Roy Davis and Jeff Mallet, two local harness racing legends, will be honored posthumously by the Washington-Greene County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame at its annual banquet that will be held June 11 at the Hilton Garden Inn, Southpointe.
Davis and Mallet are among several special honorees and award winners. Eleven individuals and one team will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. They include Delmer Beshore (basetball), Ruth Ann Burke (women’s sports), Bob Clites (baseball and basketball), Christian Hanson (hockey), Don Hartman (baseball and coaching), Perry Ivery (football), “Skip” Koskoski (baseball and basketball), Tamarra Nixon Miles (track), Jeff Mountain (baseball), Shanna Yourchik Meyers (volleyball), Frank Pryor (baseball and officiating) and the 1992 Washington & Jefferson football team in this year’s group, along with special honorees Roy D. Davis (harness racing), Dennis Mader (officiating), Pete Maropis (baseball).
The following is a brief biography of each special award winner:
Roy D. Davis, Harness Racing (Posthumous) – Davis won two Little Brown Jugs as the owner of Barberry Spur and Jaguar Spur in 1986 and 1987, respectively, and finished second in the Hambletonian with Esquire Spur. Barberry Spur also won the 1986 Adios. One of his first successful horses was the trotting mare Sissy Spur, earning more than $100,000 in the 1970s. Davis also won a pair of Breeders Crowns in 1988 with Kentucky Spur and in 1989 with Esquire Spur in the three-year-old Colt Trot. Overall, Davis’ horses have earnings of more than $1.2 million in the Breeders Crown Series from just 12 starters. He was named 1998 Horseman of the Year by the United States Trotting Association. He was a director of the Hambletonian Society, the Little Brown Jug Society, and U.S. Trotting Association. Inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame Hall of Immortals in 2019, Davis died June 16, 2015. He was 85 years old.
Dennis R. “Denny” Mader, Official – Burgettstown, Pa, and Union HS – Now in his 59th year of umpiring, Mader umpired more than 130 fast-pitch softball games each year. He umpired 21 NCAA Regional Tournaments from 1984 through 2004 as well as several ECAC Tournaments and numerous WVIAC championships. Mader also umpired 10 NAIA Bi-District Playoffs and umpired the NAIA National Championships in 1990. He was selected to umpire the championship game as well as the NCAA Division II national championships in May 1999 and 2004 and the Division III championships in 2000. He finished his collegiate umpiring at the 2004 D-II Championships. For nearly 40 years, Mader has served as the PIAA Statewide Softball Interpreter and Supervisor of Umpires for the state championship games among numerous administrative roles. In 1992 he received the National Federation Interscholastic Officials Association “Outstanding Official for Softball” Award.
Pete Maropis, Baseball (Posthumous) – Union HS and Alliance College – Born in Langeloth, Maropis was a multisport star in high school. After serving as a radioman in the U.S. Coast Guard aboard search and rescue airplanes in the Pacific until the end of World War II, Maropis turned down football scholarship offers from Georgia and St. Mary’s (Calif.) and excelled in football, basketball and baseball at Alliance College in Cambridge Springs. He signed a professional contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates and began in Class B, Davenport, Iowa. Despite spending two and a half years in the military he advanced to the Pirates’ Class AA affiliate in New Orleans. Maropis compiled a .291 career batting average in the minors with 21 home runs and 52 RB. He died Dec. 16, 2021, at the age of 96.
The James C. (Jimmy) Montecalvo and Luke Blanock Memorial Courage Award
Garrett Miller, Peters Township High School – After receiving the 2019 Most Outstanding Freshman Award at Baldwin-Wallace University, Miller, a baseball pitcher, had elbow surgery to repair a nerve. It was found he had a vascular problem in his abdomen and chest – median arcuate ligament syndrome (MAL) – which is also known as the celiac artery that supplies blood to the stomach. Garrett also discovered he had another vascular condition in his shoulder – thoracic outlet syndrome. He endured exhaustive rehabilitation with considerable anxiety, panic attacks, stomach-circulation challenges and breathing problems while dealing with seeing a myriad of doctors with numerous scheduling difficulties. He refused to have a stent implanted and declined medicine, such as blood thinners with numerous side effects and chose meditation, exercise, and healthy living. Seemingly against all odds he returned to Baldwin-Wallace baseball in 2022 and had a 3-2 record that included being the winning pitcher in BW’s 7-4 victory at Endicott, which clinched the NCAA Division III Super Regional championship and advanced the Yellow Jackets to the Division III World Series.
Rick Puskar, Waynesburg University – Despite being a patient of multiple myeloma cancer and the incurable amyloidosis, he leads his life and fights his illnesses and physical challenges, putting his struggles to the side and tending to the well-being of his family and friends first. Puskar had brain surgery in November that helped remove most of a benign pituitary tumor that was impacting the sight in his left eye. It was unrelated to the myeloma and amyloidosis – another challenge piled on. He needed radiation treatments after the surgery, followed by five days of chemotherapy for several months. Before deciding on a radiation plan, Puskar needed clearance from his nephrologist because of his kidney failure related to amyloidosis. In a little more than four months, the tumor amazingly shrunk. The 56-year-old takes a monthly infusion of Darzalex for the amyloidosis. Puskar helped Waynesburg’s basketball team compile a 73-13 cumulative record from 1984-87, including reaching the NAIA national quarterfinals his 1986-87 senior season. Puskar enjoyed a fabulous business career with Schneider Electric.
The Edward E. (Eddie) Monaco Memorial Above and Beyond Award
Christine Blaine – Blkaine joined the Washington Wild Things at their inception in October 2001. As the original employee of the organization, she had the opportunity to be a part of the committee that named the team the Wild Things and created the popular art and team mascot. Along with being vice president, she also is the team’s director of marketing and communications/corporate sales. Prior to working with the Wild Things, Blaine taught high school English, Theatre, and Public Speaking at Fort LeBoeuf High School in Erie County, and she worked for the Meadows Racetrack. In addition to the Wild Things, Blaine cheers for the Pittsburgh Steelers and owns degrees from Grove City, Edinboro, and Duquesne.
Richard Stevens – Stevens began his 41-year career at Washington & Jefferson College in 1979 and served as equipment manager from 1990 until he retired in October 2020. During the busiest times of year, in the fall and spring, Stevens, a one-man department, worked 80-hour weeks to ensure that every W&J athlete, in all sports, had what they needed. He took an old-school approach, was never the type to ask for help and always found a way to get the job done. The unsung hero of W&J athletics, Stevens savored W&J’s success. He was on the sidelines for two Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowls and in the dugout for many NCAA regional and World Series games.
Hall of Fame Moment
Local harness driver Jeff Mallett (Posthumous) wins the 1984 Breeders Crown at the Meadows as local horse Dragon’s Lair upends the legendary and then undefeated Nihalator in the 2-year-old colt pace that is considered the greatest race in the history of The Meadows and the Breeders Crown. This event is also considered by Moira Fanning, executive director of the Hambletonian Society, as the signature moment in Breeders Crown history. Mallett died last November.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article. See official rules here.