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Class of 2024 Announced

Greg Williams

Mar 18, 2024

BURNHAM — Five legends have been selected as the newest class to be enshrined into the Mifflin County Sports Hall of Fame.

The Class of 2024 includes Kevin Kodish, Laura Loht and the late Rodney Tate, who each won at least one state championship in their respective sports. Rounding out the class are Brad Heckert, the all-time leading basketball scorer at Chief Logan High School; and the late Justin Henry, a three-sport standout at Lewistown who went on to a sensational career playing football and basketball at Division I University of Rhode Island.

The induction ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, May 4, at the Birch Hill Event Center, 1100 N. Pine St., Burnham. John Fritz, a former NCAA champion and head coach for Penn State wrestling, will be this year’s featured speaker. A reception is scheduled at 5 p.m., with the program from 6 to 9 p.m.

For more information, including purchasing tickets to the induction ceremony or sponsorship opportunities, visit or find them on Facebook.

Here are the 2024 Mifflin County Hall of Fame inductees, listed alphabetically:

Brad Heckert

The all-time leading basketball scorer at Chief Logan, Heckert garnered several boys basketball individual awards while leading the Mingoes to Mountain League and District 6 Championships, and Pennsylvania Elite Eight and Final Four appearances.

Heckert was a three-time winner of the Harry Rothrock-Dick Webber Award as Mifflin County’s outstanding basketball player. He also was a three-time All-Mountain League selection and the league’s MVP as a senior. He played in the inaugural Keystone Games and was an All-State Honorable Mention.

Additionally, Heckert was a four-time baseball letterwinner and a two-time All-Central Penn League selection as a pitcher and centerfielder. His 1,743 career points and school record 47 points in one game all preceded the introduction of the three-point line to high school basketball.

Heckert continued his basketball career at Division I University of Delaware, earning four letters and ending his career by making 45 percent of his field-goal attempts. He was team captain and MVP in 1987, and that same year facing Iowa, he hit the first three-point basket in Blue Hens’ history. Heckert went on to knock down 43 percent of his shots from beyond the arc that season.

Justin Henry

A three-sport letterwinner in high school, Henry set records in football and basketball and played baseball at Lewistown. As a quarterback, he completed 300 passes for more than 4,100 yards and 37 touchdowns. He was the all-time leading scorer in Lewistown basketball history at the time of his graduation with 1,387 points.

His many high school honors included his selection as the 1995 runner-up for the Alex Ufema Award in football and the 1994 runner-up and 1995 winner of the Harry Rothrock/Dick Webber Award in basketball. He took his talents to the University of Rhode Island where he switched from quarterback to tight end and earned three varsity letters and Atlantic 10 academic honors as a Ram.

After seeing Henry playing in a pick-up game, the Rams’ basketball coaching staff invited him to join the team for the 1999-2000 season where he earned a varsity letter and was named the team’s Inspirational Player of the Year.

As a result of his abilities and accomplishments, Justin was the 2000 recipient of the prestigious Albert LeBoeuf Award given annually to Rhode Island’s best senior male athlete. After his tragic death in 2004, the Rhode Island football program established the Justin Henry Award, given annually in recognition of the recipient’s achievements on the field as well as academically.

Kevin Kodish

Kodish’s basketball coaching career spanned 34 years with a .740 winning percentage. He spent 27 years at Lewistown Area High School, his alma mater, and was at the helm of the Panther girls program for PIAA Championships in 1997 and 1998, a PIAA runner-up finish in 2004, five PIAA Final Four appearances and eight PIAA Elite Eight games. He earned the National Federation of High Schools Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year in 1998 and Western PA Coach of the Year in 1997-98. He counts eight District 6 championships, 11 league titles and 27 consecutive winning seasons among his other coaching achievements.

Kodish coached the first two seasons at Mifflin County High School before ultimately finishing his career at Juniata High School. Kodish’s overall coaching record was an impressive 693-224.

As a high school athlete, Kodish lettered in cross country, basketball and track and field for the Panthers. He medaled at the 1978 PIAA Track and Field Championships as part of Lewistown’s 3,200 relay team which finished fifth. He continued his track career for one season at Bloomsburg University earning a varsity letter.

Laura Loht

Loht’s achievements in the javelin at Indian Valley High School included being a three-time District 6 and two-time PIAA champion. Additionally, she captured a prestigious Penn Relays title in 2010.

As a team captain at Penn State, Laura helped the Nittany Lions capture one indoor and two outdoor Big Ten Conference crowns. Individually, she earned three first-team All-American honors by finishing within the top five at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Her final collegiate throw of 178-6 at the 2014 NCAA Championships set a Penn State record that still stands. Loht was a four-time Big Ten medalist, including a first-place finish in 2012.

Loht returned to the Penn Relays as a collegian and captured two-straight javelin titles in 2013 and 2014. For her performances, Loht was named the field MVP of the Penn State women’s team all three years. While at Penn State, she also finished fourth at the 2011 USA Track and Field Junior Outdoor Championships, 16th at the 2012 United States Olympic Trials and fifth and 12th at the 2013 and 2014 USATF Senior Outdoor Championships.

After graduation, she served as director of operations for Penn State’s cross country and track and field programs. Currently, she works with high jumpers and throwers as a member of the coaching staff at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Rodney Tate

Fifty years ago in March, Tate stepped on the mat at Penn State’s Rec Hall and into history, becoming the first PIAA wrestling champion from Mifflin County in 1971.

In those days, only the champion advanced through sectional, district and regional competitions, and there was only one wrestling classification encompassing all Pennsylvania high schools.

Tate’s opponent in the 127-pound final was undefeated John Fritz, of Bethlehem Liberty. Fritz, the nation’s top high school recruit, became an NCAA champion at Penn State and later coached the Nittany Lions. However, on that March night, despite being the heavy favorite, Fritz was no match for Tate.

Wearing a white singlet with blue letters of first-year Penn Highlands High School, Tate led 7- 3 entering the final period. Then in dramatic fashion, Tate took Fritz to his back and pinned him 56 seconds into the third period, ending his senior year with a 20-0-1 record.

Tate was recognized by his coaches and teammates as the leader of an undefeated 1970-71 Penn Highlands team that won the Central Wrestling Conference en route to a 12-0 record. Long-time coach Charlie Roselle said of Tate, “He was the rock. He was one of the most unselfish, tough kids in the world. He never made excuses. The other guys got better trying to keep up.”

Sadly, Tate died in a 1977 fire at age 23. Today, the award given annually recognizing the best wrestler in Mifflin County bears his name.

1970-71 Penn Highlands Wrestling Team

Behind Tate, the unquestioned leader of the team, the 1970-71 Penn Highlands Cougars went a perfect 12-0 en route to the Central Wrestling Conference championship. It remains the only undefeated season in county history.

Penn Highlands started with victories over Susquehanna Township (36-16), Clearfield (25-21), Penns Valley (36-9), Lock Haven (31-16) and Johnstown (39-3). The Cougars knocked off unbeaten DuBois, 29-19.

State College was next on the schedule and fell, 30-7. Wins over Bald Eagle Area (27-17), Hollidaysburg (45-5), Altoona (31-12) and Bellefonte (27-14) set the stage for the season finale against unbeaten and untied Tri-Valley. The match proved to be a clunker as the Cougars rolled 49-5 to close out the perfect season.

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