College announces inaugural athletic Hall of Fame class

photo - several members of the inaugural class of the Hesston College Athletics Hall of Fame pose with current and former coaches and administrators.

Hesston College is thrilled to announce the inaugural class of the Hesston College Sports Hall of Fame. The 2023 inductees include administrators and coaches Evan Oswald, Liz Hunsberger and Gerry Sieber and athletes Abner Kisare, Beth (Yoder) Hostetler, Solomon Abebe, Brent Eichelberger and Lisa (Schmidt) Graber . The inaugural class will be inducted during Homecoming weekend, Saturday, September 23 at 11 a.m. in the Hesston Mennonite Church sanctuary. A meet and greet will follow in the Yost Center foyer at 2:30 p.m.

Watch the induction ceremony

Evan Oswald ʼ48 – Known as the founding father of Hesston College athletics, Evan Oswald was instrumental in the implementation of varsity athletics at Hesston. After graduating from Hesston in 1948 and finishing his education at the University of Illinois, he returned in 1951 to begin building the program. In 1956, men’s basketball became the first varsity sport offered at Hesston, followed by baseball in 1958 and golf and tennis soon after, all of which were coached by Oswald. Oswald is best known as a baseball coach as he compiled three league championships in a 10-year stint. His 1969 team still holds the best season record at Hesston at 15-3. He also holds the best season record in basketball at 16-2. In total, Oswald coached for 20 years at Hesston, from 1951 to 1971. During this time, he also acted as the athletic director. To honor his legacy, Hesston College named the baseball field after Oswald in 1996.

Liz Hunsberger – A former faculty member of the Hesston College physical education department, Liz Hunsberger was instrumental to the introduction of women’s athletics to Hesston. She is best known for helping implement a varsity volleyball program at Hesston, but was also essential to the creation and success of the women’s basketball and softball programs. She became the first volleyball coach in school history in 1973 and the following year led Hesston to a 30-0 regular season record on their way to a third-place finish at the national tournament. Hunsberger coached the Larks volleyball team until 1976.

Gerry Sieber ʼ64 – Sieber coached at Hesston from 1968 to 1994, including basketball, cross country, track and field and most notably, men’s soccer. He acted as the men’s soccer head coach for 23 years tallying 247 wins, the most in program history, 10 region titles and eight coach of the year awards. He returned to Hesston College in 2009 to revive the cross country program. In 2015, Sieber was inducted into the NJCAA Soccer Hall of Fame. Sieber retired following the 2017 cross country season. Hesston College named the soccer field after Sieber in 2018 to honor his legacy.

Abner Kisare ʼ74 – Kisare was a member of the most successful men’s soccer team in Hesston College history. He achieved NJCAA All-American status and ranks fourth in Lark soccer history in career points with 58 – 47 goals and 11 assists. After finishing his time at Hesston, Kisare attended Goshen (Ind.) College where he was a part of their national qualifying team in 1975 and was named an NAIA All-American. He also earned an honorable mention spot on the All-Midwest Soccer Team.

Beth (Yoder) Hostetler ʼ76 – Hostetler was a well rounded multi-sport athlete at Hesston College who competed in volleyball and track and field. She was a member of the 1974 volleyball team that capped a 30-0 regular season with a third-place finish at the national tournament and was named to the all-tournament team. She also achieved NJCAA All-American status in track and field, tying for second in the 100 meter hurdles and placing third in the long jump in 1976. She still holds school records in the 100-yard hurdles, 440-yard relay team, long jump and javelin. After her time at Hesston, Hostetler went on to play volleyball and run track at Division I Wichita (Kan.) State University.

Solomon Abebe ʼ78 – Abebe might just be the fastest athlete to ever walk on the Hesston College campus. He was a dominant member of the track and field team and he still owns part of four school records. He has the record in the mile (4:18.8), two mile (9:33.1) and three mile (15:08.2) races while also being part of the record-holding 4 x 880 yard relay team (8:20.4).

Brent Eichelberger ʼ85 – Eichelberger set the standard for men’s basketball at Hesston College as he still owns 12 school records nearly 40 years later. Some of his records include single season points per game (31) and rebounds per game (16.2), single season and career blocks (75, 133) and rebounds (420, 822), as well as field goals made in a game (19) and in a season (350).

Lisa (Schmidt) Graber ʼ97 – Graber was one of the most successful women’s basketball players to lace it up for Hesston College. She holds the school record for career blocks and held season and career scoring and career rebounding records but now sits in second on the season scoring (596) and career rebounding (542) lists and third on the career scoring list (1,041). She was a member of the 1997 team that qualified for the national tournament and set three tournament records putting up 36 points, 15 rebounds and shot nine-for-nine from the free throw line.