Sports Hall of Fame

Opportunity Knocks; Mike Ryan blazed his own path to the NFL sidelines

November 10, 2013
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Opportunity Knocks; Mike Ryan blazed his own path to the NFL sidelines

By John Goralski Sports Writer Irv Black’s voice crackled through the speakers at Hartford Public in 1980 as the legendary track official called the play-by-play for the 1500m race at the Colonial Conference Championship. His voice melted into a rhythm with the frontrunner’s steps which included newcomer Mike Ryan. With each step, Ryan matched Black’s…

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The new Testa-ment; Joe Testa was a spark for Blue Knight soccer

November 9, 2013
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The new Testa-ment; Joe Testa was a spark for Blue Knight soccer

By John Goralski Sports Writer Few returning players even knew the name of the new Italian student in 1974 when he strolled onto the Recreation Park soccer field for an early Southington High School tryout. Tall and thin like a blade of grass, the young newcomer waited in the wings for practice to begin. He…

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All for one

October 25, 2013
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By JOHN GORALSKI SPORTS WRITER Ryan Glasper shied away from the Massachusetts press in 2006, so one newspaper had to run a photo taken through a fence when they highlighted the strong safety in an early November issue. Glasper didn’t want any credit for the resurgence of the Boston College defense, but fans were quick…

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The Mighty Mackie

October 25, 2013
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By JOHN GORALSKI SPORTS WRITER Scott Mackie tossed the bat toward the dugout and sprinted to the outfield as if he was trying to beat a throw to first base. You couldn’t tell by the look on his face that the Southington batter was hitless for the day. You couldn’t see any stress on his…

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The Perfect 10; Kristy Dougan launched a dynasty

October 18, 2013
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The Perfect 10; Kristy Dougan launched a dynasty

By John Goralski Sports Writer steadied herself on the diving board and waited for the signal from officials. She had her back to the pool. Fans and coaches held their breath. Dougan hadn’t performed a single dive as she rehabbed her fractured ankle during the regular season, but here she was at the state meet,…

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Just give me the ball, coach; Lenny Clements raised the bar for scoring in the early 1960s

October 5, 2013
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Just give me the ball, coach; Lenny Clements raised the bar for scoring in the early 1960s

By John Goralski Sports Writer The year was 1962. The Southington High School football team was riding an 18-game winning streak, and Lenny Clements made a rare defensive mistake that allowed the Croft quarterback to complete a pass for a large gain. No matter how tough they might have been, the Croft linemen must have…

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Passing the test; Scott Otis defied the odds to make the NFL

September 20, 2013
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Passing the test; Scott Otis defied the odds to make the NFL

By John Goralski Sports Writer Scott Otis felt a twinge of satisfaction as he stood in the shadow of Fontana Field while track officials scrambled to measure his javelin throw at a cold spring meet in 1991. For three years of varsity football, he maintained that his arm could beat most teams. This throw certainly…

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Founding Father; Bob Wittneben launched a program and set the standard for wrestling

September 13, 2013
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Founding Father; Bob Wittneben launched a program and set the standard for wrestling

By John Goralski Sports Writer When Bob Wittneben entered the high school in 1973, the Blue Knights were already established as a baseball and football power. Golf had already claimed its first state title, and softball was ready to launch a dynasty. Sports were already well-established in the blue collar town, but Wittneben had something…

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The Blue Knight; After 3 decades Ernie Blue remains the measuring stick for Southington scorers

August 30, 2013
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The Blue Knight; After 3 decades Ernie Blue remains the measuring stick for Southington scorers

By John Goralski Sports Writer Bloomfield raced to a 26-17 lead in the first quarter of the 1971 season opener, so Blue Knight coach Ed Nardi gave Ernie Blue ‘the signal’ at the break between quarters. Blue had already scored nine of Southington’s 17 points against the fast-breaking Bloomfield squad, but the first year Southington…

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Paige Turner: Paige Kopcza proved that softball is more than pitching

August 23, 2013
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Paige Turner: Paige Kopcza proved that softball is more than pitching

By JOHN GORALSKI SPORTS WRITER The pitcher and the defense gave up just one earned run in 1983 to set a national record for ERA (0.04) that would stand for more than two decades. Their all-state pitcher was almost unhittable as Southington roared through the postseason. The offense was just as deadly with a .336…

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