(MSU Billings release)
BILLINGS – Montana State University Billings athletic director Krista Montague introduced three former athletes Tuesday to be inducted into the 2019 MSUB Hall of Fame and Distinction on February 15, 2019 at the Hilton Garden Inn.
“We are excited to welcome Matt Schoonover, Shantell (Marquis) Wirtzberger, and Navin Marimuthu into this distinguished group of Yellowjacket student-athletes,” commented Montague. “In addition to their decorated athletic tenures while at MSUB, each has gone on to achieve success in their respective careers. Matt, Shantell, and Navin form a group that represents MSUB in the highest regards.”
Schoonover played baseball at MSUB from 2006-10, Wirtzberger, known as Marquis during her playing career, was on the women’s basketball team from 2006-11, and Marimuthu competed in men’s tennis from 2009-13. The 30th annual MSUB Athletics Hall of Fame and Distinction induction ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m., with a social period followed by dinner and the introduction of the newest hall of famers. Tickets are $30 and are available for purchase through MSUB Athletics by calling 406-657-2369.
One of the pioneers of the modern-era MSUB baseball team, Schoonover was a freshman in 2006 when the sport was reintroduced at the varsity level. The Great Falls native went on to establish a lasting benchmark atop the modern record books, and more than a dozen years later he remains as one of the most prolific players in the history of the program. Putting together a remarkable four-year career playing primarily second base and shortstop, Schoonover was the first Yellowjacket to reach the 200-hit plateau as he finished with 213. It is a mark eclipsed by only Brody Miller (249), and Schoonover’s career batting average of .335 stands as No. 5 in MSUB history as well.
Schoonover was a two-time all-Great Northwest Athletic Conference selection, and a three-time academic all-conference pick during his career. After spending the 2006 season as a redshirt, Schoonover went on to start 178 games and play in 184, both marks standing as the second highest in school history.
“It is an honor to be selected for induction into the Yellowjacket Athletic Hall of Fame alongside such distinguished individuals as Shantell and Navin,” Schoonover said. “I have many fond memories as a student-athlete at MSUB, and I am grateful for all the friendships I made during my time as a Yellowjacket.”
After helping lay the foundation of MSUB’s newly formed baseball program, Schoonover went on to attain a full-time job with the Billings Mustangs baseball club. He has worked for the city’s minor league baseball team full time since 2014, and is the assistant general manager and director of stadium operations.
A point guard on the MSUB women’s basketball team, Wirtzberger was known for her defensive prowess and skill as a distributor of the ball during her decorated career. The Cascade native ranks in the top-10 in school history in a multitude of categories, most notably No. 2 with 334 steals and No. 4 with 472 assists. She also scored 916 points while playing in 115 games from 2006-11, and still holds the school single-game record with 10 steals on Jan. 26, 2008 against Northwest Nazarene.
A multi-year captain under MSUB head coach Kevin Woodin, Wirtzberger helped her team claim both the Heartland Conference regular-season and tournament championship titles during the 2006-07 season. Her teams went a cumulative 65-49 (.570) in the four seasons she competed, and she was a three-time all-conference point guard.
“It is a great honor to be inducted to the athletics hall of fame,” Wirtzberger said. “I am honored and humbled by it.”
Wirtzberger currently lives in Havre with her husband Patch Wirtzberger, who was a teammate of Schoonover’s from 2006-10 and remains his close friend. Wirtzberger works for Havre Public School District as a middle school English and reading teacher. She and Patch were married in 2011, and have three children, Brantley (7), Tenley (5), and Presley (5 months). She also gives back to her local community by donating time as a high school basketball coach and middle school track coach.
The top men’s tennis player in school history, Marimuthu holds the MSUB records for career overall wins (72) and career singles wins (43). He also ranks second in career doubles wins (29), single season overall wins (13), single-season doubles wins (11), and single-season singles wins (22).
After posting a breakout season in 2010, the Chennai, India, native was selected as the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year. He went on to be a four-time first-team all-conference pick in singles play, and a three-time all-conference pick in doubles play including first-team honors in 2012. Marimuthu also received academic all-RMAC three times.
“I am humbled and honored to be inducted into the MSUB Hall of Fame,” Marimuthu said. “I must thank my coaches, teammates, friends, and family, as without them I would not be here celebrating this nomination. I cherished every moment of my time at MSUB. It has made a huge impact on who I am and who I am going to be.”
Marimuthu resides in Billings with his wife BreAnna Cameron, who competed in women’s golf at MSUB from 2010-14. He is self employed as a certified public accountant.
Schoonover, Wirtzberger, and Marimuthu bring the total number of inductees into MSUB’s Hall of Fame and Distinction to 162. The ceremony began in 1990 and since then members of 21 different categories have been inducted. Schoonover is the 11th baseball player but first of the modern era (2006-present). Wirtzberger is the 26th women’s basketball player, and Marimuthu is the second men’s tennis player to be inducted.