Villanova, Pa. - The Villanova Varsity Club has announced the 2016 Hall of Fame Class. Nine former Villanova student-athletes, along with the Jake Nevin Special Award winner, will be recognized at the 41st annual Hall of Fame Dinner at Villanova's Connelly Center on Saturday, Jan. 28.
This year's class features athletes from nine different sports, and each of the inductees had outstanding achievements throughout their careers at Villanova to earn this prestigious honor.
The 2016 Hall of Fame Class inductees are Jenn Beisel (Women's Basketball), Jill Basile (Field Hockey) Steve Lappas (Men's Basketball), Matt Longo (Baseball), Jackie Pasquerella (Softball), Meghan Sarbanis (Rowing), Mike Schwankl (Men's Swimming), Carrie Tollefson (Track & Field), Brian Westbrook (Football), and Mary Anne Gabuzda (Jake Nevin Special Award).
Jill Basile (Field Hockey, Class of 1997)
Jill Basile was a standout for the Villanova field hockey team from 1993-96. Basile was named a NFHCS Mid-Atlantic Regional All-American, First Team All-BIG EAST and a BIG EAST Academic All-Star in 1996. She ended her career at Villanova with the most goals scored in a season (22), most goals in a career (32), most points in a season (53) and most points in a career (78). Basile also received the Sister Mary Margaret Cribben Award, which is given to the student-athlete who unselfishly sacrifices time, effort, body and soul to lead and motivate their teammates in excelling for Villanova athletics through inspiration.
Jenn Beisel (Women's Basketball, Class of 1998)
Jenn Beisel is one of the most tenacious, hard-working players in the history of the Villanova women's basketball program. Beisel played at Villanova from 1994-98 and scored 1,050 points which currently ranks 22nd in school history. She also tallied 457 rebounds which places her 24th on the school's all-time rebounding chart. She was a first team All-Big Five selection and a second team All-Big East honoree in 1998 and was inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame in 2011. During her senior season, she registered two 30-point performances against nationally ranked teams, including 32 points against No. 1 Connecticut and 30 versus Notre Dame. In addition to her offensive numbers, Beisel is regarded as one of the best on ball defenders to ever wear the blue and white of Villanova women's basketball. During her four-year Wildcat career, Beisel helped Villanova to a 73-40 record (.650).
Steve Lappas (Men's Basketball Head Coach, 1992-2001)
Steve Lappas coached Villanova's men's basketball team from 1992-2001 and guided his teams to the NCAA Tournament in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1999. He also led the Wildcats to the 1994 NIT championship and the 1995 BIG EAST Tournament title, which was the program's first conference tournament championship. His 1995-96 team reached the No. 2 ranking in the national polls. During his tenure at Villanova, Lappas led the Wildcats to 97 BIG EAST victories. He also served as an assistant coach on the 1985 Villanova National Championship team.
Matt Longo (Baseball, Class of 2001)
Matt Longo ended his career at Villanova as one of the best offensive players in school history. Longo still holds the school record for career total bases with 407. He ranks second in the program with 242 hits, 199 runs, and 58 doubles and is third in Villanova history with 719 at bats and 126 walks. During his career, he posted a .337 average with 158 RBI, 31 home runs and 25 stolen bases. He earned First Team All-BIG EAST honors in 1999 and was named a Freshman All-America in 1998 by Baseball America.
Jackie Pasquerella (Softball, Class of 2001)
Jackie Pasquerella was one of the greatest players in Villanova softball history. Pasquerella earned All-Regional honors during her four seasons on the Main Line and is still the program's all-time leader in career batting average (.400) and career hits (274). She ranks second in school history with 79 stolen bases and ninth in runs with 103. Pasquerella also holds season records for batting average (.470), hits (93) and stolen bases (28). In addition to her impressive offensive numbers, she holds the program record for fielding percentage by an infielder during a season at .989. Pasquerella was also a standout in the classroom, earning NFCA Academic All-American honors in 2001.
Meghan Sarbanis (Rowing, Class of 2000)
Meghan Sarbanis had an outstanding career as a member of the Villanova rowing team. Sarbanis helped the lightweight eight team win the National Championship in 1998 and is also the only rower in Villanova history to win five gold medals at the Dad Vail Regatta. In 1999, she was ranked second in collegiate lightweight women and helped her lightweight eight team to a second place finish at the Collegiate Nationals. Sarbanis was also part of the first heavyweight boat in Villanova history to win the Dad Vail Regatta and was a Crash B champion.
Mike Schwankl (Swimming and Diving, Class of 1996)
Mike Schwankl graduated from Villanova in 1996 as one of the most accomplished swimmers in school history. To this day, he holds the school records for the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke, and was part of the 200-yard and 400-yard medley relay teams that set program records. During his time on the team, Schwankl won seven BIG EAST titles and was named an All-American as a member of the 400-yard medley relay team in 1996.
Carrie Tollefson (Cross Country/Track & Field, Class of 2000)
Carrie Tollefson set the standard for the Villanova cross country and track & field teams during her career with the team. Tollefson was a 12-time All-American and the first woman to win NCAA titles in the 3000m and 5000m outdoors in the same year. When her career ended, she was a five-time NCAA Champion, who won at least one individual title in cross country, indoor and outdoor track. Tollefson was also part of the cross country team that won the 1998 National Championship, where she was the top Villanova finisher. Tollefson also dominated competitions in the the BIG EAST, where she was a nine-time champion.
Brian Westbrook (Football, Class of 2001)
Brian Westbrook is one of the best players to ever suit up for the Villanova Wildcats. Westbrook finished his Villanova career holding 41 school records, 19 Atlantic 10 Conference marks and five NCAA records. As a sophomore in 1998, he became the only player in the history of college football at any level to rush for 1,000 yards and receive for 1,000 yards in the same season. He culminated his career in 2001 by winning the Walter Payton Award as the top player in all of FCS football, and was one of just five FCS players selected to play in the 2002 Senior Bowl. The three-time first team All-America selection and two-time Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Year, Westbrook rushed for 4,499 yards and 54 touchdowns in his career. He also amassed 2,639 receiving yards and 30 scores while adding nearly 3,000 more yards and five touchdowns on kickoff and punt returns. In the final game of his career, he broke the NCAA All-Division record with 9,952 career all-purpose yards. A third round NFL draft pick by the Philadelphia Eagles, Westbrook played nine seasons in the NFL and was a two-time Pro Bowl selection and a two-time first team All-Pro honoree.
Mary Anne Gabuzda (Jake Nevin Special Recognition Award)
Mary Anne Gabuzda is in her 10th season as the women's basketball administrative assistant after being a key figure for the men's basketball program for 26 years. In her role with women's basketball, she oversees many of the internal administrative details for head coach Harry Perretta and his staff. Gabuzda joined the men's basketball office in 1980 and was a member of the office staff for the 1985 National Championship team and 16 NCAA Tournament squads. During her time with the men's basketball program she worked for three Wildcat head coaches including Rollie Massimino, Steve Lappas and Jay Wright. She is a native of Glenolden, Pa., and a graduate of Cardinal O'Hara High School.