2008 Athletics Hall of Fame inductees announced

Four former student-athletes and the most successful women’s tennis team in school history will be inducted into the Northern Arizona University Athletics Hall of Fame during ceremonies next month.

The 2008 class includes Bruce Bernhardi (football, 1955-58), Sierra Cristiano (soccer, 2002-03),Mark Gould (football, 2000-03), Ed Knecht (wrestling, 1973-75) and the 1999 women’s tennis team.

They will be inducted as part of the 28th annual Hall of Fame weekend that will feature a banquet Sept. 5 with the induction ceremony taking place at halftime of the NAU-New Mexico Highlands game Sept. 6.

Bernhardi was a two-time All-Frontier Conference selection, ranking among the top 20 reception leaders nationally his senior year. He also lettered in basketball and track.

Cristiano was a unanimous selection as the Big Sky Offensive Most Valuable Player in 2003 and the first player in conference history to win consecutive MVP honors. She set a school record for most assists in one season (12) and tied the Big Sky record set by Idaho State’s Jill Schade in 2000.

A three-time Golden Eagle Scholar Athlete Award recipient, Gould’s 2002 punting average was the best in I-AA history. His career mark of 44.8 yards is the best in I-AA history and sixth-best mark in Division I history. He was named to Don Hansen’s Football Gazette All-America first-team choice and Associated Press and The Sports Network All-America second-team in 2002.

Knecht captured two Big Sky Wrestling Championships at 118 pounds in 1974 and 1975 and won six national wrestling championships. He was a member of the 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic teams.

Coached by Mark Tichenor and assistant Ann Olsson, the 1999 women’s tennis team recorded the best record in school history at 20-3, winning the third straight Big Sky Conference title and earning the first berth into the NCAA Championships in school history. The team had four members on the All-Big Sky team: Vickie Gunnarsson and Susanna Wallin were first-team selections, while Kim Bruno andSylvania Navarro were second-team selections.

The roster included Gunnarsson of Varberg, Sweden; Wallin of Ludvika, Sweden; Bruno of Wilmette, Ill.; Navarro of Cochabamba, Bolivia; Nicole Birk of Scottsdale; Carin Bjorkholm of Stockholm, Sweden; Kathy Kmiec of Burr Ridge, Ill.; Maggie Knight of Paradise Valley; Michelle Mohr of Fort Collins, Colo.; and Sandra Trefler of Munich, Germany.

For information on the Hall of Fame inductees, contact NAU media relations director Steve Shaff at (928) 523-6792 or steven.shaff@nau.edu.