A tremendous group of five Athenas and Stags are being inducted into the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Alumni Association Athletics Hall of Fame this year. The induction ceremony is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Nov. 11 at Claremont McKenna College’s Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum. For those who would like to attend, please register online.
The Class of 2017 is comprised of a men’s tennis doubles national champion, a foundational aquatics head coach from the Claremont-Mudd years who led the program to its first national championship, an individual who helped spearhead the campaign to make women’s lacrosse a varsity sport at CMS, a prolific scoring women’s soccer player, and a versatile All-American Athena from the track & field program.
This year’s class represents all three CMS colleges and the CMS head coaching ranks: Lea Crusey (CMC ’03 – Women’s Lacrosse), John Michael Cham-A-Koon (CMC ’04 – Men’s Tennis), Kristina Orosz (HMC ’04 – Track & Field), Diane Noonan Eichler (SCR ’90 – Women’s Soccer) and Dez Farnady (Head Coach - Men’s Swim & Dive/Men’s Water Polo). Led by Farnady, the 1967 swim & dive team’s NAIA national title was the first team championship for any sport in CMS history. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 team’s championship season and the ’67 team is going to be honored at this year’s Hall of Fame Banquet.
There are now 124 members in the Hall of Fame and this year’s class marks the 27th Hall of Fame induction class in CMS history.
John Michael Cham-A-Koon ’04 (Claremont McKenna College – Men’s Tennis)
In his first season with CMS after transferring from Division I Pepperdine, Cham-A-Koon paired with Ivan Yeh and won the 2002 NCAA Division III national championship in doubles. He became a three-time ITA All-American and a three-time All-SCIAC selection for the Stags, as a dominant player in both singles and doubles. As a senior in 2004, Cham-A-Koon partnered with Kyle Ellison to win the prestigious Ojai Valley doubles tournament. Later in the season, Cham-A-Koon showed off his versatility and finished as the NCAA D-III singles finalist. Well respected by teammates and coaches alike, Cham-A-Koon served as team captain (2003 and 2004) and was twice named Team MVP (2003 and 2004). The Stags won SCIAC championships in 2003 and 2004 under his leadership. As a senior in 2004, he capped off his career by being selected as the CMC Male Athlete of the Year, the ITA Arthur Ashe West Region Sportsmanship award recipient, and a CMS Wall of Fame honoree.
Lea Crusey ’03 (Claremont McKenna College - Women’s Lacrosse)
As a four-year member of the women’s lacrosse team, Crusey played an instrumental role in the transition of women’s lacrosse from a club sport to a varsity sport within the CMS program. As a senior in 2003 – the lacrosse team’s first year as a varsity sport – Crusey helped put the program on the map. She led the Athenas to a 10-3 record and earned first team All-Region honors in the process. In 2003, Crusey led the team in goals (24), assists (7) and shooting percentage (45). As a vocal and emotional leader of the team, Crusey was chosen as the team captain by her peers.
Dez Farnady ’64-74 (CMS Head Coach – Men’s Water Polo and Men’s Swim & Dive)
In 11 seasons as the Stags’ swim & dive head coach and 10 seasons leading the men’s water polo program, Coach Farnady took the aquatics program to elite levels regionally and nationally. As a coach and mentor, Farnady guided CMS to many firsts. In 1966 the Stags won the swim & dive program’s first conference championship. In 1967, the Stags won the NAIA swim & dive national championship, the first team national championship of any kind for CMS Athletics. And in 1968, the men’s water polo team registered its first conference championship. All told, teams he coached won 12 SCIAC championships – five in water polo and seven in swim & dive. The swim & dive program finished in the top-10 nationally nine times during his tenure, which included four second places finishes. In addition, several swimmers won national championships in individual and relay events. He coached eight CMS Hall of Famers and over 50 NAIA All-Americans during his career. As an art history professor at CMC, Coach Farnady also exhibited a commitment to scholarly achievement. The founding principles he embraced for success in and out of the pool are evident in today’s aquatics program at CMS.
Diane Noonan Eichler ’90 (Scripps College - Women’s Soccer)
A three-time All-SCIAC selection and four-year team member for the Athenas, Noonan Eichler knew how to find the back of the net as a goal scorer. She graduated as the second-leading scorer in CMS women’s soccer history (even with missing much of the 1987 season with an injury). As a senior in 1989, Noonan Eichler scored 19 goals and earned Team MVP honors. The Athenas won two SCIAC championships and had a pair of second place finishes during her career.
Kristina Orosz ’04 (Harvey Mudd College – Women’s Track & Field)
The best overall thrower male or female in SCIAC history, Orosz is the only thrower in conference history to place in all four throwing events (the shot put, discus, javelin and hammer) each of her four years as an Athena. During her track & field career, Kristina was honored as both the Harvey Mudd Athlete of the Year, and voted by her teammates as the MVP both her junior and senior years. Within the SCIAC, she earned 16 All-Conference performances, 4 SCIAC championships, and scored the second highest number of points in Athena history in dual meets. As an NCAA competitor, she qualified for the NCAA Championships for three years (sophomore, junior and senior years) and topped off her senior year with an All-American placing in the hammer.