Shaler Area to honor Junker in latest hall of fame class
Thursday, August 15, 2019 | 10:15 AM
Brian Junker’s spring was one he won’t easily forget.
The 1995 Shaler Area graduate got the call for the school district’s athletic hall of fame in May.
“No doubt, it’s an honor,” Junker said. “Just to be thought of like this where you were born and raise, it’s nice.”
Meanwhile, the Titans were in the middle of a surprise run through the WPIAL playoffs.
Shaler, which finished the year 15-8, ran off four straight playoff wins and clinched its first district title since 1999 by taking down Laurel Highlands, 8-1, in the Class 5A championship game at Wild Things Park.
Junker, a 1995 Shaler graduate, was selected as a member of the seven-person class. Also chosen were Tom Gralewski (baseball/football), Abi May (cross country/swimming/track and field), Peggy Reufle (basketball/softball/volleyball), Ric Saulle (soccer), Bryan Smetanka (football/basketball/volleyball) and Steve Truban (community supporter).
Shaler’s hall of fame selected its first class on Oct. 13, 2001.
In high school, Junker played baseball, football and basketball.
Junker was named Shaler’s baseball coach in 2010 after Bob Hindes retired. He has helped steer the program into being a consistent playoff contender during his tenure. This past season, Shaler finished second in the section and were eliminated from the state playoffs by Lampeter-Strasburg in the first round.
While Junker has continued to help the community make memories, he is looking forward to having a chance to step back and reflect on the past.
Digging up some of those old memories is something Junker believes may be past due for him.
“When you are a teenager, you’re just doing everything in your power to win games, you never think about something like this,” Junker said. “And to be honest, you rarely look back at what you accomplished. I probably look at the things I did wrong more often, so I can make sure the athletes I now coach don’t make the same mistakes. So now that it’s happened, it’s nice to reflect back on those days. I’m humbled to be part of a great class and hall of fame.”