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A night of honor and pride as the High School Athletic Hall of Fame greets inductees

The Shelter Island School hosted its 4th Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony this past Saturday night, May 21, to honor the newest inductees.

The ceremony was very well attended by families and friends of the inductees, filling about 75% of the school auditorium.

The selection/induction committee was co-chaired by Todd Gulluscio and Jim Colligan, and included members Cindy Belt, Jay Card Jr., Cliff Clark and Lance Willumsen. The committee began their work months earlier by reviewing nomination forms from both past and present, as well as performing an extensive research of old newspapers, yearbooks and other records.

The induction class this year included the 2009 and 2011 volleyball teams, Owen Dickson, Christopher Evangelista, Ken Lewis Jr., Kelsey McGayhey, Miriah and Rebecca O’Malley, Michael Ryan, and former coach and athletic director Chris Tracey. Unfortunately, the O’Malley sisters could not attend due to health issues of a family member. They will both be formally inducted in the next group of inductees in the next few years.

After opening and welcoming remarks made by School Athletic Director Todd Gulluscio, Superintendent of Schools Brian Doelger, Ed.D., and Jim Colligan, the induction ceremony began with congratulations to the 2009 volleyball team: Lisa Rasmussen, Claire Read (C), Shelby Willumsen (C), Mariah Jacobs, Dana Ramos, Haley Willumsen, Rachael Heinze, Kelsey McGayhey, Stephanie Vecchio, Mackenzie Needham, Assistant Coach Karen Gibbs, and Head Coach Cindy Belt. This team went undefeated (14-0) in League VIII, became the Class D Champions of the County and Southeastern Regionals, and competed in the State Championships. They also defeated Haldane High School, which had earned numerous State Championships.

Congratulations to the 2011 volleyball Team: Katy Binder (C), Kelsey McGayhey (C), Haley Willumsen (C), Saverina Chicka, Tara Sturges, Jayme Clark, Erin Colligan, Morgan McCarthy, Alexis Gibbs, Assistant Coach Karen Gibbs, and Head Coach Cindy Belt. This team earned the 3rd consecutive undefeated seasons and 8th consecutive Class D County Championship. Four players from this team went on to compete at the college level. 

Owen Dickson, Class of 1964, was a four-year starter on the school’s varsity basketball team, serving as team captain and earning All-County honors. Owen also served as team captain for the varsity baseball team, earning All-County honors. He was scouted by the Milwaukee Braves and was invited back for a 2nd tryout with the team, but opted to attend college and further his education. Owen also played varsity softball and was considered an outstanding player. This honor, awarded to Owen posthumously, was presented to Owen’s wife, Susan Schiano.

Christopher Evangelista, Class of 2005, was inducted for basketball. Christopher earned All-League honors from freshman through senior years, as well as achieving All-County honors in both 2004 and 2005. His jersey was retired in a separate ceremony in 2020, having scored 1000-plus points during his varsity career. Accepting this award was Christopher’s sister, Sarah Evangelista.

Ken Lewis Jr., Class of 1989, was inducted for soccer, golf, basketball and baseball. Ken earned All-League honors in both 1987 and 1988, while serving as the team captain in golf. He also earned All-League honors in 1988 & 1989 in baseball. He was considered a fierce competitor who possessed power at the plate and speed on the bases. Ken received the Gold Key Award, Suffolk County Athlete of the Year (1989), as well as being selected Outstanding Athlete for Shelter Island High School.

Kelsey McGayhey, Class of 2012, was inducted for both volleyball and basketball. As a basketball player, Kelsey earned Rookie of the Year (2009), All-League (2010, 2011 and 2012); All-Conference (2011) and All-County (2012). In addition, she was voted as the League VIII MVP (2012) and Team MVP (2011 and 2012) awards. Kelsey’s number was retired, having scored 1,000-plus points for her career. She was Suffolk County’s leading scorer in 2012, averaging 23.3 points per game.

Michael Ryan, Class of 1981, was inducted in soccer, basketball, baseball and wrestling. In soccer, Michael earned All-League honors in 1978 and 1979 and served as the team captain in 1980. As a basketball player, Michael also received All-League honors in 1980 and 1981, serving as captain in 1981. As a baseball player, he earned All-County honors in 1979 and 1980, and was selected as the team’s MYP in 1980. Finally, as a wrestler, Michael qualified for the Regionals as an 8th grader in 1977. Michael played soccer and baseball at Allegheny CC, and has served as the long-time Athletic Director at the Hoosac School, with the gymnasium named in his honor.

Coach/Athletic Director Chris Tracey was a vibrant and charismatic educator and coach who brought a passion for sports and strong work ethic; instilling in his students a respect for the game, a respect for opponents, and the importance of fair play and practice. His passion for the Shelter Island School and its community left a lasting impression on each student he taught, coached and mentored. His impact on Shelter Island athletics is felt to this day.

After the induction ceremony in the auditorium, the inductees and attendees moved down the hallway to unveil their section of the Shelter Island Athletic Hall of Fame. It was the perfect ending to a beautiful ceremony that touched the hearts and souls of all of those in attendance.

A special thank you to the Legion Post 281 for making the Legion available to the attendees, their families and friends, following the ceremony. It was a wonderful night from start to finish and it truly represents the passion that this community has for its athletic programs and the importance of maintaining school spirit in our small community.