The Peabody High School (PHS) Athletic Hall of Fame released a list of inductees. Spanning many eras and representing a wide range of sports, this group of 18 honorees not only contributed to the success of PHS Athletics, but many continue to give back to the community. The individuals listed below will be honored at the banquet in November.
Classmates and Captains of the 2007 basketball team, Kyle Multner and Eddie Leonard. Both were multisport athletes; Eddie excelled in basketball and was a 1,000 point scorer. Kyle was just short at 960 points. But his real passion was baseball, in which he led the Tanners to a GBL Championship in his senior year by compiling a 6-1 pitching record with 0.79 ERA.
Three of the inductees went on to protect and serve the community as members of the Peabody and Topsfield Police Departments. Gary Hayward (1977) captained the soccer and baseball teams and was named one of the 10 Best Players of the Decade in Soccer. Scott Wlasuk (1979) was a three-sport athlete who made significant contributions to the football, lacrosse and track teams. He went on to excel in football and lacrosse at Wesleyan University. Patrick Conrad (1980) helped lead the Tanners to a 9-1 record in football and batted .515 in baseball his senior year.
Among this year’s class are hockey standouts Mark Leonard (1984) and Gary Ruddock (1974). They were both chosen as the MVP in their senior season. Gary was a key defenseman on the 1974 team that lost in the semifinals at Boston Garden; Mark was a two-time leading scorer for the Tanners and went on to excel at the University of Connecticut and in the European Hockey Federation before he became the Coach of the Tanners, a position he has held since 1995. They are joined by track phenom Charlie Spurr (1970). Charlie was the MVP in his senior year and still holds the record for the 120-yard outdoor (15.1 seconds) and 45-yard indoor (5.9 seconds) high hurdles.
Classmates in 2005 and two-sport standouts Lauren (Orlando) LaTorella and Heather (Popp) Sciamanna will also be honored. Lauren captained both the volleyball and basketball teams, led them to GBL championships her senior year and went on to become a three-year starter for Brandeis University’s basketball team. Heather was captain of the soccer and lacrosse teams. She was MVP in lacrosse, recorded the most goals in a single game (10) and was selected as the Best Female Athlete at PHS in 2005.
Gary Palmieri Jr. (2002) will join his brother Anthony in the Hall. Gary was a three-sport standout in football, hockey and baseball, captain of the football and baseball teams and led the league in sacks in his senior year of football.
Josh Rachman (1994) and Sean Hayes (1992) were outstanding football and lacrosse players. Josh was an all-star in both sports and garnered the Unsung Hero Award for the ’93 football Superbowl Champions. He also was team leader in Ground Balls for the lacrosse team. Sean was a two-sport captain. He set a school lacrosse record with 291 saves in his senior year, 41 in one game vs. Beverly.
Three outstanding three-sport female athletes – Tracey (McKeen) Palazzola (1997), Jocelyn (Costa) Sullivan (2004) and Michelle Renee Grifoni (2008) – will also be inducted. Tracey was named captain and chosen MVP for both soccer and basketball her senior year. Since 2014 she has been the JV/Varsity Assistant coach at PHS. Jocelyn captained the field hockey, lacrosse and swim teams in her senior year; she was named MVP of both field hockey and lacrosse teams, and after graduation she coached both of those sports from 2008-2010. She is currently the Assistant Principal at the South Memorial School. Michelle was a born leader and was named captain in three sports: volleyball, basketball and softball. She received the Frank Wiggin Award for basketball, was the MVP in softball and was named Female Athlete of the Year in 2008.
Rounding out the 2018 inductees and being honored posthumously are William Connolly (1950) and Paul Tengberg (1974). William was a three-sport athlete in baseball, hockey and football who went on to have a strong football career at UMass Amherst. Paul was an outstanding football player who earned the Billy Dexter Award in his senior season before he went on to play at the University of New Hampshire.
This outstanding group of athletes will be introduced at Coley Lee Field on Thanksgiving Day morning before the kickoff of the Tanners Football game. The honorees will then be inducted into the PHS Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday evening, November 23, 2018, during a gala banquet at the Danversport Yacht Club. Tickets are $60 and are available by contacting the PHS Athletic Director’s office or by calling (978) 536-4752.