GATHERED IN THE OHS GYM Friday, Feb. 11 are the six inductees into the 2022 Athletic Hall of Fame including (from left) Kurt Alliton, representing Coach Jerry Alliton; Amy Alliton; Coach JoEllen Smith, representing Gary Webster, Mitch Zwolensky, Marley Powers and Linda Hemgesberg-Murphy.

(Independent Photos/Karen Mead-Elford)

 

  Owosso High School celebrated with a tribute to the six 2022 Athletic Hall of Fame inductees on Friday evening, Feb. 11 in the gymnasium, appropriately between basketball games. The athletes honored were from varying decades and backgrounds – all making large athletic contributions to OHS. The six athletes included Jerry Alliton, Amy Alliton, Linda Hemgesberg-Murphy, Marley Powers, Gary Webster and Mitch Zwolensky.

   Coach Jerry Alliton, represented by his son, Kurt, is a 1954 OHS graduate. He was a three-sport star in football, basketball and baseball. After graduating high school, Alliton taught at OHS for 34 years and coached from 1959 through 1985. During those 26 years, he coached football, wrestling and baseball. He accumulated 657 wins at OHS. He was varsity assistant coach for the 1965 football team, which is the only undefeated team in school history. He was varsity wrestling coach from 1962 to 1969. In those years, he coached seven state champions and 25 Big Nine champion wrestlers. As the OHS wrestling coach, Alliton never lost a Big Nine meet and in 1967, his team finished second in the state. He coached baseball for 20 years and in 1976, the Trojans reached the semifinals. He coached 14 All Big Nine players and three professional players – Brad Van Pelt, Mitch Zwolensky and Randy Salava.

   Amy Alliton White is Coach Jerry Alliton’s daughter. Amy graduated in 1986 and was a three-sport varsity high school athlete. She was on the varsity basketball and volleyball team for three years each, earning All Big 9 Conference 2nd and 3rd Team. She was the MVP on the volleyball team her senior year. Her real moment to shine was on the track. Amy was not only All Conference, but she was All-State all four years of high school. She broke six school records and was Regional Champion in the 100 and 300 hurdles her senior year. She still holds the OHS records for the 100 and 300 hurdles today.

   Alliton shared some of her favorite OHS memories were playing sports, being a band majorette and being crowned Homecoming Queen.

   Linda Hemgesberg-Murphy, class of 1976, lettered in four sports at OHS including track, softball, volleyball and basketball. She was a four-year varsity athlete in basketball for Coach Hill. She was All Nine as a junior and senior. In her last season, she averaged 24.5 points and 9.3 rebounds a game. Her 24.5 points and a 40-point game against Kearsley are two school records that still stand today. Linda was a Big Nine Honorable Mention in volleyball her senior year. She continued her basketball career, walking on at Central Michigan as a sophomore.

   Hemgesberg-Murphy taught 3rd-grade at St. Paul Catholic School for 32 years while coaching basketball for eight years.

   Her favorite high school memory was winning their first Big Nine Championship in 1974. She is also very grateful for support from family, friends and teachers such as Nancy Balko and Glenda Caszatt.

   Marley Powers, a 2007 OHS graduate, was a four time All Big Nine first-team selection (2004-07), four-time all-district and two-time all-region (2005-07) softball player. She was also the 2007 OHS Most Outstanding Athlete of the Year and 2007 Michigan Miss Softball runner-up. She was a three-time MVP and Team Captain (2005-07). At one time, she held 18 OHS softball records. Powers finished her OHS career with 210 career hits, 154 RBI and 16 triples – still OHS records today. She also played three years of volleyball and received the OHS Academic Excellence Award (2006-07) and the MHSSCA Academic All-State in 2007.

   Powers played outfield and designated hitter for four years at the University of Michigan. She hit four grand slams. She was a member of four Big 10 Championships and received the Big Ten Conference Distinguished Scholar award and the U of M Academic Achievement Award in 2011.

   Gary Webster was a three-time varsity letter winner in basketball and baseball at OHS. He graduated in 1965 – and was the first OHS athlete to be named 1st Team All Big Nine in both baseball and basketball. In basketball (1965), he was All-State Honorable Mention, 1st Team All Big Nine and team MVP. He missed the 1964 basketball season because of a broken wrist.

   In baseball, he played shortstop and was All Big Nine from 1963 to 1965.

   After high school, Webster was a two-time All American selection in fast pitch softball and his team was the 1984 Runner Up. He was inducted into the USA Michigan Softball Hall of Fame in 1998.

   Webster wrote for the Argus Press for over 39 years, mostly as a sports editor. He hoped every article he wrote would make it into somebody’s scrapbook.

   He also had a passion for the Owosso Sports Boosters and enjoyed his time with the group.

   Mitch Zwolensky, a 1978 graduate, was a three-sport varsity letterman in football, basketball and baseball. He was 2nd Team All Big 9 in 1977 and 1st Team All Big 9 and All District team in basketball in 1978, including a 29-point effort against number one ranked Flint Beecher. In baseball, he was All Big Nine in 1976-78, 2nd Team All-State in 1977 and 1st Team All-State in 1978. Zwolensky threw four no-hitters, struck out 338 batters and was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 4th round of the amateur draft. He later pitched the Championship game for the USA Midwest to win the Gold Medal in 1978.

   Zwolensky pitched at Eastern Michigan for three years including starting pitcher in the NCAA Regional Championship game. In 1981, he was again drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 11th round. He had success in the Rangers organization, including the Rangers 40-man roster in 1984. He would continue to pitch later in the Cubs organization alongside people like Greg Maddux. After his playing days, he would serve as a minor league pitching coach and manager and had a part in the 1994 movie “Little Big League.” 

OHS Celebrates Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees was last modified: February 22nd, 2022 by Karen Elford