Lakeland University will induct four standouts representing three sports into its Athletic Hall of Fame this fall.
The class includes:
- David Benton, a 2006 graduate and member of the football team.
- Heather Heberlein, a 2006 graduate and member of the women’s volleyball team.
- Nick Zeck, a 2006 graduate and member of the football and men’s basketball teams.
- Scott Kress, a 2007 graduate and member of the men’s soccer team.
An induction banquet will he held on Friday, Sept. 28, with a reception at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m. in the newly renovated Younger Family Campus Center.
Also that evening, Vin Mannix, who attended Lakeland his freshman year in college, will receive the Hall of Fame Service Award, which is given to individuals who have provided outstanding service to Lakeland athletics. He is only the seventh person to earn the award, and the first since 2009.
The incoming class increases membership in Lakeland’s Hall of Fame to 172 members.
Benton and Zeck were bookends on a talented defensive line that tormented opposing offenses. The Muskies won the Illini-Badger Football Conference title in 2004 and 2005, and in 2005 became the first Lakeland football team to qualify for the NCAA Division III Playoffs.
Benton was named to the second-team All-American defensive line by the Football Gazette and honorable mention All-American defensive line by D3football.com his senior year. He was also named D3football.com first-team All-North Region defense and Illini-Badger Football Conference Defensive Lineman of the Year.
A two-time first-team All-IBFC honoree, Benton finished second in the nation in sacks per game and 15th in the nation in tackles-for-loss per game his senior year. He was 2005 IBFC defensive lineman of the year.
Benton is employed by Case Management and Community Care Inc. He is married to Melissa Benton and has three children: Soraya, Destiny and Kaden.
Zeck was a three-time all-conference player in two sports – football and basketball – and a starter for Lakeland’s first NCAA Playoff team and only NCAA Tournament men’s basketball team. On the football field, he was a two-time first-team All-Illini Badger Football Conference honoree and honorable mention as a sophomore.
In basketball, he was a two-time first-team All-LMC performer and honorable mention as a sophomore, helping lead the Muskies to their only NCAA Tournament appearance his junior year (2004-05). As a senior, he led the conference in rebounds and field goal percentage and was fourth in scoring, and he was fourth in rebounds and first in field goal percentage as a junior.
After playing Arena football in Pittsburgh, Zeck now works in horticulture. He and his wife, Kristin, have two sons, Xavier and Tavious.
Heberlein was a dominating hitter on some of Lakeland’s best volleyball teams. Her junior and senior seasons (2004 and 2005), she won Lake Michigan Conference Player of the Year honors, was first-team All-LMC and honorable mention American Volleyball Coaches Association’s Midwest All-Region.
She was fifth in career kills when she graduated with 1,067 and third best in program history with 3.53 kills per game her senior year. She was named to numerous all-tournament teams, and helped the Muskies win three straight conference titles and three conference tournament titles and helped Lakeland make three straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Lakeland was 41-4 in conference player her sophomore, junior and senior seasons.
She works as a master scheduler at Kohler Co. and lives in Kiel.
Kress becomes the first men’s soccer player to enter the Hall of Fame. He put together one of the best careers in program history, ranking as the program’s career leader in goals (37) and points (83) and is the single-season leader in both categories (17 goals in 2003, 37 points in 2003). He has the record for consecutive games with a goal – nine in 2003 - and is tied for second in goals in a game with four on Sept. 1, 2001.
Kress was a three-time first-team All-Lake Michigan Conference honoree, and was honorable mention All-Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. He was also conference Rookie of the Year as a freshman.
Kress is bar manager at Holidays Pub & Grill in Sheboygan.
The Hall of Fame Service Award is awarded to someone who goes above and beyond in supporting Lakeland athletics.
Last summer, Mannix published his book, “A Muskie Memoir,” which chronicles the 1967 championship football team. Proceeds from the book, available on Amazon.com, go to Lakeland athletics. He was also instrumental in organizing the 50th reunion of the 1967 team over Labor Day weekend.
During his 40-year journalism career, Mannix has written a very popular column in Florida called Vin’s People, and he has also written about the people and events at Lakeland. He’s one of the most active alumni supporters of Lakeland athletics on social media, and coined the popular hashtag #OldMuskies.
Mannix and his wife, Sherri, reside in Bradenton, Fla., and his column runs Sundays in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.