One of the leading scorers in the history of the girls’ basketball program, a multi-time state qualifier in both cross country and track & field, and a key member of the back-to-back state championship boys’ basketball teams make up the 18th class of inductees into the Mercer Area School District Athletic Hall of Fame. The selection of the 2017-18 inductees was announced by the Mercer Area School District Athletic Hall of Fame Committee.
The honoree will be enshrined during a special ceremony in the high school gymnasium prior to the Jan. 18 Reynolds-Mercer boys’ basketball game. The inductees and their families will be honored at a reception immediately following the game in the high school cafeteria.
Shelah (Bolyard) Guenther (2003)
A 4-year letterwinner for the Lady M’s basketball program, Shelah scored 1,359 points in her career. This ranks her 2nd all-time in girls’ basketball history and 41th overall in school history. During her freshman season, Shelah scored 240 points and was a 2nd team all-MCAC selection as the Lady M’s finished the season 2nd in the MCAC with a 15-11 record. The following season, she scored 280 points and was again a 2nd Team All-MCAC selection as the Lady M’s won the MCAC championship and qualifed for the PIAA playoffs with a 69-61 victory over Cranberry in the District 10 consolation game. During her junior season, Shelah led the team in scoring with 351 points and was named to the All-MCAC 1st Team as the Lady M’s won a 2nd consecutive MCAC championship and finished the season with a 15-11 record. As a senior, she led the MCAC in scoring with 488 points, including a school record 35 points in agame. She was named Most Outstanding Girls’ Basketball Player and a member of the Sharon Herald “Fab 5” team. Shelah also received team MVP honors, the Mike Enne/Sharon Lion’s Club Award, and was selected to play on the Western Pennsylvani squad in the Pennsylvania High School Girls’ Roundball Classic at the University of Pittsburgh’s Fitzgerald Fieldhouse.
Shelah was also a 4-year letterwinner in track & field and helped lead the Lady M’s to MCAC Division II championships during her freshman, sophomore, & junior seasons. Duing her freshman year, she finished 3rd in the discus at the MCAC Invitational, 2nd at the District 10 Championhips, and inished 5th at the PIAA Championships. She was also a member of the l600m relay team that finished 3”1 at the MCAC Invitational and 51h at the District I 0 Championships. As a sophomore, she was a member of the 1600 meter relay team that finished 1’1 at the MCAC Invitational, 2nd at the District 10 Championships, and qualified for the PIAA Championships. She also finished 7th in both the shot put and discus at the D-10 Championships. During her junior season, Shelah finished 4th in the discus, 5th in the shot, and was a member of the runner-up 1600- meter relay team at the MCAC Invitational. She also ended 8th” in the discus and the 1600-meter relay team finished in 4th place at the District 10 Championships. As a senior, she finished 3’’ in the discus and 5th” in the shot at the MCAC Invitational, and earned her a 2nd’ trip to the PIAA Championships with a 3rd-place finish in the discus at the D-10 Championships. She also took home 8’” place honors in the shot put.
Shelah was also a member of the Lady M’s Volleyball team. She earned three (3) varsity letters and was and Ali-MCAC selection as a middle hitter during both her junior (2”’ team) and senior (I” team) year. A member of the Top 10 of her graduating class, Shelah continued her basketball career at Clarion University and obtained her bachelor of science degree in Nursing.
She and her husband, David, live in Mercer with their children, Jenna, Whitney, & Troy.
Steve Forrester (1988)
Forrester was a standout in both cross country and track & field. As a sophomore, Steve led the cross country team to an undefeated regular season (10-0) and a Mercer County Athletic Conference championship. The team finished 3rd at the District 10 Championship and qualified for the PIAA State Championships. He received a medal for his 12th-place individual finish at the state meet and the Mustangs finished in 11th place as a team. During his junior season, the Mustangs repeated as MCAC champions, finishing 2dn at the District 10 Championships and 4th at the PIAA Championships.
Individually, Forrester won the Sharon, Neshannock, & Tri-County lnvitationals and finished 3’’ at the prestigious McQuaid Invitational. He continued his success into the postseason, winning the District I 0 Championship and finishing in 4’” place at the PIAA Championships in Hershey. As a senior, he helped led the Mustangs to an undefeated regular season (8-0), a 3rd straight MCAC championship, and 5 invitational championships (Pittburgh Central Catholic, Sharon, Neshannock, Tri-County, and Mercer County). He won a 2nd consecutive District 10 championship as an individual, helping the team finish 2nd and 3rd at the PIAA Championships. A 4-year letterwinner for the track & field team, Steve helped lead the Mustangs to an undefeated record in dual-meet competitions (38-0) during his 4 years. The team won 12 invitational championships, 4 Tri-County League championships, and 3 District 10 championships (1986, 1987, 1988). He is the all-time high scorer in the history of the Mercer track & field program and still holds the school record in the 3200 meter run (9:44.80).
As a freshman, Forrester was the D-10 champion in the 3200-meter run and was a member of the distance-relay team that won the PIAA championship, edging Holy Ghost at the finish line in the finals. During his sophomore season, the Mustangs secured the 1st of 3 consecutive District 10 championships and Forrester qualified for the PIAA Championships in the 3200-meter run. As a junior, he finished in 5th place in the 3200 meter run and was a member of the 3200-meter relay team that finished 5th at the state championships. During his senior season, he captured a D-10 championship in the 1600-meter run and was a member of the Ist-place 3200-meter relay team. At the PIAA Championships, he finished 9th in the 1600 and was a member of the 4x8 relay team that finished in 2nd place.
He continued his track & field career at the University of Pittsburgh. During his freshman year, he was a member of the 1st place distance medley relay that won the 1989 Big East championship.
Forrester currently serves as the program director of the Service Coordination Unit at Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic and is a recipient of UPMC’s most prestigious ACES Award for commitment and excellence in service. He and his wife, Pam, currently live in Cranberry Township and have daughter, Hanna.
Dennis Mathieson (1967)
Mathieson was a standout in both football and basketball.
Arguably one of the best linebackers in the history of the Mercer football program, he was a 3-year starter. His physical, hard hitting play dominated the line of scrimmage and earned the respect of not only his teams, but players and coaches throughout the Tri-County Conference. He was an All-Tri County League selection at both middle linebacker and running back his junior and season year, leading the team in tackles during both campaigns. He led the Mustangs in scoring during his junior season, tallying 5 touchdowns and 2 two-point conversions (34 points). He helped lead the Mustangs to a 7-2 record and a share of the Tri-County League championship during his senior season (1966). Due to the fact that the Mustangs were a member of the Tri-County Conference, they did not participate in the postseason.
Mathieson also was a member of Hall of Fame Coach John Dale Swogger’s Mustang basketball teams that won back-to-back PIAA Class B championships (1966 and 1967). During his sophomore year, the Mustangs won the District 10 championship and finished the 1964-65 season with a 14-8 record. A top reserve on the undefeated 1966 state title team, he filled in for injured teammate Tom Filer during a key stretch at the end of the Tri-County League season and the early part of the D-10 playoffs. The Mustangs finished the season with a perfect 28-0 record, defeating Darby-Colwyn. 55-52. in the state championship game. A starter during his senior season, Mathieson, along with Hall-of-Fame teammates Bob “Posey” Rhoades and Dave Knowlton, as well as Dick “Pickle” Harris and Art Adair, led the Mustangs to a 25-2 record and a 2nd consecutive state championship with a 61-52 victory over Montrose. He was a double-digit scorer on this Mustang team that averaged over 90 points per game during the season and was a team leader in both field goal percentage and assists.
Mathieson enjoyed boating, skiing, golfing, racing, riding his Harley, and spending time with family and loved ones until the time of his death in June of 2015. He is survived by his wife, Lori Mathieson, children, Danielle Griffin, Nicole Benoit, and Robert Truitt, as well as several grandchildren and other beloved family members.