MILWAUKEE – The Bud K. Haidet Athletics Hall of Fame will gain five new inductees, and the induction ceremony will be held on December 5 at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee.
The five honored individuals are Nick Davis (track and field), Chad Dombrowski (men’s soccer), Traci Edwards (women’s basketball), Karen Fruit Leigel (volleyball) and Tori (Whitlinger) Pitch (tennis). In addition, team physician Dr. Bill Smith will receive the Panther Award of Distinction.
Davis was a track athlete from 2001-2004 and was an esteemed high jumper and javelin thrower, having graduated with school and league records in both events (only school record in indoor high jump). He was a 10-time Horizon League champion, winning two of those as a freshman and receiving league newcomer of the year honors. He remains the only athlete to win the javelin championship in all four years of eligibility. Finally, he finished his career with a Horizon League Athlete of the Year award along with Outdoor Performer of the Year in 2004. The program won the indoor and outdoor league titles that season as well.
Excelling on the field was not the only accomplishment for Davis, as he was a standout student as well. He was named to the league’s All-Academic team four times and was honored as a Scholar-Athlete with Distinction. He earned his master’s degree in Kinesiology from UWM.
Dombrowski was with the soccer program from 1999-2002. The team went 60-24-3 while he was a member, including a 19-2-1 record in his senior season (2002). He is the second of five brothers to have played for the program, appearing in 78 career games and starting in all but four of them. A two-year team captain, he scored 24 goals and added 14 assists, seven of those goals being game-winners, proving his ability to come through in the clutch. He earned the ultimate reward for his success as a Panther, as he was the first UWM player to be drafted by a Major League Soccer (MLS) team when the Chicago Fire made him the 43rd pick.
Dombrowski’s collegiate honors include being named second-team NSCAA All-American. In addition, he was a two-time first-team Great Lakes Region and All-Horizon League selection. As a pro, he had success in his collegiate city, as he helped the Milwaukee Wave win a Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) title in 2005.
Edwards, who played for former coach Sandy Botham from 2005-2009, was a four-year starter for the Panthers and broke three records. She finished as the all-time leading scorer in program, Horizon League, and state of Wisconsin collegiate history. In addition, she was the first woman in those three’s history to amass 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds during her career.
Starting all but five of her 125 career games, Edwards shot a blistering 57.2 career percentage from the field and could knock down outside shots, evidenced by her nearly 40 percent clip from three-point range. In addition, she holds the two highest scoring games in Panthers’ history, scoring 45 and 42 points in two games. She finished her career with an average of 9.5 rebounds per game.
Edwards was a two-time Horizon League Player of the Year and was a first-team All-League player all four years. In addition, she was a perennial All-Horizon League Tournament selection. Finally, she earned the 2006 League Newcomer of the Year award, leading the team to the NCAA Tournament that season. She went on to have a successful pro career overseas.
Leigel, whose last name was Fruit during her time at UWM (2001-2004), was a standout volleyball player who led the team to NCAA Tournament appearances in her freshman and sophomore seasons. The Panthers were 84-35, 49-7 in Horizon League play during her four years.
Fruit was able to garner two school-record seasons for kills, as she had 512 one season and 481 in another. Her average of 5.17 kills per set during her senior year ranks first in school history. In addition to her lethal offensive skills, Fruit was a great defensive player, having accrued 436 digs in her junior season, which were second-most in program annals when she graduated. She ranks in the top-10 in Panthers’ history in both career kills and digs.
In her senior season, Fruit won Horizon League Player of the Year and was an honorable mention All-American. Her junior season featured AVCA All-Region honorable mention and all-league honors for both the regular season and tournament.
Pitch was, quite possibly, UWM’s greatest tennis star in the program’s history. A standout from 1994-1998, she went 46-24 in singles play and 47-26 in doubles, both school records for wins. In addition, she holds the highest single-season and career singles winning percentages (.824 her freshman season, .658 career) in program annals. She led the team in wins during all four seasons.
At the time, Milwaukee participated in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (now the Horizon League). Pitch won MCC Newcomer of the Year and was named All-MCC the next three seasons. Finally, Pitch played at a time where tennis success was hard to come by for UWM. During her senior season, the program finished fourth, its highest league finish at the time.
Tickets for the event will be $50 individually or $350 for a table of eight and are available through Associate Athletics Director for Development Jenny Gryniewicz. In addition, the five inductees will receive recognition at halftime of the men’s basketball game vs. SIU-Edwardsville two days before the main event.