The Oswego Alumni
Association inducted a half dozen former athletes into the Athletic Hall of
Fame Oct. 24.
Former sports journalist and
adjunct professor Jeff Rea ’71
hosted a ceremony attended by about 100 family and friends in Sheldon Hall.
Women’s soccer standout Melisa Verdoliva
’99; former lacrosse captains Daniel
Bartlett ’96 and Greg Peel ’94;
baseball and basketball star John Wynne
’66; three-letter athlete John
Canale ’47 M ’50; and All-American wrestler Ralph Pizzo ’71 comprised this year’s class.
“Anyone who has ever lived
at Oswego State has loved it,” said Rea, who played basketball as a student.
Each inductee spoke of the personal connections they made through Laker sports.
Verdoliva called soccer her
“lifeline” as a student. A current girls
soccer coach in the Oswego
District, Verdoliva said her proudest collegiate
moment was her 50th career goal in her senior year after battling back from injury.
The first of two lacrosse
players inducted, Bartlett said his teammates were the best people he has ever
met. The former All-American said he was proud to be a part of the 1996 Eastern
Collegiate Athletic Conference championship team that “put Laker lacrosse on
the national map."
Peel’s speech was a
testimony of struggle and perseverance for someone who had “no lacrosse skills
in high school.” The 1994 All-American
said he developed at Oswego through hard work and dedication practicing
everyday on his own before team practices. Peel also attributed his professional
success as a vice president at Paychex to the time he spent at Oswego.
Wynne, the 1966 Oswego State
Player of the Year, counted his pitching appearance in the Division II regional
championship at Yankee Stadium as a major highlight in his collegiate career.
“Thank you all for adding another
great memory to my life,” said Wynne, who was also a member of the 1964
conference champion basketball team.
Canale was honored for his
success in soccer, basketball and baseball.
He paid tribute to a Laker sports legend in his acceptance speech.
“I am here because of one
person ... Max G. Ziel,” Canale said. “[I’m] proud that this plaque will be
under Max Ziel's in Laker Hall.”
Ralph Pizzo and his twin brother
Casper ’71, who presented Ralph with
his plaque, both spoke affectionately about their alma mater. The brothers thanked Oswego State
wrestling coach emeritus and charter member of the Oswego State Athletic Hall of Fame
Jim Howard for his efforts to bring the brothers to the Oswego campus and for
their experiences as student athletes at Oswego State.
The 2009 Oswego
Athletic Hall of Fame class are, back row, from left: lacrosse players Daniel Bartlett ’96 and Greg Peel ’94 with wrestler Ralph Pizzo ’71. Appearing front row,
from left: women’s soccer player Melisa
Verdoliva ’99; three-sport athlete John
Canale ’47 M ’50; and pitcher John
Wynne ’66, who also played basketball.
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