Bellaire’s Dawson, Linsly’s Stephens Headed to OVAC Hall of Fame

WHEELING — A pair of ultra-successful multi-sport athletes have been tapped for enshrinement.

Bellaire’s Georgia Dawson and Linsly’s Ron Stephens are representing the decade of the 1980s in the Class of 2018 OVAC Hall of Fame induction.

The OVAC Hall of Fame, which is sponsored by Robinson Automotive Group, will hold its induction ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 18 at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, which is where the hall of fame is housed.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the hall of fame committee is releasing the honorees every two weeks until April rather than waiting until later in the spring. The athletes representing the decade of the 1970s will be published on Feb. 18.

Previously announced were Steubenville graduate Zach Collaros and Beaver Local alumnus Adam Hoppel, who will represent the decade of the 2000s, while Wheeling Central’s Eric McGhee and Edison’s Kelly Shields are the honorees from the 1990s.

Here is an in-depth look at the 1980s inductees:

GEORGIA DAWSON (Bellaire, Class of 1984) — Dawson was a tremendous three-sport standout for the Big Reds, excelling in basketball, volleyball and track & field.

She achieved a rarity in the realm of Bellaire athletics, becoming a four-year letter-winner in basketball, surpassing the 1,000-point plateau while also grabbing more than 1,000 rebounds. Dawson, who served as hoop captain as both a junior and senior, was a three-time all-OVAC selection while making the All-Valley first-team as a senior.

Dawson was named a two-time All-District 12 basketball honoree and was a special mention All-Ohio choice as a senior.

Dawson was just as dominant in volleyball. The three-year letterwinner served as the team captain in her final two seasons, garnering first-team All-OVAC honors as a junior and senior.

Dawson was also a three-year standout in track for the Big Reds. In all, she finished her illustrious prep career with 10 letters.

Dawson’s athletic success didn’t stop after she picked up her diploma. Rather, she took her immense athletic talent to West Liberty State College, where she became a four-year letterwinner in basketball and volleyball.

Dawson was the Hilltoppers’ volleyball captain as a junior and senior, making the WVIAC All-Conference Team three seasons while being accorded Conference Volleyball Athlete of the Year her senior season.

She still ranks in the top 20 in rebounds in Hilltoppers history with 541 caroms.

Dawson was inducted into both the Bellaire and the West Liberty Halls of Fame. She was honored by the Upper Ohio Valley Dapper Dan in 1988 and inducted into the Ohio District 12 BCA Hall of Fame last year.

Georgia and her husband, Scott Vannest, have two sons, Tyler and Chad.

RON STEPHENS (Linsly, Class of 1985) — Stephens is remembered as one of the greatest baseball players in Linsly history. But the 6-foot-4, 185-pounder was also a gifted gridder and hoopster for the Cadets.

Stephens was drafted out of high school by the Boston Red Sox in the 13th round (413th overall). He opted, however, to go the collegiate ranks and accepted a baseball scholarship to the University of Cincinnati.

He was twice tabbed Linsly’s baseball MVP. The talented shortstop was captain of the all-state Class A team as a senior while being an All-Valley first-team honoree as both a junior and senior.

Stephens batted a robust .403 as a senior with 11 doubles, 29 runs scored and a school record 28 stolen bases. That same season, he was a sparkling 5-1 on the mound with a 1.65 ERA, helping the Cadets win the OVAC 2A crown and script a 20-8 record.

Stephens batted .349 as a sophomore. He hit at a .345 clip as a junior with a pair of grand slams. The versatile performer was a two-time first team Eastern Ohio Baseball League selection, earning player of the year honors as a senior.

On the gridiron, the wide receiver-defensive back-kick returner was so dynamic that he received scholarship offers from many D-I schools, including WVU and Pitt. He set an Ohio Valley record with 61 catches in 10 games, a mark that has since been erased. Stephens was a three-year starter in football for the Cadets. He was a first-team All-State, All-Valley and All-OVAC honoree as a senior.

He was no slouch in basketball either. He earned first-team All-OVAC and second-team All-Valley honors as a senior after leading the Cadets in scoring and rebounding. He was third-team All-Valley choice as a junior.

After Stephens graduated the Leatherwood campus, he enjoyed three successful years with the University of Cincinnati baseball team. He was utilized as an infielder but his meal ticket was on the mound. H was 6-5 as a junior, leading the Bearcats in strikeouts and a 3.84 ERA. Stephens was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 58th round after his junior campaign.

Stephens played in the minor leagues for five seasons, advancing to the AAA level with the Vancouver White Sox of the Pacific Coast League. He retired after the 1992 season.

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