Gallia Academy names 7 to 2013 Athletic HOF

Staff Report

August 29, 2013

Gallia Academy High School will induct seven former Blue Devil and Blue Angel athletes into the school’s 12th Athletic Hall of Fame class the weekend of Sept. 13-14.

This year’s honorees are Kenneth Curry (Class of 1952), Danny Dressel (1985), Dena Greene Way (1992), Henry Niday (1954), Bo Smith (1987), Jeptha Robinson (1988) and Jason Thomas (1988).

The honorees will be introduced prior to the Friday, Sept. 13 home football game against Fairland and the induction ceremony is scheduled for Sept. 14 in the GAHS cafeteria following a 6:30 p.m. banquet.

Here’s a biographical sketch of the 2013 class:

Danny Dressel

Dressel earned six varsity awards during his four years at GAHS —three in cross country and three in basketball.

In cross country, Dressel led GAHS to its most wins in a season, 105 in 1981 and 1984. He was No.1 in 13 consecutive meets in 1983 and at the Minford Invitational, ran the 5000 meter in 16:53. He was a member of the 1984 SEOAL champion Blue Devils.

At the Class AA district in 1982, Dressel ran the 5000 meter in 18:05. He was named the Blue Devils MVP in 1983.

In basketball, the 5-9-captain Dressed was named First Team All¬ SEOAL guard during the 1984-85 campaign. In scoring, Dressel finished 8th in league play with 101 points (12.6). He was Honorable Mention All-Ohio and Second Team All-District.

Gallipolis was ranked 10th in the state in the final AP Basketball Poll during the 1984-85 campaign with a 17-3 mark. Dressel was a member of the 1982 and 1984 SEOAL champion Blue Devils.

As a University of Rio Grande team player, Dressel’s squad posted a 30-4 mark and advanced to the NAIA tournament.

Dressel resides with his family in New Albany, Ohio. He was nominated by Kathy Thomas.

Dena Noele Greene Way

While attending Gallia Academy High School, she earned six varsity awards — four in basketball and two in softball

In basketball, she was an All-District First Team honoree her senior year, a team captain, All-SEOAL first team, was the Angels’ leading scorer with 14.5 points per game and scored 991 career points as a shooting guard.

She also took part in the SEOAL and district all-star games and was selected into the Ohio High School Coaches Association Scholarship Committee. She was also named to the Huntington Herald-Dispatch All-Area First team.

In her senior year of softball, Way, a third baseman, batted over .400 and her team was a district runner-up. In her sophomore year at GAHS, Way was a member of the Blue Angels’ 1990 SEOAL championship team and that team advanced to the regional basketball tourney with a 19-5 mark.

Way earned two honorary keys during the 1992 graduation ceremony at GAHS — music and athletics.

Way attended Marshall University after graduation and was a member of the 1993 NCAC championship team. She was named “Most Improved Player” during the 1994 campaign.

She became a basketball coach at Hilliard Darby in 1997 and was a freshman girl’s softball coach at Hilliard from 1996 to 1998. A resident of Hilliard, Way was nominated by former GAHS girl’s coach Jackie Knight.

Henry Niday

Henry Niday earned 10 varsity awards while attending Gallia Academy High School. The 1954 graduate earned four awards in baseball, two in football, three in basketball, and one in cross-country.

During Niday’s junior year (1952-53), the Blue Devils basketball team won seven straight league games at the end of the season. It was the beginning of a 49-game SEOAL winning streak through the 1955-56 campaign, a record that still stands.

The 1953-54 championship cagers lost only two games, two points to Columbus East and four points to Portsmouth. Niday was also All-SEOAL his senior year and Honorable Mention All-Ohio.

As a sophomore, Niday averaged 9.4 points per game. As a junior, he averaged 16.6 ppg. As a senior, he averaged 19.2 points in 14 league games and 18.0 on the season.

Niday enlisted in the U.S. Army after graduating from high school. During his tour of duty, he played he played sports on service teams.

After he was discharged, Niday returned to Gallipolis and was married. In the summer of 1958, Niday moved to California where he lived until 1990. He moved to Northeast Oregon where he currently resides.

Niday was nominated by Glenn Niday.

Bo Smith

Bo Smith, a 1987 GAHS graduate, has been nominated for induction into Gallia Academy’s 12th Athletic Hall of Fame class.

Eric Music, his employer from Springfield, Ohio, nominated him. Smith, a tackle, led Gallia Academy to consecutive Southeastern Ohio

Athletic League football crowns in 1985 and 1986. GAHS advanced to the postseason football playoffs for the first time in 1985 and again in 1986.

He earned three varsity football awards and was a member of the 1984 GAHS squad that snapped Ironton’s long SEOAL winning streak on Memorial Field. However GAHS got knocked out of the SEOAL title in 1984 by losing to Jackson and tying Athens.

After graduation, Smith attended Ohio Wesleyan University — where he was a preseason All-American. He graduated in 1991.

While at Wesleyan, Smith was named “Player of the Week” multiple times. He was named “All Conference” three times at Wesleyan, a member of the NCAC League. Smith resides in Springfield, Ohio.

Jeptha Robinson

Jeptha (Pee Wee) Robinson was a four-year varsity letterman in wrestling and finished his senior season with an impressive 25-6 record. The honoree was a two-time Southeastern Ohio Athletic League champion and a two-time Most Valuable Wrestler for the Blue Devils.

In 1988, Robinson became the school’s first wrestler ever to qualify and place at the state since conception of the sport in 1979. Gallia Academy’s wrestling program wouldn’t see another state qualifier until 2002.

Craig Wright, Robinson’s former teammate in high school, said of Robinson, “He set the bar high, giving something for the wrestling program to truly strive for years to come.”

Jason Thomas

Jason C. Thomas earned five varsity awards in two sports while attending Gallia Academy High School — three in basketball and two in cross-country.

The 1988 graduate was a member of the Blue Devils 1986-87 Southeastern Ohio Athletic League championship basketball team. He was named an All-SEOAL First Team cager in 1988.

His senior year, Thomas was the team’s MVP, best foul shooter and led the team in assists. In 23 games, Thomas scored 440 points in 23 games (19.4 average). He had 80 assists and 104 rebounds.

During his senior year, Thomas was picked by the Ohio Coaches Association to represent District 13 in the annual North-South All-Star game in Columbus. He was also a Division II First Team All AP District and an Honorable Mention Division II All-UPI choice.

After graduation, Thomas earned his BS degree from the University of Cincinnati and a Master’s degree in Hospital Administration and a Certification in Anesthesia.

During the past 11 years, Thomas has served as a Gallipolis coach in basketball and baseball.

John and Kathy Thomas nominated Thomas.

Ken Curry

Kenneth Curry was a 1952 GAHS graduate and earned nine varsity awards in three sports while attending GAHS.

A winner of the 1952 Athletic Key, Curry played three years of varsity football, basketball and baseball. As a freshman, he helped the Blue Devils to the 1949 Southeastern Ohio Athletic baseball title.

His sophomore year, he helped the baseball team to a runner-up position in the Class AA district baseball tourney at Ohio University, losing 5-1 to Ironton in the finals.

As a junior, Curry led GAHS to a runner-up basketball position in the SEOAL, losing a makeup game at Logan 59-29 following the postseason tournament.

His senior year at quarterback, Curry led. GAHS to a 6-1 SEOAL finish, losing the championship game 7-6 to Wellston.

A member of the Varsity G Club for three years, Curry was named to the Second Team All-SEOAL in football in 1951.

Curry was active in numerous organizations while attending GAHS. After graduation, a local firm, Evans Grocery Warehouse, employed Curry. After transferring to Cincinnati, Curry died of cancer on April 1, 1980, at the age of 45.

Carol Jane Curry and family nominated him.

Hobart Wilson, Jr. contributed to this report.