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Group of Seven Inducted into Cal Poly Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday

Group of Seven Inducted into Cal Poly Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly inducted seven former Mustang student-athletes — the same number as in 2017 — into the Cal Poly Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night.

The 2019 class of inductees -- women’s basketball player Sherrie Atteberry, football wide receiver Ramses Barden, women’s tennis standout Brittany Blalock Huang, wrestler Mark DiGirolamo, baseball pitcher Garrett Olson and track and field athletes Mathyas Michael and Maggie Vessey -- were inducted at Hotel San Luis Obispo, 995 Morro Street (corner of Morro and Palm).

The group also will be honored at halftime of Cal Poly’s Hall of Fame football game against Montana State on Saturday. Kickoff in Alex G. Spanos Stadium is set for 5:05 p.m.

The seven inductees, in August by Mustang director of athletics Don Oberhelman, raises the total number of inductees to 137 individuals, a track and field relay foursome and the 1960 football team.

The 2019 Hall of Fame inductees (in alphabetical order):

Sherrie Atteberry, Women’s Basketball (1983-87)

Atteberry is No. 3 in career rebounding and No. 9 in career scoring at Cal Poly. Her 10.1 rebounds-per-game average in the 1986-87 season ties her for No. 1 in single-season rebounding average. The two-time first-team All-California Collegiate Athletic Association honoree grabbed 24 rebounds in a game against Cal State Dominguez Hills in 1987, the second-highest total in Cal Poly history. Named a Kodak All-American in 1987, Atteberry also excelled in team handball, playing for the bronze medal-winning West team in the U.S. Olympic Festival in 1987. She currently is a Real Estate agent for Berkshire Hathaway Hallmark Home Services in Las Vegas. Atteberry served as assistant girls varsity basketball coach at Atascadero High School from 2014-18 and is a retired sergeant of the California Department of Corrections, where she worked for 20 years. She volunteered as a member of the Atascadero Greyhound Foundation and Director of the Atascadero High School Athletic Hall of Fame from 2013-15.

Ramses Barden, Football (2004-08)

Barden owns virtually all school records in receiving, including 206 career catches for 4,203 yards and 50 touchdowns. The four-time first-team All-Great West Conference selection earned numerous All-America honors, twice was a Walter Payton Award finalist and broke numerous NCAA Football Championship Subdivision records: Larry Fitzgerald’s record for consecutive games with a touchdown catch over two seasons (20), Randy Moss’s record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass in a single season (11), Jerry Rice’s record by catching a touchdown pass in 32 games in a career, and finished with 50 touchdown receptions, making him one of three FCS players at the time — Jerry Rice is another — to reach that number for a career. Barden was a third-round draft pick (85th overall) of the New York Giants in 2009. He played in 29 games over four seasons with the Giants and, in one game in 2012, caught nine passes for 138 yards against Carolina. He has coached basketball and football at Flintridge Prep in La Cañada, Calif., and also works as curriculum developer for the private school. Barden also serves as a motivator, sportsman, educator and pronounced activist in the field of wellness empowerment, generating strategic game plans for charitable, educational and professional institutions. He has served as an analyst on Cal Poly football and men’s basketball broadcasts. Ramses and his wife Felicia Gomez-Barden have one son, Myles.

Brittany Blalock Huang, Women’s Tennis (2006-10)

Blalock is No. 3 at Cal Poly in career wins in singles with 47 and tied for No. 1 in career wins in doubles with 54. She is Cal Poly’s only four-time first-team All-Big West Conference honoree in singles and earned three all-conference first-team accolades in doubles as well. Named Big West Freshman of the Year in 2007, Blalock is the first and only female in Cal Poly’s Division I women’s tennis history to win a major conference award and twice qualified for the NCAA Championship in doubles. Her 101 combined wins in singles and doubles is a school record and she was ranked as high as No. 26 in doubles and No. 71 in singles. The team captain in 2010, Blalock was named team MVP four times (2007-10). After her graduation in 2010, she went on to play on the International Tennis Federation pro circuit in Europe and played in the 2004 and 2005 qualifiers for the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, Calif. Blalock has worked as new products coordinator at Tennis Warehouse in San Luis Obispo the last nine years and remains connected with the Cal Poly women’s tennis program as director for the Cal Poly Varsity Club and participation in practices and equipment advice. Married to Jason Huang with one child, Kinsey, she enjoys hiking, traveling, baking and wine tasting.

Mark DiGirolamo, Wrestling (1972-76)

DiGirolamo is one of two Cal Poly wrestlers to capture NCAA Division I national championships (the late Tom Kline is the other and he is in the Hall of Fame), claiming the 118-pound title with four decisions and a fall. Unseeded, DiGirolamo upset No. 3-seeded Johnnie Jones of Iowa State 14-4 in the championship final. He also was an NCAA qualifier as a sophomore in 1975. At Harbor and Santa Cruz high schools, DiGirolamo captured four straight Northern California Invitational titles, the only wrestler to do so. He also was a high school freestyle national champion in 1969, set the national high school record for wins with his 148-3-2 prep record and was a High School All-American and National Scholastic Honor Roll member in 1972. He was inducted into the California Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Santa Cruz High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2018. Mark also played football and baseball at Harbor. He received a mayor’s proclamation from the City of Santa Cruz in 1976 shortly after capturing the national title. Mark is a retired union contractor, working in that profession for 30 years. Mark, who lives in Santa Cruz, Calif., and his wife Denise have three children, Mark, Gina and Ted, and three stepchildren, Kendra, Naomi and Phil.

Mathyas Michael, Men’s Track and Field (1969-70)

Michael set the school record in the 800 at 1:47.44 in 1970 and that mark still stands today. In 1969 and 1970, he captured CCAA titles in both the 880 and mile and claimed NCAA Division II national titles in the 880 in both 1969 and 1970. He also finished fifth in the NCAA Division I 880 in 1970 with his school-record time. In the fall of 1969, Michael won the CCAA individual title in cross country and led Cal Poly to its first-ever cross country team title. He represented his native Ethiopia in the 1968 Summer Olympic Games as a 17-year-old in the 800 and 1,500 and held the Ethiopian 800-meter record from 1968 through 1972. He was a poultry industry major at Cal Poly and obtained his bachelor's degree in physical education at Pacific, where he also competed in cross country and track and field. Michael has played a pivotal role in developing and promoting adult and youth soccer in Stockton. He was a founding member, coach, referee and player of Stockton United Soccer Club from 1978-2007 and served as a Grade 1 Referee in the U.S. Soccer Dederation from 1974-2007, also receiving numerous awards for contributions to the Stockton referee's association. Michael has served as a coach in the Stockton Youth Soccer League and Stockton Paralympic Games. He also has played a very active role in promoting community and cultural development in the San Joaquin/Bay Area Ethiopian community. He was a plant supervisor for the Safeway Meat Processing Plant from 1973 until his retirement in 1998

Garrett Olson, Baseball (2003-05)

Olson pitched in the Major Leagues for six seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets, compiling a 14-22 win-loss record and 6.26 ERA. He is Cal Poly’s second-highest draft pick, selected in the first round’s compensatory round (48th overall) in 2005. A first-team All-Big West Conference pick in 2005, Olson won 12 games that year, which was a school record at the time (since broken by Joey Wagman in 2013). Olson is No. 6 in career wins (24) and No. 3 in career strikeouts (287) at Cal Poly and also is No. 3 in single-season wins with 128 in 2005. He was selected to the All-Alaska Baseball League Team in 2004 for the Anchorage Bucs and, after his Major League career, pitched one season for the Doosan Bears in Seoul, South Korea. Olson played in the 2007 MLB All-Stars Futures Game. A graduate of Cal Poly in mechanical engineering, he currently works for Solar Turbines in San Diego as a rotordynamics design engineer with gas turbine products. Olson also has worked with Pilgrim Radio as a Christian radio broadcaster and with Reality Sports as a member of the Board of Directors with the Sports Christian Ministry. Olson and his wife Tamara have one daughter, Avery.

Maggie Vessey, Women’s Track and Field (2000-05)

Vessey captured four Big West titles from 2001-05 at Cal Poly – the 400 in 2001 and the 800 in 2002, 2003 and 2005. She has the No. 2 time in the 800 and the No. 3 time in the 400 in Cal Poly history. Vessey is a two-time All-American, placing second in the 800 at the 2005 NCAAs and sixth in the 800 at the 2003 NCAA indoor championships. Vessey has competed on the national and international scene since finishing her career at Cal Poly. In 2009, she had the No. 2 time in the country and No. 6 in the world in the 800 at 1:57.84. She is a two-time national runner-up in the 800 (2010 and 2011), twice qualifying for the World Championships (Berlin in 2009, South Korea in 2011 (placing fourth)). Vessey competed professionally for ASICS from 2005-08, New Balance from 2009-14 and competed professionally and designed her own sportswear line from 2014-16. Her wins include the Nike Prefontaine Classic, Rome Golden Gala, Super Grand Prix Monaco and numerous World Challenge wins. Vessey also was a member of the 2015 gold medal-winning American record-setting 4-by-800 world relay team held in the Bahamas and was named 2014 Spikes Magazine Personality of the Year. She graduated with cum laude honors from Cal Poly in 2005 with a degree in agricultural business. Vessey currently works as a Real Estate adviser for Summit Southeby’s International Realty in Park City, Utah, and has worked in Kenya on a medical mission for a sports camp in 2017, in Morocco for the U.S. Embassy as a sponsored member of the Girls Empowerment Sports Envoy, and as a track coach at Park City High School. Married to Dean Kretschmar, the couple has one child, Charis.


 

 

 

The 2019 Class (from left): Garrett Olson, Brittany Blalock Huang, Mathyas Michael, Ramses Barden (with Myles), Sherrie Atteberry, Maggie Vessey and Mark DiGirolamo.