The volleyball jersey of Mardell Wrensch hangs in the Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Gersten Pavilion as a testament to her athletic achievement, but Wrensch will forever be a part of the university’s athletic history when she is inducted into the LMU Hall of Fame.
Wrensch, 30, a Playa del Rey resident, was a middle blocker on the LMU Lions women’s volleyball team from 1992 to 1995, and she will join one of the most celebrated Hall of Fame induction classes in LMU history Friday, January 28th.
Wrensch, who graduated in 1996, will be inducted with the 2005 Hall of Fame class, which includes, alums Terry Buckley (1957), Hank Gathers (1991), basketball, Tracy Holman (1998), women’s volleyball, Bo Kimble (1991), basketball, Anthony Napolitano (1994), baseball, and the 1989-90 men’s basketball team.
The 2005 class will be formally inducted during the Hall of Fame Dinner Friday, January 28th, on the LMU campus, and the athletes will be recognized during halftime of the LMU men’s basketball game against Pepperdine University Saturday, January 29th.
Wrensch was first recognized by LMU for her athletic accomplishments when her number “2” jersey was among the first seven retired by the university in 2000. The induction into the LMU Hall of Fame is an unexpected honor, she said.
“I was real surprised because I thought the most honorable reward you could give an athlete was to retire their uniform,” she said.
“The Hall of Fame is icing on the cake because I didn’t think you could do much more. I’m grateful and appreciative.”
A communication studies major at LMU, Wrensch played on the Lions’ West Coast Conference (WCC) championship teams during her junior and senior years in 1994 and 1995. She was a three-time selection for the first-team All-WCC, was named Academic All-WCC all four years, and was LMU student athlete of the year in her junior year.
Bill Husak, LMU athletic director, said Wrensch’s achievements on the volleyball court were “spectacular,” and easily qualified her for induction into the school’s Hall of Fame.
In order to be considered for the Hall of Fame, athletes must have graduated from LMU, been out for at least five years and had outstanding athletic achievement during their time at LMU, Husak said. Induction occurs every other year.
The 2005 Hall of Fame class, which includes the celebrated 1989-1990 men’s basketball team that finished the season ranked 19th in the country, is “as good a group as ever,” Husak said.
Wrensch is also aware of the high quality of her Hall of Fame class, and said she is proud to be in the company of such great athletes.
“It’s a great year to be inducted and I feel really honored,” she said. “A lot of people know about the school because of that basketball team.”
An additional honor for Wrensch is to be inducted along with her former teammate Tracy Holman, a setter who was part of the 1996 team, which went to the Sweet 16 round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament.
“I’m honored to be inducted at the same because she made me a great player,” Wrensch said.
The experience of being a student athlete requires a lot of sacrifice that most students don’t understand, she said, but it also teaches important skills such as balance and time management. As a member of the volleyball team, Wrensch said she also learned about team commitment, something instilled by coach Steve Stratos.
Wrensch may have been able to reach volleyball stardom at LMU, but by entering the Hall of Fame, she will leave a mark as one of the greatest athletes in her school’s history.
“It signifies that your accomplishments and contributions to the university are totally and completely recognized by the school,” she said.
“You’re forever indebted to the school in a good way.”
Although Wrensch’s days as a star collegiate athlete have passed, she still stays active in the sport by playing in indoor leagues and on the beach. She will continue to offer her support and knowledge of the sport to the university that made her a Hall of Famer.
“I still want to be involved with LMU because they gave me everything,” she said. “I always want to be a role model for the program.”