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Chester County Press

Six new inductees heading into Oxford Sports Wall of Fame

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A new group of sports standouts will be welcomed into the Oxford Sports Wall of Fame during the 21st annual ceremony to honor the inductees at Oxford Area High School on Monday, Oct. 16.

Hornet Pride will be be on full display during the event—and for good reason. This year’s inductees are a particularly accomplished group, and each honoree excelled in a wide variety of sports and activities.

The 2023 class of six inductees includes Ken Woodward, Carol Hershey (Class of 1981), Rebekah Hostetter (Class of 1997), Dan Bakken (Class of 1997), James Wilson (Class of 2011), and Sarah Johnson (Class of 2017).

Johnson is the most recent graduate of Oxford Area High School to be honored this year.

She has been a leader and a highly decorated athlete everywhere she has competed.

At Oxford Area High School, Johnson was on the varsity field hockey team and the track and field team for four years, from 2013 to 2017. She served as the captain of both teams.

She was a field hockey First Team All-Ches-Mont selection several times during her scholastic career. She was also a First Team All-Area selection for the 2016-17 season. She was also an Honorable Mention Team All-Area (2013-14 and 2015-16). Additionally, she was a Max Field Hockey Top 50 National Player for the Class of 2017.

Johnson also earned the Team MVP and Team Coach’s Award for the high school field hockey team.

For Oxford’s track and field team, she was a district qualifier in the 4x100m relay during the 2015-16 season.

Johnson completed on the WC Eagles Field Hockey Club Team from 2011 to 2017. The team won the National Indoor Tournament Championship (2013, 2014, 2016, 2017) and the National Club Championship (2014, 2015, 2016).

She also got to participate io the China Tour Team that was the runner-up squad in the Chinese National Club Championships in 2016. She was also part of the England Tour Team in 2016.

At Stanford, she was an America East All-Conference First Team selection in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. Johnson served as the captain of the Stanford University squad for the 2020-2021 season.

She competed in the USA National Indoor Team from 2015 to 2018, and from 2022 to present, as well as the USA National Outdoor Development Team Camp for 2021-2022.

She was also the captain of the Boston College field hockey team in 2022.

While at Stanford, Johnson earned a degree in human biology in 2021. More recently, she earned a master’s degree in hospital administration from Boston College.

While he was at Oxford, Wilson lettered in swimming all four years. He qualified for the PIAA Championships in his junior and senior year, and he placed second in those championships.

He was named a NISCA All-American, Junior USA National Finalist, and a USA National Qualifier. By the time he concluded his swimming career at Oxford, he held all the swimming records. He also lettered for four years in golf, and qualified for districts.

Wilson lettered in swimming all four years at Penn State University. He was a captain of the Penn State University swimming team for two years. He was an NCAA qualifier and placed sixth at the NCAA Championships. He was also a Big Ten qualifier and placed second in those championships. Wilson was a two-time All-American from his relay team performances at the NCAA National Championships. He was a member of the 200 medley relay team that finished sixth at the NCAA Championships and part of the 400 medley relay that placed eighth at the NCAA Championships. He participated in the Olympic trials, the US Open, and the Canadian Olympic Trials.

His success in high school and college was a prelude to what was to come. Wilson today owns a successful vineyard and winery in Nottingham.

While she was at Oxford Area High School, Carol Hershey was a standout player on the varsity softball team for four years and the varsity field hockey team for three years.After high school, she worked and completed a two-year stint with the Mennonite Voluntary Service Program before going to college at Eastern College (now Eastern University).

She played both sports for all four years at Eastern University. She was the MVP of the softball team during her senior year, and she also broke the field hockey team’s assist record in a single season during her junior year. She was an important part of the 1987-1988 field hockey team that was inducted into the Eastern University Wall of Honor in 2015. That team finished third in the NCAA Division III Field Hockey Championships.

Dan Bakken played soccer, basketball, and tennis for all four years at Oxford Area High School. He earned eight varsity letters—four for tennis, three for soccer, and one for basketball.

In soccer, he was a three-time varsity letter winner and starter. The team went to the district playoffs in all three years. He scored over 20 career goals at the varsity level, and led the team in scoring during his senior year.

Bakken was selected to the Southern Chester County League All-League team during his senior year. He was the Wendy’s High School Heisman Scholar-Athlete Award winner during his senior year. At Cornell University, he was a starter on the club-level soccer team.

Rebekah J. Hostetter graduated from Oxford Area High School in 1997. During her senior year, she was a member of the inaugural swimming team at Oxford. The team managed to have a winning record that first year—many of the team members had been swimming together at the Jennersville YMCA since they were children.

Rebekah herself had started swimming at the age of eight, and she excelled in the back stroke and free-style events. She won many local and regional YMCA swim meets and qualified for nationals.

She also played two years on the school’s junior varsity softball team before moving up to the varsity level for two years.

After graduating from Oxford in 1997, she attended West Chester University where she majored in elementary education with a minor in special education. Rebekah wanted to attend West Chester University in part because that allowed her to be close to home and the Jennersville YMCA, where she worked as a lifeguard, a swim instructor, and the coach of the 8-year-old-and-under team. She also served as an assistant coach for the Avon Grove High School swimming team.

After Rebekah’s untimely passing in December of 1999, the Hostetter family and the Jennersville YMCA started a golf tournament to honor Rebekah and support the participants in the YMCA water activities. This year was the 23rd annual Rebekah J. Hostetter Memorial Golf Tournament and the event has raised over $500,000 since its inception. The golf tournament currently supports the SPLASH Safety Around Water Program. The YMCA partners with the local school districts, including Oxford, Octorara, Avon Grove, and the Avon Grove Charter School to transport every second- or third-grade student to the Jennersville YMCA. Non-swimmers are identified and given passes to the YMCA to learn how to swim, free of charge. At the pre-pandemic peak, over 1,200 children each year were given this opportunity. This is just one way that Rebekah’s legacy continues to live on.

As one of the founding members of the Oxford Sports Wall of Fame, Woodward has played a role in helping to highlight the accomplishments of Oxford students. 

Woodward explained his involvement with the Oxford Sports Wall of Fame this way: “In 2000, I participated in the meetings with teachers, coaches, and community members that led to the creation of the Oxford Sports Wall of Fame. Under the direction of Tom Grugan, we selected the inaugural class for our first induction in 2001.”

Woodward has handled many tasks with the Sports Wall of Fame Selection Committee over the years. He said that the most enjoyable times with the organization were those times when, for 17 years, he shared the podium on each induction night with Ken Howett.

Woodward was a longtime principal in the Oxford Area School District. When he was principal of the Oxford Intermediate School, the school started having its teams play games against other schools in the Southern Chester County League. They emphasized the intramural and instructional nature of games.

Woodward went on to serve as the principal at the high school for 16 years. He served as a Southern Chester County League District 1 representative. He represented the school and the district at meetings of the Southern Chester County League. He was president of the Southern Chester County League for part of that time. He also represented the Southern Chester County League at District 1 meetings. District 1 represented schools in southern Pennsylvania in their dealings with the PIAA.

As the principal at the high school, he often attended sports events.

He coached baseball at Avon Grove High School for six years. He was a member and past president of the West Grove Recreation Association.

Woodward also coached, umpired, and was the league’s official score keeper and member of the board of Avon Grove Little League for many years, beginning in his teenage years. He was also a coach, umpire, and member of the Oxford Little League’s Board of Directors.

The Oxford Sports Wall of Fame program will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 16 in the high school cafeteria and auditorium on Waterway Road in Oxford. There will be time for light refreshments and social time in the cafeteria before the program begins in the auditorium.