They’ve garnered league and all-area honors, set school records and won state titles. They were leaders on the playing field and are now leaders in their community.CJ's newest Athletic Hall of Fame members will be announced at the CJ vs. Badin basketball game this Friday, Jan. 19, and celebrated during the induction reception and ceremony held on Saturday, Jan. 20.
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The incoming Hall of Fame inductees have tallied a combined 47 varsity letters in eight different sports. While some excelled in the pool and others on the court, they are all Eagles at heart. The hall of famers share, in their own words, what this honor means to them and how CJ continues to shape the people they are today.Jessica (Humble) Booth, 1992, swimming
Jessica’s impact is still being felt at CJ as the three-time state qualifier still holds the
school records for the 100-yard breaststroke and 200-yard individual medley set in 1992. The All-American went on to swim at Florida Atlantic University. After years working in the tech and education fields, the mother of two, who lives in Texas, remembers fondly her high school experience.
“I received a great education that prepared me well for college and life, had caring teachers and admin, made lifelong friends and found my faith. It was such a blessing. My relationship with the Lord really began at CJ. I wasn’t raised in a religious family and I attended public school for elementary and middle school. I’m so grateful I was in a place where I could seek and find Jesus. My faith is the most important thing to me and I rely on it daily.
Being that my time at CJ was over 30 years ago, this was quite a surprise and I’m deeply touched. I’m also turning 50 this year and it certainly is appreciated to be reminded that the hard work and sacrifices then, could possibly still inspire younger generations today. Frankly, it inspires me to remember to keep reaching and dreaming.”Mikaela Hadaway, 2013, golf
A four-time All-GGCL and All-District golfer, Mikaela was an integral part of the 2011 state championship team. During her four varsity seasons, the Eagles compiled an 84-19 record and placed first, second, fifth and sixth at the state tournament. Mikaela is now a plastic surgery physician assistant outside of Washington D.C.
“Being inducted into the CJ Athletic Hall of Fame is a great honor. I appreciate being recognized for my contribution to the women’s golf time during my four years at CJ. I am most proud of our golf team making it to the State Championship all four years I was at CJ. We won the championship my junior year and placed second my senior year. It was so incredible to experience that sense of accomplishment after long seasons of hard work and dedication by the whole team.
I believe that where you attend high school has a large impact on a teenager’s development. CJ instilled the importance of striving for excellence, building community, and being grounded in a strong faith. I have carried these values through college, graduate school, into my career, and in my relationships.”Grace (Kauth) Szabo, 2013, volleyball
All-league, All-Area and All-state, the Southwest District Player of the Year was also tapped to play in the All-Ohio All-Star Game before heading to Cleveland State University to continue her volleyball career. The married (Tim Szabo, ’11) mother of two now lives in Vandalia and works for ACCO Brands.
“I am incredibly honored to be included in a group of not only extremely talented athletes, but truly remarkable people. There is so much rich history and tradition within the CJ Hall of Fame that I am eager to learn more about. Right now - I'm very excited to celebrate the accomplishments of those inducted with me and to relive some very special moments.
CJ instilled confidence in me. It's a community of support - both in times of success and failure. That sense of confidence earned through hard work and community support has propelled me in life to tackle new challenges, explore different paths and meet new people. My experience at CJ has amplified my life to be better than I could ever have imagined.” Emily (Michael) Hutmacher, 2012, basketball
Emily lit up the scoreboard when she was an Eagle, setting records for most three-point shots made in a game (8) and in a career (152). She earned all-league honors for her play on both the basketball and tennis courts. Now living in Denver, Emily works for a payroll software company as a manager.
“CJ gave me the opportunity to not only gain a great education, but also to excel in my athletic career. CJ allowed me to achieve my dream of playing basketball in college. I think my greatest accomplishment was being the all-time three-point record holder for eight years. This record was broken by my sister – which was super special as well.
During my time at CJ, community and faith were extremely important. I value the teachers, coaches and friendships that I made, supporting and pushing me to challenge myself each day. It is part of what inspired me to be in a leadership role in my career. CJ’s emphasis on faith was also part of what encouraged me to continue in my faith journey at a Franciscan college, and beyond, to this day.”Darrien Howard, 2013, football/track
The Defensive Player of the Year Ohio SW was a four-year starter and four-time All- GCL first-team honoree. Darrien was also the Field Athlete of the Year. Still in Dayton, he works as a security supervisor at the Greater Dayton School.
“This honor means that the ceiling is never out of reach when you have passion for what you love doing. I’m most proud of the 2011-12 playoff run we made, that meant the world to me. CJ opened my eyes to many opportunities and gave me the confidence to pursue them.” Cierra Brown McNair, 2012, track
The two-time state champion, in 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles, also posted several Top 8 finishes at the state meet. The GGCL Runner of the Year who now lives in Georgia is still on the run as a physical therapist, wife and mother of two – not to mention two dogs.
“As a former athlete, I dedicated all of my time and effort into being the best student athlete I could be. I’m grateful that CJ recognizes those efforts. I truly gave my all in every race and repetition, so it feels amazing to be honored for it. I am most proud of my first-place state finishes. As a competitor in an individual sport, it took a lot of discipline to stay committed to my ultimate goal of becoming a state champion. I am proud of the way I persevered and encouraged my teammates along the way.
CJ pushed the competitor in me, on and off the track. I was stretched in the classroom, in sports, and even in my faith. My belief in Christ is everything to me and CJ helped draw me near to the cross in a way that was personal to my own relationship with God.”
Sam Spees, 2012, baseball/football
Sam was a player for all seasons from football to swimming and then baseball. Quarterback, receiver, defensive back and punter, Sam did it all. The multi-sport All-GCL athlete also pitched a no-hitter during his senior season. Sam, who now lives in Nashville, recently opened a glassblowing studio – the Nashville Glasshaus – and has a business making glassware and decor called Samuel Spees Studios.
“This is such an amazing group to now be a part of that I really don’t have words. I am truly blessed and thankful to everyone that helped me get here to receive this honor. When I look back what truly stands out more than anything else was the entire football season my senior year. We were truly a team in every sense of the word and I am so proud to have been a part of that group of men. We fought through so much adversity and made a great run in the playoffs. That entire season was unforgettable.
I have been fortunate to maintain some lifelong friendships from CJ that I couldn’t begin to describe. The people are what make it such a special place and I am so thankful for those relationships that I cultivated during my time there. The environment is what pushes people to the best of their abilities and I truly believe that I was pushed to become the best version of myself.”
John Staley, 2012, basketball
The GCL Player of the Year tallied 909 career points – 8 th all-time for the Eagles. John scored in double figures in 65 of 66 career games. Now living in Columbus, John is still on the court but now as a coach at Upper Arlington High School.
“This honor means everything to me. I grew up loving CJ basketball and going to games with my family. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to play for CJ. To be inducted into the Hall of Fame and joining my dad and brother is an unbelievable feeling. I am most proud of winning a GCL basketball championship as a sophomore, and then again as a senior. My sophomore year is more special to me because I played for my dad, with my brother and some of my best friends.
CJ gets a tremendous amount of credit for the person I am today. It was a great educational experience and I had some unbelievable teachers that help shape me into the teacher I am today. Aside from the actual education, CJ also taught me a lot of real-world lessons that I was able to take with me into college and early adulthood. I am very fortunate to have parents that sent me to CJ. I absolutely loved my time there.”