This year's class of inductees includes representatives from athletic training, women's basketball, baseball, softball, men's soccer, men's basketball and men's cross country.
Elon University Athletics announced the 2023 Elon Sports Hall of Fame class today, with seven members to be inducted on Saturday, Sept. 16. The class includes Martin Baker (athletic training), Kelsey Evans ’13 (women’s basketball), Ryan Kinsella ’14 (baseball), Carleigh Nester ’14 (softball), Darren Powell (men’s soccer head coach), Lucas Troutman ’14 (men’s basketball), and Luis Vargas ’15 (men’s cross country).
The 53rd class will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in a ceremony Saturday, Sept. 16, at 2 p.m. inside Schar Center. The group will also be recognized at halftime of the Elon football game against North Carolina A&T at 6 p.m. that evening. More details will follow on the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Martin Baker, Athletic Training, 1980-2023
Marty Baker served for 43 years in an athletic training role at Elon University, retiring following the 2022-23 school year. He began at Elon as the director of athletic training services in 1980 and was the only athletic trainer for all of Elon’s athletic teams over the course of the first nine years of his tenure. In 2007, he was named senior associate athletic trainer.
Baker was the Director of the Athletic Trainer Education program from 1998-07, establishing the program, writing the self-study, and achieving accreditation, as well as reaccreditation in 2005. He was also an assistant professor in the department of exercise sports science, teaching a variety of subjects including athletic training, athletic injury assessment, first aid, wellness and overload strength training.
Through the course of his career, Baker made many presentations and had no fewer than five peer-reviewed published works. He was the chair of the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) History and Archives Committee, the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Trainers’ Association (MAATA) Election Committee, the MAATA Honors and Awards Nominating Committee, and the MAATA Task Force for Election Reform.
He was named to the North Carolina Athletic Trainers Association College and University Athletic Trainer of the Year in 2000. Baker was inducted into the North Carolina Athletic Trainers Association (NCATA) Hall of Fame in 2010 and the MAATA Hall of Fame in 2018. Baker received the NATA Athletic Trainer Service Award for 2014 and the MAATA Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award in 2016.
Baker earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from State University of New York, College of Brockport in 1979. He received his master’s degree in physical education, with a specialization in athletic training, from Indiana State in 1980. He and his wife, Jill, have three grown children.
Kelsey Evans ’13, Women’s Basketball, 2009-13
Ranking among the top ten in program history in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots, free-throws made, free-throw percentage and field goals made, Kelsey Evans was one of the greatest women’s basketball players to compete at Elon.
Evans is Elon’s all-time career leader in blocked shots with 227 and blocks per game at 1.8. She also ranks seventh with 1,457 points, third with 1,004 rebounds, fourth with 343 free-throws made, fifth with a 76.4 career free-throw percentage, and sixth with 550 field goals made.
Her 21 rebounds against Chattanooga in 2013 is the second-highest single game mark in program history. She went 10-for-10 at the free-throw line against Virginia Intermont in 2010, becoming one of eight players to go perfect from the line with at least 10 attempts in a single game. She tied the school record with seven blocked shots against Western Carolina in 2013 as well.
Evans was named first team All-Southern Conference in 2013 by vote of the coaches and was a three-time second team All-SoCon selection by the media (2011-13). She led the conference in rebounds and blocks per game in 2011.
The 2011 team went 20-13, setting a new Division I program record for wins. That team earned its 20th win with a 103-72 victory over USC Upstate in the first round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) as Evans had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. In Evans’ senior season of 2012-13, the team again earned a bid to the WBI, defeating Eastern Kentucky in the opening round 68-61. Evans had 26 points, on 9-of-18 shooting, and nine rebounds.
Ryan Kinsella ’14, Baseball, 2011-13
An All-American in 2013, Ryan Kinsella played three seasons of baseball at Elon before being drafted in the 18th round of the 2013 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.
Kinsella’s 2013 season was one for the ages as he was named a Baseball America Second Team All-American, as well as a third team All-American by both Louisville Slugger and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA). He hit .313 with 21 home runs and was named Southern Conference Player of the Year, as voted on by the league’s coaches. Kinsella led Elon to the SoCon Tournament Championship, as well as to the championship game of the NCAA Regional, eventually falling to No. 6 Virginia.
Kinsella ranks among the top 10 in the program’s Division I history in career home runs, RBI, walks, putouts and defensive chances. He is first with 1,269 chances and 1,132 putouts. Kinsella’s 34 home runs are seventh and his 256 RBI are ninth, while his 93 walks are tied for 10th.
Kinsella’s 21 homers in 2013 are tied for second in a single-season while his 78 RBI are third. He also slugged .656 with 19 doubles.
In 2012, Kinsella was named second team all-conference by both the coaches and media after hitting .316 with eight home runs and 54 RBI. As a freshman in 2011, he played in 50 games, batting .254 with five homers.
Carleigh Nester ’14, Softball, 2011-14
A two-time first team All-Southern Conference player, Carleigh Nester rewrote Elon’s softball record books, finishing her career first all-time in home runs, single-season home runs, doubles, RBI and slugging percentage. She was also fifth in career hits and seventh in career batting average.
Nester’s 36 homers, 15 single-season home runs, 138 RBI and .608 slugging percentage remain the program standard today, while her 51 doubles are second. Her .663 slugging percentage and 42 RBI in 2014 rank sixth in a season. In 2013, she tied the NCAA Division I record with three doubles in a game.
As a freshman, Nester ranked among the 20 toughest players to strike out in the country, being put down by strikes just eight times in 159 at-bats in 2011. Over the course of her four-year career, Elon softball defeated Power Five opponents in South Carolina, No. 25 Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, and No. 8 Georgia. In the 2013 win over top-10 Georgia, Nester went 2-for-4 with a run scored, batting in the leadoff spot.
Along with earning first team all-conference honors in both 2013 and 2014, Nester was second team all-league in 2011 and was named to the SoCon All-Freshman Team. She was a three-time NCCSIA All-State player and twice earned NFCA Mideast All-Region honors (first team in 2013 and third team in 2014). Nester was named Team Most Valuable Player in both 2011 and 2014, and was a recipient of the C.V. “Lefty” Briggs Scholarship.
Darren Powell, Men’s Soccer Head Coach, 2005-13
With 94 victories, Darren Powell is Elon’s all-time winningest men’s soccer coach as he led the program to three NCAA Tournament appearances in his nine seasons.
The program won three consecutive Southern Conference Tournament championships from 2011-13, outscoring opponents 17-6 over the nine games during that stretch. The 2012 and 2013 teams both won a Division I program record 15 games and the 2013 team stunned No. 24 Clemson in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, advancing via a 4-1 victory in penalty kicks. Elon’s Jason Waterman put Elon ahead in the second half before Clemson answered 11 minutes later. The Phoenix was then perfect in four PK chances, while Clemson missed on its second and third tries. Waterman scored the match-clinching penalty kick.
In his second year leading the program, the men’s soccer team earned its first Division I national ranking, appearing as high as No. 22 in the Soccer America poll after starting the year 6-1-0, including a 2-0 victory over then-No. 17 UAB. That 2006 team was the first to finish with a winning record since moving to NCAA Division I in 1999.
Powell was named Southern Conference Coach of the Year four times and led Elon to four league titles, posting a perfect 7-0 league mark in 2008 to the 2011-13 titles. During Powell’s tenure, the Elon men’s soccer program produced 45 All-SoCon players, four conference players of the year, two league freshmen of the year, and six individuals who went on to play professionally.
Powell graduated from UNC Greensboro in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in leisure studies. He and his wife, Elise, have two children – Naomi and Caleb.
Lucas Troutman ’14, Men’s Basketball, 2010-14
Lucas Troutman was a dominant force inside for Elon, setting the program record for blocked shots in a career and a single-season. But he wasn’t simply a shot blocker, finishing among the top 10 in school history in career points, free-throws made, and field goals made and attempted.
Troutman blocked at least 40 shots in each of his four seasons at Elon, finishing with 213 blocked shots. His 64 blocks in 2012-13 are the single-season record and his 58 blocks the next season are second. He had seven blocks against Colgate to set the program’s Division I single-game record as well.
With 1.626 points, Troutman ranks 10th in school history. He averaged 15.1 points as a junior and 15.8 as a senior, shooting over 52 percent from the field in each of his final three campaigns. His 353 career free-throws made rank eighth and he is ninth with 636 career field goals and 1,219 attempts. Troutman twice went 8-for-9 from the field in a game.
Troutman was twice named First Team NABC All-District and was first team All-Southern Conference by vote of both the coaches and media in 2012-13 and 2013-14. As a senior, he was named the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational Regional Games Most Outstanding Player after guiding the squad to wins over Colgate and Florida Atlantic. He averaged 16.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 5.5 blocks in those two wins
As a freshman, Troutman had 14 points, five rebounds and two blocks in a 58-53 win over South Carolina. The 2012-13 team went 21-12 and advance to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) and again beat South Carolina during the regular season. Troutman had 17 points, six rebounds, three steals and two blocks in that victory.
Luis Vargas ’15, Men’s Cross Country, 2011-14
Luis Vargas was Elon’s first men’s cross country Division I All-American, placing 25th at the NCAA Championships in 2014. He was also the CAA Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year as a senior, the CAA Most Outstanding Performer, and earned the Basnight Outstanding Male Athlete award following the 2014-15 school year.
As a senior, Vargas won every race he competed in up until the NCAA Championships. He was the NCAA Southeast Region Athlete of the Year after winning the regional championship and posted the second fastest 8,000 time in school history at 24:11.37, doing so at the CAA Championship that year. He was Elon’s first individual champion upon entering the CAA.
At the NCAA Championships, Vargas placed 25th with a time of 30:45.0 and was the top finisher among CAA competitors as well as the top finisher from the state of North Carolina. At the 8,000-meter split, Vargas sat in 38th place but climbed 13 spots over the final 2,000 meters.
Vargas ran the fastest 10,000 time in school history at the 2013 Southeast Regional, finishing at 29:46.5. For his effort, he was named NCAA All-Southeast Region. As a sophomore in 2012, Vargas posted a sixth-place finish at the Southern Conference Championships, the best finish in program history at that time. He was 10th as a freshman in 2011.
In total, Vargas was a three-time first team all-conference performer and earned second team recognition as a freshman.