Make your nominations for the PYA Athletic Hall of Fame

Rob Maeske
The Chronicle-Express
A cartoon drawn by The Chronicle-Express' late cartoonist, Gary Pinneo, whose talents and devotion to local sports were integral to the founding and success of the Penn Yan Academy Athletic Hall of Fame.

The Penn Yan Academy Athletic Hall of Fame Committee is currently accepting applications for nominations to the 2021 Hall of Fame. 

The PYA Athletic Hall of Fame was established in 2010 with the goal of honoring both teams and individual student athletes who have made a significant contribution to the history of Penn Yan school athletics. The first class of inductees was entered in 2011. 

According the the Academy's website, "the Athletic Hall of Fame Award is given for achievement in one or more of the following areas:

Varsity Letter Recipient: Served with distinction in interscholastic athletics as evidenced by more than one of the following: honors/awards received from Penn Yan Academy, league, state or national.

Coach: Served with distinction in one or more varsity sports. Went above and beyond basic expectations as a coach, and maintained appropriate perspective of the intended purpose of interscholastic athletics. Made proper ethical decisions and treated all players with respect and worked toward developing more than just athletic skills.

Team: Served with distinction the values and morals of not only Penn Yan Academy, but the Penn Yan community as a whole. Worked hard as a team and were not judged based on wins and losses, but the dedication they had to the school and the other members of their team.

Contributor: Served with distinction in a capacity that contributed to the success of the athletic program at Penn Yan Academy. Exhibited dedication to the student athletes at Penn Yan Academy."

In previous years, honorees were inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of Homecoming Week, which takes place at the end of the Fall sports season. Induction activities generally include a dinner held at the Academy, followed by a presentation ceremony held in the Academy auditorium. The year's inductees are also honored at the Homecoming football game.

The 2020 inductees were the 1950 Track and Field team, who went undefeated in the Finger Lakes League and also at invitational competition outside the league, setting a slew of records for the 1950 season, several of which still stand today. A major highlight of the 1950 season was winning the prestigious Geneva Kiwanis Relays by a 20 point margin over powerhouse teams from areas as far away as Buffalo, Syracuse, and Elmira.

The 1950 Penn Yan Academy track team.

Members of the team became well-known for their accomplishments off the field as well as in the athletic arena. Ten members of the 1950 Track and Field team served in the military during the Korean war and several team members started businesses, ran successful farming operations and provided essential services for the village, county, and schools. Community leaders came from its ranks, including at least one mayor of Penn Yan.

With the 2020 fall sports season being postponed due to the COVID pandemic, last year's induction ceremony was unable to be held. Thus, the decision was made to double up and honor the 1950 Track and Field team at the 2021 ceremony.

Said Penn Yan Academy Athletic Director Jon MacKerchar, "We did have a Hall of Fame class for the 2020 year ... but we haven't been able to have a celebration for that, so we're going to double it up and [the 1950 Track and Field] team will be honored in the Fall for, hopefully, our normal Homecoming event with the new class of 2021."

Applications can be found on the school's website at www.pycsd.org or on their athletics page at www.pennyanacademy.rschoolteams.com, or picked up at the main office of the Academy. Applications are due to the Athletic Dept. by July 1.