Notes from Induction Night
Mike Conaton is a member of the class of 1981 who is another in the seemingly unending line of outstanding St. Xavier swimmers.
A member of 4 State Champion Teams, he himself was a 3-time State Champion, 4-time runner-up and 8-time High School All American who specialized in the backstroke and medley events at 100 and 200 meters in which he set numerous school records and was among the top 25 in the world.
Prior to entering St. Xavier he held various state and national age-group records. He attained All American status as freshman in the 100 yd backstroke and made the cover of Swimming World Magazine. As a sophomore he won his first state championship on the medley relay and was an All-American in medley relay and backstroke. As a junior he won 2 State Championships, was runner-up in another, and was designated All-American in 3 events in which he set school records.
As a Senior he was elected team captain and led the team to the 1981 Ohio State Championship where he was runner-up in 3 events. He again achieved All-America in 3 events in which he broke the school records he set the year before. Not surprisingly he was voted Most Valuable Swimmer.
At the same time he also played water polo and starred on the 1980 State Championship team and captained the 1981 State Runner-up. During his summers he finished 6th at the US Nationals as a junior and 5th as a senior in the 200m backstroke, made the 1980 Olympic Consolation Finals and attained an18th place world ranking.
After graduating from St. X he received a scholarship to Stanford University where he continued his success both with his school and nationally. He was a NCAA All American and maintained a world ranking. He competed in 2 individual events at the NCAA Championships in each of his four years and he was a member of two NCAA national championship teams. He was a member of 2 U.S. National Teams and again made the Olympic Consolation Finals in 1984.
Like many of his fellow Hall of Fame swimmers, he continued to compete after graduation. He has also been a model volunteer in many youth athletic programs. Today he is an investor with a private equity fund and lives in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Walter Gruber is a member of the class of 1946 who was 3-Sport, 3-Captain Athlete, whose greatest accomplishments were in Track.
In football he was too small to make the freshman team. Cut from the reserve team as a sophomore he was nevertheless allowed to continue to practice with them. After catching the eye of Hall of Fame Coach John Dromo in the intersquad scrimmage, was promoted to varsity where he was awarded 3 letters and a 2-year starter at halfback who co-captained the team as a senior. Unfortunately his senior season was cut short due to a broken bone.
In basketball, playing forward, he was a two-year starter who was co-captain with his twin brother Willy his senior year.
In track he was truly special. A 3-year letterman and, again, Captain as a senior, he competed in the 100, 220, 440 yard dashes and long jump finishing 3rd at the State Championship in the 100 and 220. He held the GCL 200 yard dash record from 1946 until 1970, a truly amazing fact.
Upon graduating from St. X he received a football & track scholarship to the University of Detroit. He lettered four years at halfback, safety, and kick returner, averaged 6.6 yards per carry, and set a school record for the longest run from scrimmage, a record that will never be broken unless Detroit brings back football.
His greatest accomplishments were in track. Also earning 4 letters and setting school records, he competed in the 100, 220, 440, mile relay team and long-jump for Detroit. In 1948 he made the finals in the US Olympic Trials in the 200 meter dash but came up short of the Olympics due to a pulled hamstring prior to the race. He was voted Athlete of the Year at Detroit in both his sophomore and junior years and in 1983 was elected to the University of Detroit Athletic Hall of Fame.
After graduating magna cum laude from Detroit with a degree in mathematics he began a career as an engineer working in the defense, aerospace and automotive sectors, retiring from Bendix in 1982. After this retirement he became a member of the faculty at Mercy College in Detroit teaching mathematics and was a facilitator in the merger of Mercy College with the University of Detroit.
Scott Martin is a member of the class of 1987 who was a non-classic 3-Sport Athlete and the current St. X basketball coach.
Although he played basketball and baseball, his fall sport was a different kind of football – soccer. All told he won 7 letters in his three sports. In soccer he was a two-year starter who was All-GCL and All-City his senior year as a midfielder. In baseball he was a two-year letterman at 2nd Base.
His primary sport was basketball. A 3-year starter for Dick Berning, he led the team in assists and free throw percentage all three years. He is still the School single-season and career record holder in assists. During his 3-year varsity career his teams made the Regional Finals, Regional Semi-Finals, and Sectional Finals. After his senior season he attained All-GCL, All-City and won the Joe Quinn Award given to the best GCL Scholar-Athlete.
After graduating from St. X he accepted a basketball scholarship to Rollins College in Florida. While at Rollins playing for former Finneytown star Tom Klusman, he set a number of school records for three-point and free-throw shooting. He also still holds the NCAA Division II single-season and career three-point percentage mark. He was team captain his senior year, made first team All-Conference and was named the 1991 Rollins co-male “Athlete of the Year.” In 2002 he was inducted into the Rollins Athletic Hall of Fame.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Martin entered the coaching business starting at the small college level. At the urging of Dick Berning, he returned to his alma mater where he succeeded his mentor as head basketball coach. Today, he continues in that role that only 3 men have held in the last 50 years. Martin was at the helm when St. Xavier attained its greatest basketball accomplishment – the 2000 State Championship.
Jeff Wolf is a member of the Class of 1984 and becomes the 4th member of his family to be inducted.
Like his brothers he’s known for two sports – basketball and tennis - in which he won 7 letters. He was a 3-year member of the varsity Basketball Team where he was a two-year captain and team MVP his senior year. He was All-GCL and All-City his junior and senior years. As good as he was at basketball he was probably better at tennis. A 4-year member of the varsity, he was 3-times All-GCL and All City, two-year team captain and MVP his senior year.
After graduating from St. X he accepted a basketball scholarship to Rollins College where he played 4 years for Cincinnati native Tom Klusman. He was team Captain, MVP 3 times and finished in the top 5 in Rollins career scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, free throws and three-point goals. In 1988 he was the winner of the Rollins Senior Sports Award and the Central Florida Male Athlete of the Year. In 1995 he was inducted into the Sunshine State Conference Hall of Fame and in 1998 into the Rollins Hall of Fame.
Returning to this area after graduating he immediately became a power in the amateur tennis scene where he has accumulated more Met Tennis championships than anyone including he brother Marty and, with Charter Hall of Fame Member Charley Wolf, has won the National Tennis Father-Son Championship twice. From 1989-97 he was the #1 ranked player in Greater Cincinnati and was the 1991 GCTA player of the year.
A former tennis instructor at a number of local clubs, he now works in commercial real estate.