Induction into the Alpena Sports Hall of Fame recognizes athletic achievements | News, Sports, Jobs

News photo by Leslianne Johns. This year's Alpena Sports Hall of Fame inductees Tony Skiba, Nathan Barden, Ashley Hunault Williams and Eric Muszynski stand together at the annual banquet held Saturday at the APlex.

ALPENA — The atmosphere was electric as the Alpena Sports Hall of Fame welcomed its four newest inductees and recognized the extraordinary contributions and accomplishments of local athletes. The event was not only a celebration of individual excellence, but also a testament to the collaborative spirit of the Alpena community.

Liz Klemens, the evening’s speaker, summed up the essence of the ceremony.

“Athletes and statistics aside, the outstanding qualities and characteristics of our new recruits are a reflection of their hard work and success,” said Klemens. “They are role models for our future work. The skill and agility of Tony Skiba, the dedication and mentorship of Eric Musznynski, the power and pride of Nathan Barden, the speed and strength of Ashley Hunault Williams. Each of them has left their mark.”

Eric Musznynski, whose legacy is revered in Alpena basketball, reflected on the collective effort behind his successes.

“I truly believe I was fortunate to play with a great group of teammates and coaches who were motivated to win and committed to changing the culture of Alpena Basketball,” Muszynski said. “As a team, we were very successful, and when you have success as a team, individual accolades follow. My success would not have been possible without my high school coach Dave McDonald, my parents, my wife Lindsey, my teammates, players and Hillman Community Schools.”

Tony Skiba's journey in sport has been a lifelong passion that he continues to pass on as a coach.

“I never thought about not playing soccer or hockey,” Skiba said. “This is the first year I haven't played hockey in the men's league, so the love of the game is still in me. I also help coach my daughter in soccer, so I'm still involved there, too.”

Ashley Hunault Williams’ story is one of resilience and strength, both on and off the field.

“My two greatest accomplishments outside of sports are my family and beating cancer,” she said. “First and foremost, my son Tronix. I am proud to be his mom every day and look forward to welcoming a sibling into our family later this year. Last year, I faced the biggest challenge of my life when I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. Surviving that, getting into remission and being a mom to my son every day are my greatest accomplishments.”

For Nathan Barden, the induction was a moment of reflection on his diverse life achievements.

“The award was a great honor and a walk down memory lane of all my athletic accomplishments to date, which I was able to reminisce about with my family and friends who were there at the time,” said Barden. “My goal in life has always been to be a great father and husband, and I continue to try to work hard at that every day. I just finished my 18th year at Alcona Health Center, the last 15 of which have been as Medical Director. Having such a great career at AHC has allowed our family to pursue our passion for travel.”

The induction ceremony was more than just a recognition of personal achievements; it was a celebration of community spirit and support.

The journey of each new recruit underlined the importance of teamwork, family and resilience and served as an inspiration to all.

Liz Klemens put it well: “Each of you – the new recruits – has had a profound impact on sports history in Alpena and beyond.”

The event not only recognized the individual achievements of Eric Musznynski, Tony Skiba, Ashley Hunault Williams and Nathan Barden, but also demonstrated the tireless support and dedication of the Alpena community in ensuring the legacy of excellence lives on for generations to come.

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