Huntingdon News

September 27, 2012
For immediate release:

Huntingdon College
News Release

Huntingdon Athletic Hall of Fame inducts six

Montgomery, Ala.—The Huntingdon College Department of College and Alumni Relations and Department of Athletics will induct six new members into the College's Athletic Hall of Fame during a special ceremony to be held Saturday, September 29, at 9:45 a.m. in Roland Arena, Roland Student Center on the Huntingdon campus.  The group includes the first volleyball and football student-athletes to be inducted into the Hall of Fame:  Mark Colson, Class of 2007, football, Montgomery, Alabama; Kate Brown Kalnes, Class of 2002, volleyball, Evanston, Illinois; Romeo Leisher, Class of 2000, soccer, Boca Raton, Florida; Steve Shiflett, Class of 1972, basketball, Montgomery, Alabama; Debbie Sonnenberg, Class of 1994, softball, Woodstock, Georgia; and Will Wilson, Class of 1990, sportsmanship, Montgomery, Alabama.

Mark Colson was recruited in 2003 to serve as the first quarterback of the brand new Huntingdon Hawks NCAA-Division III football team.  Later, he became the first Hawks receiver or running back to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in a single season, with 75 catches and 1,028 yards receiving.  As an undergraduate Colson held an internship with the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) and was hired full-time following graduation. He serves as chief of staff and executive director of ProgressPAC and represents Alabama’s business community at the highest levels of government in Montgomery and Washington, D.C.  Colson has been the driving force behind the creation of the Hawks Football Alumni Association, and because of his efforts and leadership the percentage of football alumni participating in annual giving to the College exceeds any other cohort group. Colson holds a master’s degree in business administration from Troy University.

Kate Brown Kalnes was an All-American volleyball player at Huntingdon College and is the first volleyball player inducted into the Huntingdon College Athletic Hall of Fame.  A human performance and kinesiology graduate, Kalnes served as the assistant director of recreation at Huntingdon College.  She earned her graduate degree in exercise and health studies from Miami University of Ohio, where she interned in the strength and conditioning program and  trained athletes of all sports in Miami’s Division I program. Kalnes earned professional certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the United States Weightlifting Federation.  She is the co-owner of Police Kinesiology Company in Evanston, Illinois, and serves as the company’s technical director.  She is an instructor for North East Multi Regional Training, a regional police training academy in Illinois, and has co-authored seven police performance training courses.

Romeo Leisher came to Huntingdon from Johannesburg, South Africa, and was simultaneously a full-time student, full-time collegiate athlete, and worked 25–30 hours a week in the campus mailroom and the campus maintenance department so that he could be the first in his family to earn a college degree.  He was a 4-year team captain for the varsity soccer squad, honored with the Best Defensive Player team award as a freshman, received the Most Valuable Player team award in his three final years (Best Offensive Player as a junior), and finished 17th in the nation for the 2000 season for goals scored and assists per game. Leisher was an All-Region Tournament Team nominee as a sophomore, NAIA 2nd Team All-South Region as a junior, and an NSCAA All-Region Scholar-Athlete as a senior.  He was honored with inclusion in Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities in 2000 and was on the dean’s list for four semesters while attending Huntingdon. He works as a new business development manager for a healthcare staffing company in Boca Raton, Florida.

Steve Shiflett was an All-State standout at Sidney Lanier High School in Montgomery, Alabama, before joining the Huntingdon basketball team in 1968.  He was a 4-year letterman, earning a starting position in his junior and senior years.  During his senior year as a Hawk, Shiflett averaged 15 points per game with a career high 32 points in a game against Birmingham-Southern.  He was elected to the All-Conference Team that year.  After graduating from Huntingdon, Shiflett earned a master’s degree from Troy State University in 1974 and went on to become athletic director and head basketball coach at Trinity Presbyterian School in Montgomery. Five years and one state championship later, Shiflet hung up his high school whistle and moved to Birmingham to join the ranks of the college coaching world at Southeastern Bible College, where he led SBC to their only conference championship. Since moving back to Montgomery in 1981, Shiflett has started and sold numerous medical supply businesses and is now retired. 

Debbie Sonnenberg was a four-time All-American at Huntingdon College and still holds the NAIA record for most wins and strikeouts for a season and a career. She was a key member of the 1996 Canadian Olympic Team, five Canadian National Champion teams, and two New Zealand National Champion teams. She also competed in the World Championships and Pan-Am Games as a pitcher and was a seven-time All-Canadian performer pitching back-to-back perfect games in the 1993 Canadian National Championship Series. Sonnenberg has coached for Delta State (Mississippi), Auburn University, Kennesaw State University and Mercer University.  She is an instructor at the Cherokee Batting Range in Woodstock, Georgia, and is the coach of the Georgia Trouble Softball Organization. 

Will Wilson, a native of Montgomery, graduated from Huntingdon College with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and serves as president of Jim Wilson & Associates, LLC, where he is responsible for development activities and investment projects. Wilson has supported the College and the Huntingdon athletic program as a member of the Huntingdon Board of Trustees. He provided valuable counsel to assist Huntingdon’s efforts to become a member of an NCAA-Division III athletic conference, which has led to the College’s recent invitation to join the USA South Athletic Conference. He has also provided support to the Huntingdon College golf program by providing use of the Wynlakes Golf and Country Club facilities for team practice and tournament play. In addition to his service on the Huntingdon  Board of Trustees, Wilson is a member of the boards of directors of The Montgomery Academy, the Wynlakes Golf and Country Club and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.  He served previously on the boards of directors of the Montgomery Humane Society and the American Red Cross of Central Alabama. 

A reception beginning at 9:00 a.m. in the lobby of Roland Student Center will precede the induction ceremony. 

Huntingdon College, grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition of the United Methodist Church, is committed to nurturing growth in faith, wisdom, and service and to graduating individuals prepared to succeed in a rapidly changing world. Founded in 1854, Huntingdon is a coeducational liberal arts college. The College motto, "Enter to grow in wisdom; go forth to apply wisdom in service," is inscribed in stone above the front door of John Jefferson Flowers Hall.  Ranked in the top tier of regional colleges by U.S. News and World Report and consistently listed in the Princeton Review's "The Best Colleges: Region by Region," Huntingdon has for two years been recognized on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Washington Monthly, which ranks colleges on the basis of their contribution to the public good, places Huntingdon in the top 20% of 352 Baccalaureate colleges.

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Su Ofe
Associate Vice President for
Communications and Marketing
Office: (334) 833-4515
Cell: (334) 324-6591


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