The Trumbull County Sports Hall of Fame will induct 12 new members during enshrinement ceremonies on Sunday, October 30 at DiVieste’s Banquet Center, 754 North River Road, N.W., Warren.
The organization’s 19th class includes Brian Beinecke (football), the late George A. Bollas (wrestling), Vanness “Van” Brandon (football), Tony Davis (football), Bill Dreier (contribution to sports, official), Nia Grant (volleyball), Larry Kempe (football, coach), the late Richard Raidel (football), Tom Raphtis (football), Bob Todd (golf, coach), Dan Williams (football, coach) and Mandy Zolciak Willis (basketball).
A 1997 graduate of Warren John F. Kennedy High School, she hails from a family of talented athletes and coaches, a group that has left their mark on the Trumbull County sports scene for the past six Bdecades.
As an Eagles’ standout, she was highly decorated having earned 12 letters in four sports while competing in basketball, soccer, softball and track and field.
She earned four letters in soccer and was an All-Conference honoree, earning two letters each in both softball and track.
She excelled, however, on the hardwood, where she scored over 1,000 points and earned another four letters en-route to All-Mahoning Valley Conference, All-Trumbull County and All-Northeast Ohio laurels.
A Special Mention All-Ohio selection, she was named the Trumbull County Coaches Association “Female Basketball Player of the Year” her senior season.
Upon graduation she continued her basketball career at Baldwin-Wallace University, earning another four letters while starting both her junior and senior seasons.
She played all four years under the watchful eye of head coach Cheri Harrer, helping the Yellow Jackets to three consecutive Ohio Athletic Conference championships, a runner-up post-season tournament finish after tying for second-place in the regular season, two NCAA Division III Elite 8 tournament appearances and two more NCAA Division III second-round finishes.
During her freshman campaign (1997-98), she helped the team to a 23-6 overall mark, a 15-3 conference record and the OAC tournament championship game.
As a sophomore (1998-99), she guided the Yellow Jackets to a 26-2 record, going 17-1 in the league for their first of three straight crowns, advancing to the Division III tournament’s second-round for a second straight year.
As a junior (1999-2000) starter, she helped guide the team to a 28-2 slate, going undefeated (16-0) in the league as they captured their second straight OAC championship. They would go on to make the first of two consecutive Elite 8 tournament appearances.
She continued her outstanding play as a senior (2000-01), helping the team to a 27-3 overall mark and a 17-1 conference finish, their third straight league title and a second straight trip to the Elite 8.
The Yellow Jackets posted a 104-13 (.889 winning percentage) overall mark during her collegiate career, going 65-5 (.929) in the OAC during her four seasons in Berea,
For her outstanding play, she was voted the team’s “Best Defensive Player” and still ranks 10th overall in the BW record book in assists per game (2.31, minimum of 50 games played), ranking 14th all-time with 245 career assists.
She excelled in the classroom as well, earning a 3.97 cumulative grade point average and graduating as salutatorian from Warren JFK.
While in college, she was an All-Academic selection with a 3.95 g.p.a., earning her undergraduate degree in Pre-Physical Therapy, later receiving her MA from The Ohio State University.
She was inducted into the Warren Sports Hall of Fame and this past Fall, the Warren JFK Athletics Hall of Fame.
She currently works as a Physical Therapist in Mentor.
Along with her husband, Mark Willis, they are the proud parents of three children, Lyla, Peyton and Carter.
They reside in Concord where she now enjoys spending time watching her kids play soccer, football, basketball, softball and baseball.