CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — 15 Illini legends were officially inducted into the Fighting Illini Athletics Hall of Fame Saturday as the Class of 2020.
The ceremony had to be delayed from last year because of the pandemic. The honorees include Olympians and All-Americans, but every one of them is a proud Illini.
“I don’t think its hit me yet that I’m being inducted into the Hall of Fame,” says women’s basketball alum Jenna Smith. “It feels good being back, I’m home you know. I bleed orange and blue all the time, I bleed it all the time at home.”
“I think we all wanted to be the best we can be in our sport,” says wrestling alum Adam Tirapelle. “That drives you to a certain level but it’s incredible to be recognized”
“I think it’s really cool, even just this little luncheon that they put on for us and being able to meet each other in our Hall of Fame class,” says volleyball alum Michelle Bartsch-Hackley. “It’s really cool and super special.”
“It’s amazing to be here in my hometown, the place of my birth,” says track and field alum Gia Lewis-Smallwood. “To celebrate such a special award with my people.”
The Class of 2021 will be announced this Fall.