AVON, May 15, 2023 – The place for stories, nostalgia and smiles was the Golf Club of Avon on Monday night. The second induction ceremony for the Avon High Athletic Hall of Fame was held with seven athletes, two former coaches and the undefeated 1988 Avon High boys soccer team that won a Class M state championship being honored.
Members of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023 included Karen Bachman (Class of 2003), Jeff Hyman (1982), Anne Lindsay (1975), Frank Nascimbeni (1962), Colleen Olsen (2006), Greg Ward (1996) and former coaches Barbara Startup and the late Glenn McLellan.
Hyman talked about winning three state championships in a single day in the 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000 meters to help the team have a shot at winning the state title. Nascimbeni, who got a hit in every single Avon High baseball game he played in, smiled about his final hit in a Falcon uniform, a grand slam home run against Coventry in the Class C title game that lifted Avon to the first state championship in school history.
Keefe recalled hitting a basket at the wrong end of the court that send the game into overtime. Ward talked about his choice to turn down a scholarship to play football and baseball at UConn to sign with the Atlanta Braves organization to play professional baseball.
The evening was hosted by ESPN personality and SportsCenter anchor Sage Steele.
The men and women that were honored included:
Karen Bachman, Class of 2003, was a four-year starter in basketball and volleyball who earned All-State honors twice in basketball and twice in volleyball. She helped the Falcons win four NCCC league titles in basketball and volleyball before going on to play collegiate basketball at New York University.
Jeff Hyman (1982) won State Open championships in cross country and the 5,000 meters in track and field. He also won three Class M state titles in track and field on one day in 1982 in the 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000 meters. He was a two-time NCAA Division III national champion at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., winning the 5,000 meters in 1986 and the 3,000 steeplechase in 1987.
Katie Keefe (2000) won 12 varsity letters playing basketball, volleyball and softball at Avon High. A two-time All-State basketball player, Katie was the first girls basketball player at Avon to score more than 1,000 points in her scholastic career. She walked on to play basketball at Providence College, eventually earning a scholarship and being named captain for her junior and senior year.
Anne Lindsay (1975) won 12 varsity letters running cross country, playing basketball and competing on the track and field team. She won three consecutive State Open titles in the discus in 1973, 1974 and 1975. She was fourth in the discus at the national AAU championships in 1975. She attended Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada and played varsity basketball for five years, winning team MVP three times. Dalhousie was second in the collegiate national championship tournament in 1981.
The late Glenn McLellan coached four sports at Avon High but spent the most time as the head football coach (1966-91, 1994), winning a school record 130 games and leading the Falcons to seven league championships. His 1991 boys track and field team won the Class S championship. He began the wrestling team and coached for four years. He was a standout athlete at UConn where he played football and baseball.
Frank Nascimbeni (1962) was a three-sport athlete at Avon who played on the first varsity football, basketball and baseball teams at Avon and was captain of all three Falcon teams in his senior year. He was a member of Avon’s 1962 state championship baseball team that beat Coventry, 8-2.
Colleen Olsen (2006) was a four-year starter in field hockey and girls lacrosse. She earned US Lacrosse All-American honors twice and was the Hartford Courant’s state player of the year in 2006. She played four years at Dartmouth and was a member of the U.S. women’s national team in 2010-11.
Barbara Startup was a coach and athletic director at Avon High. She coached at Avon for many years, leading the volleyball, girls basketball and softball teams. Her varsity teams at Avon combined to win 368 games as well as league championships in softball and basketball. In 1995-98, she returned to Avon as director of Student Activities.
Greg Ward (1996) was an exceptional three-sport athlete at Avon, earning All-State honors in football and baseball. He was drafted out of high school by the Atlanta Braves. After his pro baseball career was complete, he played three years of football at Trinity where he was the starting quarterback.
The 1988 Avon High boys soccer team went undefeated (20-0) and captured the ClAC Class M championship with a 2-1 win over Stonington. It was Avon’s fourth state title in five years and second in a row. The team was ranked No. 1 in the final Hartford Courant state coaches poll and No. 2 in the final poll by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Nominees were evaluated for athletic excellence, accomplishments in high school and beyond, and overall impact on Avon High athletics.
Editor’s note: Collinsville Press editor and founder Gerry deSimas, Jr. is a member of the nomination committee for the Avon Athletic Hall of Fame.