A former coach and six former athletes of Middletown High School were inducted into the Wall of Fame inaugural class for their record-setting achievements at a ceremony on Sept. 23.
The seven inductees were chosen by a committee to represent the high school's seven decades of athletic history, and six came in person to receive the recognitions in the lower sports lobby, which was packed with family members, friends, and community members.
'Greatest Years of My Life'Dick Wolslayer, a former longtime football coach, was inducted for his legendary contributions to the high school's sports over the past decades, in terms of both records and spirit.
He coached football at Middletown High School between the 1960s and 1990s and topped the school's chart with 142 wins, a record that landed him No. 8 on Section 9's all-time list.
Section 9, one of 11 sections under the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, is made up of high schools from Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster counties.
Mr. Wolslayer is also known for his devotion to youth character development and his humbleness.
When the City of Middletown named its new football field on Monhagen Avenue after him several years ago, he said he was the luckiest man on Earth, a line he repeated at the inaugural ceremony.
"I feel completely honored and lucky," he said. "Those were the greatest years of my life."
Joe Radivoy, a former football player and wrestler at the high school in the 1960s, was inducted for his achievements in both sports, including leading the Middletown football team to an unlikely score of 232–29 in 1961 and winning third place in a state tournament as a wrestler.
Following high school, Mr. Radivoy went on to play football on a scholarship at Syracuse University, where he was once ranked No. 16 in the country.
Former baseball player Mike Aviles was inducted largely for his 10-year record as a major league player with the Kansas City Royals, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, and Miami Marlins.
Following playing at high school and college, Mr. Aviles was drafted by the Kansas City Royals and was named player of the year in 2008.
Though former Middletown High School athlete Timothy Reynolds chose football as his primary sport, he was better known for his achievements as a basketball player.
He was inducted mainly for being the high school's all-time leading scorer, with 1,489 points, and leading his college, SUNY Delhi, to claim its first-ever regional title in the early 1990s.
"Thanks very much to my brothers, sisters, all my teammates, friends, and cousins over the years, whom I competed against, whom I learned from, and whom I am still learning from," Mr. Reynolds said.
Lois-Ann Hayes and Stacey Morris, two former female high school athletes, were inducted for their trailblazing records between the 1970s and early 2000s.
Ms. Haynes entered the sports arena in the 1970s, when female athletes were little heard of, and won five MVP awards at Middletown High School.
Among all the sports she played, her passion was basketball, which landed her at Orange County Community College, where she was twice named the regional player of the year, and then Marist College.
When Ms. Morris entered Middletown High School in the 1980s, sports options for girls widened to include soccer, and she excelled at it, along with softball and basketball.
Ms. Morris once led Middletown teams to Section 9 championships in all three sports and went on to create more records at Orange County Community College and Wagner College.
The last inductee, Mel Mosley, is the most decorated track-and-field athlete in the high school's history.
He once ran the 400 meters in 46.88 seconds, one of his eight records at Middletown High School, and came third in Section 9 history.
Mr. Mosley won seven sectional titles and six Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association titles, besides qualifying for the state championship 10 times.
'Perseverance'Mr. Coates thanked Middletown School District Superintendent Amy Creeden and the school board members for supporting the Wall of Fame committee in the past years.
He told The Epoch Times that sports were an important pillar in the district's education that, along with other extracurricular activities such as chess and drama, helped build well-rounded scholars.
"One trait that sports build is perseverance," he said. "If you can persevere and battle through some of the things that you experience as an athlete, you can handle those difficulties in life as well."
School board member Ed Estrada told The Epoch Times that the committee did a great job selecting the first-class inductees and that he hoped the list would grow every year.
Wallkill Supervisor George Serrano, Wallkill Councilman Neil Meyer, and Middletown Councilman Gerald Kleiner also attended the ceremony.