Carroll announces 2014 Saints HoF class

Thursday, October 2, 2014

HELENA, Mont. – Carroll College is proud to announce the 2014 Saints Athletics Hall of Fame sponsored by Wendy’s of Montana induction class.

Five individuals and two teams will be inducted into the hall of fame class.

The 2004 National Champion Football team and the 1998-99 Frontier Conference Champion Women’s basketball team are the team inductees. The individuals are Tara Zoanni (Women’s basketball, 2004), Dan Avansino (Football, 1996), Mary Lester (Volleyball, 2004), Natalie Conroy (Volleyball, 2002), Gary Lynch (Basketball, 2003).

Along with the class inductees, Saints Athletics will award the 2014 Warren Nelson award to longtime Carroll College supporters Mike and Tina Mundt.

The inductees will be honored at a banquet Friday night and during halftime of Saturday’s homecoming football game against Montana-Western.

2004 National Championship Football Team Head coach Mike Van Diest's Fighting Saints went 12-2 claiming a 15-13 victory over Saint Francis in Savannah, Tennessee in the National Title Game.  Carroll captured it's third consecutive national championship and fifth straight Frontier Conference championship as Carroll went (6-2) in conference during the 2004 campaign.

The 1998-99 Carroll College Women's Basketball Team The team became the first team in 12 seasons to put together a 20-win year.  Head coach Jim Gross's Fighting Saints went 21-12 and 11-5 in the Frontier Conference to finish second in the conference. The Saints won the Frontier Conference Tournament Championship, but at that time there were no automatic qualifiers from the conference.  

Tara Zoanni ('04) Originally of Conrad, Mont. holds several Carroll College Women's Basketball records including most field goals in a season (209), best free-throw percentage in a season (87.1%) and most points in a season (638, 18.2 ppg).  Zoanni was named State Farm/Kodak/WBCA All-America honors in 2004 and was a third-team NAIA All-American Selection.  In addition, she was named Frontier Conference MVP for the 2003-04 season in leading Carroll to the 2003-04 Frontier Conference Championship and a bid in the NAIA National Tournament (29-7 record).

Dan Avansino ('96) Originally of Reno, Nev. set the school single-season rushing record in 1996 with 1,501 yards, which stood until 2011.  Avansino still is tied for the most rushing touchdowns in a game with five scores vs. Jamestown in 1996.  During his senior season, Avansino was voted 1st-team All-Conference as a running back and punt returner.

Mary Lester ('04) Originally of Great Falls, Mont. was a four-year starter at outside hitter for Carroll College.  Lester's stellar career was bookend by being named Freshman of the Year in 2000 and Frontier Conference MVP in 2003.  Lester earned All-Conference honors all four seasons and was honorable mention All-America during her senior season and All-Region as a junior and senior.  Carroll won over 20 games every year during Lester's four years as a starter.

Natalie Conroy ('02) Originally of Hardin, Mont. earned Frontier Conference Co-MVP as well as honorable mention All-America honors during her senior season.  Conroy, a setter for the Fighting Saints was All-Conference as well as All-Region in 2000 & 2002.  Carroll College won over 20 games every year during Conroy's career.

Gary Lynch ('03) Originally of Great Falls, Mont. was a three-time All-Frontier Conference selection and ranks ninth all-time in scoring at Carroll College with 1,626 points.  The Fighting Saints made three appearances in the NAIA National Tournament (2001-03) during Lynch's career and captured two Frontier Conference Championships (2001, 2002).

Mike and Tina Mundt The Mundt’s support for Saints Athletics has gone far beyond cheering the Fighting Saints from the two club-level seats they have held since Nelson Stadium opened for games in 2001. From providing oranges and Cliff Bars during halftime to hosting spaghetti dinners at their home, Mike and Tina have kept Carroll athletes strong in body and spirit. They have also helped Carroll students financially with regular donations to student scholarship funds, and Tina has served as a vital member of the Saints Athletic Association board for the past five years.