Class of 2016
Greg Cunningham- was a three-time District 10 Champion and a two-time PIAA State placewinner as an independent swimmer for Mercer High School. His competitive swimming career began at the age of 11 with the Mercer Community Swim Team at Brandy Springs Park. He later trained with both the Slippery Rock Slippery Eels Community Swim Team & the Shenango Valley Swim Team before beginning his high school swim career. Greg swam independently while at dual meets with the Sharon High School swim team and their coach, Eric Wenger, a standout swimmer at Villanova University. During his high school career, Greg won three (3) District 10 Championships and was runner-up on one (1) other occasion. Qualifying for the PIAA State Championships during both his junior & senior seasons, he was the state runner-up in the 100 Butterfly and finished 4th in the 50 freestyle during the 1987 season. Greg was also a 3-time PIAA State All-American Award winner and a 3-time National Interscholastic State Top 10 Award winner while competing in the United States National Swim League. Following high school, Greg received a full scholarship & joined the Clarion University swim team from 1988-1991. Under head coach Bill Miller, he helped the Clarion swim team to a 3rd place finish in 1988, a 5th place finish in 1989, a 7th place finish in 1990, and a 3rd place finish in 1991 at the NCAA Division II National Championships. During his four (4) year career, Greg obtained the following awards while competing in the 50, 100, & 200 Freestyle; the 100 & 200 Butterfly; the 200, 400, & 800 Freestyle Relay; and the 200 & 400 Medley Relay:
· Five (5) time Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Champion
· Twelve (12) time PSAC Runner-Up & seven (7) time PSAC 3rd Place finisher
· Nineteen (19) PSAC & NCAA Divison II All-American Awards
· Five (5) 3rd place & three (3) 4th place finishes at the NCAA Division II National Championships
· Twenty-two (22) Top 15 finishes in the 26 events that he competed in at the NCAA Division II National Championships.
After graduating with a degree in business management, Greg went on to the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science in Pittsburgh & obtained a degree in funeral directing. He then joined the family business, Cunningham Funeral Home Inc., and became a 6th generation funeral director. He currently operates the business with his sister, Jill McCandless. He & his wife, Jennifer, who was a swimmer for Sharon High School where Greg swam independently during his high school career, currently reside in Mercer with their two (2) sons, Cole (age 10) & Jake (age 7).
Class of 2017
Shelah (Bolyard) Guenther (class of 2003) was a three-sport standout in Volleyball, Girls’ Basketball, and Track & Field during her time at Mercer High School.
A four-year letterwinner for the Lady M’s Basketball program, Shelah scored 1,359 points in her career. This ranks her 2nd all-time in girls’ basketball history and 4th overall in school history. During her freshman season, Shelah scored 240 points and was a 2nd team all-MCAC selection as the Lady M’s finished the season 2nd in the MCAC with a 15-11 record. The following season, she scored 280 total points and was again a 2nd team all-MCAC selection as the Lady M’s won the MCAC League Championship and qualifed for the PIAA State Playoffs with a 69-61 victory over Cranberry in the District 10 3rd place game. During her junior season, Shelah led the team in scoring with 351 points and was named to the all-MCAC 1st team as the Lady M’s won a 2nd consecutive MCAC League Championship and finished the season with a 15-11 record. As a senior, she led the MCAC in scoring with 488 points, including a school record 35 points in one game. She was named Most Outstanding Girls’ Basketball Player and a member of the Sharon Herald “Fab 5” team. Shelah also received team MVP honors, the Mike Erme/Sharon Lion’s Club Award, and was selected to play on the Western PA squad in the Pennsylvania High School Girls’ Roundball Classic at the University of Pittsburgh’s Fitzgerald Fieldhouse.
Shelah was also a four-year letterwinner in the sport of Track & Field and helped lead the Lady M’s to MCAC Division II Championships during her freshman, sophomore, & junior seasons. During her freshman year, she finished 3rd in the Discus at the MCAC Invitational, 2nd at the District 10 Championhips, and took home 5th place honors at the PIAA State Track & Field Championships. She was also a member of the 1600m relay team that finished 3rd at the MCAC Invitational and 5th at the District 10 Championships. As a sophomore, she was a member of the 1600 meter relay team that finished 1st at the MCAC Invitational, 2nd at the District 10 Championships, and qualified for the PIAA State Championships. She also finished 7th in both the Shot Put & Discus at the District 10 Championships this season. During her junior season, Shelah finished 4th in the Discus, 5th in the Shot Put, and was a member of the 2nd place 1600 meter relay team at the MCAC Invitational. The following week, she finished 8th in the Discus and the 1600 meter relay team took home 4th place honors at the District 10 Championships. As a senior, she finished 3rd in the Discus and 5th in the Shot Put at the MCAC Invitational. Shelah earning her a 2nd trip to the PIAA State Championships with a 3rd place finish in the Discus at the District 10 Championships. She also took home 8th place honors in the Shot Put.
Shelah was also a member of the Lady M’s Volleyball team. She earned three (3) varsity letters and was an All-MCAC selection as a middle hitter during both her junior (2nd team) and senior (1st team) year.
A member of the Top 10 of her graduating class, Shelah continued her basketball career at Clarion University and obtained her bachelor of science degree in Nursing. She & her husband, David, live in Mercer with their three (3) children, Jenna, Whitney, & Troy.
Steve Forrester (class of 1988) was a two-sport standout in both Cross Country and Track & Field for Mercer High School.
As a sophomore, Steve lead the Cross Country team to an undefeated regular season (10-0) and a Mercer County Athletic Conference (MCAC) Championship. The team finished 3rd at the District 10 Championship and qualified for the PIAA State Championships. Steve received a medal for his 12th place individual finish at the state meet and the Mustangs finished in 11th place as a team. During his junior season, the Mustangs repeated as MCAC champions, finishing 2nd at the District 10 Championships and 4th at the PIAA State Championships. Individually, Steve won the Sharon, Neshannock, & Tri-County Invitationals and finished 3rd at the prestigious McQuaid Invitational. He continued his success into the postseason, winning the District 10 Championship and finishing in 4th place at the PIAA State Championships in Hershey. As a senior, Steve helped led the Mustangs to an undefeated regular season (8-0), a 3rd straight MCAC League Championship, and a total of five (5) invitational championships (Pittburgh Central Catholic, Sharon, Neshannock, Tri-County, and Mercer County). He won a 2nd consecutive District 10 Championship as an individual, helping the team finish 2nd at the District 10 meet and 3rd at the PIAA State Championships.
A four-year letterwinner for the Track & Field team, Steve helped lead the Mustangs to an undefeated record in dual meet competitions (38-0) during his four years on the team. The team won twelve (12) Invitational Championships, four (4) Tri-County League Championships, and three (3) District 10 Championships (1986, 1987, & 1988). He is the all-time high scorer in the history of the Mercer Track & Field program and still holds the school record in the 3200 meter run (9:44.80).
As a freshman, Steve was the District 10 Champion in the 3200 meter run and was a member of the 3200 meter relay team that won the PIAA State Championship, edging Holy Ghost at the finish line in the finals. During his sophomore season, the Mustangs secured the 1st of their three (3) consecutive District 10 Championships and Steve qualified for the PIAA State Championships in the 3200 meter run. As a junior, he finished in 5th place in the 3200 meter run and was a member of the 3200 meter relay team that took home 5th place honors at the PIAA State Championships. During his senior season, Steve captured a District 10 Championship in the 1600 meter run as an individual and was a member of the 1st place 3200 meter relay team. At the PIAA State Championships, he finished 9th in the 1600 meter run and was a member of the 3200 meter relay team that finished in 2nd place.
Steve continued his track & field career at the University of Pittsburgh. During his freshman year, he was a member of the 1st place distance medley relay that won the 1989 Big East Championship. He currently serves as the Program Director of the Service Coordination Unit at Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic and is a recipient of UPMC’s most prestigious service award, the ACES Award for commitment & excellence in service. He and his wife, Pam, currently live in Cranberry Township and have one (1) daughter, Hanna.
Dennis (Denny) Mathieson (class of 1967) was a two-sport standout in both Football & Boys’ Basketball for Mercer High School.
Arguably one of the best linebackers in the history of the Mercer Football program, Denny was a three (3) year starter for the Mustangs. His physical, hard hitting play dominated the line of scrimmage and earned the respect of not only his teams, but players & coaches throughout the Tri-County Conference. He was an All-Tri County League selection at both middle linebacker and running back his junior & season year, leading the team in tackles during both campaigns. He led the Mustangs in scoring during his junior season, tallying 5 touchdowns and 2 two-point conversions (34 points). Denny helped lead the Mustangs to a 7-2 record and a share of the Tri-County League Championship during his senior season in the fall of 1966. Due to the fact that the Mustangs were a member of the Tri-County Conference, they did not participate in the postseason.
Denny was also a member of Hall of Fame coach John Dale Swogger’s Mustang Basketball teams that won back-to-back PIAA State Class B Championships in 1966 & 1967. During his sophomore year, the Mustangs won the District 10 Championship and finished the 1964-65 season with a 14-8 record. A top reserve on the undefeated 1966 state title team, Denny filled in for injured teammate Tom Filer during a key stretch at the end of the Tri-County league season and the early part of the District 10 Playoffs. The Mustangs finished the season with a perfect 28-0 record, defeating Darby-Colwyn 55-52 in the State Championship game. A starter during his senior season, Denny, along with Hall of Fame teammates Bob “Posey” Rhoades and Dave Knowlton, as well as Dick “Pickle” Harris & Art Adair, led the Mustangs to a 25-2 record and a 2nd consecutive State Championship with a 61-52 victory over Montrose. He was a double digit scorer on this Mustang team that average over 90 ppg during the season and was a team leader in both field goal percentage & assists.
Dennis Mathieson enjoyed boating, skiing, golfing, racing, riding his Harley, and spending time with family & loved ones until the time of his death in June of 2015. He is survived by his wife, Lori Mathieson, three (3) children, Danielle Griffin, Nicole Benoit, & Robert Truitt, as well as several grandchildren and other beloved family members.