The 2012 class of Cambridge Springs High School’s Sports Hall of Fame will be introduced at halftime of Blue Devils’ Aug. 31 football game against Saegertown.
This years inductees include the 1991-92 boys basketball team, football and baseball great Elvin “Sonny” Brown, multi-sports star Karl Hipple and sibling standouts Bill and Dick Niebauer.
There will be a pre-game tailgate gathering at the elementary pavilion starting at 5:30 p.m. for all new members and previously inducted members. The class will then be officially inducted at 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 1 during a ceremony at the Riverside Inn.
Tickets for the induction ceremony are on now at the high school or at Bausch’s Service Station in Cambridge Springs. The cost is $20 per person.
1991-92 Boys Basketball Team
The Cambridge Springs boys basketball team of 1991-92 was one of the finest teams ever to grace the courts of Crawford County, compiling an overall record of 24-6.
It would be the first team of Dean Henderson’s at Cambridge Springs to win a championship in the French Creek Valley Conference. It would be the first in a string of four over the next four years for the Spa.
This team not only won an FCVC championship but went on a postseason tear, missing advancement to the state championship by the narrowest of margins, falling to eventual state champion Carlynton in the closing seconds on the semifinal game.
The 1991-92 boys basketball team at Cambridge Springs was centered around the concept of defense and unselfish play. The team set a school record for defense limiting teams to only 41.4 points per game and dishing out over 480 assists during the season both school records. This team really hit its defense stride in the postseason, not allowing any teams, including Carlynton, to over Henderson’s mythical “50 points line.”
The team was led by all-conference first team selections Matt Held and Ryan McKissock, second team selection Lars Rohlin, and honorable mention selection Steve Winsor. The defense was anchored by Justin Held and Anthony Jardina. Rodney Dies helped Rohlin on the inside. And Scott Winsor helped his brother with the ball handling and 3-point shooting duties on the outside. The depth was provided by Derek Fischer, Tom Gage, Bob McLaren, Dan Young, Mark Lewis and Joe Gerarde. Dean Henderson was assisted by Larry Shrefler, Steve Dies, Clint Rauscher and Jamie Mott.
The success of the 1991-92 Cambridge Springs Boys Basketball Team set in motion dominance over the FCVC that would last for over a decade.
Elvin “Sonny” Brown
“He’s little, but he’s wise, and he’s a terror for his size,” read the description of Elvin “Sonny” Brown next to his senior picture in 1957. Although he was not the largest player on the field, Brown could dominate a football game.
During his senior year he was attributed with over 1,329 total yards of offense; the majority coming from rushing (797) with over a 7.1 yards-per-carry average. He was also a kickoff and punt return specialist, amassing over 350 yards in returns, while chalking up another 96 yards in interception returns.
His senior year he was selected all-county and was also selected to represent Cambridge Springs in the annual Erie Save-An-Eye Game, pitting the top players of Crawford County against the top players of Erie County.
Brown, an outstanding athlete, not only excelled on the football field, but was an outstanding baseball player, playing all four years of high school, starting in center field and lettering his junior and senior seasons for the Blue Devils. He was involved in many off the field activities, including Student Council, Key Club, F.F.A., as well as Junior Class President.
After leaving high school Brown’s involvement in sports continued, as he coached Little League for over 20 years in the Cambridge area. He would also go on to become the cornerstone of the Cambridge Springs Fire Department, serving as the president for 26 years.
Many times, outstanding high school athletes compete and excel in multiple sports. This is true of Karl Hipple, who lettered in three varsity sports throughout high school — football, basketball and baseball. He was known for his pursuit of excellence, determination, competitiveness, extra effort and his natural athletic abilities. He was also a natural leader and was often looked to by his coaches and teammates to provide the leadership for varsity teams.
Hipple was a dominant player in varsity sports during his career at Cambridge Springs. His first taste of recognition came at the Albion Junior High Christmas Basketball Tournament in 1959. The team finished second in the tournament and Hipple was selected to the first team all-tournament team. That award seemed to ignite Hipple’s desire to excel at all sports he played. He collected a total of 10 varsity letters while at CSHS.
Hipple loved to block, tackle and catch passes on the football field, often scored in double figures at basketball games. And he had a strong arm, accurate bat and steady glove at shortstop on the baseball field. He was a starter for the varsity basketball team as a freshman and continued to start throughout the remainder of high school.
Hipple was named to the first team Crawford County All Star football team in 1961 and was recognized on many of the other sports Crawford County all-star teams. Karl went on to excel outside the athletic arena becoming one of the top soil scientist in the United States.
Bill Niebauer, along with his brother Dick, dominated the Cambridge Springs sports scene in the early 1960s. He lettered three years in football, as well as all four years in baseball and three years in varsity basketball.
He batted over .300 his sophomore, junior and senior year in baseball. During Niebauer’s senior football season he was co-captain, was named a second team all-star selection at halfback and he helped lead his team to a near undefeated season at 6-1-1.
His last two years at halfback Niebauer rushed for more than 1,700 yards and scored over 120 points, and both years was an all-star selection. His junior and senior year in basketball he averaged nearly a double-double with 10 points and rebounds per game.
Niebauer was outstanding in all school areas. He was voted class vice-president, involved in multiple other school activities, and was considered most athletic by his peers his senior year.
After high school, Niebauer went on to be involved in various local athletic groups as a coach, such as Little League, softball, basketball, and Little Gridders. He also continued his athletic career participating in slow pitch softball until the age of 50.
Dick Niebauer, along with his brother Bill, hammered opponents with a ferocious running attack. He was co-captain of one of the most successful Cambridge football teams in 1961, which finished the year 6-1-1.
He started at fullback and lettered in football all four years of high school. Niebauer rushed the football, returned punts and kickoffs and played defense. He was named player of the week for Nov. 4 1960. He was selected his junior year as a second team all-star, and he was voted a unanimous first team all-star selection his senior year, even though he was only able to play in four games because of injury.
Niebauer was also an outstanding baseball player, lettering all four of high school and batting near .300 his junior and senior year. He also excelled on the basketball court, earning letters his last three years of high school, but was limited his senior year due to the knee injury suffered during the football season.
He was also an involved student off the gridiron, being named class president his sophomore, junior and senior years, as well as multiple other activities in the school.
Niebauer died serving his country in 1965.