By: Daniel del Ben
Athletics are a vital component in just about every school, and that is why Roxbury High School recognizes the importance in preserving the legacy of the athletes and coaches that have passed through the school over the past century. On May 18th, Roxbury High School had their induction ceremony to honor the newest members in this year’s induction class.
The Athletic Hall of Fame Committee was founded in 2012 and had their first ceremony in 2013. Every year, the athletics department looks through their entire history, and makes a decision on who to add into their hall of fame.
“I believe it was important to establish an athletic hall of fame because it connects the past with present,” said Director of Athletics and Student Activities Stuart Mason. “The Hall of Fame recognizes the best of the best and gives our current students a blueprint for success. By hearing about the hall of famers, they learn that the same attributes that make someone a success on the playing field will lead them to a successful career and life.”
The school’s lobby proudly displays the plaques of all the previous Hall of Fame inductees which includes exceptional students, coaches, and teams. The class of 2019 saw the addition of:
Laura Ahern who leads Roxbury girls basketball in points with 1632 in four varsity seasons from 2000-2004.
Sandy Alexander was on Roxbury’s first girls cross country team as a freshman in 1978 where she won her first of three conference championships.
Jessica Musmanno was one of Roxbury High School’s most prolific soccer players and was on the school’s championship team her freshman year in 2007.
Alan Andrews was on Roxbury’s football first ever conference championship team in 1978. He later went on to be drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers as a seventh round pick in 1984.
Mike Bennett graduated in 1972 with some very impressive wrestling achievements. He won state champion by a 6-0 decision while going 24-0 for the year. His overall record was 46-6.
Angelo Mangiro graduated 2009 and will be recognized as both a football and basketball player. In football, Mangiro was a two-time first team All-State offensive lineman selection, and went on to play three years as center for Penn State University where he was designated team captain in his senior year. In basketball, Mangiro became the all-time leading boys scorer with 1074 points.
Coach Byron Collins built Roxbury’s cross country team in the1970s and coached from 1974-1995 and 2008-2010. During his tenure, he coached four undefeated teams and two Hall of Fame students.
The 1998 football team was Roxbury’s first football team to win a championship game (previous champions were declared by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association). After going 10-2 for the season, the Roxbury Gaels beat Plainfield 7-6 at Giants Stadium.
Bill Tardive played football, basketball, and baseball when he graduated in 1953. After he returned from the Korean War, Bill and his brothers set up and coached the junior football team the Roxbury Colts which organized a program that allowed boys to play football without having to travel long distances.
All the honorees were thrilled to be added to the Roxbury High School Hall of Fame. Many attended the evening on May 18 with their families and friends.