Front Row: (L-R) Jim Tetro, Jim Nocera, Brandon Ward, Abby Rose Massarelli, Emily Zygiel and Steve Phelps. Back Row: David Woznicki, Gary Fleming, Jen Hadley, Steve Wysowski, Craig Yarde.
BRISTOL PRESS STORY:
Tramps honor area’s best
Friday, April 13, 2012 10:43 PM EDT
By Paul Angilly
It was a celebration of excellence in the Bristol sports community Friday night as the Bristol Tramps Sports Reunion Committee held its 42nd annual Sports Reunion Dinner at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.
Nine awards representing outstanding contributions and/or achievement in local sports were presented, along with three $1,000 scholarships, one to a student from each local high school.
The awards and scholarships were all announced long ago, but the dinner was a chance for all the recipients to offer thanks to all those who supported them and helped make their achievements possible.
Each recipient had a personal story to tell, too. Ronald Choiniere Award winner Brandon Ward was found to be developmentally disabled as a young boy, but still put together a sports resume anyone could be proud of.
He joined Bristol’s Challenger Baseball League in 1990 and was guided by the late Ed Beardsley, who began the league two years earlier. Beardsley is among those Ward thanked in a prepared statement read by an assistant. He is still with the league as a player and coach and has also been with the Discovery basketball team since that program began.
A Special Olympian in various sports, Ward said “I really love sports and plan to continue to play.”
Current Bristol Eastern principal Steven Wysowski accepted the Team Award on behalf of St. Paul’s state championship track teams from the 1970s, which he coached. The Falcons won state championships in six of seven straight years, 1971-1975 and 1977.
“They were a collective group that was driven,” he said of those teams.
He talked about several of the members of those teams and their successes after high school.
“Their dedication and hard work have seen them through some great successes after St. Paul,” Wysowski said.
The former coach said he was proud to have his teams recognized along with all the other honorees.
“I’m humbled when I hear of all your exploits and all you’ve done,” he said.
Committee Award recipient Craig Yarde said being at the dinner brought back a lot of memories.
The Yarde Metals owner was recognized for his many contributions to the local sports scene and the city in general, including donating scoreboards for Bristol Central and Muzzy Field and Bristol Events Display boards at Bristol Central, Bristol Eastern and Route 6 that help advertise for Bristol’s non-profits and display Amber alert notices for the police department.
The son of a former sports promoter, he said he wanted to be a pro athlete when he grew up, but his dream was derailed by multiple ailments. Yet he has continued to contribute to local athletes all his life.
“This is a very emotional award for me to win,” he said.
Other award winners were Jen Hadley (Lydia Jabs Bailey Award), Jim Nocera (Chuck McCarthy Award), Gary Fleming (Harp Broderick Award), Jim Tetro (Bill Garrett Award), Steve Phelps (Ed Lodovico Award), Bristol Soccer Club (Tony Savino Award).
Scholarship winners were Bristol Eastern’s Abby Rose Massarelli (Patricia D’Amato Memorial Scholarship), St. Paul’s Kaleigh Paccioretti (Spartacus Carpenter Memorial Scholarship) and Bristol Central’s Emily Zygiel (Frank Scalia Memorial Scholarship).
Paul Angilly can be reached at (860) 584-0501, ext. 7271, or firstname.lastname@example.org.