SAYRE — Four former Sayre High School athletes recently joined an exclusive club as they were inducted into the Sayre Redskin Club Hall of Fame.
Paul Furman, Ashley Janosko, Tom Schrader and Beth Walker were honored at a banquet earlier this year.
“Our newest Hall of Fame inductees are all amazing examples of what lessons learned through sport participation and achieving in the classroom can bring,” a press release from the Redskin Club said.
Schrader, who was a football, basketball and track standout from 1964 to 1967 for the Redskins, was thrilled when he received the news.
“I was ecstatic. I mean there have been a lot of tremendous athletes that have come out of Sayre. To be a part of that is amazing. I still can’t believe that it happened, and I’m very grateful to the Redskin Club for their acknowledgement,” said Schrader.
Schrader’s main sport was track where he and his mile-relay teammates won a state championship in 1966.
“We had never been beat. We won the Lycoming Relays and down at the Penn Relays,” said Schrader, who teamed up with Wally Haggerty, Mel Skerpon and Joe Cost on the relay squad.
The Sayre relay team was never really challenged locally — including when they raced against a tough Elmira Free Academy squad.
“We had tied with EFA and the coach at the time that year had told (former Sayre track coach) John Childs that if he could have run his best runners, they would have beat us in the mile relay,” Schrader recalled. “Childs told the coach we would come back up that week and he could put his best guys against us and we’d run. Well, we went back up there on a Wednesday night, and we smoked them. There were some state champions that we went up there and beat.”
After his time at Sayre High, Schrader served two tours of duty in Vietnam and received a Purple Heart for his service.
Like Schrader, Walker shined as a runner for the Redskins. The 2009 graduate of SHS was a four-time state qualifier in cross country and also made the state meet in track as a senior.
Walker, who was four-time Northern Tier League All-Star in cross country, was also the first-ever Sayre girl to qualify for the state meet.
In track, Walker is a school-record holder in the 3,200 meter relay, 1,600 meter run and 3,200 meter run. She was a four-time district qualifier, PIAA state qualifier her senior year in the 1600 run, and placed fourth in the state with a new school record her senior year.
Walker, who competed in cross country and track for four years at Division I La Salle University, credited her parents with helping her achieve her goals throughout her career.
“The most special and important parts from my time as a high school and then college athlete was my family support and their selflessness. They traveled far distances to see us race, my dad trained me in the offseasons and held me accountable, encouraged me to do what I loved and accomplish my goals, providing all resources they could,” Walker said.
Walker also praised her siblings and the coaches at SHS.
“My siblings often trained with me when I wanted to put in more work,” Walker said. “The (Sayre) coaching staff was impeccable and led by example. The whole experience as a student athlete largely shaped the person I am today — my own leadership and teamwork skills, focus, drive, representing myself and my organization with high standards and longevity towards a cause or shared goal.”
The Hall of Fame athlete is hoping to inspire future Redskins.
“I remember when I was young and in high school, it seemed like many years in a row that we would go to support the different teams so I always got to see what the sports banquet was all about. I thought it was a really nice opportunity to hear what other people did, and it was encouraging for the younger people, you know that maybe one day they can accomplish X,Y and Z,” Walker said. “So when Erin Wayman reached out to me, immediately I thought I can finally do for the younger people what I received, so that was really exciting.”
Furman, a 1965 graduate of SHS, was a starter on the Sayre football team where he was an offensive and defensive lineman.
He was also a standout on the Redskin track team where he helped Sayre finish sixth in the state in total points and won a state title in the discus.
Furman won his discus gold during a heavy rainstorm and wind blowing against him and he would still throw 142 feet, 5 1/2 inches.
Janosko was a standout in soccer, basketball and track for the Redskins until she graduated in 2002.
In soccer, Janosko was a member of the first official girls’ soccer team at Sayre High School. Janosko became a captain in the junior and senior years. In her senior year, she scored 23 goals and 7 assists which led her to be named a First Team NTL All-Star.
A captain of the basketball team in her senior year, Janosko’s career included MVP tournament recognitions. She was named an NTL All-Star on both offense and defense, and was an all-important Academic All-Star.
Janosko is a school-record holder in the 200 meters, 400 meters, 400 relay and 1,600 relay in track and field. A four-time District 4 qualifier, she was a district champ as a senior in the 100 and 200 meters. The former standout qualified twice for states.
The new member of the HOF went on to play soccer and run track at East Stroudsburg University.
Editor’s note: Look for a story on the 2019 Joe Powell Award winners in a future edition of the Morning Times.