Though there wasn’t a team playing on the night, Saturday was still a major victory for several Wilmington High School athletes.
During a ceremony at Knights of Columbus Hall, 10 athletes, one team and one local group were inducted into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame.
“I credit my years of winning and losing at Wilmington High School to getting through the ups and downs I came across in life,” said field hockey player Paula Burns. “What I remember most are my teammates, every single one of them. I didn’t remember much of the statistics, but I certainly remember them.”
Burns joined Eric Banda, Dean Devlin, Paul Fitch, Dennis Ingram, Ted Moran, Karen Rowe, Jackie Rubino, Eric Swiezynski and Steve Winchell as inductees along with the 1965 girls basketball team and the Wilmington Sons of Italy.
Ingram said it was a special evening because of how important athletics were to him growing up, and because of the lessons he learned from them that helped him after graduation.
“Athletics, for me it’s been such a tool to help me academically and socially when I was a kid to make friends,” said Ingram. “When I struggled academically a little bit, athletics taught me the tools I needed to survive and get through it.”
The 1965 girls basketball team was coached by Georgia Dadoly and included captain Lucille Huston, seniors Maria Ferrara and Nancy Hall along with juniors Sally Brunelle, Sandy Burns, Tana Fairfield, Nancy Farrel, Sharon Justice, Jane Kroll, Paula MacDonald and Ginny Schena.
Saturday’s induction included a first for the Hall of Fame. When Catherine Townsend Banda, Class of 1998, welcomed her husband, Eric Banda, to the front of the room, she became the first Wildcat to induct their spouse into the Hall of Fame.
For Ingram, the event served as a reminder of what continues to motivate him in the field of athletics.
“It’s all passed down,” said Ingram. “I had great coaching when I was in high school. Those people are the reason I wanted to be a coach, so I could be meaningful to someone like so many people here were to me when I was young.”