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Ziemnicki to be inducted into Connecticut Field Hockey Hall of Fame

Avon High field hockey Terri Ziemnicki will be inducted into the Connecticut Field Hockey Hall of Fame in September. She is just the third field hockey coach in school history and has won 364 games.

AVON — Avon High field hockey coach Terri Ziemnicki will be inducted into the Connecticut Field Hockey Hall of Fame on Sunday, September 15, at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington beginning at 3 p.m.

Avon High field hockey coach Terri Ziemnicki

Ziemnicki will be part of an induction class that includes former Granby High field hockey player Sue (Witkos) Grigely; former Pomperaug-Southbury player Emily Skipp; Fior (Arrindell) Griffin who played at Watertown High and Northeastern University in Boston; former official Bonnie Maskery of Bristol and Dr. Gayle Hutchinson, a former player at Fermi High in Enfield and UMass, who is currently the president of Chico State in California.

Ziemnicki has been the field hockey coach at Avon since 1989. In 30 seasons, Avon has won 364 games, nine North Central Connecticut Conference championships and has participated in the CIAC tournament every year. The Falcons won their first Central Connecticut Conference title last fall, capturing the CCC South championship.

Avon has played in the state finals three times. She was just the second Avon High coach to be inducted into the Connecticut High School Coaches Association (CHSCA) Hall of Fame in 2013.

“I am blessed that I have been given this opportunity to help shape these young women and help them get ready for the real world after high school,” she told the Collinsville Press in 2013 before her induction in the CHSCA Hall of Fame.

Ziemnicki, whose maiden name was Garelli, grew up in Avon and was a three-sport athlete at AHS where she played field hockey, basketball and softball. She attended Itacha College. When she returned home, she was hired as the junior varsity field hockey coach. Four years later, she was named head coach in 1989 – just the third coach in the program’s history.

Avon has won 10 league championships under Ziemnicki and reached the Class S finals three times only to fall to Nonnewaug (1990) and Canton (1995, 1998).

“I want (us) to win a state championship but nothing is more important than character,” she said in 2013. “I try to live as a good person and try to be a role model for these girls to learn from.”

She also coached the Avon High softball team for six years (1990-95) and the girls lacrosse team for four years (2008-11). She has been the girls lacrosse coach in Granby since 2012 and led the Bears to the Class S finals in 2012.

Ziemnicki and her husband, Jon, live in Granby and have two sons.

Grigely, whose maiden name was Witkos, was a standout field hockey player at Granby High, earning All-State honors for three consecutive seasons (1983-85). She helped the Bears win a share of the Class S championship with Canton in 1985.

Grigely played four years of field hockey at UConn (1985-89) before graduating in 1990. She has been working at ESPN in Bristol for nearly 30 years. She is currently an Associate Scheduler and Sponsorship Ad Manager at ESPN. Grigely and her husband Paul live in Simsbury and have two daughters.

Dr. Gayle E. Hutchinson. Photo courtesy Chico State

Hutchinson was a three-sport athlete at Fermi High in Enfield where she played field hockey, basketball and softball. She was a four-year starter at UMass and also played two years of basketball and four years of varsity lacrosse, where her team finished second in the U.S. Women’s Lacrosse Association’s national tournament in 1979.

She is currently the president of Chico State in California and has been leading the university since 2016.

Prior to her service at Chico State, she served as the principal investigator and co-director of the Northern California Physical Education – Health Subject Matter Project, the project director for the Pacific Wellness Center and developed curriculum and taught physical education in elementary schools.

Hutchinson holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education teacher education from UMass, a master’s from Teachers College, Columbia University in teaching analysis & curriculum development, and a doctorate of education from UMass in teacher education/staff development.

“To me, leadership has always been about service beyond self in ways that help people learn, create, achieve and strive toward their own potential in life,” Hutchinson writes in her biography on the Chico State website. “As far back as I can remember, I enjoyed serving in leadership roles. When I was a child, I pretended to be a teacher playing school with my friends. When I taught high school physical education and health, I realized that leading was teaching and teaching was leading. I worked hard then empowering my students and helping them learn and practice healthy lifestyles through movement and sport.

“Sports taught me the power of teamwork, and the team taught me the importance of working together as one to imagine a successful future, achieve collective goals and overcome difficult challenges,” she wrote.

Bonnie Maskery was a long-time field hockey official.

Bonnie (Higgins) Maskery, who is being honored for her work as an official, was 74 when she passed away in January 2017. She graduated from Hamilton High in South Hamilton, Mass., and from Plymouth State. She earned a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling from Central Connecticut State.

She was a teacher in Hartford, N.Y., and at Housatonic Valley in Falls Village. She was a field hockey and girls basketball official for more than 35 years. She was the CIAC girls basketball tournament officials director for 25 years

She was elected to the Connecticut Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (1992) and the New Agenda Northeast Hall of Fame (1998) for advancing the role of women in sports. She was a CIAC Merit Award winner (1999).

Maskery lived in Bristol with her husband, Paul, who was a long-time coach and athletic director at Farmington High.

Griffin, who is being honored for her play in college, played field hockey at Watertown High and was a two-time All-State player. At Northeastern University, she played for four years and was a three-time America East player. In 2002, she was the America East defensive player of the year and an All-American selection. She graduated in 2004.

She coached at Canton High in Massachusetts for nine years, leading the team to a record of 138-25-22. Her teams won six Hockomock League championships and won the 2007 Eastern Massachusetts championship.

Skipp was a two-time All-State selection at Pomperaug in Southbury, leading the Panthers to two state championship victories. She earned All-American honors. After transferring from Northeastern, she played four years at Trinity College and earned All-American honors in 2006.

The cost is $60 per person and the reservation deadline is September 6. Dinner reservations can be made by contacting Nancy Grace at n1027grace@gmail.com.

2019 honorees

High School Coach: Terri Ziemnicki, Avon
High School Player: Sue (Witkos) Grigely, Granby; Emily Skipp, Pomperaug
College player: Fior Griffin (Watertown), Northeastern University
Official: Bonnie Maskery, Bristol
Honorary: Dr. Gayle E. Hutchinson, Enfield

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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