2013-06-13 / Sports

Lancaster announces Hall of Fame Class


Before he went on to a career in professional baseball, Jim “Irish” McCloskey was a three-sport standout for Lancaster High School in the 1920s. He, along with five others, will be inducted into the school’s athletic Hall of Fame on June 22. Before he went on to a career in professional baseball, Jim “Irish” McCloskey was a three-sport standout for Lancaster High School in the 1920s. He, along with five others, will be inducted into the school’s athletic Hall of Fame on June 22. One of the most accomplished coaches in Western New York history, along with several gifted athletes from five different decades, highlight this year’s Lancaster High School Athletic Hall of Fame class.

Dennis Beck, the winningest wrestling coach in Section VI, joins the class of six that will be inducted on June 22 in a ceremony at 10 a.m. starting in the school auditorium and ending with a reception in the fieldhouse.

Joining Beck (Class of 1967) will be Dave Amey (Class of 1959), AJ Copeland (1979), Janine Spezio Eikenberg (1989), Jay Stellrecht (1987) and the late Jim “Irish” McCloskey (1930).

The induction will be the fifth since the Hall of Fame was founded in 2001 and brings the total number of inductees to 32.

Two sports are being recognized for the first time with Stellrecht in golf and Spezio Eikenberg, who was a gymnast.

Copeland is the second inductee from the Class of 1979 joining Howie Hein, who was inducted in 2010. Stellrecht becomes the second member of the Class of 1987, as Joe Zito was honored in 2007. Beck’s induction is also the second for his class as Dave Pawlik was brought in with the Class of 2010.

Beck won an amazing 340 matches against 95 losses in his 31-year career as the Redskin wrestling coach from 1976-2007. Among his 27 Section VI champions and 15 state place winners was 1986 state champion Zito. Beck also had a 69-37-6 record in 14 seasons as JV football. He played football and wrestled at Lancaster before continuing his football career at Kansas Wesleyan.

Amey was a proven winner as his football, basketball and baseball teams all won championships in 1958-1959. The Section VI championship team he played on as a senior was nicknamed “Amey’s Army.” He went to Duke after Lancaster, and served in Vietnam in what was the beginning of a 26-year career in the Marines.

Stellrecht still hold the school and ECIC record for lowest round with a 69. He won the ECIC Championship in his junior and senior year and completed twice in the state championship. As a lifelong member of Lancaster Country Club, he’s won the club championships seven times.

Spezio-Eikenberg was the All-Around champion of the Section VI Gymnastics Championship and also won individual titles on the balance beam and floor exercise. She earned a scholarship to Towson (Md.) earning All-ECAC honors three times. She was inducted into her college Hall of Fame in 2003.

Copeland’s biggest triumphs came on the football field where he was named the WNY defensive Player of the Year in 1978. He was also a first All-New York State selection where he recorded eight sacks on the defensive line.

McCloskey will be inducted posthumously as he died in 1971. McCloskey became a folk hero of sorts in Lancaster in the 1920s following his exploits on the football, basketball and baseball fields. He led Lancaster to multiple championships and earned numerous individual all-star honors. He played football and baseball at St. Bonaventure and later enjoyed a professional baseball career.

Anyone who knows any of Mc- Closkey’s descendents are asked to e-mail Hall of Fame committee chairman Len Jankiewicz at LJankiewicz@roadrunner.com.

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