Hall of Fame Inductees 2013
Robert J. O’Dea, CFSP, CPC is the recipient of the John E. Toffolon Distinguished Service Award. The Plainville Athletic Hall of Fame recognizes Bob for his unselfish dedication and service to athletics and the community. Bob graduated Plainville High School in 1967. He was a member of the CIAC Class M runner up cross country team and was on the basketball and track teams. While attending CCSU, Bob was a volunteer assistant basketball coach at PHS for two years. He has been a high school basketball referee for 43 years and a high school and college soccer referee for 38 years, including several NCAA Division II quarter final games. Bob officiated in the town recreation leagues in both soccer and basketball for many years. He is secretary of the Connecticut Soccer Officials Association and a longtime member of “Timing is Everything” which is a timing and scoring organization that handles those duties at most NCAA member institutions, including UCONN, where he is the official scorer for the men’s and women’s basketball programs. Bob has been a member of the Plainville Fire Department for 43 years, holding the unique distinction of being the only member to serve in every management position. A 1971 CCSU graduate, he is a member of the CCSU Alumni Association Board of Directors and has been a funeral director for more than 40 years, graduating in 1972 from Indiana College of Mortuary Science in Indianapolis, where he was president of his class and fraternity secretary.
Brian Verrastro graduated in 1991 as a 3 sport star with Northwest Conference and All State honors in Swimming for the 4 years during which he competed. He currently holds Plainville High School records in the 50 Meter Free Style and 3 different relay teams. As the team captain his senior year, he led the relay team to a State Championship and was voted Northwest Conference Swimmer of the Year. During his illustrious swimming career Brian only lost 1 individual meet.
In addition to his achievements in the pool, Brian was a Northwest Conference and All State Soccer player who helped lead his team to the Northwest Conference Championship his sophomore year. Brian participated in the Track and Field Sate Open his junior and senior years and was voted to the Northwest Conference Team.
Brian earned a scholarship to swim at The University of Rhode Island, where his career was cut short by a shoulder injury. He is currently the head boys and girls swimming coach at East Hartford High School. During his 15 year coaching tenure at East Hartford, he has guided the Hornets to 10 League Titles, coached more than 40 All-League Swimmers, and 4 All-State Swimmers. Three of his former swimmers are now coaching – 2 on the high school level (South Windsor and Simsbury) and one on the collegiate level (Wesleyan).
Roger Roy was a four-year member of the football, basketball, and track teams. While at PHS, he was a member of 3 State Championship teams. In 1958, as a senior on the football championship team that went 8-1, he played on the offensive line where he was known as a clutch receiver and hard-nosed blocker. In basketball he was a solid rebounder on the 1959 State Championship team and the 1958 Runner-up team. Track, his best sport, is where he excelled. As the captain, his team won the 1959 State Title after finishing 2nd in 1958. During his senior year, he set a school record at PHS in the Pole Vault. When his record was broken in 1972 Roger had the distinct pleasure of being the Head Coach of the track team and the individual who broke the record. During his 6 years of coaching, he influenced the lives of current Hall of Famers Mark Gediman, Bill Petit, Gary and Bob Heslin. In addition to coaching track, Roger was a member of the Football coaching staff during the memorable years of current Hall of Famers Vet Mason and Jeff Palmer.
Roger continued his athletic prowess at the Teachers College of Connecticut where he participated in both Football and Track. Roger truly embraced the Blue Devil culture spending 32 years in the school system where he was head of the Tech Ed Department for 6 years.
Captain Darren Raymond was an All State and 3-time All Northwest Conference in baseball while batting 417 with 5 home runs and 29 RBIs. As a pitcher his senior year, he had a 5-2 record with 70 strike outs when he received the Most Valuable Player Award. As a senior, he was selected All New England, one of only three to be nominated in Plainville History with current Hall of Famers Jeff Howes and brother Dan Raymond. Darren played on TEAM USA in the outfield and batted .450 while competing in Japan and Hawaii. The team’s only loss was to Team Hawaii College All Stars 8-7 in Aloha Stadium.
Mark Newman current Senior VP of the New York Yankees realized the talent and offered Darren a scholarship to play at Old Dominion University where he became a 3-year starter in the outfield. His team-leading 22 steals in 1991 were 2nd in the Colonial Conference and earned him the honor of captain his senior year. ODU was nationally ranked in the top 25 which allowed Darren to participate in the College World Series regionals two of three years.
In Basketball as a captain he averaged 15 points / 13 rebounds / 5 blocks per game while jumping center and playing swing forward. His contributions earned him the Hustle and Determination Award. Darren received the Male Athlete of the Year and the Most Athletic by Plainville Athletic Backers and Coaches.
Rhonda Snyder Wisniewski earned her varsity letter in 3 sports and was captain while participating in soccer, indoor track and softball. She earned All Northwest Conference honors in soccer for 2 years and indoor track for 4 years for the shot put event and as part of the Sprint Medley Relay (SIV1R) team. Rhonda and her teammates qualified for the State Open Indoor Track meet for three years where she earned All-State honors. She was selected for the New England Indoor Track meet where she placed 7th her junior year and 5th during her senior year.
Rhonda also earned All-State and All-Northwest Conference honors in softball. During her final campaign she was selected to participate in the Senior All-Star softball game. She received the Backers Club’s Athlete of the Year Award.
Rhonda went on to compete at Lafayette College where she continued developing her skills for the Indoor and Outdoor Track Teams. Rhonda was a field athlete and threw the shot put, indoor weight and hammer. Rhonda’s first competitive throw of the hammer broke the 12 year school record by over 20 feet. She was a 3 time NCAA qualifier in the hammer throw and Patriot League Champion in the shot put 4 times, indoor weight throw 2 times and hammer throw 2 times. Rhonda was All-Patriot League in both indoor and outdoor track for four years. She was named Patriot League MVP for indoor and outdoor track two years and was named the ECAC Division 1Track and Field Performer of the Week five times during her four years at Lafayette while placing in the top 3 at the Penn Relays for the hammer throw three times. She won the Hershey Relays four times for the shot put and weight throw. During her collegiate career she was ranked 21st in the world for the hammer throw and was named Patriot League Athlete of the Decade, the Lehigh Valley Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women’s Most Outstanding Track and Field Athlete.
Theodore “Ted” Christopher graduated from Plainville High School in 1976. He began his noteworthy racing career shortly after high school and went on to become a nationally recognized racing star successfully competing in every form of motorsports from go-karts to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Among Christopher’s numerous accomplishments were being named the 2001 National NASCAR Weekly Racing Series recipient and winning the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Championship in 2008. He was the first driver to win SK modified track championships at all three Connecticut NASCAR Whelen All-American series tracks with a total of 14 championships.
Ted has been named one of NASCAR Series All Time Top 50 drivers. In 2008 Stafford Motor Speedway named a section of its grandstand after him in honor of his 100th victory there. Christopher has racked up 42 NASCAR modified touring series wins during his career and more than 100 wins at the Stafford Motor Speedway where he still competes today. Christopher also continues to compete in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Touring Series and several other racing series. Ted was a member of the PHS wrestling team for four years, serving as captain in his senior year.
1937 State Champion Football Team
The inaugural year of the Blue Devils school name was introduced during the most improbable football season. After a 2-6 outing in 1936, PHS welcomed new teachers and coaches Charles “Chuck” Hardy and Ivan Wood to help turn the program around. Not only were they instrumental in selecting the PHS nickname but were able to motive 32 young athletes to achieve the impossible. The 1937 Football Team achieved greatness by winning the Farmington Valley League and State Class C title while producing the only undefeated and unscored upon team in Plainville history. Their 7-0 record was highlighted by scoring 90 points while not allowing any points to be scored. The Farmington Valley League was considered to be strong in 1937 and the Blue Devils were not expected to show much. The season opened at Farmington and fullback Louis Tucker crashed through the line for a touchdown with 3 minutes left. It was all they needed to start this miraculous run. In the second game Simsbury then headed to Plainville and Dick West’s 2 touchdowns secured the victory. The 3rd game of the season was pitted against Berlin who expected to stop the run. However, led by Tucker’s three touchdowns Plainville went on to a 20-0 victory. Mid-way through the season was the annual game against the alumni. This was a classic defensive battle and the only score came on a pass play from Tucker to Alden Doughty for six. The team then traveled to Winsted to face a tough Gilbert team. The scoring opened with a 55-yard pass play to Dick West. Tucker and Dom Forcella added 2 touchdowns each for a 31-0 victory. The team that was expected to be mediocre had now played 5 games, scored 77 points, and allowed none. At this point of the season the state had only 9 unscored upon teams and Plainville led in scoring with Hillhouse next at 76 points. The team was put to the test against Collinsville and only a second quarter passing attack that put Dick West in the end zone for 6 showed any offense on the part of Plainville’s game. The contest from start to finish was a bitter defensive battle. The only remaining challenge was arch rival Southington who was coming into this game outscoring their opponents 129-14. The game would decide the league championship and state C title. On Plainville’s first possession they marched 63 yards capped by a Tucker rush for the touchdown. Early in the 2nd quarter Tucker was injured and was put out of the game, thus immobilizing the offense. The defense with West the leading tackler and Hubert Royce’s booming punts held the ferocious air attack unleashed by Southington. The final stand was in the fourth quarter when the defense held Southington to a “four and out”. At that point the score ended at 7-0 capping the miraculous season of unbeaten and unscored upon as the most successful season in Plainville Football history.