The 2015 induction class of the SSU Athletics Hall of Fame includes Andrew Bailey, Chelsea Hennan, Kevin Wong, Kristy Sather, Benjamin Ziemer and Marlene Bles. The group will be honored for their athletic excellence and contributions to the history of Sonoma State University athletics at a ceremony in the Student Center on October 24.
A four-year starter for the SSU men's soccer team, Andrew Bailey (Davis/Davis HS) is the program's all-time leader in goals scored (52) and points (126). He also ranks 6th all-time with 22 assists and he has played in more games in a Sonoma State uniform (92) than anyone in the school's history. He led the team in scoring leader as a freshman, sophomore and junior. Bailey was a four-time First Team All-CCAA pick, a two-time CCAA Player of the Year, a two-time Daktronics West Region Player of the Year, and a two-time All-American. During his career, the Seawolves won four CCAA North Division titles and reached the NCAA Tournament twice.
Chelsea Hennan (Healdsburg/Healdsburg HS/Santa Rosa Junior College) transferred to Sonoma State from SRJC and quickly established herself as a force to be reckoned with in the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA). Following a season that saw her score 72 goals (3rd in school history), Hennan became the program's first All-American as a senior in 2006. That season she scored 66 goals and led the Seawolves to a 21-13 record, the best finish in school history. Over her two seasons, the Seawolves went 47-30 overall. Since completing her eligibility, Hennan has served as the assistant coach for the Sonoma State women's water polo team as well as the head coach at SRJC.
The starting shortstop for the Cossack baseball team in 1990 and 1991, Kevin Wong (Honolulu, HI/Kaiser HS/SRJC) helped lead SSU to its first two conference championships and first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. After a season that saw him hit .359 with 11 home runs as a junior, Wong became the first student-athlete in school history to hit .400 for a season when he hit the milestone right on the nose as a senior. That year he was named a First Team All-West Region pick. His .378 career batting average at Sonoma State ranks 2nd all-time and he has the 6th all-time highest slugging percentage (.606). Following two seasons at Sonoma, Wong played professionally in the Milwaukee Brewers' organization.
Kristy Sather (Santa Rosa/Maria Carrillo HS) may have only played two seasons at Sonoma State, but she sure made the most of them. The first two-time All-CCAA pick in the program's history, Sather also became the school's first All-American after a phenomenal senior season in 2008. Despite considerably fewer matches played than some of her counterparts in the record book, she still ranks 13th all-time in kills with 745. A two-time All-West Region pick and SSU's Female Student-Athlete of the Year as a senior, Sather led the Seawolves to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 15 years in 2008.
The third member of the Ziemer family to be inducted, Benjamin Ziemer (Sebastopol/Analy HS) joins brothers Andrew and Christopher as members of the SSU Athletics Hall of Fame. The oldest brother Marcus, who's own call to the hall is almost certain, was Benjamin's coach during a spectacular senior season that saw him score six goals and assist on nine others. During that 1991 season, the Cossacks advanced all the way to the NCAA Division II Final. Since graduating from Sonoma State, Ziemer has played professionally overseas and has been a successful coach, both at the club level and with the Sonoma State's men's team. In 2009 he led the Sonoma County Sol to a national championship and he is currently working with the Sacramento Republic FC Academy.
Over the last four decades of Sonoma State Athletics, it's doubtful anyone touched the lives of more people than Marlene Bles. After joining Sonoma State University in 1969, Bles worked in the purchasing department and Physical Education before moving over to Athletics to work as administrative assistant to athletic director Ralph Barkey in 1981. In a career that spanned 25 years in athletics, Bles was credited with running the business operation of the department as well as being an advocate and confidant of countless student-athletes, coaches and staff members.
A no-host reception will start at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25 in the Student Center with dinner and the program to follow at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are now available for purchase here.