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OVAC 2012 HOF Class is complete

June 10, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

WHEELING - The Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Hall of Fame Class of 2012 is complete.

Five more honorees are ready to take their rightful place in conference history as part of the ninth annual hall of fame induction.

Today, OVAC Executive Secretary Tom Rataiczak announced the enshrinees for the decades of the 80s, 90s and 2000s.

St. Clairsville's Shawn Vincent and Buckeye Trail's Chris Starr got the call to join the hall of fame for the decade of the 80s.

Voted into the hall of fame from the 1990s decade are Cadiz High's Denver Williams and Meadowbrook's Amber Ellison.

This marks the second year that the decade of the 2000s became eligible and multi-sport standout Kenny Howell of St. John Central got the call to join the class.

The OVAC Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Aug. 18 at WesBanco Arena.

The OVAC Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Robinson Auto Group of Wheeling, and the OVAC Sports Museum are located inside WesBanco Arena.

Here's a capsule look at the honorees:

CHRIS STARR, Buckeye Trail (Class of 1986) - You name the sport and this former Warrior shined en route to earning 12 varsity letters and eventually a scholarship to Michigan.

While football and basketball were priorities for Starr, baseball was where he made his greatest impact.

Starr was a standout on the hill for the Warriors and earned first-team all-Ohio Class A, first-team all-Eastern District and first-team all-OVAC. He also played in the Ohio North-South All-Star Series.

During the summer months, Starr was a key contributor for the Maynard, Post 666 American Legion squad, which won two state titles and played in the American Legion World Series in 1986.

Starr earned a full baseball scholarship to play for the Wolverines in baseball. He played two seasons in Ann Arbor, winning a Big 10 championship in 1987. However, due to injury, Starr eventually transferred to Muskingum College where he pitched for two years, earning all-conference. He had 125 strikeouts in his two seasons with an ERA of 2.81 and was named a pre-season all-American, but tore his ACL in the first game of the season.

Continuing to overcome adversity, Starr was drafted in the 16th round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Texas Rangers in 1991. He played three seasons of professional baseball.

On the football field, Starr etched his name into Buckeye Trail history as the school's all-time leader in passing and rushing yards. He was an honorable mention all-Ohio pick, first-team all-OVAC and first-team all-Eastern District. He was chosen to play in the OVAC All-Star Football Game, but turned it down due to Legion baseball.

During basketball season, Starr also earned all-state accolades. He was named to the third-team as well as first-team all-OVAC and all-District 12 squads. All told, he scored 770 points, averaging 12 points a game. He grabbed 367 rebounds, passed out 154 assists and shot 45 percent from the field.

He is currently a teacher and coach in the East Guernsey School District.

SHAWN VINCENT, St. Clairsville (Class of 1987) - Football was the name of the game for this Red Devils' icon.

You name the way to be involved in a football game and Vincent was the leader of a team that advanced to the Division III state semifinals before falling to Chagrin Falls Kenston, 22-21.

Vincent triggered the Red Devils' attack at the quarterback spot, setting an Ohio Valley record for rushing yards from the position at 1,360 yards in 13 games. He also scored 150 points for a Red Devils' squad, which won the OVAC Class 3-A title. During the regular season, Vincent averaged 10.1 yards a carry and scored 20 touchdowns.

Vincent passed for 441 yards and four touchdowns during his senior campaign. He also caught a touchdown. All told, he scored 24 touchdowns. He was also a weapon as a punt and kick returner, accumulating 638 yards and three scores. On the defensive side of the ball, Vincent roamed in the secondary and had seven interceptions.

For his season, Vincent was an all-OVAC, all-Ohio and all-Valley selection.

Upon his graduation, he accepted a scholarship to play defensive back at the University of Akron. He started for the Zips for three seasons and in 1988 shared the top sophomore award. He still holds the school record with 265 interception return yards and his 13 career interceptions rank second in Akron records.

Vincent then signed a free-agent contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers and played 10 games in 1991 and had two interceptions.

Aside from his football prowess, Vincent lettered in basketball and track and field for the Red Devils. He was the track most valuable player and still holds the school long-jump record.

AMBER ELLISON, Meadowbrook (Class of 1999) - The Lady Colts' basketball program is one of the most storied in the Ohio Valley and Ellison is a major reason why.

Ellison was a four-year letterwinner for the Lady Colts, twice earning first-team all-Ohio accoloades. En route to her honors and eventual basketball scholarship to Wheeling Jesuit University, Ellison re-wrote the Lady Colts' recordbook.

She's currently the school's all-time girls' leader in both steals (506) and assists (472). She ranks second in points (1,363) and rebounds (858). Ellison also holds the Meadowbrook single-game record for 44 points, which she netted as a senior against John Marshall.

During that senior season, Ellison averaged 24.1 points and 14.6 rebounds per game en route to every first-team award imaginable. She was first-team all-Ohio in Division II, Eastern District Player of the Year; All-District 12; Player of the year in the East Central Ohio League and first-team all-OVAC. She was also chosen for the Ohio North-South and OVAC All-Star Games.

As a junior, Ellison poured in 19 points, grabbed10 rebounds, passed out 5.7 assists and snared 5.5 steals per game en route to first-team all-everything. She was also named honorable mention all-USA Today.

If basketball wasn't enough, Ellison is also one of the finest softball players to ever wear a Lady Colts' uniform. She batted better than .400 every year of her career.

Ellison was a three-time all-Ohio softball selection and four-time all-district pick. She was player of the year, as a sophomore, in the ECOL after batting .506 with seven home runs, seven triples and 37 RBI.

At Wheeling Jesuit, Ellison scored 1,273 career pints, grabbed 521 rebounds, pased out 389 assists and made 218 steals. For good measure, she blocked 42 shots as a four-year letterwinner.

She was a two-year captain for the Lady Cardinals and was twice named to the all-WVIAC squad.

After her playing career at Jesuit, Ellison accepted a coaching position at Shenandoah where she served as an assistant for a season before ascending to the head coaching job. She was with the Lady Zeps for three seasons, posting a 54-17 record, while reaching three district tournaments. She was then head coach at Franklin Heights in suburban Columbus for one season and was the head coach at Olentangy Orange.

DENVER WILLIAMS, Cadiz (Class of 1996) - When it comes to speed, there have been very few, if any, faster than Williams.

Regardless if it was on the track or on the football field, Williams was consistently running away from the opposition.

Williams was a four-year regular in both track and football for the Cardinals. On the oval, Williams wrote his name into Ohio Valley history in both the 100 and 200 meter dashes.

He wasted little time in making a name for himself. He won the Division III state 200 meter dash title as a freshman in 1993. He proceeded to win three more, making him one of just five athletes, in state history, to win the same event four straight years.

Williams didn't stop with the 200 titles. He added the Division III 100 meter titles to his resume in both his junior and senior seasons. Williams ran his personal-best times of 10.55 and 21.50 to win the gold medals as a senior, which at the time, were OHSAA state records. Those marks still stand as all-time Ohio Valley records.

On the football field, Williams also shined, earning first-team all-Ohio and all-Eastern District twice. He owns the Cadiz school record for career rushing yards with 4,479.

After his prep career, Williams accepted a football scholarship to the University of Kentucky where he also ran track. He red-shirted as a frosh and then transferred to Youngstown State where he helped the Penguins win the NCAA Division I-AA National Championship. All told, he lettered four years at YSU in football and three in track.

For the Penguins' track team, Williams was the 200M runnerup in the Mid-Continent Conference and was apart of school records in the indoor 4x4 and sprint medley.

Williams has now entered the coaching field. He's spent time at Ashland, Ohio Northern and Heidelberg. Currently, he's working as a football coach and track coach at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.

KENNY HOWELL, St. John Central (Class of 2000) - It didn't matter the season or the sport for this former Irish standout.

However, it was in track and field where Howell made his greatest impact despite only participating in the sport for three years because he played baseball as a freshman.

After being encouraged to give track and field a try, Howell became the area's most decorated male thrower, shining in discus and shot put.

Howell was a three-time all-Ohioan in the discus. He placed third in the state his first season in the circle and then captured the coveted Division III state championship in 1999. As a senior, Howell was undefeated until the state meet when he settled for silver despite a personal-best throw of 180-feet. That mark still stands as the best in Ohio Valley history. Along with his efforts in the state competition, Howell was a three-time OVAC Champion in the platter event.

Along with his discus prowess, Howell placed fifth in the state shot put competition as a senior and was a two-time OVAC champion in the iron-ball event.

Howell also ran on high quality sprint relay teams for the Irish.

On the football field, Howell etched his name into St. John Central history as a three-year starter for squads, which combined for a 25-6 record and qualified for the playoffs in 1999 after a 9-1 season.

Howell was the primary running back for the Irish, amassing 1,500 yards as a junior en route to second-team all-Ohio status. He was first-team all-stater as a senior when he ran for better than 1,300 yards and was twice named to the OVAC's first team.

Howell was also a three-year starter for the Irish basketball program.

After high school, Howell accepted a track scholarship to West Virginia University, but eventually transferred to The Ohio State University where he completed his career and degree.

He resides in Columbus and works in the construction business.

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