A wide variety of eras and sports are covered in the Hillsdale College Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2015.
This year's induction class includes the late Joseph M. Vijuk, former All-American defensive lineman, Duke Davis, a two-sport all-conference standout in 1959 and 1960, Taryn Rudland, the Chargers' first-ever NCAA Division II All-American volleyball player, and Katie Cezat, the 2008-09 NCAA Division II. Women's Basketball National Player of the Year. This class will be formally inducted into the college's hall of fame in April.
Cezat was a devastating forward who helped lead the Chargers to two of their best seasons in school history during her career. Her story is a great one for all college athletes to learn from. In her first two seasons, 2005-06 and 2006-07, she was a part-time player, never starting a single game. That changed dramatically in the Fall of 2007.
The Chargers graduated a large senior class following the 2006-07 season, meaning there was plenty of playing time there to be had. Cezat did not let the opportunity slip away, taking the
GLIAC by storm in her junior season. She was named GLIAC Player of the Year on her way to averaging an NCAA Division II-high 24.0 points per game. That season, Hillsdale was crowned GLIAC regular season champions.
Incredibly, Cezat upped her game even more as a senior in 2008-09. She averaged 29.6 pointsand 16.2 rebounds per game, the latter easily leading the nation. Her 28 double-doubles in a single season then set a new Division II record and she led the Chargers to their best-ever record in the regular season, 27-4.
Cezat was named MVP of the 2009 GLIAC Tournament, leading the Chargers to their second conference tournament crown in school history. On Dec. 13, 2008, she set a school and GLIAC record with 13 blocked shots in a win at Ferris State.
She graduated from Hillsdale College with a degree in accounting, and set single-season school records in points, rebounds, field goals made, free throws made and blocked shots. She was named the Michigan College Female Athlete of the Year by the Detroit Athletic Club, an honor that set her apart that season from all other female college athletes in the state, Division I included.
One honor both Cezat and Rudland shared was being featured in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd" section. They are the second and third Charger athletes to ever be featured in the magazine's long-running weekly feature.
Rudland's arrival on campus in the Fall of 2003 coincided with the ascension of the Charger volleyball program into a national powerhouse. She announced her arrival powerfully right away, becoming the first player in program history to be named GLIAC Freshman of the Year.
In 2004, the Chargers qualified for the NCAA Division II tournament for the first time, led by Rudland's devastating play at middle hitter. She set a single-season school record for total blocks (156) while piling up 363 kills. Another excellent season followed in 2005, when she had 352 kills and 144 total blocks. But it was 2006 when Rudland and the Chargers broke through big time.
Hillsdale was ranked as high as number 3 in the nation in 2006 while laying waste to all competition, starting the season 28-0 before finishing at 29-2. Rudland set a single-season school record with a .423 hitting percentage with 321 kills and 121 total blocks. She was named the Midwest Region Player of the Year, GLIAC Player of the Year and First-Team All-American by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
During his era, two-sport standouts were rare, but Davis distinguished himself on both the gridiron and the diamond. Davis was named All-MIAA in football three times and in baseball three times, becoming the only athlete of his time to earn so many such distinctions in both sports. He was a rare two-year captain under legendary coach Frank "Muddy" Waters, and was an honorable mention All-American center for the Dales football program.
In his two seasons as football captain, 1959 and 1960, Hillsdale racked up a 17-3 record. He was also named All-MIAA as an infielder on the Hillsdale College baseball team and led the program to the 1959 conference championship, its last such title as a member of the MIAA. David currently lives in Brighton.
Vijuk was a two-time All-American defensive tackle for some powerful Hillsdale College football teams in the late 1960s. He helped lead the 1969 team to the NAIA national semifinals, and was named the Most Outstanding Defensive Lineman on that team. As a senior in 1969, he recorded 71 unassisted tackles, then a school record for a player at his position, and was named NAIA All-State and to the Little All-American Team.
Vijuk was a three-year starter at offensive line and defensive tackle at Hillsdale. He later played pro football for the Ottawa Roughriders and Toronto Argonauts of the CFL. He also competed for the Hillsdale College track team as a discus thrower. The football locker room and the team's most outstanding defensive lineman award are currently both named in his honor. He sadly passed away on July 2, 2014, not long after his retirement.