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Hall of Fame 2012

Ridgewood High School 
Athletic Hall of Fame 
Class of 2012


Craig Halyard
1989 Track and Field

In the annals of the rich track and field tradition at Ridgewood High School, Craig Halyard remains a notch above the rest.  A graduate of the class of 1989, Craig is the finest long jumper and triple jumper in RHS history and one of the best jumpers ever in the state of New Jersey.  More than two decades after graduation, he remains the best triple jumper in Bergen County history.  In fact, several records he set in state and regional competitions still stand.  He earned first team all-Bergen County honors a jaw-dropping eleven times for both the long and triple jumps in both indoor and outdoor track.  His list of accomplishments is topped off by his still standing Indoor New Jersey State record (set over 22 years ago) in the triple jump of 49’61/4”. He was named the New Jersey State indoor triple jumper of the 20th Century by the Newark Star Ledger.

While his first love may have been basketball, he was drawn to track and field to emulate the career of fellow New Jersey jumper and Olympian Carl Lewis.  A trip to the Penn Relays when he was a freshman and where he ran on the 4x100 meter relay team further convinced him that this was his sport.  Still, it wasn’t until Coach Dick Van Yperen (Mr. Van) persuaded him to try the triple jump that he found the perfect event.  In his very first competitive triple jump as a sophomore, he was the instant county leader.  By the end of the indoor season, he was fourth in the Eastern States Championships, setting a New Jersey sophomore class record. That same year he was named first-team all-county in the indoor triple jump, a feat he repeated for the next two years.  He made the first-team all-county team in the outdoor triple jump his junior and senior years.   He was the Outdoor Eastern States champion in 1988 and the Eastern States Champion in 1989 with a record-setting triple jump that still endures.  

In fact 1989 was a remarkable year for Craig.  His accomplishments competing against the top high school athletes in the country in the triple jump that year include a third place in the Penn Relays Invitational; second place, Arcadia (CA) Invitational track meet; fifth place, Golden West Invitational, and fifth place, Keebler Invitational.  

While he was best known as a triple jumper, he was equally proficient in the high school long jump.   He was named first-team all-county in the long jump for both indoor and outdoor seasons in both 1988 and 1989.  He was the NNJIL Group 4 champion for the outdoor long jump in 1989.  Competing during the indoor season, he won the Dartmouth Invitational long jump in 1989, the same year he finished in fourth place in the same event in the National Scholastic Indoor Track and Field Championships.  In 1988, he finished second at the Eastern States Indoor Track and Field Championships.  He also won Brown Invitational, setting still another meet record. 

A three-time varsity letter winner in both indoor and outdoor track, he also found time to earn two varsity letters in soccer before giving up the sport to focus on jumping.  Two of his all-county honors were for his roles on both indoor and outdoor 4x400 meter relays, the outdoor race setting a then Bergen County record in 1988.  But it was success at still another track event that he remembers most.  Shortly before the 1989 Dartmouth Invitational, Mr. Van suggested he try the hurdles.  While he won both the long jump and triple jumps at the Dartmouth event, setting meet records in both, he is more proud of finishing third in the hurdles, competing against some of the nation’s top hurdlers.

When it came time to choose a college, Craig joined two of his RHS track teammates, including fellow nationally ranked triple jumper and RHS Hall of Fame inductee Jen McDermott, in going to Georgetown where he continued his winning ways focusing solely on the triple jump.  A four-year varsity letter winner in both indoor and outdoor track and field and co-captain of the squads his senior year, he was Big East champion in the indoor triple jump (1990), Big East outdoor  triple jump champ (1991 and 1993), and IC4A Champion in the outdoor triple jump (1992).  He placed ninth at the NCAA National Championship in the outdoor triple jump in 1992.   Competing on the USATF circuit, he was fourth at the USA Junior National Championships in the outdoor triple jump and was named an alternate on the US Junior Track and Field team.

Much of the credit for his success he owes to Mr. Van whom he says was the best coach he ever had at any level.  Besides describing him as a great motivator, Craig says he was greatly influenced by the life lessons the coach instilled in his athletes.

RHS, was also a great place according to Craig. He remembers fondly the travel opportunities and the support he received and says he could not have had a better high school experience.
After Georgetown, Craig went on to receive an MBA from Columbia University and has spent his career in fixed income sales and trading on Wall Street.  He is currently with Scotia Bank.  He and his wife Kelli, a publicist for CBS News, are the parents of two young sons, Scottie and Alex, and live in Scarsdale, NY.



Tom Flatt
Golf 1991

Tom Flatt joins a long line of Ridgewood High School Hall of Fame Inductees who have stayed connected to their sport well after their days at RHS and throughout their life.  Tom graduated from RHS in 1991 as one of the greatest golfers to ever walk the fairways for the Maroons.  He earned numerous honors while at Ridgewood and earned a full athletic scholarship for golf at St. John’s University where he played four years for the storied “Johnnies” golf program.  After graduating from St. John’s, Tom began a career in the golf business as a PGA golf professional.  He has worked as a Professional at some of the finest golf and country clubs in northern New Jersey including; the Ridgewood Country Club, Arcola Country Club and is currently the Head PGA Golf Professional at Apple Ridge Country Club in Mahwah.  He joins his fellow Ridgewood High School Class of 1991 classmates Linda Zabielski and Jodi Hartwig in the RHS Hall of Fame.

While at Ridgewood High School Tom was a rare four year starter and four year Varsity letter winner for the Maroon “Duffers”, captaining the team in both the 1990 and 1991 seasons.  He earned 2nd Team All-NNJIL honors in 1988, 1st Team All-NNJIL honors in 1989, 1990, and 1991 and 1st Team All-Bergen County accolades in 1989, 1990, and 1991 as well.  In 1990 he won the Dan Luciano County Golf Championship and the Group IV Individual State Championship.  In 1991 he won the NNJIL Individual Championship as well as the Bergen County Golf  League Individual Championship.  In his Ridgewood High School career, Flatt only lost a total of 5 head to head matches and was selected a National High School All-American.

Flatt moved on to St. John’s University where he was a 4 year letter winner and Captain of the 1994 and 1995 teams.  He made the Academic All-Big East Team 3 times and was 1st Team All-Big East his Senior year when he also won the Met Intercollegiate Qualifier.  He remains in the game of golf as not only the Head Professional at Apple Ridge Country Club but as one of the most respected and sought out teachers of the game of golf in the North Jersey area.  He has built a great reputation as someone who can work with and teach players of all levels of ability in a very understated and professional manner.  As many other Ridgewood High School Hall of Fame members have done before him he continues to be involved in the sport he played at Ridgewood and gives back to that sport, especially in mentoring and working with some of the best young golfers in the State of New Jersey.  Tom enters the RHS Hall of Fame as the first golfer to be so honored, but he joins a long list of inductees who have made “their sport” something central to their adult lives.  His achievement on the golf course both at the high school and college levels and his continued efforts and involvement with the sport he loves makes him another great addition to the Ridgewood High School Athletic Hall of Fame. 



Tricia Pappalardo 
1995 Soccer

Tricia Pappalardo is regarded by her Ridgewood High School Coach Jeff Yearing as one of the best all around soccer players ever to come through the Maroons program. In his 26 year tenure as head coach of the program he noted it was rare to see a high school player with the technical ability and tactical knowledge to play with such expertise at any position needed during competition. He also noted her desire to succeed as a player and as a team was contagious. She truly was a leader by example!

Succeed she did along with her RHS teammates for four varsity seasons contributing to varsity teams 1991 through 1994 that accumulated a total record of 80 wins 8 losses and 1 tie. Her career included 4 NNJIL league championships while remaining undefeated in league play for all 4 of her varsity seasons. 
While playing for the Maroon and White, Tricia was a part of 2 Bergen County tournament titles. In 1993 RHS defeated arch rival Ramapo High School 3-2 on the same field and on the same day that the Ridgewood boys won their county championship match, giving the two soccer programs their only county double title in school history. Tricia’s 1994 squad tied Ramapo 0-0 in the county final giving Ridgewood its second consecutive Bergen County title which was shared with Ramapo’s Green Raiders as co champions and allowed Ridgewood to claim its only triple crown (league, county and state titles) in program history. Tricia’s 1991 squad also made it to the Bergen County finals losing a heart breaking 2-1 decision in the final 20 seconds of regulation to Northern Highlands. 

Tricia’s 1992 and 1994 squads won NJSIAA North 1 Group 4 state sectional championships while the 1993 team made it to the Sec 1 Group 4 final losing a heart breaking match to Vernon in a major upset that gave the Maroons their only loss for the season and a finishing mark of 20-1. In the 1994 state sectional final which was decided on penalty kicks, Pappalardo took the winning strike as the 5th and final shooter before sudden death. 

From 1991 to 1994 The Ridgewood Teams that Tricia was a part of never finished out of the top 10 rankings for the state of New Jersey and made it up to the NSCAA national ranking of #7 in 1993 while also achieving NSCAA national rankings of #17 in 92 and #13 in 94.In 1993 the team finished as the #1 team in Bergen county.

Coach Yearing commented “that depending on the competition for the day he would decide to use Tricia as a striker, central or outside midfielder or defensively as a central back or an outside marking back. At times she may have played 2 or 3 different positions in a match if it was required. On many occasions we would discuss the situation and decide together what was required of her play that day. In the 1994 county semi final against a stubborn Midland Park squad, Tricia and her team mates asked to move her forward releasing her from her defensive duties of holding a great Midland Park striker in check.Yearing recounts “At halftime I asked the team if that is what they wanted .They agreed, and Tricia responded by scoring two goals .The team backed her up by holding the Panthers scoreless in the second half and Ridgewood was on its way to another title. I believe she also would have gone in the goal if she thought it was needed to win a match that day!”

Having been an important part of the Maroons varsity basketball program lettering her last three seasons as part of Coach Rebecca Knucks-Gattoni’s championship hoop squads, there is no doubt that Tricia would have carried out that assignment with all star ability.

In her four varsity seasons at RHS Tricia scored 35 goals and added 15 assists for a total of 85 points that places her 19th on Ridgewood’s all time list for points. Her 35 goals is 17th all time, an amazing mark for a player that spent half of her career in defensive roles.

In 1992, her sophomore season, Tricia was selected 2nd team all NNJIL which was significant since selection was made from a 12 team field at that time in the leagues alignment.

In 1993 Tricia achieved recognition as a 1st team All NNJIL Back,2nd team All Bergen County Back,2nd team All Suburban  Back and All State for the North 1 region by the New Jersey Girls Soccer Coaches Association (NJGSCA).
In 1994 Tricia played out of the shadow of some of her former and now “RHS Hall of Fame” team mates Wendy Hartwig and Aimee McGuire, and really amazed the New Jersey soccer world with her ambition and desire to play, lead and achieve. She was named a team Co Capt. with Univ. of Delaware bound Erika Bauer.

That season it all came together for Tricia scoring 10 goals and adding 3 assists, she was named: 1st team All NNJIL Back,1st team All Bergen County Back,1st team All suburban Back,1st Team All Area Back by the Paterson Herald News,1st team All State All Regions by the New Jersey Girls Soccer Coaches Association(NJGSCA) making her one of the top 20 players in the state,1st team All Groups as a back by the Newark Star Ledger, All East and a member of the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) All American team as a back. Further she was recognized by the NJGSCA and the NSCAA as the New Jersey Player of the Year. She was selected for and participated in the NJGSCA senior showcase match that year for the North 1 team.

Tricia was recruited by the University of Alabama and played for the Crimson Tide for four varsity seasons primarily as a marking back. She notes that she played in all 20 of Alabama’s matches as a freshman while lettering in all four of her varsity campaigns. While playing in the SEC for four seasons Tricia had the responsibility of marking (defending) some of the best women’s soccer talent to walk on the collegiate pitch during that era of the American women’s game. In her final season at Alabama the Tide made it to the NCAA tournament representing the University as the first Alabama soccer team to do so. 

In 2000 the Bergen Record named Tricia to its All Century Team for the 1900’s. 



Mike Henderson
1961 Football, Basketball, Track and Field


Mike Henderson graduated from Ridgewood High School in the spring of 1961 honored not only as the outstanding Athlete of his class with the 1961 “Excellence in Athletics Award” but also as one of the pre-eminent “Three Sport Athletes” in Ridgewood High School history.  His accomplishments which were news worthy and outstanding in their own right in 1961and beyond are even more significant and extraordinary when compared to today’s era of one sport “specialists.”  Perhaps the most impressive aspect of his athletic achievements is the fact that he was so successful in all three of his chosen sports; football, basketball, and track and field.  Many athletes have a dominant or primary sport followed by other sports that they may have also played but Mike Henderson excelled in all three of his chosen sports.  He was also the epitome of a true “student athlete” who achieved in the class room as well as on the fields, courts and cinders for the Maroons.  Upon graduation from Ridgewood High School Henderson went on to the Ivy League at Brown University and from there to New York Medical College for a degree in medicine and then on to a long career as a Radiologist before retiring recently.

A two time varsity letter winner on the gridiron for the Maroons, Henderson was a First Team All-Suburban and Second Team All-State tight end for the 1960 State Champion squad.  In basketball he earned two more varsity letters averaging 12 points a game for the NNJIL Champion RHS hoopers his senior year, shooting 81% from the free throw line and was chosen for the All-Bergen County team.  When the spring rolled around and the weather got warm Henderson really showed what he could do as a competitor.  A three time varsity letter winner and two time Captain of the Ridgewood High School Track and Field team, Henderson won NNJIL Championships in the 440 yd. dash his Junior year and NNJIL Championships in the 100 and 220 yd. dashes his Senior year including running a blistering 9.8 seconds in the 100 yd. dash at Glen Rock High School. He finished 5th in the New Jersey State Championships in the 100 yd. dash and second in the State in the 220 yd. dash.  He also finished 5th in the 220 yd. dash in the Mid-Atlantic Championships. Cementing his legacy as one of the best all-around athletes in Ridgewood High School history Henderson won the first ever Bergen County Decathlon Championship in the spring of 1961.

He went on to compete in track at Brown University where he captained the undefeated 1964-1965 indoor and outdoor track and field teams while setting the Brown school record in the 440 yd. dash (48.1)   Henderson finished 2nd in the New England Championships and 3rd in the prestigious Heptagonal Championships in the 440 yd. dash.  Mike Henderson enters the Ridgewood High School Athletic Hall of Fame having competed in an era where competition was fierce and deep.  His records, accomplishments and his legacy have stood the test of time.  A truly special three sport student athlete, Henderson rightfully takes his place in the Hall of Fame as another contributor to Ridgewood High School’s Tradition of Excellence. 



Kandie Latham 
1975 Track and Field


Kandie was a kid before her time, what we call  a pioneer,  but she helped establish  traditions  that continue today.  She came out to the 2nd RHS track team in 1973 and the 1st RHS cross country team in 1974  when there were few girls’ high school Teams in North Jersey; Title 9 existed only as a law just written, and girls track wasn’t on people’s minds as a sport to be taken seriously.    When Kandie graduated in 1975 there was a dawning of girl’s high school sports in North Jersey, Kandie had helped The Ridgewood Girls establish a national record and had a state championship medal in her pocket and Ridgewood had a recognized track and field program. 

Kandie’s running career had many examples of those early frustrations.  For a woman to even come out for a sport in 1973 was a challenge over peer group influence.  When she started track Kandie quickly established herself as the fastest kid on the team.  But what to do with it.  There was no league champs, or country champs to develop your embryonic skills. Seasons were quickly over and you waited 6 or 8 months for the next year’s seasons to evolve.  

Then to a larger example of frustration for the athletes of the era, Kandie’s college career was cut short by lack of support and lack of interest.  Kandie went to Villanova to study nursing and ran for them for her Frosh year.  She participated in the AIAW national championship.  The Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women was the organization that over saw college women’s athletics prior to Title 9 implementation and prior to the NCAA taking an interest in college women’s sports. But college sports at the time were not sympathetic to a woman who wanted to excel.  Kandie’s class schedule made practice difficult and the Villanova men’s coach would not let the women on the track during the men’s practice time.  He was afraid the girls would be distracting to his boys!  So after one year of college running Kandie quit and focused on her nursing studies.  A New Jersey champion finding no support at a school with a famous men’s program:   But that was the athletic landscape for women in 1975.  
A closer look at Kandie’s Ridgewood career will give a better idea of her tremendous contribution.  RHS was a 3 year high school at that time so Kandie’s first experience was her sophomore year and as a “fast kid” she ran a lot of sprint races for the team, but in those days the schedule consisted of  a few local dual meets and a couple of Saturday relay meets.  Not exactly a program that was going to develop a state level talent.  But her work ethic and attitude helped create a track and field athletic team.   Kandie was on a relay team at the Long Branch Relays (a long established meet that had added a few girls events) that won Ridgewood’s first medals of any kind.   The entire team exploded with excitement at the accomplishment of one of their relays.   

Kandie’s junior year her coaches recognized that she had some talent in the middle distances and convinced her to run the 880 yard run in a 2 mile relay event at The Red Bank Catholic Relays.  At the time Penn Relays had no high school women’s events and the Red Bank Relays were offered as alternative to Penn.  Ridgewood had a trio of great 880 girls (Jane Green, Cindy Hansen, and Nancy Reed) and needed a 4th for the relay.  The coaches convinced Kandie to “move up” to the 2 lap event for just this one race.  Kandie joined this group for several weeks of focused training under distance coach Bob Stickles and in her first 880 yard race Kandie lead off the team with a time that would have scored in the State Championship later in the season.  She handed off a lead and the rest of the team ran equally well and Ridgewood established a new National High School Record.  In those days there were no real governing bodies but a publication called Women’s Track and Field World kept track of High School marks and Ridgewood High School Girl’s Track and Field received its first national recognition.   Kandie went back to her signature event and placed 6th  in the New Jersey State Championship in the 440 yard dash.  Kandie’s junior year accomplishment was a remarkable   National relay record and 6th in New Jersey in her event.

In the fall of 1974 Ridgewood started a girls’ cross country team and Kandie again put on her pioneer shoes and took her speed to the distance event.  She and her friend, Jean Leach,  quickly established themselves as the best distance runners at Ridgewood.  An unfortunate ankle sprain at Garret Mountain kept Kandie from running in the State Meet.  But Ridgewood had established itself with a cross country program that soon gained area wide recognition.  Kandie and Jean lead with an attitude of excellence that still permeates Ridgewood’s distance program.

She and Jean then  went out for Winter Track at Ridgewood High School their senior year.  They were the first and only girls on a team that had been all boys up to this point.  Kandie raced on the old 168th Armory board track (the place where anyone who fell had a load of splinters to remove!).  Training with the boys was challenging but gave Kandie a background of endurance that enabled a great spring season to unfold.   With new found endurance this “fast kid” was able to move up to the 880 yard run and make it her event.  Losing only once her entire senior spring she toed the line at Rutgers Stadium cinder track  in the 2nd State Championship meet for high school girls.  She won the gold with a  new meet record and left a legacy of excellence that Ridgewood runners still feel today. 

Kandie has had a very successful career in the health care industry.    She has two daughters who have excelled in sport and her husband Mike is a successful lacrosse coach.  She lives in Glen Rock,  ironically only a few blocks from her high school coaches.   Her life from athlete to mother of athletes and wife of a coach has spanned a history of girls’ sports that has been quite remarkable. 



Leigh Jester 
2003 Lacrosse, Soccer

All one has to do is to start reading all of the amazing statistics connected to Leigh Jester’s profile to understand what a high caliber athlete she was both during her Ridgewood High School playing career and during her career at Duke University. But Leigh’s resume goes far deeper than just athletic accomplishments.

As the saying goes champions are made and not born. Leigh jester knows what work ethic is all about and she took advantage of every opportunity to take the talent she had and magnify it 100 times through hard work, determination and maximum use of talent.

A four year varsity player in the soccer program at Ridgewood, Leigh had an outstanding career and could have gone to many schools at any divisional level and had an outstanding soccer career. But, her higher level talents were developed in the game of lacrosse. So much so that she ended her career at Ridgewood as an All American and a member of the U19 United States Women’s lacrosse World Cup Championship Team. Only 16 players were selected in the country to participate on that squad and Ridgewood’s Leigh Jester was one of them!

As an RHS soccer player Leigh was a part of two NNJIL championship teams in 2000 and 2002 .In 2001 her team made it to the state sectional final. Leigh was a Co. Capt. of the team her senior year and was a true leader by example. During her soccer career at RHS she appeared in 90 varsity matches for the Maroons accumulating a total of 36 goals ( Ranked 14th at RHS all time today) and 38 assists( Ranked 6th All Time at RHS today).She played a variety of positions mainly from the midfield and front runner slots and her accumulated point total of 110 ranks her at #12 today on the RHS all time scoring list .She earned 1st team All NNJIL honors and New Jersey Girls Soccer Coaches Association (NJGSCA)All State recognition both her junior and senior seasons.

RHS Head Women’s Soccer Coach Jeff Yearing describes Leigh’s play as” technically proficient (she was great on the ball) and tactically advanced. Her ability to read the match and to apply herself on both sides of the ball made her a tremendous all around soccer player .She is the kind of soccer player coaches would love to have at every position, because she understood what had to be done at every position on the field while she was engaged in the competition. She could see the game and could think ahead in regard to the ball movement .This allowed Leigh to put herself in the most advantageous positions offensively or defensively making her one of the most efficient and dangerous players of the field match after match! ! Her vision made our team better by making all the other players around her better!

If that wasn’t enough there was lacrosse!! A four year starter for the lacrosse team starting in the spring of 2000 Leigh’s career seemed to parallel the growth of the women’s lacrosse team at the school.As a freshman Leigh contributed 17 goals and 3 assists to a team that had an overall record of 7 wins and 6 losses. Time was an ally to Leigh who seemed to hit a lacrosse growth spurt between her freshman and sophomore seasons. A first team all league selection Leigh took over as Ridgewood’s leading scorer with 43 goals and 25 assists helping to take the team to a 14 and 4 record. By her junior season Leigh was voted Captain of the team was again 1st team all league scored 57 goals and had 40 assists while leading the Maroons to their first state sectional final in women’s lacrosse. She was the team’s MVP for the season while also gaining a 2nd team all state slot and honorable mention All American honors. Also an Academic All American that season Leigh was selected for the first time to the US Lacrosse Associations U19 24 player training camp.

As Leigh approached her senior season her game grew proportionally with her experience. Her senior season included scoring 67 goals while dishing out 50 assists. The team ended with a 17-4 record while achieving a league championship and the first state sectional championship with a thrilling 11-10 victory vs. West Morris Mendham. 
Again Leigh achieved 1st team all league status and also was named 1st team all state. She was voted THE RECORD Newspaper player of the year in 2003.She also made the US women’s U19 national team that year and competed in and won the U19 world championship.

Leigh finished her Ridgewood High School lacrosse career with 184 goals, 118 assists for 302 total points. In 2010 THE RECORD newspaper named her the North Jersey player of the decade.

Leigh went on to have a fabulous lacrosse career at Duke University .In 2004 she scored 23 goals and had 4 assists for the blue Devils .A member of the ACC All tournament team she  was named to the Division 1 All American Rookie team and  was named Duke’s co rookie of the year. Beyond Duke Leigh was part of the US Women’s Lacrosse developmental team for 2004 – 2005.

In 2005 she was again named to the ACC All tournament team and also the NCAA All Tournament team.She was also selected to the US lacrosse developmental team again for 2005-06 while gaining recognition on the ACC All academic honor roll. She finished the season with 38 goals and 13 assists while starting all but one match for the 17-4 Blue Devils
Her junior season showed more scoring with Leigh netting 40 goals and giving 16 assists starting all 21 games for a n18-3 Duke squad. She was voted to the All ACC team, the US lacrosse All American team and was Dukes Most Valuable Attack Player. She also made the move to the US Women’s Lacrosse Elite team

Her senior season Leigh was voted a pre season 1st team All American. She lived up to the billing by scoring 40 goals and giving 30 assists helping Duke to a 16 and 4 record. She started all 20 games  at Attack  earning a spot on the All ACC women’s lacrosse team and a place on the US Lacrosse All American team. Again she was selected to play on the US women’s lacrosse Elite team.

Academically Leigh was excelling at a pace equal to what she was showing on the lacrosse field.She was a Deans list student many times while also being named several; times to the All ACC Academic ream. In 2007 she received the prestigious Waver-James-Corrigan post graduate scholarship award from the ACC for post graduate study.

Her Blue Devil statistics place her among the elite that have played the game at that level with 141 goals for Duke while giving 63 assists .She accumulated 204 points while starting in 80 of 81 career matches for Duke. She currently holds the record for most games started and is tied for 3rd in most games played. She is currently ranked 8th all time in goals scored for Duke and 8th all time in assists. Her point total currently puts her 7th all time in the Duke record books.
When asked who her first choice would be for a women’s lacrosse player to be inducted in to the Ridgewood Athletic Hall would be, current Ridgewood High School coach Karla Mixon  immediately answered “Leigh Jester”. There is little doubt that Leigh Jester set the standard that so many Maroon Lacrosse players strive to achieve today. 

Upon graduation from Duke, Leigh enrolled at Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) to obtain a Masters Degree in Architecture.  Leigh graduated “With Distinction” from SCI-Arc and was one of five students to receive the prestigious “Best Thesis” award.  Leigh is currently living in New York, playing Lacrosse for the New York Athletic Club and working for the architecture firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM).



Tom Dusel 
1962 Football

An exceptional blocker and feared tackler Tom Dusel, at 195 pounds, was a coach’s dream as a two-way player which was  the norm for outstanding players of that era. Tom played Offensive Guard and on Defense either defensive end or linebacker. He played football for coach Roger Sweeney 1959-1962, and was named Ridgewood High School’s outstanding athlete for the Class of 1962 in his senior year.

Recognition among his peers came quickly to Tom. In 1959 he was named to the Ridgewood News All suburban 1st team and in  1960  he was named a 1st team guard on the All NNJIL and All Bergen County  teams as well as 1st team All Suburban .He was also named  to the New York Daly News Bergen/Passaic All Star team as the only junior on the squad representing the top 60 high school football players in the Metropolitan area for the 1960 season. Tom would repeat the feat again as a senior for the 1961 season. Also in 1961 Tom was again awarded  1st team All NNJIL ,1st team All Suburban and  1st team All Bergen  County laurels as a senior. He was also named All State (all groups) second team that same year.

In Tom’s  junior year, he helped the Maroons to be named a Group 4 Co-State Champion.
In his senior year Tom served as Co Capt of the 6-2 Maroon football team and had the then rarity of earning 3 varsity letters in the sport at a time when most sophomores in a 3 year high school did not see varsity competition until their junior season.

As a well rounded athlete and  fierce competitor, the gridiron wasn’t the only playing field where Tom excelled. He played baseball for three years earning three varsity letters and was team co-captain in his junior and senior years. He also earned two varsity letters in three years of varsity basketball. In the spring of 1962 Tom and team mate Bob Frame were named co recipients of  Ridgewood High School’s highest athletic recognition “The RHS Award For Excellence in Athletics” now called the “Dave Vanderbush Award“. 

Tom continued his football career at the US Military Academy at West Point playing guard and linebacker for three years before moving to center in his final campaign. He  played every down on offense, including long snaps. His favorite collegiate memory was beating arch rival  Navy and Roger Staubach. In West Point’s system of rotating captains Tom led the team in a victory over Rutgers and was awarded the game ball.

Upon graduation from West Point Tom was commissioned and trained as an artillery officer. He took his Airborne and Rangers training at Ft.Benning Ga.He was assigned initially to Ft Carson Co. as a generals aide and while there shared a house with some Army dentists leading to an interest in th.e field.

In November 1968 Tom was assigned to the 1st division in Vietnam as an artillery liaison officer to an infantry battalion. He was responsible for all artillery support (105mm,155mm Howitzers) for the combat infantry companies within the battalion. The four companies in Tom’s battalion were spread out over a large area of operations and were seeing significant enemy contact.

Tom’s second half of his one year tour was to be spent as a battery commander, but he didn’t get a chance to fulfill that part of his duty assignment. In March of 1969 while under heavy enemy fire (Tom describes it as “All hell broke loose”) an enemy mortar round landed very close to him.

Seriously wounded he was helicoptered out to a field medical unit, then on to hospitals in Vietnam and Japan for the next month. From there it was back to Fort Dix in New Jersey for recuperation.Tom and his wife Addie then lived with his parents in Ridgewood until he was healthy enough to resume active duty.

At Christmas time in 1967 Tom had met an old Ridgewood High School acquaintance, Addie Hamel, while on leave skiing in Colorado. As Tom describes it ‘Things fell into place” and they were Married in June of 1968 before Tom went to Southeast Asia.

After recuperating, Tom was reassigned to the recruiting Command at Presido,San Francisco where he remained until the end of his military career in 1970.

Taking advantage of his time in San Francisco to also pursue his ambitions to go to dental school ,Tom was able to complete pre requisite courses for dental school at night and in September of 1970 started dental school at The University of the Pacific in San Francisco.

Graduating in 1974 Tom bought a practice in San Jose and their family made Saratoga California home for 25 years. Daughter Kimberly was born in 1973 and son Clayton was born in 1975.Tom eventually moved his practice twice  and finished his career practicing in Sunnyvale California.

After retirement , Tom and Addie moved to Monterey California, but with grandchildren being born and the children living in Colorado, Tom and Addie decided to split time between homes in Castle Pines Colorado and Scottsdale Arizona to be closer to their family also noting “as avid skiers, hikers and golfers these locations work well for us”.
A great example of American exceptionalism as an athlete, patriot and family man, we take great pleasure in inducting Tom Dusel into the Ridgewood High School Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2012.



Roger Sweeney - Coach 
Head Football Coach 1959-1975


Growing up in the town of Ewing, New Jersey, Roger Sweeney attended and graduated from Trenton Central High School with the class of 1948. An outstanding athlete, Roger played both varsity football and baseball for the Red and Black. A two way player in high school football, Roger was a down lineman playing a guard position on the offensive side of the ball and an inside linebacker on defense. A steady infielder playing third base and shortstop on the baseball team, Roger hit for an average over .300 in each of his high school seasons.

Before moving on to college Roger did a year of post graduate work at Pennington Preparatory School in Pennington, New Jersey in 1948-49 where he was also a member of their varsity football and baseball teams. He was a center linebacker on the football team and starting shortstop on the baseball team, again having a .300 plus batting average at the end of his prep playing experience.

Roger enrolled at Trenton State College (Now The College of New Jersey) in the fall of 1949.After his sophomore year in 1951 Roger was called to active duty for two years as a member of the United States Air Force National Guard.

In 1949 through 1951 Roger started on both the varsity football and baseball teams at Trenten State.In football he was playing at the onset of the new thinking towards platooning players.On some occasions he would play on both sides of the ball as a down offensive lineman and interior linebacker, but when platooning was in effect he stayed on the defensive side specializing as a defensive interior linebacker.

In baseball Roger was the starting right fielder on his college team and stayed in that position for the duration of his collegiate career.

Upon returning from the service Roger also returned to Trenton State to continue his education and varsity athletic career playing both football and baseball again.

Roger was a lifetime .300 hitter at the collegiate level hitting .320 his junior year and .345 his senior season.He recalls one outstanding 6 for 6 day at East Stoudsburg University adding “days like that can do wonders for your batting average”.

Roger was the winner of the prestigious “Emonds Award” from Trenton State in 1954 designating him as the outstanding athlete for his class. 

Upon graduation from Trenton State in the spring of that same year, Roger took a position for the fall as an elementary school physical education teacher in Wanaque,New Jersey. It was a job he would hold until his arrival at Ridgewood High school in the fall of 1957.Upon arriving at RHS, Roger began his teaching career in the health and physical education department  as well as becoming an asst. varsity football coach under the tutelage of legendary Head Football Coach Frank Mozeleski (RHS HOF inductee class of 2006).Roger remained in his assistants position until the fall of 1959 when he was appointed the new Head Football Coach at Ridgewood High School

“So many memories,” Roger Sweeney said mentally recapping his 17- year career (1959 to 1975) as a winning football coach, the hand-picked successor to the late legendary Frank Mozeleski. Among his fondest are of his first sophomore team (6-0) led by Eddy Collins and Butch Heatherington, and in 1966, snapping highly regarded Fair Lawn’s 19-game winning streak sparked by the passing of Cliff Hendry to George Lewis on a memorable Thanksgiving Day. It was one of four instances when Sweeney’s  Maroons stunned highly favored opponents, ending  long winning streaks. 

Quarterback Jeff Lockhart succinctly summed up Sweeney’s philosophy while accepting the Jack Stroker Award from the Junior Football Association a couple of decades ago. “It’s been great playing football here because Mr. Sweeney makes playing football fun,” Lockhart said. It should still be fun at the high school level.

Roger, who taught at Ridgewood High School for 34 years, truly cared for his kids.  Caring was his inspiration to his football players. But he refused to take credit for motivating them. “The players psyched themselves,” he would say.  “It boils down to being able to execute what you have to do.” He told them “they had to do on the practice field what they were going to do on Saturday.”

Lockhart, who became a doctor, shared quarterback duties on the 1972  squad  that lost only to Hackensack in eight outings, 14-13, and captured the school’s first NNJIL title. The 1960 team  featured All-County guard, Tom Dusel, and end Mike Henderson and earned Ridgewood’s first Group 4 state crown. In 1969 in its first foray into rugged Hudson County football, Ridgewood snipped North Bergen’s 21-game skein. 

A cerebral coach, Roger at first walked in Mozeleski’s shadow. Then he carved his own niche in the annals of Bergen County football compiling a 91-56-4 record, including a 39-14 stretch 1970-75.He eschewed going for the nine wins he needed for membership in Bergen County’s prestigious Century Club. His son Peter was coming up and Roger didn’t think the boy  needed his father for a coach. Roger taught him to placekick and Peter entered the school’s  record book in that specialty under Dave Vanderbush.



Linda Zabielski 
1991 Basketball


The 1990’s saw some of the best girls’ basketball in Bergen County history and Ridgewood High School was one of the premier programs of that era.  Linda Zabielski was the player that set the bar and led the team that began what was a magical run for the Lady Maroons.  In her senior year she led Ridgewood to a team record of 30-4, the Bergen County Championship the New Jersey Group IV Sectional Championship, The NJ Group IV State Championship and a berth in the final of the New Jersey Tournament of Champions.  Zabielski was a serious and focused competitor who was always ready to take the big shot or make the big play especially in the biggest games.  She set a great example for the younger girls on the team with her work ethic and tenacity.

By the end of her career she had been recognized with almost too many accolades to list.  Zabielski spent her freshman and sophomore years at Paramus Catholic before her family moved to Ridgewood and she enrolled at Ridgewood Highs School for her junior and senior years.  As a combined four year varsity starter at the two schools she scored a total of 1628 points and was a four time 1st Team All-NNJIL selection, a 3 time 1st Team All-Bergen County selection and set the Bergen County Girls single game scoring record for a sophomore while playing for PC with 32 points.  She also earned three Varsity letters in softball and a varsity letter in tennis while at RHS.

Her senior year is one that RHS basketball fans will remember for a long, long time.  After leading the team to the aforementioned 30-4 record and championships,Zabielski was acknowledged as the Bergen Record “Athlete of the Week,” a berth in both the Bergen-Passaic and New Jersey North-South All-Star games as well as the MVP of the Group IV State Championship Tournament.  She was 1st Team All-NNJIL, 1st Team All-Suburban, 1st Team All-Area, 1st Team All-Bergen County, 1st Team All-State and was named to the Bergen Record’s 1990’s All-Decade Team.  She accepted a full athletic scholarship to the University of New Hampshire to play basketball.  Another in the long line of “student athletes” at Ridgewood High School Linda was also an Honor Student at Ridgewood High and that came more into focus once she got to UNH where she realized she wanted to focus on academics.  She transferred to NYU on an academic scholarship where she became a member of the prestigious University Scholar Program, a Rhodes Scholar Finalist and #2 in her graduation class.  After graduating from NYU she received a PH.D in Clinical Psychology from Long Island University and is now a clinical psychologist in private practice in Ridgewood.

Zabielski will be remembered by those who saw her play and compete on the hardwood for Ridgewood High School as an intense, focused and intelligent player.  She was someone who did not mind pressure, in fact, she thrived on the pressure.  The bigger the game the more apt she was to make a big play.  There may be no bigger single play in the history of Ridgewood High School girls basketball than the what transpired in the Group IV Finals at Monmouth University her senior year.  Ridgewood was down 55-54 against a powerful Piscataway team ranked #7 in the State of New Jersey with only: 02 to play.  Ridgewood gained possession on the baseline 94 feet from their basket on a jump ball change of possession caused by Zabielski.  The Lady Maroons Jodi Hartwig (RHS Class of 1991, Hall of Fame Class of 2004) took the ball out of bounds with a pass to Zabielski near half court.  Zabielski took two quick dribbles and fired a 50 foot pass to a streaking Suzanne Patterson for the winning lay-up as the buzzer sounded and the girls stormed the floor to celebrate the only Girls Basketball Group IV State Championship in school history.  A big play, in a big game, at a big moment and Linda Zabielski executed it flawlessly and without hesitation.  A great player with great accomplishments both in the classroom and on the court she rightfully takes her place amongst the best student athletes in the history of Ridgewood High School in the Ridgewood High School Hall of Fame Class of 2012.

 


Patty Capasso 
1980 Gymnastics

Gymnast Gabby Douglas may be capturing the attention of America for her stellar all around performance in the 2012 London Olympic Games, but back in the late 1970’s a certain Ridgewood gymnast was performing at a similar level, and her induction into the Ridgewood High School Athletic Hall of Fame proves that out.

Patty Capasso , graduating Class of 1980, demonstrated in a four year career at RHS a proficiency in gymnastics that rivals today’s elite performers. While leading the team to four consecutive Bergen County Team Championships 1976-79 (Patty was injured and did not compete in 1979) and New Jersey State Sectional Championships in 1976 and 1977, individual accomplishments underscore her worthiness for Hall of Fame admission. Her all around skill is the most telling aspect to her athleticism, as evidenced by her yearly results.

Patty’s freshman year, she placed first in the County tournament in the Vault. In the Uneven Bars, she placed first in the Counties, first in the State Sectionals, and 6th in the NJ State Championship. 

In 1977, her sophomore year, Patty won gold in the Counties in Uneven Bars and All-Around. She also won gold in Balance Beam, Uneven Bars, and All-Around in the State Sectionals, and again placed 6th in the State Championship in the Uneven Bars.

During 1978 in her third year of interscholastic competition, and in testimony to her versatility as a gymnast, Patty earned her first Bergen County gold medal in the Balance Beam, as well as in the All-Around, while also earning silver in the Uneven Bars. In this same event (Uneven Bars) she went on to win another silver in the State Sectionals, and again placed 6th place overall in the State Championships.

In 1979, Patty’s senior year, a stellar performance individually and for the team during the regular season was marred by injury by the time tournament season arrived, limiting her competition in the tournament events, and bringing her high school career to a close. Her senior year season was nonetheless lauded, earning her a fourth consecutive recognition on the Bergen Record All County team for girls gymnastics. She was additionally selected to the US Gymnastics Association National Junior Team in 1979 and following her Ridgewood High School career, earned a full scholarship to Arizona State University.

Unfortunately injury plagued her collegiate career at ASU and forced her retire from the sport in 1981 .Patty decided to leave Arizona at that juncture of time and went on to pursue careers outside of the gymnastic world.  

Patty Capasso’s  versatility in all of gymnastics disciplines, and her particular excellence in the Uneven Bars, plus her contributions to the team’s overall success for her four high school years, validate her nomination and selection in the Ridgewood High School Atletic Hall of Fame for the class of 2012.



Dennis Sullivan 
1992 Lacrosse, Football


Dennis Sullivan is one of the rare student athletes who has excelled not only on the field of play but also has excelled as a leader, a teacher and a coach.  Sullivan graduated from Ridgewood High School in the spring of 1992 as one of the few true three sport athletes of his era.  A fierce and intelligent competitor it would not be fair or accurate to put the “pound for pound best athlete” label on him as his size was irrelevant to his success and ability to compete.  He was a great student athlete and a great leader for the Maroons, period.  Starring on the gridiron for Chuck Johnson, the hardwood for Jim Stroker and the lacrosse field for Steve Jacobsen, Sullivan competed and succeeded against athletes of all sizes.  Maybe the biggest testament to how special  a person Sullivan is was the fact that he Captained the football, basketball and lacrosse teams his senior year before heading off to Brown University to play lacrosse for the Bears.

Sullivan played lacrosse in the “Glory Days” of the Ridgewood Lax Program.  Lettering in three Varsity seasons he starred as the only player to start in all 44 games of the legendary 44 consecutive game win streak the Maroons put together between 1990 and 1992.  Those 44 wins included State Championships in 1990 and 1991 before a runner-up plaque in 1992 ended the streak.  He was voted Honorable Mention All-State in 1990, 2nd Team All-League and 2nd Team All-State in 1991, and 1st Team All-League, 1st Team All-State, and All-American in 1992.  He was selected as a defenseman for the 1992 New Jersey North South All-Star Game where he was voted the team Captain of the North Squad by his teammates.

His success was just as significant on the gridiron for Ridgewood High School.  A two year Varsity letter winner at halfback and defensive back Sullivan was described by Coach Johnson as; “an amazing leader, an amazing presence, and an amazing person.  I really wish I had a better word than ‘amazing’ as he was more than amazing for us.”  Johnson went on to add; “he played the three biggest sports at RHS at 5’ 7” and 145 lbs.  Anytime someone tells me that they are too small to play football I tell them about Dennis Sullivan.  In all my years of coaching I have never had a young man with more of a dynamic presence than Dennis Sullivan.”

That dynamic presence and outstanding athletic talent combined to create great things on the football field for RHS. In the fall of 1991 Dennis Sullivan and Co-Captain Dan Burns led the Maroons to the Group IV Sectional State Championship with a win over North Bergen.  In recognition of his outstanding senior season Sullivan was named 1st Team All-NNJIL and 1st Team All-Bergen County as a defensive back while earning his second Varsity letter in football.  He was selected as a starter for the North Squad in the annual North South All-Star Game played in Giants Stadium.  Between the football and lacrosse seasons Sullivan excelled on the basketball court winning two Varsity letters while using his speed, quickness and guile as a prototypical “pass first” point guard who was a fearless defender on the other end of the floor.

Dennis was recognized in the spring of 1992 by the coaching staff of Ridgewood High School as the most outstanding athlete in the class of 1992 by being awarded the prestigious “Ridgewood High School Award For Excellence In Athletics”. It is the highest honor an athlete can receive at the school and represents all four years of athletic endeavor for that individual at RHS. Once called the Rutgers Cup,today the award is named the “Dave Vanderbush Award For Athletic Excellence” in honor of one of Ridgewood’s long time athletic directors.

After graduating from Ridgewood Sullivan moved on to Brown University where he played lacrosse four years for the Bears alongside his former Ridgewood teammates Eric Benedict and Brett Sowers.  During his time at Brown the Bears won the Ivy League Championship in both 1994 and 1995 and advanced to the NCAA Semi-Finals in ‘94 and the NCAA Quarter-Finals in’95.  Sullivan completed his collegiate lacrosse career in 1996 as the Captain of the Bears and was named 1st Team All-Ivy League and Honorable Mention All-American.  He was awarded the Cliff Stevenson Award as the Most Valuable Player and chosen to play in the USILA North South All-Star Game and the New England East West All-Star Game where he was chosen to Captain each of his respective squads.  After graduating from Brown he played one season professionally for the NJ Pride in the MLL.

As have some other members of the Ridgewood High School Athletic Hall of Fame, Sullivan chose teaching and coaching as a career path.  He returned to his alma mater and assisted both the football and boys lacrosse programs.  He coached the 2001 Freshman Football Team to the first ever undefeated season in program history which was an indication of things to come as that group went on to win back to back Group IV State Sectional Championships in Giants Stadium during their varsity years.  Sullivan also became the head coach of the Boys Lacrosse Team for the 2002 season and led them to the State Championship game where they fell to Delbarton.  He left Ridgewood and took his teaching and coaching skills to Oregon where he is a teacher and coach at the Oregon Episcopal School.  During his tenure coaching the Aardvarks he has led the team to numerous Lacrosse State Championships and has been instrumental in promoting the sport of lacrosse in the northwest.

A lifelong competitor, teacher and leader, Sullivan has not only the credentials as an athlete and a coach to enter the Hall of Fame, he also possesses the intangibles that separate the good from the great.  A great player, a great leader, a great teacher, and a great coach, Dennis Sullivan rightfully takes his place alongside the other members of the Ridgewood High School Hall of Fame as one of the best all-around athletes to ever compete for the Maroons.



Bain-Daley-Oliver Era 
Track and Field 1955-1956

A trio of runners powered Ridgewood High School’s 14-meet track winning streak over two seasons and back- to-back Bergen Passaic League championships in 1955 and 1956. That amazing period in Maroon track annals became  known as the Bain-Daley-Oliver era in the late Coach Leo Palmisano’ 18-year coaching career at RHS. All three were named co captains of Pamisano’s 1956 squad 

Although it lasted only a little more than two seasons, their individual accomplishments and their total contributions to those two championship seasons are a famed milestone in Ridgewood High School track lore.

David Bain
David Bain, nicknamed the Ghost by his football teammates for his blazing speed and uncanny knack of running away from the opposition (he wore #77 like Red Grange “The Galloping Ghost‘ from Univ. of Illinois), was the sprinter. He compiled an enviable and unprecedented record of  18 straight  victories in each of the leagues 100 and 220 events. He set a standard by posting a 9.8 100 in his senior season. It was a first for any Maroon sprinter to that point in RHS track and Field history. He was named to All-County first teams in those events  in 1955 and 1956.  Bain also was a premier quarter-miler. It is a ranking he earned with outstanding anchor legs for the Maroon mile relay team and by trouncing the best 440 opposition in Bergen and Passaic counties.

Dave also won renown on the gridiron as a Maroon running back lettering two seasons for Hall Of Fame Coach Frank Mozeleski’s 11.

In the spring of  1956 Dave was named the senior class outstanding athlete, receiving the schools highest athletic honor “The Excellence in Athletics Award’ which is now called the “Vanderbush Award For Excellence In Athletics“.  
Dave went on to an outstanding four year track career at Yale University from 1957 to 1961. He earned a varsity letter for each of his four years competing there. In 1960 and 61 he was a member of two of the fastest sprint relay teams on Yale record. In 1959 he ran the second fastest time ever posted for the Bulldogs to that date in the 220 recording a 20.8.It is a record that still stands today and still has him 2nd on the all time Yale record chart for that event. In 1960 Dave also posted a time of 48.3 seconds in the 440 which would place him him 5th on Yale’s record sheet for that event in 1960.It is a time that would rank him tied for 15th all time today.

Larry Oliver
Larry Oliver, the lithe, effortless strider, was the first Maroon to shade two minutes for the half-mile. He made running an art form and lost only twice in the 880 in league competition during his reign and also was a confident anchor of the mile relay team. The 1955 competition was tough and Larry settled for first on the 1955 honorable mention list for All County, but in the 1956 season was named to the All county second team and the State Group 4 All State 2nd team. In 1955 He and his team mates set a sprint medley record of 3:46.4 in the Twin Boro Relays and in 55 and 56 Larry won the  BPIL league meet in the 880 (½ mile) setting the meet record time of 2.002.6 in 1956.In 56 Larry  and his team mates also set a mile relay record time for the BPIL meet, recording a time of 3:35.2.Larry also took a 2nd in the league meet high jump in 56 and with his mates that spring took a 1st in the Mile Relay at the Penn Relays. 
Larry (Effortless) Oliver was also a great competitor and outstanding back for Coach Frank Mozeleski’s football Maroons of 1954-56 and accomplished the outstanding feat of lettering all three of his years on the varsity squad.

Fred Daley
Fred Daley’s style and flawless technique clearing the hurdles was peerless. He glided over the low and high fences with ballet precision and earned his share of victories, including two in the 120 low hurdles in the 1955 and 56 BPIL  championship meets with times of  14.7 in 55 and 13.9 in 56. He also gave the Maroons a solid one-two punch in the 220 sprint while also competing in the Mile Relay, High Jump, Running Broad Jump(Long Jump), 440 and 100.
Like the two other members of the trio (Bain and Oliver), Fred’s ability to pick up crucial points in events other than his specialty allowed the Maroons to score in all of their events thus giving additional help to accomplish their amazing run of victories. Fred was named to the BPIL All League 1st team for Hurdles in 1955 and 56 and to the  Bergen County 1st team for Hurdles in 1956.

Fred went on to Roanoke College in Virginia and was competing in track and field there when an unfortunate injury abruptly ended his competitive career. While competing in Decathlon at Roanoke, Fred’s pole broke during pole vaulting practice resulting in a serious back injury which brought a halt to his collegiate career.
Conclusion

In 1955 the RHS track team set a league meet record scoring 65 points to take the BPIL championship then broke their own record in 1956 recording a new standard of 68 points while taking their second league crown for the Maroon and White.

Although it only lasted two seasons 1955-56, the effort of these three athletes and their team mates gave impetus to a 14 meet unbeaten streak and two Bergen-Passaic league crowns for the late Leo Palmisano’s thinly clads.It would be 20 years (1975) before an RHS track team would win another league title (now NNJIL ).That squad compiled an unbeaten season (10-0) by defeating previously unbeaten Hackensack at the Hermance Place track where in 1955 and 1956 the outstanding performance of  David Bain, Larry Oliver and Fred Daley had made Maroon athletic history.



Nick and Dotte Capasso 
Special Contributors

In recognition of a four decade (and counting) commitment to the physical health and well being of the youth of the Village of Ridgewood, the Ridgewood High School Sports Hall of Fame is proud to announce the induction of Nick and Dottie Capasso. 

Nick and Dottie, long time residents of Ridgewood, are the pioneers and driving force behind the Ridgewood Biddy Basketball program which they founded in the early 1980’s.  They sought to establish a basketball program that develops the skillsets of young hoopsters in a friendly, instructional, and competitive setting. Today’s version of the Biddy Basketball program consists of more than 1000 players, girls and boys, playing on over 100 teams, for the grade levels 3 – 12. Practically every RHS basketball player, of both genders, participated in the program, where they learned the game and honed their skills on the hardwood in preparation for competitive high school careers. 

Nick and Dottie work tirelessly on behalf of the Biddy program. In addition to serving in trustee and officer capacities ( Nick has served over the 40 years as President and Vice President and Dottie serves as Secretary/Treasurer since inception )they together ensure each team is sufficiently equipped with uniforms, basketballs, score clocks, score books, first aid kits and  gym time. They administer the checkbook, and collect and disburse the cash paying referees, timekeepers and scorekeepers. They would open and close gymnasiums, often late in the evening, just so the kids could play. 

Most proudly, Nick and Dottie Capasso also raise funds to provide financial scholarships to worthy Biddy alumni upon their graduation from RHS. Today, annually, the Nick and Dottie Capasso Biddy Basketball Scholarships grant $ 5000 per year to deserving Ridgewood High School student athletes. 

Nick Capasso has also been heavily involved over the years with the Ridgewood Baseball Association as a Trustee, and as a Coach. In the 1970’s Nick led the only Ridgewood Little League team that ever advanced to the  Little League World Series finals in Williamsport, PA. 

The Village of Ridgewood is proud that Nick and Dottie Capasso call this town their home. Their generosity of time and attention to the youth of the Village is to be envied. The Ridgewood Biddy Basketball program is alive, robust and popular today as an outcome of Nick and Dottie’s  vision and efforts and with their continued oversight and management of all of the program needs. The RHS Sports Hall of Fame is honored to name them to the incoming Class of 2012.