LAKELAND – Four student-athletes from the sports of baseball, cross country, and tennis, along with a pair of honorary inductees, were inducted into the Florida Southern College Athletics Hall of Fame, Class of 2016, in a ceremony Friday night in Jenkins Field House on the FSC Campus.
Before the honorees were inducted, Lakeland Mayor Howard Wiggs read a proclamation naming Nov. 4, 2016 as Florida Southern College Athletics Hall of Fame Day in Lakeland.
Here are descriptions of the six newest members of the FSC Athletics Hall of Fame:
|Michael Knoedler (Men's Tennis - 2006-08,10) – A four-time All-American, Michael Knoedler won more singles and more doubles matches than any player in Florida Southern men's tennis history with a 67-17 career singles record and a 74-23 doubles mark. Named the Sunshine State Conference Player of the Year in 2007 and 2008, Knoedler was an Academic All-American in 2010 and was named to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Scholar-Athlete Team in each of his four seasons. Twice in his career, in 2008 and 2009, he won 19 singles matches, third most in FSC history, and in 2008 and 2010, teamed with Roman Schirmaier to win a men's tennis school-record 18 doubles matches. The duo also won a total of 36 doubles matches, second most in program history. A 2008 graduate of Florida Southern, he returned to the college in 2010 to pursue his MBA.|
|Jael Koech (Women's Cross Country, 2003-06) – The only All-American in program history, Jael Koech twice earned the high honor, in 2005 and 2006. She finished sixth at the 2005 NCAA Nationals (highest finish in school history) and placed 12th in 2006. Koech was named the Co-Top Runner of the Sunshine State Conference Silver Anniversary Team and was the SSC Runner of the Year in 2006 after winning the conference meet as a senior. A four-time All-SSC honoree, she is the only Moccasin to be named team MVP in each of her four seasons. Koech holds the seven fastest 5K times in school-history and nine of the top ten. She also holds seven of the eight fastest 6K times, including the top three. A December 2007 graduate, Koech won six meets in her career, including four wins as a senior, and placed in the top ten in 28 of her 30 career meets.|
|Nelson Rood (Baseball, 1982-83) – Joining FSC as a junior college transfer, Nelson Rood was named to the All-America Team in his two seasons at Florida Southern. He was also a two-time All-SSC shortstop and was inducted into the FSC Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989. In 1982, Rood set a school record with 46 stolen bases only to come back the next season and break his record with 49 steals. His 95 career stolen bases ranks second on the Moccasins' all-time list. He is third on the FSC single season list with 83 runs scored and is also third with 212 assists as a senior. In 1983, Rood was the recipient of the James C. Rogers Award, one of the highest accolades given to a FSC student. After graduating in 1983, he was drafted by the Houston Astros and played eight seasons in the minor leagues, including six years at the Triple-A level.|
|Senka Softic (Women's Tennis, 2007-10) – A four-time All-American, Senka Softic posted an amazing 72-10 singles record, winning more matches than any other women's tennis player in Moccasin history. She had a 65-30 career doubles record, finishing one win shy of tying the FSC women's tennis record for most doubles victories. Softic twice won 19 singles matches in a season, and in 2007, paired with Meri Gol to win a Florida Southern women's tennis single-season record 22 doubles matches. Named to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Scholar-Athlete Team in 2009 and 2010, Softic graduated in 2010 and earned her MBA from Florida Southern in 2011.|
|This year's honorary inductees are Chuck and Connie Bovay, longtime supporters of Florida Southern College athletics. Their relationship with the college's athletic program began with a donation to the Moccasins batgirls in 1971; and in the late 1970s, the couple joined the Sixth Man Club in support of men's basketball. They have continued their support throughout the years and have contributed to the Barnett Athletic Complex campaign. Mr. Bovay is a former president of Lanier Upshaw Insurance Agency, Inc., and has served on numerous local and state boards. Mrs. Bovay was the first speech and hearing therapist for Lakeland area schools and helped start what is now the Central Florida Speech and Hearing Center. In 1998, the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce recognized Mr. Bovay with the George Jenkins Award, and in 2008, Lakeland Regional Medical Center named the couple as Philanthropists of the Year.|