ORR inducts new class into Athletic Hall of Fame
Old Rochester Regional High School inducted six new members into its Athletic Hall of Fame Saturday evening.
A banquet was held in the school’s cafeteria honoring the new inductees. Members of the state champion 1982 boys basketball team were also honored and inducted as a team.
Members of this year’s individual Hall of Fame class include Richard Reilly of the Class of 1973, Kim Rae Dennis of the Class of 1975, Tiffany Lopes of the Class of 1998, Jason “Fig” Figueirido of the Class of 1999, Rob Cowell of the Class of 2001 and Tom Dawicki of the Class of 2003.
Reilly was a three-sport athlete at ORR. He was a star football player and track MVP and was among the founding members of the school’s first hockey team. He later joined the Marine Corps.
Reilly’s son Andrew introduced his father at the banquet and said his father remains a great athlete long after he graduated from ORR.
Despite Reilly’s many athletic accomplishments, his son said he remains humble.
“He has a lot to be proud of,” Andrew Reilly said. “But he’s the humblest person I’ve ever met.”
The elder Reilly said that playing sports allowed him to feel like he belonged, and said the school will always have a special place in his heart.
During a time when female athletes were just beginning to get a fair shake in high school sports, Dennis, a member of the Class of 1975, was a star field hockey, track and field, basketball and volleyball player. She was a captain in all four sports, and set a state record for the long jump in track and field.
“She was one of the most versatile, talented and gifted female athletes this school has ever had,” Dennis’ former coach said.
"This induction will be something that I’ll reflect on with great pride,” Dennis said, thanking all of her coaches who inspired her while she was in high school.
Lopes, a 1998 grad, was a star soccer, track and basketball player.
Her former basketball coach said that Lopes “always gave 100 percent effort, regardless of what the job was.”
“She just did her job,” her former coach said, paraphrasing New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick.
The Class of 1999's Figueiredo excelled at football, basketball and baseball.
His former football coach said he was “one of the best wide receivers I’ve ever seen during forty-plus years of coaching here.”
“Now that I’m a parent, I see how much time, dedication and sacrifices you made so I could do what I love, Figueiredo said, thanking his parents. “I don’t think there was a game of mine that my mother ever missed.”
Cowell, Class of 2001, was an all-star center and defensive tackle in football and an accomplished track and field thrower.
His former teammate and longtime friend, Ryan Sylvia, who is also a member of the school's Athletic Hall of Fame, introduced Cowell.
“Oftentimes the lineman and throwers don’t get the recognition of a star running back or a sprinter,” Sylvia said. “[Cowell] was truly a protector of his teammates. I’m grateful for all of those blocks you made, but more grateful for the friend you’ve been off of the field.”
Cowell thanked his coaches, teammates and family, specifically his father for the “countless hours of catch” the two played together.
Dawicki, who graduated in 2003, was a star quarterback for the Bulldogs, a captain of the basketball team and part of a championship winning relay team in track.
“Tom was an incredibly well rounded athlete,” his uncle said while introducing him.
“The time I spent here at ORR really shaped the person that I became,” Dawicki said, saying the passion he was taught to bring to athletics transitioned into other parts of his life later on.
The 1981-82 boys basketball team won the school’s first State Championship in the sport.
Five members of the team were present at the event, and former player Mark Reeves spoke on the team’s behalf.
Reeves said the key to the team’s success was a sense of unity and a lack of selfishness.
“I don’t think any of us looked at the stat sheet,” Reeves said. “There was no social media obviously … this was a real team, there wasn’t one fight the entire year.”