W. Gordon Fediaczko ’59 remains as one of the top talents in the rich swimming and diving tradition at Washington & Jefferson College. A four-year letter winner for the Presidents and a team captain during his junior and senior seasons, Fediaczko excelled in a number of different events. Fediaczko made his mark in the 200 breaststroke where he went undefeated during his final two years on campus. He was a two-time Presidents’ Athletic Conference champion in the 200 breaststroke and earned an invitation to the NCAA Division III Championships as a senior. Fediaczko held the pool and school records in the event for over 20 years. He and his teammates became the first student-athletes in school history to compete in the PAC. Following his senior season, he was selected as the top swimming student-athlete by the athletic department. He joined fellow W&J Hall of Famers King Hartman, E. Ronald Salvitti and Larry Romboski who also earned awards that evening. Two of Fediaczko’s sons, Michael J. and D. Scott, are Washington & Jefferson College graduates.
Mark Kern ’89 was a defensive stalwart for the Washington & Jefferson College football program from 1985-1988. A four-year letter winner, Kern is one of 10 student-athletes in school history named to the Associated Press Little All-America Football Team after earning the selection in 1988. He still ranks as the fourth-leading tackler in school history with 275 stops. Kern is also second in the W&J record book for career sacks with 34. In 1986 and 1987, Kern led the Presidents in sacks. Following the 1988 season, he was chosen to the Pizza Hut All-American Team. The two-time First Team All-PAC honoree had perhaps his best season in 1987 with 113 tackles, including 25 for a loss, and 14 sacks. His coach, John Luckhardt, referred to Kern at the time as “one of the top five defensive linemen he had been associated with in his 26 years of coaching”. Kern played a major role in one of the most memorable victories in W&J football history, a 23-17 overtime victory at Allegheny College in the 1987 NCAA Division III playoffs. A Canonsburg, Pa., native, Kern was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha.
Tony Torchia ’86 finished his career as one of the top men’s basketball players in school history. A three-time All-Presidents’ Athletic Conference selection, including two first-team awards, Torchia led W&J to its first-ever NCAA Division III Tournament appearance in 1985. Torchia finished his career with 1,261 points and 650 rebounds. In 85 career contests, Torchia shot over 54 percent from the field. Torchia led his junior season squad to 18 victories, becoming only the second team in 70 years to accomplish that feat. He averaged 19.8 points and 9.0 rebounds during the record-breaking season. The Carlynton High School graduate also averaged 18.8 points and 9.1 rebounds as a senior. He was chosen to the All-Tournament Team at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional and ended that season as a Daktronics All-Region First Team honoree. He scored 475 points during that season which was the second-best, single-season scoring total in school history. The former PAC MVP also excelled in the classroom as he earned CoSIDA Second Team Academic National All-America laurels in 1986.
Linda Smylie (Wiercisiewski) ’86 was an outstanding two-sport student-athlete from 1982-1986. She was considered by many as one of the most versatile student-athletes to play for the Presidents during the decade. She earned eight letters during her career, four each in volleyball and basketball. A 5-foot-10 graduate of Fox Chapel High School, Smylie played outside hitter for the Presidents’ volleyball program and forward for the women’s basketball squad. Smylie served as a team captain for both sports. In volleyball, Smylie was a four-time, first-team all-conference selection and a four-time Most Valuable Player. During her senior volleyball season, Smylie helped Washington & Jefferson post its best record in school history to date with a 19-11 overall mark. She averaged 9.8 kills and 8.9 blocks per match. During the winter, she led her basketball teams to three conference championships. As a senior, she scored 8.9 points and grabbed 6.3 rebounds per game, ranking in the conference in both categories. Smylie joined teammate and W&J Hall of Famer Cindy Kelly as one of the top 1-2 threats in the region.
David Ross ’78 is inducted into the Washington & Jefferson College Athletic Hall of Fame as the 2008 Robert M. Murphy Award Winner. Ross was a talented two-sport athlete for Washington & Jefferson College. He was a four-year letter winner for the Presidents’ football team, while also lettering for the baseball program. In 1978, Ross was chosen as an All-PAC wide receiver after catching 26 passes for 322 yards (12.4 ypr) and four touchdowns. Ross was part of an offense that was led by W&J Athletic Hall of Fame quarterback J.C. Morrow. Following his senior season, Ross was one of two Presidents selected to the First Team All-Presidents’ Athletic Conference squad, joining Ted Cuneo. Ross is a member of the board of trustees at Washington & Jefferson College. He has been very successful following his graduation as a political science major. Ross also earned a master’s degree in city planning from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton Business School. Ross is a founding partner of Atlantic Realty Companies, one of the ten largest commercial real estate development forms in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. An expert in land use, development, and leasing, Mr. Ross has over 20 years experience in the commercial real estate business and has been responsible for the development of over eight million square feet of commercial and retail property throughout the Washington metropolitan area. In addition to his founding role in Atlantic Realty, he maintains a very active presence in the community and local organizations. Ross, whose son, Jonathan, is a 2006 W&J graduate, also serves on the Board of Directors for the National Capital Region of the Easter Seal Society, was past chairman and in January 2005 was honored with The Clarence Donohoe Award presented annually to an Easter Seals Board Member who exemplifies excellence in leadership and volunteerism. He is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and the Northern Virginia chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks (NAIOP), and the Reston Chamber of Commerce. He has also served on many board of directors and advisory boards in the Washington DC area. Ross and his family were instrumental in the creation of the Presidents’ multi-sport athletic facility (Ross Memorial Park and Alexandre Stadium) and the Ross Locker Rooms. The state-of-the-art stadiums and locker room facilities serve as the official home for W&J baseball, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, men’s lacrosse and women’s lacrosse. Ross dedicated the facilities in honor of his father, James David Ross.