KSU’s Varsity ‘K’ Hall of Fame inducts seven

Katie Smith

Kent State’s athletic department has chosen six former standout athletes and one former administrator to be inducted into the Varsity “K” Hall of Fame.

Kara Warnke Mayle, Kent State director of Alumni Relations, said the Varsity “K” Hall of Fame began in 1979 and has inducted about eight people each year.

“It was started to recognize our outstanding athletes, the athletes who are above and beyond in their athletic careers,” Warnke Mayle said.

There is a selection committee made up of in-house administrators who choose a top 25, and then a voting committee made up of Hall of Fame members, administrators and former athletes votes on who to induct, Warnke Mayle said.

To be considered for induction, “you have to have been out of school for five years–not necessarily graduated–and you have to have at least first-team All-(Mid-American Conference) accolades,” Warnke Mayle said.

She also added that athletes from every sport, including discontinued sports such as ice hockey and tennis, can be inducted.

Tom Viggiano, who played on Kent State’s ice hockey team for four years, said, “It was quite an experience and an honor,” to be inducted into the Varsity “K” Hall of Fame.

Viggiano said he was recruited to play at Kent State in 1979.

According to a Kent State press release, Viggiano was Kent State’s first four-year letter winner in ice hockey, and he also holds the career record for goals scored (97) among other achievements.

Viggiano said any accolades he received on the ice were because of his teammates and others surrounding him.

Jennie Allerding-Bishko was inducted for her years spent on Kent State’s softball team.

Allerding-Bishko grew up in a small town, and she said Kent State felt smaller because of the friendships she developed with her teammates.

She was recognized as a two-time Academic All-American, and she said she also won the Janet Bachna Award, which recognizes an outstanding senior women’s athlete.

Of being inducted into the Varsity “K” Hall of Fame, Allerding-Bishko said she “was initially shocked and very much humbled.”

“When I went (to Kent State), I never realized what I’d take away with me,” said Allerding-Bishko, who said she was lucky to receive the education she did, travel the country, meet her husband and be a part of something bigger than herself.

Heather Langham, who was inducted for gymnastics, said she is also thankful for her time at Kent State.

“My most favorite memory was winning the MAC Championship as a team, and it was hosted at Kent, so all of our friends and family could be there too,” Langham said.

As for being inducted into the Hall of Fame, Langham said, “It was very surreal for a long time.”

This year’s other inductees were field hockey player Shannon Beck, baseball player Emmanuel Burriss, track and field player Nathan Fanger and administrator Cathy O’Donnell.

Contact Katie Smith at [email protected].