Gardner-Webb Inducts Five Into 2013 Athletics Hall of Fame - GWUSports.com—Official Web Site of Gardner-Webb Athletics
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Lee Thompson, Vince Bueno, Julia O'Neal, Melissa Smith and Sylivia Chelimo during Friday night's ceremony.
Courtesy: Saxon Simpson
Gardner-Webb Inducts Five Into 2013 Athletics Hall of Fame
Courtesy: Gardner-Webb
          Release: October 25, 2013
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BOILING SPRINGS — Gardner-Webb inducted an outstanding quintet of former student-athletes into its Athletics Hall of Fame Friday night in the Tucker Student Center.

The Class of 2013 includes Vince Bueno (soccer, 1996-1999), Sylivia Chelimo (cross country/track, 1999-2003), Julia O’Neal (track, 1999-2002), Melissa Smith (swimming, 1999-2003) and Lee Thompson (football, 1970-1971).

The group will also be honored prior to Saturday’s 1:30 pm football game against Liberty University in Ernest W. Spangler Stadium.

Bios for the Hall of Fame Class of 2013 are listed below:

Vince Bueno (New Braunfels, Texas) was a scoring standout during his time with Tony Setzer's Runnin' Bulldogs in the 1990s, finishing his career as the second-leading scorer in program history. Bueno was a four-time All-South Atlantic Conference choice, after scoring 145 points in his four seasons in Boiling Springs. Bueno tallied 52 goals and 41 assists, and remains the only player in GWU history to rank in the top-2 in both categories for a career. In 1999, Bueno earned first-team All-SAC honors after dishing off a school-record 15 assists and scoring 49 points. His efforts keyed Gardner-Webb to 25 wins over his final two seasons, one of the top stretches in school history.

Sylivia Chelimo (Kampala, Uganda) enjoyed one of the finest overall careers of any student-athlete in Gardner-Webb history, setting the bar very high in both cross country and track. Chelimo won two NCAA Division II national titles in 2000, crossing the finish line first in both the 5,000m and 10,000m. She earned All-America status in four different events that season, helping Gardner-Webb to top-5 team finishes both indoors and outdoors in the program's first season. Chelimo also excelled in cross country, winning the Great American Cross Country Festival in 2000, the ECAC Cross Country Meet in 2001 and earning 2002 Atlantic Sun Conference Runner of the Year honors in the sport. She won A-Sun titles in 2003 in the 800m run, 1,500m run and 10,000m run and remains one of that conference's most accomplished distance runners. Chelimo still holds 13 different Gardner-Webb records in Track & Field. She competed for her native Uganda at the 2001 World University Games in China.

Julia O’Neal (Bradenton, Fla.) quickly established herself as the top sprinter in Gardner-Webb history early in her career, and continued to build on that reputation during her time in Boiling Springs. O'Neal won a pair of NCAA Division II national titles during her first season with the Runnin' Bulldogs, sprinting to victory in the 55m dash and 100m dash in 2000. She earned All-America honors in three events that season and helped Gardner-Webb finish in the top-5 nationally at the NCAA indoor and outdoor championship meets. O'Neal's victory in the 100m dash came just four weeks after knee surgery. She was the fastest woman in the world in the 55m dash in 1999, running a blazing time of 6.69 seconds at the Tennessee Indoor Classic in Knoxville. She competed at the 2001 U.S. National Indoor Meet in the 60m dash and won an ECAC title in the 100m dash in 2002. O'Neal still holds seven different Track & Field records at Gardner-Webb.

Melissa Smith (Clearwater, Fla.) was a pioneer of Gardner-Webb's success in the pool, swimming into the record books during the program's first season. Smith won the 2000 NCAA Division II national title in the 1,650 free in dominant fashion, winning by more than 10 seconds. Smith earned All-America honors in both the 1,650 free and 500 free at the national meet, scoring well enough individually to place Gardner-Webb 14th in the final team standings. Smith led that inaugural GWU swim team to an impressive 9-1 dual meet record and a second-place finish at the Southern States Conference Meet. Smith also earned All-Southern States honors in 2000 and 2001.

Lee Thompson (Mabelton, Ga.) was a defensive stalwart for Gardner-Webb's first senior college teams in 1970 and 1971, starring at linebacker under Coach George Litton. The hard-hitting Thompson helped Gardner-Webb to a 3-0 win over Newberry for the program's first senior college win in 1970 and was voted a team captain in 1971. Thompson became the first player to sign an NFL contract in 1972, joining the Houston Oilers as a free agent.



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