For the third consecutive year, Notre Dame College inducted sports greatness into its Hall of Fame.
The 2009 softball team, former wrestler Dante Rini and former soccer player Nick Jordan were all recognized for what they accomplished during competition. The Performing Arts Center was filled with family and friends of the former athletes for the induction ceremony.
“These are names that will always be remembered by Notre Dame College athletics,” said President Thomas G. Kruczek.
Director of Athletics Scott Swain went on to compare the inductees to the recent success found on the field and mat on the Notre Dame campus: the continued winning records of the men’s soccer team, the wrestling team that is a perennial national contender and last year’s softball team that won the Mountain East Conference tournament.
Rini was the first to be called to the stage. He was introduced by his high school wrestling coach, Dan Funk, who spoke about Rini’s competitiveness and resilient attitude. Funk also gave his own philosophy when it comes to wrestling.
“Wrestling helps to deal with challenges and gets the best out of yourself,” he said.
This was certainly true of Rini who carried the success he had in high school to Notre Dame. His success included an individual national championship in 2011, his senior year, and being a part of two National Championship teams in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). He was a four-time Academic All-American and a national qualifier three times.
Jordan was a soccer player introduced by his former head coach Michael “Mac” McBride. The 2005 team was the first in Notre Dame history to make the national tournament and Jordan was the team captain. He was a two-time NAIA All-American and is top-10 in goals, with 20, and points, with 43.
McBride mentioned that Jordan was a “calming influence” for the team.
Jordan was grateful to the college in his speech, mentioning the “great opportunity” he was given.
The 2009 softball team was also inducted. This team went 3-0 in the American Mideast Conference Tournament that season and earned a bid to the national tournament where they went 3-2 and were one victory shy of reaching the Final Four.
An athlete on the 2009 softball team, Stephanie Tartaglione, said the head coach of the team at the time, Amy Kyler, and the success of all the teams at Notre Dame made her want to be a Falcon.
“I wanted to play for coach,” she said. “I wanted to play for (this team).”
Beginning in 2014, Notre Dame started inducting former Falcons into the Hall of Fame. Swain and Kruczek wanted the former student-athletes to be remembered and to keep the college’s sports history alive.