(Editor's note: MSU-Northern Athletics release.)
HAVRE — Montana State-Northern athletics will induct five individuals and one team into its athletic hall of fame in 2023.
They will be inducted at a ceremony on Sept. 1 as part of hall of fame weekend. They will also be recognized during halftime festivities when the Lights' football team hosts Rocky Mountain College on Sept. 2 at Tilleman Field.
This year’s inductees include Northern's 1992-93 NAIA Division II national champion women’s basketball team, as well as individuals Taylor Cummings, Walt Currie, Abby Nicholas, Jackie Murdock and Kenny Rucker.
The 1992-93 Skylight basketball team captured both the Frontier Conference title and NAIA Division II National Title in Monmouth, Oregon. Coached by Sherry Winn, the team finished with an overall record of 32-3. Winn was assisted by Lynne Fitzgerald, Jerry Wier, and Julie Kieckbusch. Team members included Kim and Kari Fike, Jennifer Horak, Melanie Lowman, Jodi Kruta, Nikki Fetters, Sheila Asmus, Kristin Lawrence, Charna Ophus, Kristi Kincaid, Jennifer McGlothlen and Shelly Oakland.
Cummings, a native of Belt, was the 2015 Frontier Conference women's basketball defensive player of the year. She helped lead the Skylights to a pair of NAIA Division I national tournaments, helping them advance to the Round of 16 in 2014 and the Round of 8 in 2015. She was a three-time academic All-American, and in 2014 finished fourth in the entire NAIA in free throw percentage.
In 2015, she led the Frontier Conference in total assists and finished third in the NAIA in total assists. She also led the Frontier in assists per game and was eighth in the entire NAIA in assists per game.
Currie, a longtime football and wrestling coach at Great Falls High and Havre High School, was hired to resurrect the football program at MSU-Northern in 1998 after the program was dropped in 1972. He helped build the program from the ground up, eventually leading five players to NAIA All-America status.
Murdoch played two years for the Skylight volleyball team and her impact on the team’s success was immediate. She helped lead the Skylights to a fifth-place finish at the NAIA national tournament as well as Frontier and district titles in 1991. In the Frontier title game, she recorded 41 assists as the Skylights defeated Carroll College for their first title in eleven years.
In 1992, Murdoch was the Skylights team MVP, earning first-team All-Frontier, first-team All-District 12, and third-team All-American honors.
Nicholas came to MSU-Northern after a successful two-year career at Laramie County Community College. She was a two-time first-team All-Frontier selection as well as the 2013 Frontier Conference volleyball MVP, helping the Skylights to a 26-6 overall record and regular-season Frontier title, their first in 22 seasons.
Nicholas was also recognized as a first-team All-American by the American Volleyball Coaches Association in 2013. She was a second-team NAIA All-American in 2013 and was named the MSU-Northern female athlete of the year. Nicholas still holds the Northern record for kills in a four-set match with 30.
Rucker came to MSU-Northern after back-to-back NJCAA national titles at North Idaho College. At MSU-Northern, he captured the NAIA national title at 177 pounds in 1989, finishing with a 22-2 record. In 1990 was the runner-up at 177.
He finished his MSU-Northern career with an overall record of 37-4. Rucker was a two-time All-American at both North Idaho College and MSU-Northern, and was inducted to the North Idaho College hall of fame in 2009.