Johnson City Press: Large, varied group makes up 2016 class
logo



Large, varied group makes up 2016 class

Dave Ongie • Feb 6, 2016 at 5:38 PM

Science Hill High School inducted 24 individuals into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday.

The 2016 class is certainly an eclectic group of athletes and contributors that spans the generations and represents nearly every sport the school competes in. Like ripples on the surface of a smooth pond, the athletes in this class who represented Science Hill fanned out into the world and made a positive impact in a variety of different realms, from coaching to modeling to the military to education to business and beyond.

“To see them grow and be where they’re at now, that’s very exciting,” said Science Hill athletic director Keith Turner. “When you look at this class and the stuff that they’ve accomplished in their professional careers … it’s just amazing, and you’d like to think that being a participant in athletics and academics here at Science Hill set the tone for that.”

The selection process depends heavily on nominations, and from there, the school relies on a strict criteria when it comes to picking hall of famers. Graduation from Science Hill is a must, and the success of the student-athletes in their post-secondary education is weighed, as is good citizenship.

In terms of athletes, Turner said the group inducted on Saturday really stood out because so many of them were trailblazers in their respective sports.

Ashleigh Jackson is widely considered the best softball player ever to come through the school. Gabe Goulds, along with Brad Fields, is the winningest basketball player in school history with 139 wins against just 13 losses during his four-year career. Omar Wattad is the all-time scoring champion in basketball.

As for the contributors, Turner believes the group inducted on Saturday literally changed the face of the athletic program by helping get several new facilities built, but he said they’ve also provided support that is less tangible.

“Some of the things they did behind the scenes that a lot of people don’t know,” Turner said. “We wouldn’t be where we’re at today with these unreal facilities if it weren’t for men like Tim Copenhaver, Tony Treadway, C.B. Kinch, Vincent Dial. Those guys have been doing stuff in our community for a long time.”

Here’s a look at the complete 2016 Hall of Fame class:

James Lynn Bonsor, Class of 1965, Basketball

During his four years at Science Hill, Bonsor was a standout on the basketball team, earning a spot on the all-conference team and was named the MVP of the district tournament while leading his team to the district championship.

After high school, Bonsor served his country for 20 years, fighting in Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, earning multiple medals, ribbons and certificates along the way. Bonsor passed away on Dec. 20, 2012.

Josh Boskin, Class of 2003, Wrestling

Boskin was a dominant wrestler, racking up a 75-18 record during his career at the school. During his senior year, Boskin pinned his opponent in the state finals in a minute and 29 seconds to earn an individual state championship, putting him in an elite fraternity of Science Hill wrestlers.

Boskin is currently a special education teacher in Chattanooga, where he also coaches wrestling.

Emma Bowers, Class of 2008, Track

Starting her varsity career as an eighth grader, Bowers lettered in track five times and also advanced to the state meet in each of the five years she competed for the school. A part of two state championship relay teams, Bowers was an All-State and an All-American performer, setting multiple records before going on to a productive collegiate career at Western Carolina and East Tennessee State.

Bowers is currently an administrator at a skilled nursing facility in Virginia.

Hannah Bowers, Class of 2008, Track

Bowers joined her twin sister Emma as a five-year performer on the varsity track team and also qualified for the state meet all five years she competed at Science Hill. She was a part of three state championship relay teams and was also earned All-State and All-American honors during her high school career.

Bowers went on to run at Western Carolina and later ETSU. She received a degree in social work and is currently employed in that field.

Dawn Bradshaw Walker, Class of 1986, Basketball

A three-year starter on the basketball team, Walker helped lead the Lady Hilltoppers to back-to-back state tournament appearances in 1984-85. Despite the fact that the 3-point line hadn’t been instituted yet, the deadly outside shooter racked up more than 1,000 points in her career.

After graduating in the top 10 percent of her class at Science Hill, Walker graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is currently an institutional account specialist with Pfizer.

Tim Copenhaver, Contributor

Since moving to Johnson City in 2007, Copenhaver has been a major contributor to athletics at Science Hill and beyond.

In addition to sponsoring various athletic teams, he also purchased scoreboards for the local little league fields and provided indoor practice space for local baseball and softball teams. At Science Hill, Copenhaver has sponsored give-aways, provided postgame meals for coaches and at various athletic banquets, provided trucks for the homecoming parade and volunteered his son Camden to help out at Science Hill athletic events.

Copenhaver also served on the committee that was instrumental in the construction of the new fieldhouse.

Vincent Dial, Contributor

After graduating from Carson-Newman in 1974, Dial went on to play in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Dial came to Johnson City as a middle-school band director and worked to develop the band program through the city’s elementary and junior high schools. He eventually worked as an assistant principal at Science Hill and also was the lead principal at Northside Elementary.

In addition to helping establish the Umoja Festival and several community programs, Dial has been a spiritual leader in the city for years.

Dial is currently the team chaplain for the football team, where he mentors the coaches and players in the football program.

Gabe Goulds, Class of 1997, Basketball

Goulds was part of the most impressive run of basketball success in school history, winning 139 games and back-to-back state championships during his four-year career.

The Hilltoppers were ranked in the top five of the USA Today Super 25 High School Basketball Poll during this run, which also included two Arby’s Classic championships and four trips to the state tournament. Goulds was the ultimate distributor, handing out 701 assists.

After a very successful career at Milligan College, Goulds is now employed as an account developer at Coca-Cola.

Tom Hager, Class of 1963, Baseball, Basketball, Football

Hager was part of a tremendous baseball team that won back-to-back state championships in 1962-63.

Serving as a co-captain, Hager batted .412 and batted over .400 in the state baseball tournament. He also gained the reputation of being a tenacious defender for both the basketball and football teams. Hager’s colligiate baseball career at ETSU was cut short by the war in Vietnam. When he returned, he finished his education at the University of Tennessee and went on to become an investigator for the public defender’s office.

As a long-time member of the school board, Hager supported the recent construction of the football stadium and the fieldhouse.

Paul Hoilman, Class of 2007, Baseball

As a three-year starter at Science Hill, Hoilman established himself as one of the top players in the state of Tennessee. He had a breakout year as a junior, going 10-1 on the mound with a 2.48 ERA and batting .460 with nine homers and 45 RBIs.

Hoilman elevated his game even further at ETSU, being named a Louisville Slugger First-Team All-American, an ESPN First-Team Academic All-American, the Atlantic Sun Player of the Year and the Atlantic Sun Scholar Athlete of the year. He capped his college career by winning the inaugural TD Ameritrade College Homerun Derby in Omaha, Nebraska.

After playing in the Chicago Cubs’ minor league organization, Hoilman is now part owner of RBI Tri-Cities, where he works to develop local players.

Amy Holbrook Turk, Class of 2004, Swimming, Diving, Cheerleading, Tennis

Turk excelled not only in a variety of sports, but also in the classroom during her time at Science Hill.

As a diver, she made four appearances at the state swim meet and placed in the top 10 each year. During her senior year, she won the Principal’s Leadership Award: Certificate of Merit for demonstrating the ability to combine academic excellence and exemplary leadership roles in school and community activities.

After graduating from Wake Forest with a 4.0 GPA, Turk is now a fifth-grade teacher in Richmond, Virginia.

Ashleigh Jackson, Class of 2007, Softball

Jackson played varsity softball for five years, and was an all-conference selection every year during her illustrious career. She also earned all-state honors twice.

Jackson still holds the school’s single-season records for strike outs, homeruns and wins, and also led the Lady Hilltoppers to their first state tournament appearance as a junior.

After playing collegiately at Wright State and Winthrop, Jackson played professional in Austria for two seasons, where she was honored as the league’s best pitcher and won a gold glove. Jackson served as an assistant softball coach at Science Hill last year and is currently an assistant coach at ETSU.

Justice Joslin, Class of 2006, Football, Baseball

One of the best pure athletes to ever play at Science Hill, Joslin was a three-year starter on both the football team and the baseball team, earning all-conference honors in both sports.

Armed with tremendous speed, Joslin once had 230 receiving yards and four touchdowns in a game against Tennessee High and helped lead the baseball team to the state tournament.

In college, Joslin played football for Wofford, where he was named the team’s most valuable wide receiver in 2009. He played professional football in Germany after leaving Wofford and also coached professional baseball for a year in Germany.

Joslin currently works as a professional model for Nautica and several other companies.

Charles “C.B.” Kinch, Class of 1962, Contributor, Football

Kinch graduated from Science Hill in 1962 and has been an avid supporter of the athletic department ever since.

A founding member of the Science Hill Sports Club, Kinch worked tirelessly through the organization to support the school’s athletic programs. Later on, Kinch was a member of the Take it to the Topp Committee and also works as a member of the Kermit Tipton Foundation, which supports an annual scholarship to a Topper football player.

Richard Lowe, Class of 2002, Golf

Lowe was a member of one of the best golf teams in school history and led the Hilltoppers to an undefeated regular season that ended with a runner-up finish at the state tournament in 2000. Lowe also finished second in the individual competition.

Lowe is part of an elite foursome of state runner-up finishers at Science Hill, and he also was part of the team that went on to win the state title in 2001.

After graduation, Lowe went on to play at Catawba College, where he was named the team MVP twice. He continues to be a major force on the local golf scene, winning the 2009 East Tennessee Amateur.

Rebecca McAvoy, Class of 1992, Tennis

McAvoy won two state doubles championships at Science Hill alongside fellow Hall of Famer Susan Land and also helped lead the Lady Hilltoppers to three regional titles.

She went on to play tennis at ETSU, where she won the Southern Conference doubles title as a freshman. McAvoy now lives in Atlanta, where she works as a Human Capital Management Consultant for RL McAvoy Consulting, Inc.

Robin McCarley Downes, Class of 2001, Golf

A three-time all-state selection, Downes was awarded All-American honors in 2000 by the National High School Coaches Association.

In addition to making three straight appearances in the state tournament at Science Hill, Downes also won two Southeastern Junior Tour events and won the Jim Walling Memorial Invitational Tournament in Nashville, beating a field of the top golfers from around the state of Tennessee.

Downes, who went on to play college golf for Birmingham Southern and ETSU, is currently an elementary school teacher.

Homer Pease, Class of 1950, Football

Pease’s football career at Science Hill didn’t start until after his heroic service during World War II.

Despite being too young to serve in the military, Pease enlisted anyway and was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division and earned two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star as a paratrooper. After his real age was discovered, Pease was sent home and became a force on Science Hill’s defensive line.

Pease went on to further his education at ETSU and Milligan College before eventually returning to active duty as a military adviser on Vietnam, where he lost his life in 1966 and was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.

Matt Rice, Class of 2007, Baseball

In addition to being an outstanding catcher on the baseball team, Rice was a tremendous hitter. During his time at Science Hill, Rice was named as a Louisville Slugger High School Preseason All-American and helped lead the Hilltoppers to back-to-back state tournaments.

At Western Kentucky, he was named the Capitol One Academic All-American Player of the Year in 2011 and became the school’s all-time leader in hits (309) and RBIs (223).

Rice is currently a student at the University of California Berkley School of Law. After graduation, he will become a clerk for the United State Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Sydney Rice McIndoo, Class of 2008, Volleyball

McIndoo led the Lady Hilltoppers to the school’s first ever conference, district and regional titles en route to Science Hill’s first ever trip to the state tournament.

An all-state selection as a senior, McIndoo went on to play at Freed Hardeman University, where she led her team to three national tournament appearances and earned honorable mention All-American status as a senior.

McIndoo now works as an actuary in Nashville.

Bryan Sangid, Class of 1997, Golf

Sangid was an all-state selection during his time at Science Hill, leading the golf team to a runner-up finish at the state tournament.

He went on to play at Carson-Newman, Western Carolina and the University of South Carolina Aiken. He helped lead USC Aiken to the NCAA Division II national championship.

Sangid has won several local tournaments in recent years and has remained involved in Science Hill golf as a mentor.

Tony Treadway, Contributor

As the founder and president of Creative Energy, a full-service advertising, marketing, digital and PR firm in Johnson City, Treadway helped attain and manage the video board at Kermit Tipton Stadium.

Treadway has also served as the chairman of the Take it to the Topp committee, which helped secure funding for the new fieldhouse. He has also served on the school board and been a member of the Grid Iron Booster Club.

Omar Wattad, Class of 2007, Basketball

Wattad poured in 2,191 points over the course of his career to finish as the school’s all-time leading scorer.

A four-time all-conference selection, Wattad also made the all-state team twice, leading his team to four conference titles and multiple district and regional championships. Wattad went on to play two years at Georgetown and two years at Chattanooga, where he was a two-time all-Southern Conference selection.

Following a professional career overseas, Wattad is currently an assistant basketball coach at Lincoln Memorial University.

Matt Wilhjelm, Class of 1997, Football

Wilhjelm was a tremendous quarterback for Science Hill, setting numerous passing records during his time at the school.

As a senior, he was named the Northeast Tennessee Player of the Year and honorable mention all-state honors. He went on to play quarterback at ETSU, where he led the Bucs to a win over Georgia Southern, the top-ranked NCAA 1-AA team in the country at the time.

Wilhjelm is currently the CFO for the Free Service Tire Company in Johnson City. He is also the president of the ETSU Buccaneer Athletic Scholarship Association.

Johnson City Press Videos