TENNERTON — Athletic giants of the community congregated last Saturday, May 14 at 6 p.m. for the 18th Annual Buckhannon-Upshur Athletic Hall-of-Fame Ceremony.
Master of Ceremonies Jim Marsh opened the evening’s festivities by introducing the esteemed guests of honor. Marsh also took a moment to welcome back a few members of the Class of 2020 that made the trip back to Tennerton for this year’s induction ceremony. Unfortunately, the Upshur County Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2020 had their ceremony delayed and eventually canceled at the time of induction due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Marsh spoke glowingly about the members of the B-UHS Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2020, which consisted of: Kate Dobberstein, Kip A. Cottrill, David Stanley Boyles, James “Jim” Johnson, Lorene George Kerans Bailey and the 1965 B-UHS Baseball Team.
After a beautiful invocation by Reverend Ed McDaniels and dinner from the B-UHS kitchen staff, attention turned towards the inductees of the Class of 2021.
The induction ceremony started off with David Cook Conley, whose athletic achievements and introduction was presented by Melvin Hager. Conley, a 1999 B-UHS graduate, started for the Buccaneers in both track and soccer during his high school career.
In soccer, he helped the Buccaneers win a state championship as an underclassman. Off the field, Conley was also proud member of both the B-UHS competition marching and jazz bands from 1997 to 1999. His well-rounded high school resume aside, out of all his various competitive ventures, Conley arguably found the most success on the track, carving out a nice niche as a sprinter. As he grew into his role as a sprinter, he began to garner attention on the state-level. Alongside a bevy of talented teammates, Conley essentially helped lead one of the most successful eras in B-UHS track history. After high school, Conley went on to run track at WWWC from 2000 to 2003, enjoying quite a successful career with the Bobcats.
Next up on the docket was Susie Godwin Hershelman presented by the distinguished Mida Peterson. Godwin Hershelman, a 2010 B-UHS graduate, was the definition of a multi-sport talent during her decorated high school career, lettering in four varsity sports. While Susie was passionate and promptly found success in all her athletic endeavors, she led an indelible mark on both the girl’s soccer and track programs at B-UHS.in 2008, she was named the NCAC runner of the year. In 2009, she was named first-team W. Va. All-State in soccer. Godwin Hershelman followed that up with a stellar senior campaign that left her name littered across the record books in track, as she secured her third career trip to the state meet, while winning the Mida Peterson Track Award, among other honors.
Third up on the evening was Matthew McDaniels, presented by Jamie Davis. McDaniels, father of current B-UHS multi-sport star and future fellow B-UHS Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Shelby McDaniels, had quite a lot of live up to in terms of his family’s athletic reputation as he entered high school following a period when several of his elder family members had already made the McDaniels name a known quantity in local athletics. It is safe to say that McDaniels, a graduate in the Class of 1997, exceeded even the loftiest expectations in the community, excelling in football, basketball, and baseball. McDaniels earned second-team NCAC selections in football following the 1994 and 1996 seasons. While he was a talented athlete on any field or court, baseball seemed to be McDaniels calling, as he was most comfortable on his perch from the pitcher’s mound. McDaniels was a NCAC selection in 1995, 1996, and 1997, even leading the conference in pitching with a 1.21 ERA en route to earning 10 wins as a starter. 1997 filled McDaniels trophy case and sealed his legacy as one of the school’s all-time baseball greats, as he was named to the second-team W. Va. All-State baseball team and earned a scholarship to continue his baseball career at Marshall University.
The next guest of honor to be inducted was William “BJ” Phillips, presented by Marsh in place of Russ Warner, who was out of town. BJ was a member of the B-UHS graduating class of 1978 and seven-time varsity letterman in football, basketball and baseball. During his tenure in roaming the halls of Tennerton, Phillips was a star no matter which sport he was competing in. His breakout year came as a senior in 1978. After earning first-team W. Va. All-State honors in baseball that spring, Phillips a returning first-team Big 10 All-Conference selection in football from the 1977 season, compiled another stellar season in the fall of 1978. Phillips garnered first-team W. Va. Class AAA All-State honors and was also selected to play in the 1978 North-South Football Classic. Following an unparalleled senior year, Phillips was chosen as the winner of the 1978 Freal “Red” Crites Award. After high school, Phillips played baseball collegiately, first at WVU before returning to Buckhannon to play at WVWC. After college, Phillips on to a successful high school coaching career and is a very respected member of an integral part of the athletic fabric of high school sports in this region.
Tim Squires, a 2010 B-UHS graduate, is possibly one of the most successful athletes to ever grace Tennerton. Squires shined in the pool, gliding through the water with ease and compiling numerous records and countless wins. Squires was a four-time WVSSAC swimming championship, earning titles in both 2008 and 2010. Squires went on to win the YMCA National Championship in the 50 and 100-meter freestyle events later in 2010.
Squires’ swimming career clearly had staying power as he still holds the state records in both the 50 and 10-meter freestyle events over a decade after he graduated.
Following graduation, Squires elected to stay in the pool, swimming for the state’s flagship school, WVU. For the Mountaineers, Squires enjoyed a successful career spanning from 2010 to 2015, highlighted by winning the Big 12 Conference Championship in his signature events, qualifying for the NCAA Championships, and breaking the WVU school records in his specialty, freestyle events.
While in, Squires competed at the Olympic trials in 2012 and then again following his graduation in 2016. His best overall Olympic qualifying finish in his second Olympic trials appearance when Squires finished seventeenth in the freestyle event.