A Waldron native was among the honorees inducted into Saginaw Valley State University’s inaugural Athletic Hall of Fame.
Ben Laser, an All-American thrower, was a member of the national championship 1982 indoor track and field team. The track team members, along with six individuals, were inducted into the Hall of Fame during a ceremony Sept. 17 on the SVSU campus.
Laser was one of 10 All-American athletes from the talented track and field team that won the college’s first national championship in any sport. Many records set during the 1982 season still stand.
Other inductees were football coach Frank “Muddy” Waters; All-American basketball player Norwaine Reed; All-American football player Eugene Marve; All-American women’s basketball player Gayle Goestenkors; All-American golfer Steve Brady; and former athletic director and golf coach Robert Becker.
Laser competed in the hammer throw in outdoor track and in the 35-pound weight throw in the indoor season. He finished third in the nation in the NAIA Div. II competition when the Cardinals won the championship.
“We had some pretty good athletes on that team,” Laser said. “We were the first team north of the Mason-Dixon Line to win a national championship.”
At that time, Saginaw Valley State College had no indoor facilities and practices were held outdoors, despite the weather.
Laser said it was very enjoyable to visit with those team members who attended the ceremony, most of whom he hadn’t seen since college.
“It was phenomenal to see the successes of team members,” he said about the careers that the athletes developed.
In the early 1980s, only seven scholarships were given for track and cross country combined, Laser said, unlike today where athletic skills are often a student’s ticket into college.
Laser also played football with the Cardinals for three years.
Laser has served as a school administrator in Grayling, Springport and Alanson, and is in his third year as superintendent at Battle Creek Pennfield.