VERONA, NJ — More than 200 West Orange athletes, coaches, family members and friends recently gathered at the Ridgefield Regency in Verona link past and present at the 24th Athletic Hall of Fame 2019 Induction Ceremony.
Spirits were high and memories fond as several current inductees in attendance were introduced. Throughout the evening, the new members were introduced by family members or former coaches.
This year’s inductees and presenters were as follows:
David Levine – 1988 (Football) … presented by Ron Miller, Coach
Toby Byrd - 1990 (Football/Cross Country/Track) … presented by Kioka Mercer, Sister
Kyle Perdelwitz – 2004 (Boys Soccer) … presented by Doug Nevins, Coach
Louis Antenor – 2005 (Track and Field) … presented by Paul Zaragoza, Cousin
Jeffrey Mazurek – 2005 (Wrestling) … presented by Stephan Zichella, Coach
Jacob Simon - 2006 (Hockey) … presented by Thomas Gargiulo, Coach
Lou Mignone (Lefty Boland Award) … presented by Louis Mignone, Son
Joseph Picataggio (Coaches’ Award) … presented by Joseph Suriano, Friend
Team Induction — 2007 Wrestling Team … presented by Coach Stephan Zichella and Captain Dave Joisil
To read all about the new inductees, see a list of current inductees, and learn more about the Hall of Fame, download the program here.
Requirements for induction are as follows:
- Must be a graduate of West Orange or Mountain High School.
- Must be graduated for at least ten years prior to his or her induction.
- Achieved athletic excellence during his or her tenure at West Orange or Mountain High School, or upon his or her graduation from high school.
- Has not brought dishonor either upon either the high school or themselves.
For the Lefty Boland or Coaches Award, “a person may be elected if not a graduate of West Orange or Mountain High School if, in the opinion of the committee, he or she has made significant contributions to the athletic programs of the township’s schools, or significantly supported, mentored and assisted town youth groups activities.”
The event program explained that in October 1987, a group of West Orange residents had a vision that would “honor the legacies of West Orange athletics as a way to pay tribute to the heroes of the past and encourage the current and future youths of the town to strive for their full potential as athletes and citizens.” A year after the West Orange Athletic Hall of Fame Committee was formed, the community held its first Induction Dinner and continues to do so more than 30 years later.
“It is our way of formally recognizing the excellence and achievements of these former athletes who have graced our fields and our courts with the spirit that has made us all proud to be a part of West Orange," the committee stated in the program.
The event celebrated the special bonds that are formed in athletics between teammates and coaches and recognized the sacrifice many parents made to provide the opportunities for their athletes to succeed. More than one tear was shed as memories were shared and long-lost friends reunited amid the spirit of family that is the West Orange community.
The West Orange Athletic Hall of Fame was organized with volunteer assistance from West Orange High School Principal Hayden Moore, wrestling/baseball coach Stephan Zichella, girls and boys volleyball coach Jackie Cruz, assistant principal and Hall of Fame co-president Louis DellaPia and teacher and student council advisor Catherine Connors.
Although the West Orange Athletic Hall of Fame is an independent organization that is not funded by or part of West Orange Public Schools, positively impacting communication to the West Orange community is an important goal during the 2019-2020 school year.