Three individuals and one team will be inducted into the Valparaiso University Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday, Feb. 17. Amy Cavanaugh ’00 Cramer, Tom Byrne ’03, Natalie Cortese ’12 and the 1923-1924 men’s basketball team comprise the 21st class in Hall of Fame history.
Cramer was a goalkeeper for the Crusader women’s soccer program from 1996 to 1999. She ranks among the NCAA’s all-time leaders in saves, as her 620 career stops in goal place her seventh in NCAA Division I history. Cramer holds the Valpo career record in the category by nearly 300 saves, and also owns four of the top-six single-season save totals in program history – highlighted by a 224-save season as a sophomore in 1997, a mark which ranks 17th in NCAA history.
Cramer was Valpo’s goalkeeper in its three seasons as an affiliate member of the Missouri Valley Conference (1996-1998), and earlier this fall was named one of 25 finalists for the MVC’s 25-Year Anniversary Team. She was an MVC All-Freshman Team member in 1996, a two-time Honorable Mention All-Conference selection and an All-Tournament Team honoree in 1998, and set the conference’s single-season save record with her 224-save campaign in 1997. Valpo moved to the Mid-Continent Conference prior to Cramer’s senior season, and she earned All-Tournament Team accolades from the Mid-Con in 1999 as well.
Byrne suited up for the Valpo football program from 1999 to 2002, anchoring the Crusaders’ offensive line. He set a school record by starting all 44 games over his four-year career, including all 11 games in 2000 as Valpo won the Pioneer Football League championship.
Byrne earned First Team All-PFL accolades as a junior in 2001 and a senior in 2002. He was also honored following his senior season as the recipient of the program’s Joe Sever Trophy, which honors a lineman who exemplifies excellent work ethic and high-quality performance.
Cortese was a member of the Valpo bowling program in its inaugural season and starred for the team from 2009 to 2012. A Second Team All-American as a sophomore in 2009-2010, Cortese was an Honorable Mention All-American in each of her final two seasons as well. She led the Crusaders as a senior in 2011-2012 as the program reached #1 in the NTCA Coaches poll – the first team in Valpo Athletics history to reach a #1 ranking nationally – and advanced to the NCAA Championship for the first time.
Cortese owns Valpo’s single-match (290) and career (197.8) scoring average records, and also holds three of the top-six single-season averages in program history – including a career-high 200.1 average as a junior in 2010-11, which ranks second in program history. She was a three-time Tournament MVP and a member of nine All-Tournament Teams over her three seasons with the Crusaders, capping her career by earning a spot on the All-Tournament Team at the 2012 NCAA Championship.
The 1923-1924 men’s basketball team is one of the most renowned squads in Valpo history, finishing the season as Western Interstate Conference champions with a 24-4 overall record. Known as the Victory Five, as the same five players played nearly every minute of every game, the 1923-1924 Crusaders finished the season with the nation’s best record and set a then-program record which stood for nearly 80 seasons with the 24 victories.
The Victory Five also set a program record which still stands today as it won 23 consecutive games to open the season – a mark which also set a national record at the time for the longest winning streak within a single season. The 1923-1924 squad was coached by W.P. Shadoan and captained by Millard “Andy” Anderson. Anderson was joined in the starting quintet by Earl Scott, Robert Cadwallader, Walter Hiltpold and Harold “Beanie” Harris, while Ralph Surface, Duke Florence and Clarence Peterson rounded out the team.
The Valparaiso University Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Banquet will be held on Saturday, Feb. 17 in the Brown and Gold Room in the Harre Union. The banquet is slated to begin at 5 p.m. The cost of the banquet is $30 per person, and reservations can be made by contacting Sharon Jackson at 219.464.5471 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for making reservations is Friday, Feb. 9. The inductees will also be recognized at halftime of the men’s basketball game that evening.