A significant part of Greenwich High School’s Homecoming Week was the ceremony for its Class of 2017 Sports Hall of Fame inductees — a much-anticipated event which took place Saturday morning before a crowd of almost 200 at Greenwich Water Club.
Five former star athletes and three GHS teams were honored and recognized for their outstanding achievements. The late Tony Russo, a premier baseball player at Greenwich, who continued his career in the Major Leagues for the Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Braves, was remembered as a local Cos Cob legend. His daughter Jill was in attendance to receive the induction award on his behalf.
Greenwich High School boys swimming coach Terry Lowe introduced Greenwich Sports Hall of Famer Camilla (Berizzi) Rawleigh, who broke numerous swimming records at Greenwich High.
“She was one of the most complete swimmers of all time at Greenwich High School, male or female,” Lowe said. “No other Greenwich swimmer was an All American in five events. She was one of the most special swimmers Greenwich has ever had and she helped the program attain a level of excellence.”
Rawleigh, a 1980 GHS graduate, competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials and was a 13-time All-American performer while at the University of North Carolina. Her team won four ACC titles and was known as one of North Carolina’s most successful squads.
She credited Lowe helping her achieve in the sport.
“I remember Terry Lowe working with me on my backstroke for hours at Innis Arden,” Rawleigh said. “I was fortunate to have great coaches my whole career.”
Patsy Fuscaldo (1969 graduate) was honored for his skills as an All-League wrestler, baseball player and football player. He went on to become a power lifter, competing in numerous regional and national events. His 1968 GHS wrestling team is known as the program’s strongest squad.
“I gained a lot of experience playing sports at Greenwich High,” Fuscaldo said. “I enjoyed every minute of it and never got home from school until it was dark. Besides the education, the teamwork and discipline I learned helped me later on in life.”
Reggie Mills (1969 graduate) was selected as a Hall of Famer for his prowess in football, basketball and baseball at GHS. He is remembered by many as Greenwich’s best running back.
“My dream as a kid was to play high school football at Greenwich,” Mills said. “It was the best experience I ever had. It all stemmed from coming up in the Greenwich midget league football. I was the first halfback to come up to Greenwich from that program.”
Vinny Van Dyke (1974), a standout football player, who was a member of USC’s national championship team, before playing for the Buffalo Bills, was introduced at the Hall of Fame ceremony by former Mike Ornato Jr. — the son of former GHS football coach Mike Ornato.
In addition, Greenwich’s 1935 boys ice hockey team, which won the county championship back then, was honored. Tom Fujitani, a member of Greenwich’s inaugural hockey team, attended the event with his son Pete.
The 1973-74 GHS girls softball team, which sported a perfect record of 22-0, was inducted into the Hall of Fame, along with the 1970 GHS boys gymnastics team, which also went undefeated.