Husky Hall Of Fame Enshrines 2010 Class
Induction Ceremony Photo Gallery
Oct. 29, 2010
The 2010 Husky Hall of Fame inducted five individuals one team Friday night in a ceremony at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. Currently, the Hall of Fame adds new members every other year. Here is a rundown of the members of this year's class:
Members of the 2010 Husky Hall of Fame class all have something in common. Each new inductee - Tina Frimpong (Women's Soccer), Kristina Kraszewski (Women's Tennis), Benji Olson (Football), Eldridge Recasner (Men's Basketball), Jennifer Spediacci (Softball) and the 2005 Women's Volleyball team - were considered the best team or player at their position when they left the UW.
They all set records or laid out unprecedented standards for their time. Many of their records still stand. Some may be tough to ever duplicate. Frimpong left as UW's all-time leader in goals and points, Kraszewski was the only Husky to ever be ranked No. 1 in singles, Olson is the only two-time All-American offensive lineman in UW history, Recasner's 1,700 points are the most-ever by a Husky guard, Spediacci left school as the all-time leader in ERA and strikeouts, and the 2005 Volleyball team gave the school its first national championship in the sport.
Here is a glance at each of the members of the Husky Hall of Fame, 2010 class of inductees:
Tina (Frimpong) Ellerton
Ellerton was able to excel on the field, becoming the conference's first two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year and setting the UW record with 43 goals and 99 points during her career. She also excelled in the classroom where she was a NSCAA second-team All-Scholar recipient. All impressive stats in their own rights, but more remarkable when considering she had to raise her daughter during her collegiate experience.
"Coach (Lesle) Gallimore and (Amy) Griffin didn't treat me any different," said Ellerton from her home in Vancouver, Wash. "They called me in their office one fall about my grades and told me I needed to pick it up. I looked at them and said `Do you know how much is on my plate?' and coach said `Nope. You can do better.'
"I just remember from that time on I didn't ever try to make up any excuses. I graduated with a 3.5 GPA and I was able to still have a high standard on the field...my friends, family and coaches never let me use excuses and just kept pushing me along."
Since Ellerton graduated, she has played on the U.S. National Team and played professionally. She recently signed another year long contract with Atlanta and will team up with fellow Husky Hall of Fame member Hope Solo.
Kristina (Kraszewski) Babcock
"My fondest memory was senior year, when we got to the Elite Eight in the NCAAs," Babcock said by telephone from Houston. "All that work from freshman year through my senior year - to see everyone's hard work finally paying off was a thrill."
She had more than one.
The first Husky All-American in women's tennis, Kraszewski set a new standard of excellence at Washington. Huskies are still striving to match her career.
The winningest player in Washington history (111-45 in singles) is still the only Husky to be ranked No. 1 in the nation in singles. She spent five weeks atop the country's rankings in 2000. She qualified for the NCAAs in all four of her years at Washington in singles and doubles.
After leading UW to those memorable national quarterfinals in Athens, Ga., in 2001, she was ranked as high as 229 on the professional tour by the Women's Tennis Association. She played in qualifying rounds at the U.S. Open in 2000 and 2001. She left the pro ranks a year later and taught lessons in Seattle before taking a position at Elite TNT Tennis Academy in Montgomery, Texas in 2005. Kraszewski then returned to the college ranks in 2006 as an assistant coach at Rice University, where she stayed for three seasons.
The Husky offensive guard left campus in 1997 as the only two-time All- American offensive lineman in school history. As a sophomore, Olson helped pave the way for Corey Dillon's school record 1,555 rushing yards and a 22 touchdown season. His junior year he returned from off-season back surgery to help the team lead the Pac-10 in fewest sacks allowed.
Olson had proved all he could at the collegiate level and declared for the NFL Draft following his junior campaign. He was selected by the Tennessee Oilers in the fifth round of the 1998 draft and spent 10 seasons in the NFL. Olson made 140 starts in 152 games - only missing starts in 12 contests during his rookie year.
Injuries eventually forced Olson to retire from playing in the NFL. His years in the professional ranks made him appreciate his time at Washington all the more. He can't wait to travel to Seattle from his home in Nashville, Tenn. to become enshrined in the UW Hall of Fame.
"Obviously, it means everything," said Olson on being enshrined. "You go out every day and give it your all because you love the sport. You just do the best you can and have fun playing. Never did I think of awards, honors and certainly Hall of Fame recognition.
"To say the least, I am humbled and honored. Truly, this is one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me."
He left school No. 3 among UW's all-time scorers (he has since dropped to six) and is the shortest player among the top-10, standing 6-foot-3, until you reach fellow guard Louis Nelson at No. 9.
Recasner also ranks among the school's all-time leaders in three-point field goals, free throw percentage, assists and steals. He is the only three-time captain in program history and earned All-Pac-10 Conference honors three times (1988, 89, 90), being named the team's Most Valuable Player in each of those years.
Recasner played three seasons in the Continental Basketball Association and was named the league's MVP twice before spending eight seasons in the NBA with the Denver Nuggets, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets and Los Angeles Clippers.
"When I think back about my career, I don't think there was a guy more proud to wear the purple and the gold than I was," said Recasner about his induction into the Husky Hall of Fame. "To get a chance to go into the Husky Hall of Fame is truly an honor."
Jennifer (Spediacci) Stephens
"I definitely feel honored," the former Huskies fire-balling ace softball pitcher and 2004 Olympian says.
Few could connect with her while she was pitching.
Then Jennifer Spediacci, the powerful, 5-foot-6 Bay Area native was a first- and second-team All-American, first-team All-Pac-10 three times and the 2000 Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year during her sterling Huskies career that began in 1997. Her 1.10 ERA ranks No. 1 in school history, and her zapping fastballs led Washington to four consecutive berths in the Women's College World Series. She was UW's career strikeout leader when she left college - and she broke that record during her junior season.
After leaving UW, she kept playing softball professionally for six years in Italy, where she has dual citizenship. She accomplished a career goal when she played for the Italian national team in the 2004 Olympic Games.
She gave up softball in 2008 to move back to the U.S. and begin a family and a career in commercial real estate. She is currently on maternity leave from her job as a property manager at Ethan Conrad Properties in Sacramento.
The three-time volleyball All-America will be joining her former teammates on Washington's 2005 national championship team in being honored. And the UW's all-time assist queen will be trekking halfway across the world to get to Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
"I'll be coming from (her professional team in) Austria, back for just a few days," Thompson said while on the phone from Anaheim, Calif., where she is currently training with the U.S. national volleyball team.
"I made it hard on myself, but it's worth it to be there. I'm really excited. I'm pumped."
Thompson, who turns 26 on Nov. 4, said she's talked to her former teammates and believes at least 10 of the 13 members of Washington's first-ever NCAA volleyball championship team will be at the induction ceremony.
That list includes 2005 national defensive player of the year, senior libero Candace Lee, with whom Thompson has played recently; then-freshman Jill Collymore, who is currently training on the national team with Thompson; and Thompson's close friend Christal Morrison.
Thompson, who still calls the Seattle suburb of Kent home, is the Pac-10's all-time leader in assists. That record may stand forever now that college volleyball has gone to 25-point sets instead of 30. She's the NCAA's career leader in assists per set with 14.56 and is third in NCAA history with 6,552 assists.
She said the more time removed from that magical title season, the more the magnitude of what those Huskies did sinks in - and the more it means to be honored as a Husky Hall of Famer.
"I think it's the coolest award I've ever gotten," Thompson said. "It means a lot to me. When you step away from it, the farther you get away from college, you almost appreciate it more. You go through so much together and work so hard to win a national title. I still love my teammates."