Support Local News.

Please support our work by subscribing today.

Stonington High School Hall of Fame to induct six

Stonington — The Stonington High School Athletic Hall of Fame will induct six new members, as well as honoring the 1960 state championship baseball team, in a ceremony April 28 at the school’s café/commons.

Inductees are Raymond Cella (Class of 1928, football, baseball), Billi-Jo Schachner Pfalzgraf (Class of 1988, field hockey, basketball, softball), Tom Gardner (Class of 1993, football, baseball), Nick Mazzarese (Class of 2007, tennis), John Connolly (Class of 2007, football, indoor track, baseball) and Jerry Desmond (contributor).

Cella was captain of the football team as a senior, when the Bears were Eastern Connecticut-Western Rhode Island Conference champions and earned all-league honors twice. He went on to play football and baseball at Kentucky Wesleyan College and later played semi-professional baseball for Winchester in the Blue Grass League, also serving in the U.S. Air Force during World War II.

Pfalzgraf was a member of Stonington’s first field hockey state championship team in 1987, scoring both goals in a 2-1 victory over North Branford and earning all-state honors. She was also part of Eastern Connecticut Conference champion softball teams in 1986 and 1987, leading the Bears to a Class M runner-up finish in 1987. In addition to earning 12 varsity letters in her three sports, Pfalzgraf was class valedictorian and graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she played field hockey and softball.

Gardner was a three-time All-ECC pick in football and baseball and an all-state selection in baseball as a junior. In football, Gardner was named Defensive Player of the Game on Thanksgiving Day as a junior and went on to lead the Bears to a Class SS state championship. He was Offensive Player of the Game on Thanksgiving and the team’s Most Valuable Player as a senior. After serving in the Air Force, Gardner earned a bachelor’s degree from Warner University.

Mazzarese celebrated his senior tennis season at Stonington with a 27-0 record, earning ECC and Class M singles titles. He was also ECC champion as a junior and was part of four conference championship teams. Mazzarese was a two-time all-state selection and finished with a career record of 88-10. He capped his career at Sacred Heart University, where he played for four years and was a member of two teams which won the Northeast Conference championship.

Connolly captained the football, indoor track and baseball teams as a senior and was awarded the Tuite Cup as the top male athlete in his graduating class. He was a two-time All-ECC selection in football and was named All-ECC and all-state in baseball his senior season. Connolly was part of the Bears’ 4x200-meter relay team which set a program record. He is a graduate of Brown University, where he was a member of the football team.

Desmond has been part of the Stonington athletics landscape for more than 40 years. He joined the football coaching staff in 1976 and served under six head coaches, contributing to the Bears’ Class SS championship in 1991. He also spent 10 years as head coach of the gymnastics team, winning three ECC titles, and remained with the program, being named the Connecticut Assistant Coach of the Year in 2016. Desmond is a 1976 graduate of Stonington, where he participated in football, track and indoor track. He graduated from Southern Connecticut State University and the FBI Academy and in 2014 he retired as a captain from the Stonington Police Department.

The 1960 baseball team earned ECC and Class B state championships under coach Morris Fabricant. The Bears had an overall record of 13-2 and had wins over East Haven and previously undefeated Southington on the way to the state finals, where they defeated Waterford in extra innings.

The hall of fame ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 each. For information, call Susan Weber at (860) 599-5781 between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. or send a check to SHS Athletic Hall of Fame, c/o Stonington High School, 176 South Broad Street, Pawcatuck, with a note listing who will attend and which inductee guests are there to honor.


Loading comments...
Hide Comments