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11 athletes added to Hall; Capacity crowd honors Wells-Southbridge stars.

Byline: Bill Fortier


Eleven athletes and two teams were inducted into the Mary E. Wells-Southbridge High School Hall of Fame Saturday at the Pilsudski Polish American Club on Ballard Court in Southbridge.

Hall of Fame Committee member Dick Sullivan said about 240 people filled the Pilsudski Club to see the inductions, including some from locales outside of Southbridge.

For example, Joanne Gibeault-Hughes, a member of the undefeated (24-0) 1975 softball team at Southbridge High School, made the trek from Hawaii, Mr. Sullivan said.

The softball team, the only team in school history to win a state championship, was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame.

Also on Saturday night's induction docket was the undefeated 1957 football team.

Mr. Sullivan said that team finished 7-0, went undefeated in 1958 and went unbeaten except for a tie in 1959.

And just for the record, all the info listed below until we reach the Auburn segment of this week's South County Notebook has been supplied by Mr. Sullivan.

Other sports stalwarts honored Saturday night included Zygmund "Ziggy" Damian, a member of the Mary E. Wells class of 1937, one of the best baseball players in school history. After graduating from high school, Mr. Damian, a Rotarian who lives in town with his wife, Argentina, played semipro baseball with several teams, including the Polish Tigers.

Roland "Lefty" Varin, a member of the Mary E. Wells class of 1952, was inducted both as an athlete at the school, where he played football, basketball, baseball and ran track, and as Southbridge High School's athletic director from 1985 until 1999.

The dulcet-toned Mr. Varin, one of the founding members of the school's Hall of Fame, which includes almost 100 athletes, also announced the school's sports events until 2007.

C. Joseph Montigny was Mr. Varin's class and backfield mate. As a junior, he was the quarterback of a backfield that included Don "Mingo" Marino, James "Joe" Marino and Mr. Varin. Their coach, Paul Duhart, said it was the best backfield he ever coached. Mr. Montigny, known to just about everybody in town as Red - doesn't it seem like everybody back then had a nickname - later became principal at the Eastford Road Elementary School in Southbridge. He retired in 1989.

The late Bruce Giovanello was a 1963 graduate of Southbridge High School. Mingo Marino, who was a very successful football coach at the high school for many years before moving to Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., considered Mr. Giovanello, who taught in the school system for more than 30 years, one of the top five running backs to have ever played for him.

Woodstock resident and 1974 graduate Dario Ciovacco played football and baseball, while 1976 graduate Stewart Curboy, who lives in Holland, earned 11 letters while playing tennis, track, baseball and football.

Paul Blanchet, a 1977 graduate who lives in Southbridge, starred in soccer, track and baseball. According to his biographical information, he still holds the school record for the high jump and pole vault. There is also Jim Lazo, a Southbridge resident who graduated in 1971 and played football, basketball, baseball and track. In 1970, he and fellow captain Larry Druckenbrod led the Pioneers to an undefeated season and Class A Championship that was earned while outscoring nine opponents 218-56. Jim planned to attend the induction but was ill and was hospitalized at Harrington Memorial Hospital about three hours before the event.

Ricky Molina, a 1982 graduate of Southbridge High School, is one of the best basketball players in the school's history. The longtime landscaper, who lives in town, was the fourth player in the school's history to score 1,000 points.

John Vincent "Vinny" Marino, the son of former town councilor and football star Joe Marino, lettered in football, basketball, baseball and tennis, before graduating in 1987. The younger Mr. Marino, currently the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at Columbia University, passed and ran for more than 25 touchdowns during the three years he was the starting signal caller.

Chris Gosk, a member of the class of 1988, holds the school record for most points scored, 1,296, as well as seven other school records.

Mr. Gosk, the son of longtime retired Southbridge High School teacher Wally Gosk, is currently vice president with Global Knowledge and lives with his family in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Another nice charity ball - in fact, it was the 19th annual event - was held to benefit Auburn Youth and Family Services March 29 at the Overlook in Charlton.

Executive Director Sally D. D'Arcangelo said about 160 people attended the event and a little more than $26,000 was raised. The money will be used to help support AYFS programs including the summer camp, she said.

More than 50 items were donated for a silent auction, and in another auction various items, including a stay at homes in Florida and Wells, Maine, were vocally bid on.

Among the items up for that auction were a baseball signed by Red Sox outfielders Jim Rice, Fred Lynn and Dwight Evans and another one signed by Jim Lonborg, Frank Malzone, Bob Montgomery, Dick Radatz and Walt Dropo.

Auburn resident Ann Marie Wisialko successfully bid $225 for the ball signed by the quintet and Auburn Selectman William Gribbons got the baseball signed by the famed trio for $250, Mrs. D'Arcangelo reported.

The two baseballs were donated by former Julia Bancroft Elementary School Principal and avid Red Sox fan Rocco J. Morano, who said that while he liked looking at them inside his house, he thought they would be better used to help children.

Your loyal scribe checked out the baseballs just before Mr. Gribbons sauntered up to see them.

Mr. Gribbons, it seems, is a collector of baseball-related items, Mr. Morano said. In fact, Mr. Morano noted that he said to his wife Carla on the drive to the event that he expected Mr. Gribbons to buy one of the collector's items.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Apr 7, 2008
Previous Article:REGIONAL DIGEST.
Next Article:State looks back at 100; Voke schools flourish at centennial birthday.

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