Cathedral Prep Athletics Hall of Fame
The 12th ever class of the Cathedral Prep Athletic Hall of Fame was inducted on Thursday, October 3rd, in the Joann Mullen Gymnasium of the Hagerty Family Events Center. 9 individuals and 1 team were honored for their athletic accomplishments while suiting up for the Ramblers.
The following were inducted:
Gary Dance '87- more than 30 years after graduating, he still dots the Prep football record books. His 492 career carries is still third all-time while his 3,222 rushing yards still sits fourth overall. Gary would later play D-I at Temple.
Brian Flanagan '70- Brian was an outstanding basketball player for the Ramblers. He would later go on to coach that sport, winning 89 games, four Region and three D-10 titles in four years. Brian's .788 winning percentage is highest in school history.
Kent Peightal (coach)- Kent had great success in his 25 years coaching the Prep tennis team, winning eight D-10 team titles after that category was created. He led his team to a 2012 doubles state championship. Also coached the Villa tennis team for four seasons.
Paul Pry '68 (Posthumously) [accepted by Al Murawski]- Paul was an All-State selection for the Ramblers. His 19.6 points a game in 1968 still ranks sixth in one season all-time at Prep, the same season he led his basketball squad to a PCIAA state title. Later played in the Final Four for Louisville.
Charles Rush '01- Charles was a national football recruit after dominating both sides of the line as a junior and senior. Helped his teams to a PIAA runner-up finish in 1999 and Prep's first-ever football state title in 2000. Would play collegiately at Penn State.
Walter Strosser '67- Walt was an outstanding wrestler for the Ramblers. He won a PCIAA state championship in 1967, as well as two Regional titles. Walt would later become an NCAA qualifier while at Temple.
Bob Smith '71 (Posthumously) [accepted by Dan Brabender '70]- Bob was the first running back to top 200 yards rushing in one game and the first to average more than 100 yards per game on the ground. He would later play collegiately at Theil College.
Thomas Wisinski ('68)- Tom earned seven varsity letters at Prep. A two-time All-City selection in baseball, he helped the 1967 team to the only undefeated season in Prep history. Tom was also an outstanding and versatile player on the gridiron.
Ryan Zapolski '05 [accepted by Rick Gotkin]- Ryan is the first hockey player in school history to be inducted. Ryan turned an outstanding high school career as a goaltender into a scholarship at Mercyhurst University. He represented his country by starting for Team USA in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
1978 Cross Country Team [accepted by Fred Heintz '79 & Tom Held '79] - the ninth team to go into the Prep Hall of Fame will be this group that went 11-0 and had a 54-meet winning streak, one of the best in the nation. They won four straight Metro and District 10 titles, finishing 6th in the state.
- 2017 Inductees
- 2015 Inductees
- 2013 Inductees
- 2008 Inductees
- 2006 Inductees
- 2005 Inductees
- 2003 Inductees
- 1994 Inductees
- 1993 Inductees
- 1992 Inductees
Charlie Baumann ’85- one of the top placekickers in school history he would kick at West Virginia where he is still in the top six in school scoring and field goals made. Would later play in the NFL.
Booker Coleman ’94 -a game-altering presence in the middle as a 6’9 center, he changed the game on both ends of the floor and led Prep to a state championship in 1993 and a second place finish in ’94. Played D-I basketball at Wisconsin.
John DeLuca ‘45 (Posthumously)-in the mid-40’s he was one of the top basketball players to suit up for the Ramblers.
Tom Fessler ‘73 (Contributor) - for more than 30 years has served as the team physician for Prep athletes.
Frank Krakowski ‘01- could argue that he is the greatest swimmer in school history. A state champion in the 100 butterfly he went on to star in the pool at Notre Dame.
Gregor Orlando ’09 -the youngest athlete ever inducted into the hall, he won an individual state golf championship in 2007 and a team state title a year later. Also finished second in the state three times. Played collegiately at Virginia.
Jack Pikiewicz ’63 -a solid athlete in football and wrestling was also a top coach on the mat for the Ramblers.
1993 Basketball Team-The eighth team to go in the Prep Hall of Fame will be the 1993 basketball team, who will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of their magical, state championship season.
Julian Blanks ’98- is the fourth leading scorer in Prep basketball history. He earned a D-I scholarship to LaSalle where he remains second on the school’s all-time list for assists. He later played professionally.
Robert Corritore /Dr. Anthony Sala (Posthumously)-these gentlemen had the vision to start the Prep hockey program back in 1978. The program continued to grow to the point where Prep hockey has won three state titles.
Neil Postas (Coach) - set the bar in the water. He coached the Ramblers' swim team for 18 years, winning 10 District titles in 11 years. He was the water polo team for 17 seasons, winning 303 games and placing in the top five in the state nine times.
Bob Sanders ‘00- was one of the top defensive players of his era in the NFL. He honed his craft by helping Prep become a state power. Went to Iowa on a full football scholarship, then became an All-Pro safety with the Indianapolis Colts over a seven-year career.
Jim Sertz ‘61- was an outstanding cross country & track runner, setting the school record in the long jump in 1961. He later became an outstanding golf coach at Prep, taking home four D-10 titles and winning a state team title in '08.
Dave Wenrick ‘65- long-time faculty member, was a football and basketball star for the Ramblers. He also won a state title as an assistant basketball coach in 1980.
Jim White ‘47(Posthumously)-a basketball star for the Ramblers in the 40’s, Jim led his team to their first City championship in 1947. Also a strong baseball player for Prep. Would later become one of the first athletes on scholarship at Gannon College.
2000 Football Team-The seventh team to go in the Prep Hall of Fame will be the 2000 football team, the first state champion in that sport in school history.
DAN BRABENDER ('70)
There may be no better historian of sports in the Erie area than Dan Brabender. A two-year letter winner and a captain in wrestling, Dan's passion for Prep was in charting others success. In the early 90's it led him to begin to compile a statistical and written history of Cathedral Prep football. By the year 2000, Brabender had crafted an amazing 929-page book on the first 75 years of Rambler football entitled: 'Ramblers, The History of Cathedral Prep Football, 1924-1999' in which he travelled from state to state to get specific details as it related to Prep football.
The book was followed up a year later by a similar publication devoted solely to Prep's first state title football season. 'That Championship Season: The Story of the 2000 Cathedral Prep Ramblers' described in great detail all that took place for that nationally ranked team. He continues to this day to compile statistical data on seasonal and all-time records for the football team.
JIM SCHARRER ('95)
It's very rare for a student-athlete to emerge with multiple Division I scholarship offers in one sport. In the case of Jim Scharrer, he emerged from Prep with a triple play most people only dream of: full scholarship offers in baseball, in football and a six-figure contract to play professional baseball.
Scharrer won six varsity letters at Prep, three each in football and baseball. He led the Ramblers in tackles as both a junior and senior and his seasonal totals of 134 stops ('94) and 119 ('92) are two of the top four in school history. In baseball he basically got a hit every other time he strolled to the dish. He mashed his way to a career batting average of .493 with 16 homeruns and 88 RBI's, had a career ERA of 1.42 as a pitcher while striking out 302 opponents in 192 innings while becoming the only baseball player in Prep history to have his uniform number (44) retired.
In 1995 he was chosen in the second round of the Major League Baseball draft by Atlanta and he was signed by the Braves, playing six seasons in their organization, advancing as far as Double-A. But that was only part of Jim's athletic career, post-Prep. Following his retirement from professional baseball, Scharrer signed a football scholarship to play linebacker at Duke. There he was named a Freshman All-American as well as being named to the ACC All Academic team. He was also a 2009 inductee into the Metropolitan Erie Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
JAMES HAMILTON ('91)
Jim Hamilton was a scoring machine on the basketball floor for the Ramblers in the early 90's, the likes of which has rarely been seen. During his senior season alone in 1990-'91, Hamilton scored 645 points while averaging 23.9 points a game, a record that stands to this day. He set the school record for points in a game with 42 while knocking down 86 three-pointers in his final season at Prep. He was tabbed 3rd Team All-State as a senior while also making several All-Tournament teams. His 1,076 career points is still eighth in Rambler history.
That kind of sharp shooting earned Hamilton many college offers and he decided to play collegiately for the Naval Academy. At Navy he helped the Midshipmen make the NCAA Tournament in 1994 and scored 14 points in their first round game vs. Missouri, their first tourney appearance in nearly ten years. A four-year letter winner at Navy, Hamilton graduated as the school's all-time leader in three-pointers made in a season and in a career and is proud to have been part of team's that knocked off Army all four years.
ED HINKEL ('01)
Ed Hinkel is one of the most complete football players in Erie history. Very few who have ever suited up have been more of a threat to score, no matter where they were on the field, than him. A three-time letter winner on the gridiron, Ed played his sophomore and junior seasons with the Ramblers as a wide receiver and a defensive back but went under center in 2000, averaging 10.5 yards a carry, the second highest in school history, while rushing for 16 touchdowns. He also threw for 1,468 yards and 22 TD's, second most in the program's history. For his career, Hinkel returned eight punts for touchdowns, a mark that stands today while averaging a staggering 20.5 yards a return. His 15 interceptions is also a Prep record. He was 1st Team All-State honors as a senior as well as a Quad-A state championship, the first in school history.
At the University of Iowa Hinkel ranks ninth on the career reception list with 135 and 14th in receiving yards at 1,588. His 15 career touchdown receptions ties as the third best total in school history and he set the Kinnick Stadium record and tied a school record with four touchdown receptions in his regular season finale. Ed tied the school bowl record with two touchdown receptions in the 2006 Outback Bowl while he lettered in all four years he played collegiately.
With his father, Mike, also inducted in this class, they become the first father/son combo in the Prep Hall of Fame.
MIKE FLAHERTY ('63)
If you needed a perfect example of the 'seasonal' athlete, Mike Flaherty may be your guy. In a time when many high school athletes prefer to concentrate on just one sport, Flaherty took care of every season by lettering a total of nine times on the varsity in football, basketball and baseball, three times each in those sports. As a senior alone, Mike was an All-City choice in the three sports he played as well as an All-Catholic All- American on the gridiron.
During his time on the Rambler football team, Mike's squads finished a combined 21-4-1 as he played quarterback and defensive back. His passing acumen led to a football scholarship at the University of Detroit. There he broke all of the school records in passing for the freshman team before eventually earning three varsity letters total at both Detroit and the University of Cincinnati, where he graduated from. He would serve as the varsity starter at different stages as a sophomore, junior and senior. He would later coach collegiately for six years.
Flaherty joins his brother, Bill (Prep class of '60, Hall of Fame class of '94) in his alma mater's Hall of Fame.
CRAIG KONWINSKI ('70)
If there was water, chances are Craig Konwinski was in it while he was a student at Cathedral Prep. Over his four years at the school, Konwinski earned eight varsity letters, four apiece in water polo and swimming.
In polo, Craig was 2nd Team All-City as a senior, leading the Ramblers in goals with 26 as a co-captain. In the pool, he was a dominating force. In 1968 he was tabbed the outstanding high school swimmer in the city. As a senior, Konwinski was All-State in Pennsylvania, setting the school and pool records for his work in the 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle. He also set the Erie record in the 400 free and 400 free relay.
Those accomplishments certainly caught the attention of college recruiters, and Craig earned a swimming scholarship to Kent State. He made his mark immediately, setting the freshman record in the 1,000 yard freestyle while helping Kent State win their first-ever Mid-American Conference championship. He would win three varsity letters at the school while placing in the top six in the Mid-American Conference Championships in both the 500 yard and 1,650 yard freestyle.
Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army, Konwinski spent 20 years in the military, retiring as a Major. He completed U.S. Army Flight School with a specialty in helicopters and held a variety of command and staff positions.
Mina George was hired to coach the Ramblers football team in 1980. For 16 years George would lead a dominant team, amassing a record of 131-44-2 (.748 winning percentage). He is one of only two football coaches at Prep to win more than 100 games and his victory total is the most in school history.
With the Ramblers, Mina would win 12 Metro League championships and seven straight District 10 titles. He became the first coach in Erie history to take a team to the PIAA state championship game. His 1982 edition is still considered one of the best this city has ever seen, going 10-0 in a time before playoffs existed.
George would coach 15 preseason All-Americans, four 1st Team All-State players, six men who played in the vaunted Big 33 game and three players who would suit up in the NFL. Twice his Ramblers were ranked nationally, advancing as high as 10th in USA Today in 1990. He was tabbed the Pennsylvania AP Big School Coach of the Year in 1991.
George had the pleasure of coaching his son, Owen, while at Prep and would also coach track and field at the school. He passed away in 2010 at the age of 63. Along the way he became Erie's all-time winningest football coach and was inducted both into the PA High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame and the Metropolitan Erie Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
MIKE HINKEL ('74)
A multi-purpose athlete while at Prep, Mike Hinkel earned eight varsity letters over his stay at the school. Though he lettered all four years in baseball and earned a pair in track and field, Hinkel made his statistical mark in football.
The first individual record listed in the Prep football record book is 'most career rushing attempts in a game'. Since 1973, that mark has belonged to Mike Hinkel. He carried the ball 40 times in a game that season vs. Strong Vincent. During that '73 campaign, Mike became the first Prep football player in 42 years to top the 100-point mark in a season.
As a senior Hinkel scored five touchdowns in one game vs. Cleveland John Adams. And though that record was later broken by Tim Colicchio, his mark for most points in game, 36 in that same contest, still stands. Hinkel was All-City in football as a senior and led the Section in both scoring and rushing. He was also All-City in baseball as a sophomore, junior and senior.
With his son, Ed, also being inducted in this class, they become the first father/son combo in the Prep Hall of Fame.