Four More Added to OVAC Hall of Fame

WHEELING – A pair of multi-talented females from the 1970s along with a standout wrestler and a multi-sport standout from the 1980s are the latest group of honorees for 10th annual Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Hall of Fame banquet on Saturday, Aug. 17 at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling.

Selected from the 1970s are Martins Ferry’s Peri Powell and St. Clairsville’s Rhonda Noble. The 1980s honorees are Stanton High’s Blaine Rose and Mark Emmerling of East Liverpool.

Previously announced honorees include coaches Jim Thomas and Nick Aloi; officials John Howell and Don Zinni; contributors Tim McCoy and Tom Rataiczak; and media member Richard (Hoot) Gibson. Recognized in the Legends category will be John (Zip) Behen of Cambridge, Ken Cunningham of East Liverpool, Russell (Tuss) Edwards of Martins Ferry, Bob Hugh of Scio, and Joel Jones of Weirton Dunbar. Athletes previously announced for induction include Moundsville’s Harry (Moo) Moore (1940s), the Martins Ferry duo of Ron (Cy) Godfrey and Ken Vargo (1950s) and Jim Brown from Martins Ferry and Larry Marmie of Barnesville (1960s).

The OVAC Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Robinson Auto Group in Wheeling, and the OVAC Sports Museum are located inside WesBanco Arena.

Capsule summaries of the latest announced honorees:

PERI POWELL (Martins Ferry High, Class of 1979)

She distinguished herself as a superb college softball player.

Unfortunately for Powell, her high school did not field a prep softball team.

That didn’t stop her, however, from being an exceptional athlete for the Purple Riders, lettering in three sports.

Powell still rates as one of the finest basketball players, male or female, in Martins Ferry history.

She poured in 1,404 points in her prep career. In the process, the dynamite guard was accorded all-Ohio honors as a junior and senior. She was also honored as OVAC Player of the Year as a senior and was captain of the All-Valley team that same year.

Powell displayed her versatility by lettering four years in volleyball for Ferry while also lettering three years in track and field.

Softball came to the forefront at the next level, as Powell earned a full scholarship to the College of Steubenville. As fate would have it, the college did away with the program after two years.

Powell remained undaunted, however. She simply took her vast softball skills to West Liberty State College. It was a move that paid quick, albeit, short dividends.

Powell earned first-team all WVIAC accolades in softball for the Hilltoppers. She opted, however, to leave West Liberty.

It was not the end of her collegiate exploits, as she decided to ply her trade at Wheeling College (now Jesuit University). She scripted a brilliant two-year career with the Cardinals.

She gained all-WVIAC honors both seasons and was named conference player of the year as a senior. She batted .437 that year. Powell played in the NAIA national tournament in San Antonio, Texas.

Powell was voted NAIA All-American, the first Cardinals athlete to ever gain that distinction. Wheeling College retired her softball jersey in 1987.

After her playing days, Powell distinguished herself in the coaching ranks. She served as Wheeling College head softball coach for two years, being named the WVIAC Coach of the Year, only to have the college discontinue the program.

Powell currently serves as assistant softball coach for Martins Ferry, helping guide the Riders to the regional last May.

Powell is employed as a lab technician for Shelly and Sands. Peri is the daughter of Dorothy Powell of Martins Ferry and the late Duane Powell.


(St. Clairsville, Class of 1979)

She was one of the first three-sport female athletes in Ohio Valley annals. She was also one of the best.

Noble not only starred in volleyball, basketball and softball for the Red Devils, but she was also just as impressive in the realm of academics.

Noble’s many talents helped elevate the Red Devils to team success.

As a senior, she led St. C.’s volleyball team to the regional tournament. It was a milestone achievement as it marked the first time an Eastern Ohio team ever advanced to the Sweet 16. The Red Devils, as you might expect, were also crowned OVAC champions that season.

Noble was voted the team’s most valuable player that campaign, an honor she also landed as a sophomore.

As dominating as she was in volleyball, Noble may have been even more-so in basketball.

In leading St. C. to the OVAC championship her senior campaign, Noble landed every conceivable honor. She was voted, all-OVAC, all-district, all-valley and all-Ohio. She was named the team’s MVP and was chosen to play on the OVAC all-star game.

Meanwhile in softball, she was a three-year lettermen and was again named MVP as a senior.

Her St. C. career featured 10 athletic letters and being voted the school’s female athlete of the year for 1978-79. She was also a member of the St. Clairsville National Honor Society.

Noble’s superlative prep career received the ultimate consummation as she was inducted into the St. Clairsville High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.

After receiving her St. C. diploma, Noble went from one hilltop to another. She chose West Liberty State College to continue her athletic and academic pursuits.

Noble was a rare three-sport performer in college. She was an impact performer early on for the Hilltoppers’ volleyball program. She was named all-WVIAC as a sophomore, junior and senior. She helped lead WLSC to the conference crown in 1981. All-conference honors and Noble became synonymous. She earned all-WVIAC plaudits in basketball as a senior and as a junior and senior in softball.

It is not surprising that she was inducted into the West Liberty University Hall of Fame in 2000.

Her involvement in athletics did not end after her playing days at West Liberty. She returned as the Hilltoppers’ head volleyball coach from 1986-1995. During that tenure, she was twice (1987 & 1981) voted WVIAC Volleyball Coach of the Year.

While she retired in 1991 as a coach, she has remained at West Liberty. Noble, who earned her doctorate in Motor/Child Development from WVU in 2002, is the chairperson of West Liberty’s Department of Health & Human performance in the College of Education.

BLAINE ROSE (Stanton High School, Class of 1984)

In its heyday, Stanton High School boasted some of the premier athletes in the Ohio Valley.

None, however, were better than Rose. He was a three-sport standout, who possessed decathlete-like talents in track while also skilled enough to earn a Division I football scholarship.

Rose could virtually do it all, whether on the gridiron, basketball court or in the track arena. When the dust settled on his success-laden prep career, Rose opted to continue his athletic and academic career at the University of Maryland, where he enjoyed a superb football career.

The 6-foot-5, 210-pounder was Stanton’s only three-sports all-Valley first-team selection. Moreover, he was selected by The Intelligencer as the 1983-84 Ohio Valley All-Sports athlete of the year.

He was a three-year starter in football, starring as a tight end and defensive end. He was selected as captain of the all-Valley Small School team as a senior, a season in which he collected more than 100 tackles and landing 23 passes for four touchdowns in a ground-oriented offense.

Rose used his great size and athleticism to sparkle in basketball, finishing his career with 1,052 points. He was accorded first-team all-OVAC and all-valley plaudits while being named third-team all-Ohio. He averaged 18.1. points and 14.9 rebounds that campaign as Stanton finished with a sparkling 17-4 mark.

Rose earned the rare distinction of being a three-year all-Valley track selection. He excelled as a discus thrower, pole vaulter, high jumper while lending his speed to Red Raider relay teams. He was a 13-foot pole vaulter which was remarkable for his size while also tossing the discus 145 feet, winning multiple OVAC titles in those events.

After picking up his Stanton diploma, Rose matriculated to Maryland on a grid scholarship, lettering four years for the Terrapins. He was the backup tight end his first two years before landing the starting spot as a junior. By the time he was a senior, Rose had blossomed into a 6-5, 260-pounder which resulted him moving to a starting guard slot.

The move paid dividends as it earned him entry into the NFL. He was on the New England Patriots’ taxi squad in 1990 and the Miami Dolphins’ taxi squad in 1991.

Rose’s pro football days ended in 1992 when he played for the Orlando Thunder of the World Football League.

MARK EMMERLING (East Liverpool High, Class of 1989)

Wrestling and Emmerling are synonymous.

He is the unquestioned greatest grappler the Columbiana-based school has ever produced. Moreover, he is one of the most successful in Ohio Valley Athletic Conference annals.

Emmerling reached rarified air in January of 1989. That is when the talented and gritty Potter became only the second wrestler to win four OVAC mat championships. The other? The legendary Bobby Douglas.

Emmerling established an East Liverpool school record, chalking up 135 career wrestling victories. He also owns Potters school records for most high school tournament places (24), most pins (100) and most dual-match victories (92).

His fourth OVAC Tournament title also brought him the coveted David Bierkortte Award, emblematic as the tourney’s MVP.

Emmerling captured three sectional championships, three district crowns and a regional crown. His state tournament hopes were dashed by injuries as a junior and senior.

His mat success was widely embraced by the East Liverpool community. He received the Lou Venditti Award as the school outstanding wrestler while also being honored by the city’s mayor with “Mark Emmerling Day” on Feb. 6, 1989.

His prep prowess led him to West Virginia University, earning two mat letters for the Mountaineers.

While Mark was an exceptional wrestler, he also performed well in cross country, earning four letters for the Potters.

He also excelled in the classroom, being inducted in the school’s National Honor Society.

Mark, who previously served as Beaver Local’s head wrestling coach, is currently a teacher and assistant mat coach with the Beavers.