneaux, Irv Nash, Ron Nash, Arnold Redsicker, Brad Russell, Denny Toyryla, Mike Toyryla, Bill Valentine, George VanRiper and Jim VanRiper.

The team was coached by Richard Pakkala. Bill Perry and Ray Starr served as assistants and Ricky Nash was the manager.

District superintendent Diahann Hesler welcomed this year’s ceremony attendees and athletic manager Mike Chaffee provided the closing remarks. Coach Ron Miller, John Sandusky and Pakkala introduced the inductees.

Jerry Carr and Denise Presher provided a meal prior to the ceremony, which was served by student athletes Ryleigh Clark, Shannon Connor, Makayla Dacey, Nathan Mack, Hannah Martinez, Mark Mullen, Tara Perkins, Daisy Valley and James Wilkinson.

Lance Cundy was responsible for updating the Athletic Hall of Fame Showcase.

Pakkala explained the merger of the Spencer and Van Etten school systems, noting it was the New York State Department of Education which sought the merger, although the schools were sharing certain educational aspects prior to the merger.

The merger was approved in May 1967 and it wouldn’t be long before the Spencer-Van Etten football team would be formed.

The assistant coaches were unable to attend the first team meeting, “and there I was, with about 30 young men who really didn’t like each other,” Pakkala said.

One early concern was the color of the uniforms — Spencer’s school colors included orange and Van Etten’s included red.

“Skeet Redsicker spoke up and said, ‘Coach, I don’t care what we wear as long as we all look alike,” Pakkala said.

The original helmets were white with an orange stripe and a red stripe and the owner of the local Ford dealership painted them with the new colors.

The cheerleaders would wear black skirts and white sweaters with an orange “S” and red “V.”

“The team worked well together,” Pakkala said. “The Spencer boys were a little apprehensive about having the Van Etten boys with them because they had been on a championship team a couple years before that when they were sophomores and freshmen. The Van Etten boys were O-fer, there years O-fer.”

The first game together produced a shout victory over Romulus.

“The Van Etten players were ecstatic,” Pakkala said. “We went on, each game got better and better. The team became more conducive, more comparable. It came together.

“This team really set the bar for the new school, the first championship of the new high school. This was the first trophy that went in that trophy case as Spencer-Van Etten. They came together as teammates, not players. You can see that, the way they treat each other today. They and the cheerleaders were the leaders of the first senior class of Spencer-Van Etten.

“Congratulations to all of these people who are inducted today. This is a great honor for athletes.”


IN PHOTO 1: Jeff Foote. IN PHOTO 2: Ashlinn Barber. IN PHOTO 3: Danielle Rickner. IN PHOTO 4: Harold Shoemaker. IN PHOTO 5: The 1967 football team. IN PHOTO 6: Ron Miller. … PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.

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