Hluschak, Hoffman, Merkle to be inducted
Northern Lehigh will induct three individuals into the Ring Of Honor on Thursday, Dec. 19. The ceremony will take place at halftime of the Catasauqua at Northern Lehigh boys' varsity basketball game in the Northern Lehigh High School Gymnasium.
Following are the inductees:
Hluschak graduated from Northern Lehigh High School in 2003.
He participated in wrestling for four years, earning four varsity letters and the following awards: 2001 PIAA Wrestling 5th place; 2002 PIAA Wrestling 3rd Place; 2003 PIAA Wrestling State Champion; 1st Team Colonial League and All Morning Call Wrestling Team in 2001, 2002, 2003, the Morning Call's Wrestler of the Year in AA (2003); and posted 149 career wins. He was a starting wrestler on the 2000 Northern Lehigh High School District 11 AA wrestling championship team.
Hluschak also excelled in football with over 3000 career rushing yards and 47 career touchdowns. He was recognized by the Associated Press as an All State football running back in 2002; Pennsylvania Football News All State running back in 2002; Times News Player of the Year in 2001 and 2002; 1st Team Colonial League running back in 2001 and 2002; and played in the McDonald's All Star game and won the Coach's Award.
Hluschak also ran track for two years,
Hluschak continued playing football and wrestling at Lehigh University in 2003 and then competed in wrestling at Drexel University from 2004-2008, earning a then school record 121 career wins. He was also second place in career pins with 30, and was a three-time Division I Academic All American. Hluschak was voted Outstanding Wrestler at the Virginia Duals in 2006, placed 8th in the country to earn All American honors in 2007, and was ranked as high as 5th in the nation his senior season in 2008.
Hluschak currently works for Accenture Federal Services in Washington, DC w/in the Systems Integration SAP Consulting group, concentrating on leading large scale project management engagements with federal agencies in North America.
Hoffman was an honor student and graduated from Northern Lehigh High School in 1998 earning an Athletic Scholarship to LaSalle University.
Hoffman played softball for four years where she was all area team catcher in 1997; participated in the 1997 all area softball team; and was Colonial League All League catcher in 1996, 1997, and 1998.
She also played basketball for four years scoring 1,000 points and was Offensive Player of the Year in both her junior and senior years earning the Channel 13 Athlete of the Year in 1996, 1997, and 1998. Hoffman was the starting catcher on the PIAA State Championship softball team in 1996.
Hoffman went on to study Psychology at Lasalle University, minoring in Education and Criminal Justice. While there she played softball as a scholarship athlete for four years. She then went on to get her teaching certificate at Kutztown University in both Special Education and Elementary Education.
Hoffman is currently employed within the Allentown School District as a Special Education teacher. She earned her masters degree in Education with a Reading Specialist certificate at East Stroudsburg University finishing the program with a 4.0.
Hoffman is still involved in both softball and basketball coaching at the NJCAA level at Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC) as an assistant coach in both sports. She also umpires softball within the PIAA and ASA softball leagues.
Matthew S. Merkle
Merkle graduated from Northern Lehigh High School in 1985 ranked third in his class.
Merkle played baseball and is still among the leaders in school history in several categories. He had the second most runs in a season (27); fourth fewest strike outs in a career (8); and second most walks in a career (58). In addition, his batting average was .352 in 1984 and .322 in 1985. He was the All-League First Team catcher in both 1984 and 1985. He earned the Most Outstanding NL Baseball Player Award in 1985.
He also played football and was selected as the Northern Lehigh Scholar Athlete for the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1985.
Merkle continued his baseball career at Penn State University with a .352 career batting average. He earned three varsity letters and was selected as the Scholar Athlete for Baseball in 1989. He also won the NCAA Atlantic 10 Academic All-American Award just to name a few.
Merkle received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Penn State University where he majored in mechanical engineering. He is employed by Air Products and has two sons Zachary (18) and Logan (12).