Genesee Community College Inducts Five into its Athletics Hall of Fame
Written by WBTA STAFF on September 24, 2018
Three members of the 2018 GCC Athletics HOF (from L-to-R) Tammy Conrad Wickens, Scott Hemer and Sara Barr photo credit Maureen Spindler
The Genesee Community College Athletics department inducted Tammy Conrad Wickens, Sara Barr, Scott Hemer, John Polonius and Connor Latimer into its Hall of Fame Sept. 22 at the Richard C. Call Arena. Three of the inductees were on-hand to receive their awards, while two others had scheduling conflicts and were unable to attend.
Scott Hemer was the school’s women’s basketball coach from 2001-07. Tammy Conrad Wickens captained the volleyball team for the Cougars in 1986-87. Sara Barr captained the women’s swimming and diving team about a decade ago. Connor Latimer was a standout men’s lacrosse player for Genesee in 2011 and 2012. John Polonius is a Major League Baseball (MLB) prospect, who began his career under current Cougar baseball coach Skip Sherman in 2009.
The five inductees all have storied biographies and success both at Genesee and afterward with a brief synopsis for each listed below.
Scott Hemer was the Cougars’ women’s basketball coach from 2001-2007. In the 2006-07 season, he was named coach of the year and won the regional tournament. Overall, he accrued a record of 140-40 with five all-Americans. Hemer was the 2006-07 NJCAA National District C Coach of the Year, and earned NJCAA Region III Coach of the Year on three occasions and mentored five NJCAA All-Americans during his tenure. A 1995 graduate of Saint Bonaventure University with a bachelor’s degree in history with a secondary education certificate, Hemer’s coaching background includes four years as the varsity girls coach at Gowanda (N.Y.) High School, where he was a junior high school social studies teacher from 1996-2001. The North Collins, N.Y. native – spent one season as an assistant coach at Fredonia and three years as the head coach of the Enchanted Mountains Basketball Club Under-16 A.A.U. team before joining the Cougar ranks.
Connor Latimer was a two-time National Junior College Athlete Association (NJCAA) All-American for Genesee’s lacrosse teams in 2011 and 2012. From Whitby Ontario, Canada, he started off his lacrosse career early and from ages 16-21 he played junior lacrosse for the Clarington Green Gaels. In his years with the Green Gaels, he earned the league’s Eastern Conference Most Valuable Player and was the leading scorer in 2010. In 2011, Latimer led Genesee with 62 goals and 37 assists for 99 points, and broke all offensive school records as a freshman. In 2012 Latimer recorded 118 points in 19 games, including a school-record 66 goals. He finished his career at GCC holding the record for most goals in a single game (9), most points in a single game (14), and most career points (217). After leaving GCC, Latimer transferred to Keuka College where he continued his lacrosse journey. In his junior year at Keuka, he was named the NEAC Offensive Player of the Year after re-writing the Keuka record books by scoring 44 goals with 41 assists for 85 points. Latimer not only led the NEAC in scoring, but he also led all of Division III in points-per-game with 6.54 and was crowned the national statistic champion for points-per-game. In his senior year, Latimer helped lead Keuka to its greatest season in program history (14-1) by scoring 42 goals with 29 assists for 71 points. Latimer finished his Keuka career as a two-time NEAC first team member. Upon completing his college career, Latimer was drafted as the third overall pick in the CLAX professional box lacrosse league in Ontario, Canada, where he won a Creators Cup championship.
Tammy Conrad Wickens led GCC’s volleyball team to it’s first-ever NJCAA national appearance in 1986 as the team’s captain. She was named a 1986 NJCAA All-American in addition to accolades at the all-region and all-conference levels. Wilkens was also part of a GCC volleyball conference championship team in her sophomore year in 1987. Her beginnings at GCC propelled her to a prominent role at Rochester Institute of Technology, and she set many R.I.T. records as well garnering a post-season playoff appearance for the Tigers. Her records were established in hitting, serving and blocking, and they still stand. Her interest in volleyball continues to this day in helping with the operations of the Rochester Bootlegger Volleyball Club.
John Polonius, a resident from Curaçao, played two years for the Cougars from 2009 to 2011 under head coach Skip Sherman. During those years he was the starting shortstop for the men’s baseball program. During the 2010 season Polonius was the top hitter on the team, finishing with a batting average of .383 in 115 at-bats and was named to the NJCAA Region III First Team All-Conference. At the beginning of the 2011 season, Polonius was named a preseason all-American. During that spring he ended the season with a batting average of .370 in 81 at-bats and was named NJCAA Region III First Team All-Conference for the second time in his career. Polonius was also an outstanding fielder committing only six errors in two years as a Cougar. In 2011 he was named Genesee Community College Male Athlete of the Year for his outstanding performance on-and-off the field. After 2011 season Polonius was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 30th round of the MLB Draft and was offered a scholarship to attend West Virginia University. Polonius went on to play a year for the Mountaineers. After spending the 2011-2012 season with the Mountaineers with a hitting average of .306 in 147 at-bats Polonius went on to sign with the San Francisco Giants organization as a non-drafted free agent on June 26, 2012.
Sarah Barr was ultimately one of the most versatile swimmers in Genesee swimming female history. The Royalton-Hartland standout led the Cougars to uncharted waters with her fierce competitiveness every time she stepped on the blocks. She captained what has been arguably one of the best Genesee women’s swimming and diving teams ever assembled as many of her individual and co-team records still stand almost 10 years later. Barr was known for her sprint freestyle and backstroke specialty, but could get the job done in almost any event for the Lady Cougars as she set the school record in the 200-yard IM. While capping off a successful run, Barr finished her career at Genesee with seven individual school records and four of five relay records with teammates for a total of 11. Barr performed when it mattered most at the National Tournament, garnering a total of 14-CSCAA All-American swims, all six individual swims were top-eight in the NJCAA, with three being NJCAA All-American swims, all in backstroke events with a second place in the 200 backstroke at the 2008 NJCAA Championship Meet. She was named GCC Female Athlete of the Year in 2009, won athlete of the week five times in her career and was Region III Swimmer of the Meet at regionals in 2008. Many of her records still stand today. Barr received a general studies degree in liberal arts and science. She is also an inductee in the Roy-Hart Central School Hall of Fame, and currently is employed as a deputy clerk for the Village of Middleport.
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