Eight former Bearkat athletes will be enshrined into the school’s Hall of Honor at a special dinner on Nov. 4 at the Lowman Student Center.
The annual Hall of Honor banquet is one of the most distinguished accolades to receive as a former Bearkat athlete, as the inductees’ legacies will be forever etched into Sam Houston State sports lore.
“The Hall of Honor is an induction ceremony that has been around since the history of athletics at Sam Houston State,” Associate Athletic Director of Student Services Chris Thompson said. “It honors four female and four male former student athletes that have had the highest level of achievement in their athletic career here at Sam Houston.”
A handful of sports will be represented at the banquet. Women’s soccer, softball and golf each have a representing inductee; while men’s basketball and cross country add two more. Football will be the most represented with three inductees, and three track and field athletes (two men, one women) will also be honored.
The men’s inductees for the Sam Houston Lettermen’s Hall of Honor include: Raul Villarreal (track and field, cross country), Robert Morris Sowers (basketball and football), Reginald Reddick (football) and Chris Foster (football, track and field).
On the women’s side, Brandi Crnkovic (softball), Susie Jones Turner (track and field), Raman Saran (golf) and Raquel Bueno (soccer) round out the inductees for the Sam Houston Women’s Letter Association Hall of Honor.
“This Hall of Honor has a high level of inductees,” Thompson said. “Out of the eight people going in, they’ve been recognized All-Conference 41 times, four of the individuals started on a conference championship team and four of the individuals going in still to this moment hold Sam Houston career records in their sport.”
Along with the All-Conference accolades and school records, the inductees have also earned Southland Conference postseason honors throughout their SHSU athletic careers. In this year’s class of eight, four have earned most valuable recognition in the conference postseason. Three inductees were also All-Regional selections.
“Four of the eight inductees have earned most valuable recognition in the Southland Conference postseason. So, that’s regionals or the NCA,” Thompson said. “That’s big time.”
With the 2016 class of inductees, the Men’s Letter Hall of Honor will now grace the names of 190 former Bearkat student athletes. The induction for men’s athletes into the Hall of Honor began in 1971.
Villarreal lived and did his work in the NCAA regional cross country meets. He stands as the only Bearkat to ever post four top 50 performances in the meet. The former Bearkat runner also has three All-Southland honors under his belt. Villarreal was a member of the Bearkats first outdoor track and field championship in 2005.
Away from the track and onto the football field and basketball court, Sowers was a multi-sport athlete.
He earned first team All-Lone Star Conference honors in 1933, and was the first SHSU men’s basketball player to earn that achievement. During his senior season, Sowers led the league in scoring and went on to earn an All-Texas selection.
Reddick earned All-Southland honors as a defensive tackle three years in a row. He was a member of the 2001 conference championship team and ranks third in the school’s record books in tackles for loss with 36.
Rounding out the four male inductees is Foster. On the track, he earned All-Southland honors in eight events. On the gridiron, he led the 1999 football team in interceptions.
The Women’s Letter Hall of Honor is a smaller group, as 2007 marked the first time a female was recognized with the prestigious accomplishment. This year’s women inductees will raise the total to 43 Bearkats.
The Bearkat softball team’s all-time strikeout leader will be enshrined on Friday. Crnkovic stands as the program’s leader with 528 through 2006 and 2009. On top of the career record, she was also named All-Southland twice and was the “Most Valuable Player” in the 2007 Southland Conference tournament. She led Sam Houston to a post-season title.
Turner participated in both outdoor and indoor track and field events from 1997 to 2001. She was a five-time All Southland Conference multi-event athlete and holds the school record and three of the top five marks in the heptathlon.
Saran and Bueno close out this year’s women inductees. Saran earned All-Southland honors in each of her four years of competition. She was named “Most Valuable Player” three times and led SHSU to a conference championship in 2004. Saran also ranks second all-time in SHSU history in tournament medalist titles with four.
Bueno was known for her performance on the soccer pitch. She is the SHSU soccer program’s all-time leading scorer with 27 career goals, 11 were game-winners. She was an All-Southland selection three times and was named “Most Valuable Player in 2005 after leading the Bearkats to the Southland Tournament finals.
The Hall of Honor banquet is open to the public and is business dress. Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased by calling 936-294-2415 or by emailing events @shsu.edu.