This is the second in a series of five articles profiling the Mars Athletic Hall of Fame's Class of 2014.
By Derek Pyda
Eagle Staff Writer
CRANBERRY TWP — Becky (Best) Ahlgren previously watched three of her siblings get inducted into the Mars Athletic Hall of Fame.
Now it's her turn.
The 1983 graduate starred in volleyball, basketball and track during her days with the Planets. She has been selected as one of five members of the Hall's Class of 2014, which will be recognized Sept. 12 at Mars Middle School.
“Working as a team and seeing us excel, that's what stands out for me about competing in high school sports,” said Ahlgren.
Two sisters (Pam in 2007 and Leda in 2010) and brother Ed (2013) are already members of Mars' exclusive group.
“I knew that the Hall of Fame was reinstated (in 2007) and the thought was there that I could get in, but that decision wasn't up to me,” Ahlgren said. “Other people have to vote for you and I am humbled that they picked me.”
While she was solid in both track and volleyball — she was a member of the Planets' girls 4x100 relay team that qualified for the state meet at Shippensburg State College her senior year — basketball was Ahlgren's best sport.
She was a guard and played on Mars' varsity squad all four years, helping the Planets reach the playoffs in each season under head coach Tim Tyler. In a home victory against Ford City her senior season, Ahlgren scored 24 points to become the third player in program history to reach 1,000 career points. By the end of that year, she had become the Planets' all-time leading scorer with 1,176 points.
“I never focused on getting the record,” Ahlgren said. “I just loved playing the game.”
She capped her high school career by being named co-recipient of the Maude Neithercoat Award along with Carrie Walters. Since 1973, the honor has been given annually to the top senior female athlete at Mars.
“That was a big deal for me, most definitely,” said Ahlgren, who learned something from each of her varsity coaches at Mars — Connie Vogel (volleyball) and Clem Papik (track) being the others.
“The dedication and teamwork they taught me, those are things that have stuck with me all these years.”
As the youngest of seven children growing up in Middlesex Township, Ahlgren was introduced to competitive sports long before reaching Mars High School. She began playing in the Mars Softball League in fifth grade. During her teen years, Mars had not yet taken on softball as a varsity sport, but she continued playing in summer leagues well into her 20's.
“I've always been a competitive person. I also played in several co-ed volleyball leagues,” she said. “That's how I met my husband, Bill, when I was 22.”
Bill and Becky Ahlgren have two daughters, Katie (21) and Sara (19), who both graduated from Seneca Valley High School.