Sports Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame: Out for a drive: Ed Fernandes continues to be a powerhouse off the tee

August 27, 2015
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Former Blue Knight Ed Fernandes takes a swing at the 2014 Remax Long Drive Championship. Fernandes is currently ranked in the top 40 in the world.

By JOHN GORALSKI EDITOR Ed Fernandes was just five years old when his father walked him out the back door and onto the fairway of the former Patton Brook Country Club. He remembers studying his father’s every move, as he positioned the golf ball about 20 yards from the green. His dad barked a few tips,…

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Hall of Fame: Tiger Lady: Kathy Conway launched the Lady Knights

August 20, 2015
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Hall of Fame

By JOHN GORALSKI EDITOR She was just a teenager at the time, but Val DePaolo can still remember that break from practice in the early 1970s. She was lapping at the water fountain outside the gym at St. Thomas Junior High School when she felt a shadow fall across her back. The future state basketball hall…

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Hall of Fame: Hand it to Hondo: On the gridiron, hardcourt, or diamond Dave Walstrom was the one to beat

August 7, 2015
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Senior co-captain Dave “Hondo” Walstrom breaks into the backfield during a Southington High School football game in 1967.

By JOHN GORALSKI EDITOR A hush descended upon the crowd as a young Bobby Valentine leaned off first base in the opening round of the 1968 postseason. The Rippowan High School coach didn’t need to signal a steal. Everybody knew it was coming. After all, Valentine had out-run every young gun in the state, and he…

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Hall of Fame: Towing the line: Pete Mongillo helped power the Knights to 3 perfect seasons

July 30, 2015
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Hall of Fame

By JOHN GORALSKI EDITOR Pete Mongillo tucked the game ball to his chest and sat in silence as his fellow captain stared down the team on the bus. Southington High School football was riding a two-year winning streak when Mongillo took the helm as co-captain in the fall of 1965, but the sting of a preseason…

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Hall of Fame: Uncharted Water: Matt Crispino is still making waves in his sport

July 23, 2015
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Matt Crispino explodes out of the gate during a varsity race in his senior season.

By JOHN GORALSKI EDITOR Matt Crispino slipped into the pool like a Navy Seal and clawed his way toward the frontrunners at the 1999 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) conference meet. All around him, scholarship swimmers were straining to find an edge in the water, but Crispino—a freshman—was matching them stroke-for-stroke. He shot into the turn as…

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Hall of Fame: It takes a village to raise a banner, the 2002 Lady Knight soccer team rallied around a common goal

July 16, 2015
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The 2002 Lady Knight soccer team is the only Southington soccer team to capture a state championship. Front, from left, Kelly Walsh, Meredith Wholley, Lauren Lattanzio (captain), Lauren Forgione (captain), Lauren Dziedzic (captain), Kaitlin Quinn, Shannon McKernan. Middle, Shivan Wheeler, Corina Adaskaveg, Brandi Groglio, Kristina DiGirolamo, Meghan Butler, Megan Fuller, Erica Waltz. Back, Assistant Coach Steve Risser, Kamila Zysk, Sam Morrissey, Lorraine Mobarak, Stephanie Kowalec, Jill Cocco, Beth Meccariello, Brianna Ondriezek, and Coach Sal Penta. Missing from the photo is Assistant Coach Joe Blaszczyk.

By JOHN GORALSKIEDITOR Sal Penta can still remember stopping at midfield during his first preseason soccer practice in 2002 and watching the scene unfold in front of him like a choreographed dance. Players, drenched in sweat, were shuffling through drills. An assistant coach pointed to a group of defenders sprinting toward loose balls. Another one turned…

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Hall of Fame: Going the distance and taking the hill, the 1984 cross country team put Southington at the top of the running world

July 9, 2015
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The 1984 cross country team, above, still stands as the only Blue Knight team to capture the Class LL and CT State Open titles. Front, from left, Marty Burns (captain) and Tim Theriault (captain). Second row, Joe Carta, Art Mitchell, Jeff Cavaliere, Rick Black, Jerry Cavaliere, Mike Early, Mike Krar, and Ed Beaupre. Third row, Tom Mullaney, Bill Lesler, Tom Fusciello, Kristen Stanek, Mario Malpica, Bruce Vagts, Bart Lipetz, and Coach Wayne Nakoneczny. Back, Jeff Brunoli and Alex Becking. Missing from the photo: Sean Boyle.

By JOHN GORALSKIEDITOR Queen Street drivers must have been skeptical in the fall of 1984 to see the Blue Knights gather at the base of the Loper Street hill for the start of cross country practice. The runners would flock around their coach for final instructions before being ushered into formation. At his signal, they’d take…

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Hall of Fame officials release the Class of 2015: Southington’s 6th class continues to break barriers

July 1, 2015
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Hall of Fame dinner

This may be the sixth class to be inducted into the Southington Sports Hall of Fame, but 2015 will be remembered as a year of firsts. This week officials announced the 2015 inductees, but the selection committee continues to delve deeper and deeper into Southington’s rich sports history to find those pioneers, superstars, and people…

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Hall of Fame: The thrill of victory

November 7, 2014
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By JOHN GORALSKI SPORTS WRITER Kristin-Wilcox Astiasaran didn’t know much about women’s sports when her grandparents dragged her to the state championship game in 1982, but she watched it unfold before her like a Hollywood film. For the first three quarters, Westhill High School deliberately constructed a 15-point lead. In the final eight minutes, the…

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O’No, it’s O’Connell; Greg O’Connell battled a few steps from the NBA

October 30, 2014
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Greg O’Connell attacks the rim during a varsity contest in the 1960s. O’Connell went on to play and coach for almost 35 years after graduation.

By John Goralski Sports Writer Nobody must have batted an eye when Greg O’Connell strolled into the high school gym in 1962 because nobody could have seen the scrawny 13-year old as much of a physical threat. At 5-foot-9, the freshman forward didn’t turn many heads. At 118 pounds, O’Connell wasn’t going to push around…

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