Sports Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame: Chapter One-The 1986 softball team sparked a 52-game winning streak

September 22, 2016
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2016-1986-shs-softball-team-1

By JOHN GORALSKI EDITOR The Lady Knights were defending a state title at the start of the 1986 spring season, but it seemed there were more questions than answers when tryouts began. Gone was the championship pitcher and a couple of key players, but even the returning players were out of the lineup in the…

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Hall of Fame: The professor-Pete Sepko was more like a teacher than a coach

September 7, 2016
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Pete Sepko on the sidelines of a Blue Knight wrestling match during one of his 22 seasons from 1981 to 2003.

By JOHN GORALSKI EDITOR Pete Sepko charged toward the throwing line at Southington High School’s 1967 regular season finale, and somewhere during his approach things went horribly wrong. The high school senior had to stretch his stride to make up for his poor position, and he was forced to throw his plant foot forward in…

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Hall of Fame: The unstoppable force-Lisa Matukaitis was a blue collar, blue chipper

August 19, 2016
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Lisa soccer

By JOHN GORALSKI EDITOR School officials must have been shocked by the crowds at the Kennedy boys soccer game in the fall of ‘82. Even the athletes paused their pre-game rituals as the St. Thomas boys wandered onto their field. Everybody—the fans, the players, and the coaches—scanned the sidelines for the Kennedy girl that dared…

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Hall of Fame: The balancing act–Andy Liseo was hard to take down on the field and on the mat

August 4, 2016
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Liseo wrestling

By JOHN GORALSKI EDITOR Andy Liseo spun around the first Bloomfield defender like a ninja warrior, bouncing off two fingers to keep his balance, and slipping through a pair of linebackers at the line of scrimmage. Liseo ricocheted off the next defender to find some open space on the sidelines…and it was off to the…

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Hall of Fame–Jumpin’ Jessie: Gianatti was Southington’s perfect 10

July 29, 2016
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Jessica Gianatti sticks her landing at the Class L championship during her freshman year. Southington’s second place finish signaled a turning point for the Lady Knights.

By JOHN GORALSKIEDITOR Jessie Gianatti exploded across the gym like a bullet, and she didn’t waste her time with dazzling spins or corkscrew twists. The collision with the vault seemed to hurtle her like shrapnel into the air and she tucked into a dizzying tumble. When she struck the mat, the singular thump echoed through the…

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Hall of Fame: Southington’s Top Gun–Ted Wallace chose the Navy over the major leagues

July 22, 2016
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At the U.S. Naval Academy, Ted Wallace set a program record for his defense behind the plate, and the four year letterwinner is still ranked in the top 20 in three career categories.

By JOHN GORALSKI EDITOR Ted Wallace doesn’t know the name of the St. Paul football player that hit him first, but he remembers the avalanche of Falcons slamming into him at Muzzy Field. The sophomore running back’s head bounced off the dirt on the infield, and his peripheral vision faded to a blur. “I was just…

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Hall of Fame: He was the ‘Tops’–Doug Topshe was one of Southington’s biggest supporters

July 15, 2016
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Former Tops Market owner, Doug Topshe, will be inducted posthumously into the Southington Sports Hall of Fame for his efforts as a booster for local athletes, teams, and leagues.

By JOHN GORALSKI EDITOR It’s been more than three decades, but Al Rousseau can still remember the late Doug Topshe taking a left out of Recreation Park. The owner of Tops Market never even glanced at his rear view mirror as his grocery store—and his home—vanished from view. Instead, Topshe was focused on his young passenger,…

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Southington Sports Hall of Fame celebrates century-long sports legacy

July 6, 2016
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Jimmie Savage broke into the major leagues in the early 1900s, earning a spot as an everyday player with the Pittsburgh Rebels in 1914.

By JOHN GORALSKIEDITOR Commuters racing across town might not stop to think about the origins of Savage Street or the family that lent its name to the Southington landscape. Sports fans, boasting about the town’s rich sports history, might pass over James “Jimmie” Savage when they argue about which athlete launched Southington’s rich sports legacy. That’s…

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Hall of Fame: deFighting Irish: Nicole deFau battled from walk-on to team captain

November 5, 2015
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Nicole deFau, above, was Southington’s first Gatorade Player of the Year in softball.

By JOHN GORALSKI EDITOR It was some time during her senior year at Notre Dame when Nicole deFau found herself alone with her division one coach, and the former Southington standout could see the tears welling up in Deanna Gumpf’s eyes. DeFau was the only senior on that 2004 tournament-bound team. She had outlasted an all-American…

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Hall of Fame: The Bristol Bomber: Russ Laribee battled his way through the minors

October 29, 2015
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Russ Laribee was an outfielder by the time he reached the Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA) in 1981. Above is Laribee’s picture on his minor league baseball card.

By JOHN GORALSKI EDITOR Ted Williams recognized the pitch just before it was released, and he swung around in the Pawtucket dugout to face a wide-eyed Russ Laribee. The legendary hitter began hurling a litany of questions at the Southington star, and Laribee stumbled over himself to try to get out each answer. What do you…

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