Hamden Hall Country Day School
2018 Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees Honored
Head of School Bob Izzo is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 Hamden Hall Country Day School Athletic Hall of Fame Awards were honored at a dinner on April 14.
The honorees include Bill Polinsky, Class of 1958; Ben Morris, Class of 1969, Posthumous; Carl Bond, Class of 1994; Marissa Hewitt, Class of 1999; Danny Oglesby, Class of 2002; Alexa DellaRocco, Class of 2008; and the Ice Hockey Teams 1976 – 1979.
The dinner was held at the Beckerman Athletic Center at the Skiff Athletic Complex.
“Hamden Hall’s Athletic Hall of Fame was established in 2014 to acknowledge and celebrate the exceptional coaches, players, teams, and supporters of our athletic program who have made contributions both on the playing fields and in the community,” said Mr. Izzo. “We congratulate the award recipients who exemplify our school’s high athletic standards. And we’re honoring them for their legacy of hard work and commitment, dedication to teamwork, and impact on our school’s tradition of athletics.”
BILL POLINSKY 1958
Bill Polinsky, Class of 1958, played three sports at Hamden Hall—football, basketball, and baseball. He also served as a class officer during Upper School and was vice president his senior year.
When Bill was a student at Hamden Hall, he excelled in the classroom and beyond.
He played on two undefeated football teams as an end, on both sides of the ball, scoring 86 points in his senior year. Bill also played three years on the basketball team and was captain his senior year.
When Bill continued his education at Yale, he played basketball and baseball while shouldering a broad liberal arts course load. In his junior year, he was selected All League in the Eastern Intercollegiate Baseball League, batting .363 while stealing 19 bases. He also was chosen as MVP by his teammates.
Senior year at Yale, Bill played “ sixth “ man—back-up guard on the basketball team, destined to bring home the Ivy League Championship. Yale played the opening game of the NCAA Tournament at the Palestra in Philadelphia against the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest, losing a heartbreaker in overtime.
After Yale, Bill sought one of his dreams—professional baseball—and hooked up with the Chicago Cubs. He went to spring training in Mesa, Ariz., and was subsequently assigned to Chicago’s minor league affiliate in Pocatello, Idaho. Two months later, Bill says he ”was looking at professional baseball in the rear-view mirror—gone.”
After Yale, Bill enjoyed a longtime career at M. Schiavone and Sons in the scrap recycling business, rising to vice-president of marketing.
Sixty years after his days under the pines, Bill is still lauded as the most talented athlete of his era at Hamden Hall. “Bill was the finest athlete of our time,” said fellow alumnus Howard Tuttle, Class of 1957, calling Bill a living sports legend.
Bill has remained connected to Hamden Hall throughout the years. And perhaps his finest link to his alma mater is his wife, Doris Anna Catania Polinsky, his 1958 Hamden Hall classmate. The couple celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary in November 2017.
In 2013, when Hamden Hall honored Bill with an Alumni Achievement Award, Doris “did the honors”—making the award presentation to her husband at a dinner attended by their family.
Bill and Doris have four children and six grandchildren. Their son Mark and his wife, Traci, have two children, Rae, 17, and Sean, 14. Their son Eric and his wife, Andrea, have Matthew, 8. Their son Billy and his wife, Krista, have Luna, 7, and Alex, 4. Their daughter, Sarah, and her husband, Carmine Monaco, have Carmine, 10.
Bill and Doris live in Harwington, Conn., where they are active members of Our Lady of Hope Parish. The couple moved “up north” after Bill retired from Michael Schiavone and Sons in 2002.
BEN MORRIS 1969, POSTHUMOUS
Hamden Hall is proud to name Ben Morris, Class of 1969, to the Athletic Hall Fame with a posthumous award.
During his days under the pines, Ben played football and basketball and ran track.
Nicknamed “Bud” or “Buddy,” Ben died in 2012, leaving a legacy of athletic achievements at Hamden Hall.
He served as captain of football and basketball and was active in school affairs, being elected president of the Athletic Association; chairman of the Freshman & Sophomore Dance; class president his sophomore and junior years, and a member of the Headmaster’s Committee. His other activities included Hallmark and the Yearbook.
Hamden Halll alumnus Art Riccio, Class of 1967, described “Buddy” as “an excellent athlete—one of the greatest athletes in Hamden Hall’s history!”
Art, two years ahead of Ben in school, recalled Ben’s enormous talent to adapt to whatever was asked him on the football field. He played end, running back, and quarterback, always stepping up when the coach asked and always excelling in the position.
When it came to basketball, Art recalled that during Ben’s sophomore year, he was the leading scorer on the Mens Varsity Basketball Team, an example of his impressive talents on the court.
For those Hornets who were older than Ben, and for those who played with Ben as younger students, the name of Buddy Morris will always ring true as Hamden Hall athleticism at its best, says Art.
After Ben's 1969 graduation from Hamden Hall, he earned his bachelor’s degree at Brown University where he played football his freshman year. After Brown, Ben graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Law.
Later in his life, Ben served on the Hamden Hall Board of Trustees. He had been nominated by his longtime friend, Art Riccio, trustee and chair of the nominating committee in 1997, who had and still does have the highest regard for Ben. Professionally, Ben was part owner of the Real Estate Developer Redstone Development Co. from 1995 to 2002 and owner of Lienfactors, LLC from 2003 to 2012.
Ben and his wife, Kim, have two daughters, Taylor, 14, and Chandler, 12. Ben has two sisters who attended Hamden Hall. Carol Morris Settel, who graduated in 1976, and Lisa Morris Sarenduc, who left in 1962.
CARL BOND 1994
Carl Bond, Class of 1994, played football, basketball, and baseball at Hamden Hall.
He was the gridiron captain his junior and senior years and All Fairchester and MVP all four years. He was basketball captain his junior and senior years and Fairchester and MVP his sophomore, junior, and senior years. He was a baseball captain his senior year and All Fairchester his freshman, sophomore, and senior years and MVP his senior year.
Carl’s other sports accolades include winning the New Haven Officials Sonny Coughlin Award 1994; Top Male Athlete 1994; New Haven Register All Area Football 1993; and All Nepsac Football 1993.
While at Hamden Hall, Carl was also in Peer Leadership.
Carl graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1998 with a major in sociology minor and minor in criminology. While at UCONN, he was a four-year football starter and named All-Conference (Atlantic 10) in 1997 and 1998; All- American 1998; Walter Camp Connecticut Player of the Year 1998; UCONN Offensive Player of the Year 1998, Gridiron Club Offensive Player of the Year 1997; and Golden Helmet Award 1998.
Carl ranked in the top 10 in almost all UConn receiver categories and played professional football in the Arena Football League (AF2, AFL) for eight years, from 2000 to 2007.
Carl and is wife, Felicia, have a daughter, Chyle, 8, and a son, Nate, 6.
Carl’s professional life includes work at Yale New Haven Hospital as an operating room assistant and at the Juvenile Detention Center through “Project More.” He has been in the educational field since 1999 as a teacher, coach, and mentor. He is currently a behavior specialist at Highville Charter School in New Haven, Conn.
Carl owns and operates Young Pros LLC., which provides mentoring, coaching, and training for youth.
Carl performed in two Disney movies: Invincible and The Game Plan.
MARISSA HEWITT 1999
Marissa Hewitt, Class of 1999, played lacrosse and soccer at Hamden Hall, earning both sports and academic honors. She was captain of lacrosse her junior and senior years and of soccer her senior year and also Soccer All League.
Marissa was on the 1998 WNEPSSA Class S Soccer Championship Team and CIASAC Championship Teams, as well as playing in the New England Quarter Finals three years in a row.
Her awards at Hamden Hall include Lacrosse Coaches Award 1998-1999; Soccer Coaches Award 1998; Lacrosse MVP 1997; New Haven Register Youth of the Year 1999; Hamden Hall Scholar Athlete Award 1999; All Around Student Award, 1996; Hamden Women’s Sports Federation Award for Soccer 1995; and Middle School Soccer Sportsmanship Award 1994.
Marissa was Class of 1999 Valedictorian and Student Body President. She received the YS Army Reserve Scholar Athlete Award in 1999 and was inducted into the Cum Laude Society as a junior in 1998.
She won the Harvard Book Award; Rensselaer Medal for Science and Math; English Prize 1998, 1999; Outstanding Student 1996, Sherman Prize/Outstanding Student 1997; History Prize 1997; and Latin Prize 1996. She was vice president of the International Club, 1998, 1999 and Advent associate editor. She was also in the chorus, the Environmental Club, the Key Club, and was a Freshman Mentor.
Marissa attended Brown University and was a member of the women’s Division 1 lacrosse team. After graduation in 2003, Marissa moved to Washington, D.C., and joined the production staff at The Magazine Group, a custom publishing firm, and was the first hire for MLS Tutors, a private tutoring firm dedicated to special education.
After two years, Marissa decided to hop in her car and drive to California, where she set up her own tutoring business, FACT Education (Full-Service Academic Coaching & Tutoring) and began coaching lacrosse.
Since 2005, Marissa has tutored thousands of area students, focusing on study skills, math and writing skills, and college counseling. Marissa was a pioneer for girls lacrosse in Los Angeles, helping to start programs and grow the game throughout the county, including setting up the first high school playoffs for girls lacrosse in 2008. Now in her 14th season as head coach at Palos Verdes High School, she has led the Sea Kings through many successful seasons and earned two-time Coach of the Year honors, two-time CIF-SS (California Interscholastic Federation - Southern Section) runner-up, and five-time Bay League Champs.
Marissa is a member and secretary of the LA Chapter for U.S. Lacrosse; a founding board member for Pacific Edge Lacrosse Association (a girls youth league); and a finalist for the LA Chapter Hall of Fame 2018. Marissa also helped launch the first LA team to attend the Women’s Division National Tournament, and she has coached that team three of the last five years.
She has recently joined the staff of Harlem Lacrosse–Los Angeles, a non-profit that provides free academic and behavioral intervention as well as lacrosse programming to LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) students at five school sites.
Marissa has two children, Maddux, 3, and Sloane, 18 months, and lives in Lomita, Calif., with her husband of nearly 10 years, Daniel Spring.
Marissa’s sister is Hamden Hall alumna Erin Hewitt, Class of 2003, and her parents are Marilyn Hewitt, past president of Hamden Hall’s Parents' Association, and Craig Hewitt, former Hamden Hall assistant soccer coach.
DANNY OGLESBY 2002
Danny Oglesby, Class of 2002, celebrated five years as a starter on the Hornets Boys Varsity Basketball Team and was captain his junior and senior years. Additionally, he ran cross country his freshman year and did elite general exercise for the duration of his time at Hamden Hall (advanced physical fitness activities such as weightlifting and running).
At Hamden Hall, Danny set a Connecticut state and school scoring record with 3,049 career points and 3-pointers in a single game with seven. (Danny noted his 3-pointer record of 134 in a single season is now held by TJ Roundtree 2017). Danny was named Fairchester All League 1999-2002; New Haven Register All Area Team 2001-2002 and MVP 2002; New England Tournament Team 2000-2002 and MVP 2000; and nominated to McDonald’s All-American. He was a member of the New England Champions 1999-2002; Fairchester Champions 1999-2001; and New Haven Tap-Off All Star Team 2001-2002.
After Danny graduated from Hamden Hall, he accepted a full athletic scholarship to the University of South Florida and played basketball there for one year. He then transferred to Fairfield University, where he played basketball for three years and majored in sociology. He earned a Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) & Autism from The Sage Colleges in 2016.
Danny was a teaching assistant for two years at ACES Mill Road School; a school ABA therapist for two years at ACES Village School; behavior technician for two years for ACES Behavior Services in Madison Public Schools; and behavior analyst candidate for two years at ACES Mill Road School, ACES Whitney High East and West, Village School, and SAILS.
Danny is a behavior analyst and consultant at ACES SAILS School and Highville Charter School.
His coaching career includes one year for CT Select 16 and Under AAU program (finished 15th in country) and three years at CT Select 17 and Under AAU program.
Best of all—Danny is back at Hamden Hall, now in his fifth season as assistant coach to the Varsity Mens Basketball Team.
Danny married his Hamden Hall 2002 classmate Meighann Recile-Oglesby in 2016. The couple has three children, Sasha, 7; Jalen Oglesby, 4, and Aliya, 1.
ALEXA DELLAROCCO 2008
Alexa DellaRocco, Class of 2008, was a four-sport athlete at Hamden Hall, playing soccer, basketball, softball, and lacrosse. (And she also found time for Peer Leadership!)
Alexa’s sports accolades as a Hornet include Hamden Hall Female Athlete of the Year Award, 2007, 2008; All League Soccer, 2006, 2007, 2008; Lifetime Achievement Award, presented for her sports career 2002-2007; "For the Love of the Game" Award, 2008; Connecticut All-State, 2007, 2008; and "She Bleeds Hamden Hall Green" Basketball Award, 2008.
As a team member, Alexa celebrated the Girls Soccer New England Champions, CISAC League Champions, and CISAC Tournament Finalists. For Girls Basketball, she was part of the New England Finalists, CISAC League Champions, CISAC Tournament Champions, and Stoneleigh-Burnham Tournament Champions.
Alexa is living in Tampa, Fla., working in the construction industry as a sales territory manager. She joined United Rentals three years ago, and last year she was promoted to oversee construction equipment rentals and sales in Hillsborough County.
“I love my job!” Alexa reports, adding that she landed the position through connections she made while attending the University of Tampa.
Prior to heading to Tampa, Alexa attended the University of New Haven. She played soccer all four years of college. In 2009, as a sophomore in New Haven, Alexa was named to the NorthEast-10 All-Conference team where she led the team in goals with 13. She transferred to the University of Tampa in January 2010. She earned a Bachelor of Science in sport management in 2012.
Alexa still plays sports. She’s on a co-ed soccer team and fast pitch kickball team, the latter being her favorite. “It’s a combination of baseball and soccer. It’s extremely competitive, and we travel all over Florida to play in tournaments. With my experience playing softball and soccer my whole life, I feel as though I was made to play this sport!” She’s also “a proud member” of the Tampa chapter of the American Outlaws.
“We travel around the world supporting the United States men’s and women’s national soccer teams.” With AO, she’s been to many new cities, states, and countries, including Chicago, Philadelphia, and Columbus, Ohio, in 2016 and Denver and Mexico City in June 2017. “AO is my favorite hobby, and I’ve already made many lifelong friendships because of it. South America and Europe are next on the horizon.” She notes that AO’s motto is “Where you go we’ll follow!”
1976 – 1979 ICE HOCKEY TEAMS
When Hamden Hall celebrated its 100th year anniversary in 2012, a hard cover history book gave a shout-out to our legendary ice hockey teams, noting that during the school year 1976-1977, Hamden Hall inaugurated a new sport at the school—Ice Hockey!
The book chronicles that at the time, Headmaster M.J. Jerry Whitson labeled the squad the “Giant Killer” ice hockey team—and the squad lived up to its named early on.
It became a powerhouse that had to seek competition outside of its league. Games were played against Swedish and Finnish All-Star Tier 1 teams. By year two, Hamden Hall was invited to participate in the Cape Breton National Invitational High School Hockey Tournament in Nova Scotia.
“After a team from Canada played the 1976 team, the authorities from Canada were so impressed with the skill and quality of our team that they invited Hamden Hall to represent the United States in their prestigious Cape Breton Tournament during the fall of next year,” said former Hamden Hall Ice Hockey Coach Bob Schroeder.
Coach Schroeder said that that tournament was comprised of the champion team from each province and one team from the United States. “So, it was in essence, a national championship for North America—a big deal!” Coach Schroeder said. The 1977 team finished fourth, putting the Hamden Hall Ice Hockey Team on our historical sports map.
Coach Schroeder said another landmark game for Ice Hockey at Hamden Hall came the year after Hamden High School won the Connecticut State Championship. “They never wanted to play us,” Coach Schroeder recalled, but due to a series of circumstances, the call came from Hamden High and the Hornets answered!
“We finally got to play them, beating them 11-0,” recalled Coach Schroeder. “Independent schools do not participate in the CIAC (the public school league) so this was the first time the two schools met.”
The win, he noted, was another “big deal!”
Hamden Hall is proud to acknowledge four years of Ice Hockey, from 1976 to 1979, by presenting these teams with a 2018 Athletic Hall of Fame Award. They were all champions, according to Coach Schroeder, winning the Fairchester League for all four years.
SPECIAL “COACH B” PRESENTATION
A special presentation of the evening will be made to former Hamden Hall Varsity Boys Basketball Coach David Beckerman, commemorating his 500th win. A banner will be on permanent display in the Beckerman Athletic Center over the court bearing the “Coach B” floor logo. Coach Beckerman amassed his 500th victory in January 2016 when his Hornets defeated King in a Fairchester League game played in Stamford. After the win, Coach B said, “Winning 500 games is some measure of success, but to me the lifelong relationships with the students are far more important.”
ICE HOCKEY NAMES!
In our efforts to ensure the list of players and coaches for the 1976-1979 Ice Hockey Teams is accurate, we have posted the following roster. Please let us know if someone is missing. Email Anna Pesce at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203.752.2616. Thank you!
John R. Chamberlain Jr. 1976
Nicholas J. O'Brien 1976
William L. Hadden III 1977
Peter Hiza 1977
Robert Houley 1977
Brian T. McKiernan 1977
Brian O'Connor 1977
Ronald Petrillo 1977
Robert Plakias 1977
Edward M. Shay 1977
William J. Cummings 1978
Sean Harrington 1978
Charles Harvey 1978
John McColl 1978
Michael Poole Jr. 1978
William Riegelmann 1978
C. Douglas Theroux 1978
Paul Winch 1978
David Zacks 1978
Stephen Brown 1979
William Carroll 1979
Joseph Cuomo 1979
Andrew J. Laudano 1979
Jose Sanchez 1979
Michael Sequino 1979
David Speroff 1979
Mark Ward 1979
Jim Amarante 1980
Robert Cusano 1980
John J. Esposito 1980
Robert Haesche 1980
Mark A. Murdoch 1980
John "Jackie" Sutfin 1980
Scott Albraccio 1981
Charlie Corvi 1981
Chris Downs 1981
Bret Berglund 1981
Felize DiGiusto 1981
Brian Donnelly 1982
Mike Errity 1982
Frank Higgins 1982
Rick Miessau 1982
William Murdoch, Coach
Ralph O'Connor, Coach
Robert Schroeder, Coach
Dr. Andrew Laudano, Team Doctor
Dorothy Grave Hoyt 1979, Team Manager