ROXBURY, NJ – The annual Roxbury High School Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place May 6 and tickets are now on sale, according school district spokesperson Ann Rhodes.
Rhodes, in a statement, said more than 200 alumni and community members are expected to attend the event, scheduled for 5 p.m. in the high school dining hall.
“Established officially in 1903, Roxbury High School has a long-standing history of athletic excellence,” wrote Rhodes. “From conference titles to state championships, Roxbury’s athletic prowess has made the school a leader in New Jersey sports for many years, and Roxbury’s athletes have earned honors in more than twenty sports while building a tradition of athletic excellence.”
The hall of fame was established in 2012.
The recipients of the awards are chosen by a committee composed of administrators, teachers, coaches, former athletes and community members, said Rhodes. Those chosen are selected in recognition of their “outstanding achievement and contribution to the Roxbury High School athletic program,” she said.
Those honored this year will be:
Bruce Canfield, class of 1967. Canfield won the 1966 state wrestling championship in the 106-pound weight class. He was a District 2 champion in 1965 and 1966 and a runner-up in 1967. Canfield wrestled under 2014 Roxbury Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee Richard Mirshak and finished his career at Roxbury with a 67-9 record. Canfield was featured in the “Faces in the Crowd” segment of the Jan. 23, 1967 edition of Sports Illustrated.
Michael Distefano, class of 1994. Distefano holds the single season boys soccer scoring record at Roxbury High School, tallying 19 goals and 18 assists during his senior year. He was a 4-year starter for the Gaels, receiving All Iron Hills Conference, All-Morris County and All-State honors in his junior and senior years. Distefano captained the team that won the 1993 Iron Hills Conference Iron Division Championship, the first in school history. He attended Providence College in Rhode Island.
Corey Hamman, class of 1998. Hamman was a member of three consecutive Morris County Championship baseball teams at Roxbury in 1996, 1997 and 1998. He was named to the All-Morris County team twice and was selected to the All-State team in 1998. Following his high school career, Hamman played at Montclair State University and was named MVP of the College World Series in 2000. In 2002, he was drafted in the 12th round by the Detroit Tigers. His professional career lasted ten years, during which he reached the AAA level in the Tigers and Pittsburgh Pirates organizations. Hamman is currently the head baseball coach of Lacey Township High School.
Ariann Neutts, class of 2009. Neutts is one of the most decorated track athletes in school history. She was a member of the 2006 team that won the 4x1 mile at the Nike Outdoor National Championship and the 4x800 meter relay team that won the Penn Relays in 2008. Neutts was a member of five different State Group III championship relay teams during her career. She won multiple Morris County and state section championships in the 800-Meter and 1600-Meter. Neutts attended Villanova University where she was a 2-time All-American and 3-time Big East champion in the relays. In 2011, she was part of the distance medley relay team that won the national championship.
Erica Peschken, class of 2005. Peschken is the first individual girls soccer player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. She was a 4-year letter winner for the Gaels. Peschken earned All Iron Hills Conferences honors twice, All-Morris County honors three times, and All-State honors twice. She led the Gaels to a 19-3-3 mark as a junior, scoring 14 goals and assisting on 15 others. As a senior, Peschken netted 21 goals and had 27 assists as she helped her team finish with a 21-3-2 record. She continued her soccer career at California State University, Fullerton.
Richard Spitzer, class of 1979. Spitzer was a first team, all-state lineman for the Roxbury football team that was a 1978 Iron Division tri-champion in 1978. He represented the Gaels in the North/South All-Star game as well as the East/West game. Spitzer would go on to become a 3-year starter for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and captain of the 1982 team. He signed professional contracts with the Seattle Seahawks (NFL) and Pittsburgh Maulers (USFL). Spitzer was also an award-winning wrestler who placed in both the districts and the regionals.
Frank Dekmar, 1983-2017. Dekmar is the most successful coach in Gaels basketball history. He guided the Lady Gaels program to 234 victories and two Iron Hills Conference Iron Division championships. Dekmar graduated from Lenape Valley High School in 1979, having played football for legendary football coach Don Smolyn before attending Seton Hall University. Dekmar was an assistant varsity football coach at Roxbury High School from 1983–2017 and helped the Gaels win three state championships and seven conference titles. He also served as an assistant softball coach for many years.
The 1992 Softball Team will also be inducted into the hall of fame. Coached by Dale Garlick, the team won the Iron Hills Conference Iron Division title and the Group IV State Championship. Finishing with a record of 23–5, it was the first team in Roxbury High School history to ever win a state group playoff championship.
Tickets for the event can be purchased at www.roxbury.org/HallOfFame or in Roxbury High School Athletic Office at 1 Bryant Drive in Succasunna, NJ 07876. Tickets are $29 each for adults and $19 each for children 6-12 years old.