Shippensburg University hosted its 38th annual Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Friday, welcoming six new inductees to the illustrious group.
The inductees were Matt Gillette ’13, Steve Meissner ’91, Neely Spence Gracey ’12, Kristina Taylor Kulp ’13, Kelley Tiesi Key ’20 and Zach Zulli ’13. The event began with master of ceremonies Jeffrey Michaels welcoming the more than 100 people in attendance before an invocation and lunch. Shippensburg University President Charles Patterson then took the stage to congratulate the class, speaking on how so many different people helped the inductees achieve this great honor.
Neely Spence Gracey, 2012, was the first to be recognized. Gracey was an 11-time All-American in women’s track-and-field and cross-country, winning two national cross-country championships and three national championships as part of the distance medley relay. In her speech, Gracey said how she considered transferring after her freshman year but did not realize how great she had it on this team.
Matt Gillette, class of 2013, was honored next for his accomplishments in men’s track-and-field and cross-country. Gillette finished Top 10 in all four years at the NCAA Atlantic Region cross-country championships, helping the school win its first PSAC championship in the sport in 2010, along with winning two NCAA championships in the distance medley relay. Gillette mostly spoke about the bonds he formed with teammates and coaches, many of which still last today.
Following Gillette was Steve Meissner, class of 1991, a star swimmer at Shippensburg. Messier was the first swimmer in NCAA Division II history to break 50 seconds in the 100-yard butterfly, with his time of 49.15 seconds still standing as the school record. He was a two-time All-American in the 100-yard butterfly, including as the national runner-up in 1990. Messier thanked the great teammates he had, several of whom were in attendance.
The fourth inductee was Kristina Taylor Kulp, class of 2013, who is one of the best field hockey players in SU history. Kulp was a four-time all PSAC player who finished with 80 career goals, second in Shippensburg history. She was also named NFHCA Division II Field Hockey Player of the Year in 2010. Kulp thanked her head coach Bertie Landes in her speech, mentioning their close relationship both on and off the field.
Kelley Tiesi Key, 2020, was then celebrated for her incredible softball accomplishments. Key is the only player in Raiders’ softball history to be named a four-time NFCA All-American, as well as winning the 2004 NCAA Division II National Player of the Year award. She still holds many school records, including a career 0.62 ERA, 99 wins and 1,095 strikeouts. Key made her father the centerpiece of her speech, thanking him for all the sacrifices he made along the way.
The last inductee for 2023 was Zach Zulli, 2013. Zulli is the only player in Shippensburg history to win the Harlon Hill Trophy, the NCAA Division II equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. He broke 35 school records in three years at quarterback, totaling 10,988 passing yards and 123 passing touchdowns. Zulli thanked head coach Mark Maciejewski for believing in him, also mentioning that he was going to transfer if Maciejewski was not named head coach for 2011.