This Saturday, the Lansing Athletic Hall of Fame will induct three exceptional athletes and two Section IV championship-winning teams. The class consists of three-sport athletes Angela McLennan and Kim Van Pelt, track star Caitlin Wright, the 1998 softball team and the 2007 boys bowling team.
Van Pelt was a standout swimmer, basketball player and track and field athlete. In the pool, she was named Lansing’s most valuable swimmer twice and was a two-time IAC champion in basketball. Her most notable accomplishments, though, are in discus. On top of three top-six finishes in discus at the state championships, she represented Lansing in the national championships, where she placed 11th in the country.
Wright was an incredible runner for the Bobcats, winning 20 Section IV and IAC championships during her time as a Lansing athlete. She graduated with school records in nine different track and field events and was named the Senior Female Athlete of the Year in 2006.
McLennan has been in Tompkins County her entire athletic career. From high school to college to coaching, McLennan has navigated around the lake, excelling wherever she has gone. It started in Lansing, where she was a member of the swimming, softball and basketball teams. From there, she swam and played softball at Ithaca College. Then, she began coaching volleyball at Trumansburg, which she has been doing since 1998 along with teaching physical education.
While she’s played and coached several different sports, softball will always have a soft spot in McLennan’s heart. It was a love she acquired early on in her life.
“My dad was a big softball player, and I grew up at Cass Park watching him play on the sidelines,” McLennan said. “I thought I was pretty good at it, so I loved it and played summer ball and high school. I knew I wanted to play it in college, so I honed in on that sport to get recruited, which I eventually was at Ithaca College.”
McLennan, a two-time NYS All-State softball player for Lansing, was part of a historic run for the Ithaca Bombers. She played first base for the 1996 softball team that reached the College World Series for the first time in program history.
“That was amazing,” McLennan said of the experience. “We felt so cool riding the bus down in Salem, Virginia. All the hoopla and the NCAA insignia everywhere … it was an amazing experience being among some of the most elite Division III athletes in the country.”
As previously mentioned, after a great softball career at Ithaca, her career path diverted and she had to pick up a sport she hadn’t played before: volleyball. McLennan discussed how she first got involved with the sport.
“Pam Hoerup, the former Trumansburg volleyball coach, she came to me,” McLennan said. “I was a student teacher for her in physical education, and she needed a JV coach. I was adamant about not doing it because I had no idea about the sport.”
Hoerup convinced her to try it and helped mold her into the great volleyball coach who has been at it since 1998. It’s gone well, to say the least.
McLennan’s teams have won four IAC Championships and three Section IV Championships and have an overall record of 246-40 since she became head varsity coach in 2004.
In addition to Hoerup, McLennan learned from many great coaches over the years. At Lansing, it was Stu Dean, Diane Hicks-Hughes and Cathy Haight who passed down their knowledge to McLennan.
“Every one of my coaches shaped me in a different way,” McLennan said. “Each one of them had a huge impact on me. I continue to take what I learn from them and pass it down to the girls I coach (with my own style, of course). I was blessed with some amazing coaches over those years. They’ve all shaped many athletes over the years, and I’m lucky to be one of them.”
With a great honor about to be bestowed upon her, McLennan looked back at her four years at Lansing High School.
“My coaches were great in every single way,” McLennan said. “I keep in contact with them still, and I think that says a lot. Those relationships were built 30 years ago. My experiences at Lansing were nothing but the best, and I am so grateful that I was able to grow up in that community.”
Now McLennan is the one building those relationships with players on the other side of the lake. While she may wear the colors of the rival Trumansburg Blue Raiders now, on Saturday, McLennan will be immortalized as a Lansing athlete.
The Lansing Hall of Fame festivities will take place this Saturday at the Lake Watch Inn beginning at 6 p.m.
Tickets are available at the Lansing Parks and Recreation Department Office and can also be reserved by calling 607-533-7388.
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