Pepperdine Sports Alums Heading to Waves Hall of Fame

Running into history. Pepperdine University this week announced the 2017 inductees into the Pepperdine Athetics Hall of Fame, including sprinter and Pepperdine alumna Vilma Charlton, who competed for Team Jamaica at the 1964, 1968 and 1972 Summer Olympic Games.

Vilma Charlton was never given the chance to speed around the track for the Pepperdine Waves. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the university before 1972’s Title IX portion of the U.S. education amendments sparked the growth of women’s intercollegiate sports. 

However, the former Jamaican sprinter has had a standout sports career, which includes competing in multiple Olympic Games, medaling at other international competitions and currently serving as vice-president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association. 

Charlton, 70, can add another sports notch on her belt. She is one of five standouts from Pepperdine University’s sports history set to be enshrined by the school’s hall of fame in four months.

Charlton, former and longtime athletics administrator Michael Zapolski, and former athletes Angela Lawrence (women’s tennis), Jesse Smith (men’s water polo) and Paul Faries (baseball) will be inducted into the Pepperdine Athletics Hall of Fame on Oct. 15, during a special ceremony at Pepperdine’s Firestone Fieldhouse. 


Pepperdine Director of Athletics Dr. Steve Potts said the hall of fame ceremony is one of the favorite events each year.

“We are very pleased to be able to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of these five outstanding alums, who contributed so much to the success and legacy of their programs and the department,” he said in a statement provided by the university. 

The quintet will join 120 individuals, 14 teams and eight special achievement recipients that have already been inducted into the Waves’ hall of fame. 

The honored club’s upcoming members are important members of Pepperdine’s sports history. 

Charlton was a member of Jamaica’s 4×100 meter relay team at the 1964 and 1972 Summer Olympics. She ran the event also at the 1968 Summer Olympics, along with the 100-meter and 200-meter races. 

Charlton and the other three members of the relay team finished third at the 1967 Pan American Games. Charlton also finished fifth in the 100-meter and the 200-meter at the same games. 

In addition to her role with the JAAA, the Pepperdine grad is also president of the Olympians Association of Jamaica, an International Amateur Athletic Foundation instructor and the co-author of “Jamaican Gold: Jamaican Sprinters.” 

Lawrence was four-time All-American in women’s tennis from 1995-96 to 1998-99. During those years, the Australian made All-WCC singles twice and doubles three times and was positioned in the final national doubles ranking’s top 10 four times. She won doubles titles at the 1997 Riviera event and the 1996 Rolex Regional. In 1999, Lawrence was 25th in the singles rankings and 30th in 1998. 

Faries was an outfielder on the Waves baseball team from 1984 to 1987. His final season, he was a third team ABCA All-American and the WCC co-Player of the Year. Faries was an All-WCC first teamer twice and a second teamer once. 


He racked up a ton of stats that put him in Pepperdine’s record books before playing four years of Major League Baseball. His 249 games played is tops in Waves’ history, his 921 at-bats and 314 hits are both second and he is one of two players with 187 runs, which makes him tied for third. Faries is also sixth in RBIs, with 165, and total bases, with 400. 

Faries batted .341 with 11 home runs in college. The San Diego Padres picked him in the 23rd round of the 1987 MLB Draft. 

Smith, a men’s water polo player, starred for Pepperdine from 2001 to 2003 and in 2005. He was a second team All-American his first season and a first team All-American the other three seasons. He led Pepperdine in goals three times, including 65 in 2002, 55 in 2003 and 51 in 2005. He scored 213 goals throughout his college career, eighth in school history. 


He won a silver medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics as a member of the U.S. men’s water polo team. He also was an Olympian in 2004, 2012 and 2016, and played professionally in Brazil, Croatia, Italy, Greece and Turkey. 

Zapolski began his athletics administration career as Pepperdine’s sports information director when he was a Pepperdine student in 1983. He graduated two years later, was named assistant athletics director in 1999 and associate athletics director in 2001. 


Zapolski had several duties during his 20 years as a Waves official, including supervising game management operations and scheduling for the teams, serving as webmaster and had oversight of facilities marketing and sports information offices, teams, facilities, and athletic training. He is now the director of athletics at Augustan College in Rock Island, Ill.