Rockland Track Hall of Fame to Induct Nine

BY JAMIE KEMPTON

The Rockland County Track & Field Hall of Fame will honor nine new members during its 10th annual induction ceremony on Saturday, May 18, beginning 6 p.m., at the Minisceongo Golf Club in Pomona.

Tickets are $55 in advance, $65 at the door and $20 for children 12 or younger. For ticket information, contact Bill Dailey at 845-323-0976 or wcd106@optonline.net, or visit the hall of fame’s website at www.rctfhalloffame.org.

The class of 2013 includes three posthumous honorees from Nyack – Coach Joe McDowell (1956-1985), Bob White, class of 1947, and Ira Howard, class of 1950 – as well as Jim “Butch” Pugh, a 1974 Nyack graduate; Muriel Piluso Nestoros, North Rockland class of 1978; Maria Gordon Farrell, a 1981 Tappan Zee alumna; Chinela Davis, North Rockland class of 2001; and a pair of 2001 graduates from Suffern, Chris Lolagne and Justin Romaniuk.

McDowell coached spring track for 29 years, 25 of them as head coach, 28 years as cross country coach and six years as indoor track coach. His teams won six County championships and eight Section 9 titles, and he earned five Rockland Coach of the Year awards. His athletes won five New York state individual crowns – Ron Edwards (high jump, 1962), Dave Billings (cross country, 1971, and two-mile, 1972), Jerry Blow (indoor 55, 1978) and Darien DeLoatch (1,600, 1979). Nine of his former athletes are in the Hall of Fame, and the spring County meet is named in his memory.

White won four Rockland County championships in the 220-yard dash and long jump and a five Section 9 titles in the 220, long jump and 440-yard relay. His long-jump best of 22 feet, 9 inches stood as the County record for 20 years (1947-67) and is still among the top 10 all-time Rockland performances in that event. He also established County and Section 9 records in the 220 (22.4 and 22.3, respectively) and Section 9 marks in the long jump (22-3.5) and 440 relay (45.5 seconds).

Howard was a three-time New York state medalist, placing second in the 100-yard dash in 1950 and third in both the 100 and shot put in 1949. A versatile performer, he also set a County record in the high jump, clearing 6 feet with the scissor-kick style, and posted outstanding marks of 10.2 in the 100, 22.9 in the 220 and 46-4.5 in the shot put. He won seven Section 9 titles – four individual, three relay – and five County championships in the 100, 220 and high jump. Howard also was an All-County guard in basketball and a Golden Gloves boxer.

Pugh performed best when the stakes were highest, finishing third at the State meet in both the 100 and 220 in 1974 and fourth in the 100 in 1973. He racked up four County, four Section 9 and three State Qualifier crowns, and his only 100-yard loss in 1973 came in the State meet. He set meet records in the State Qualifier in the 100, 9.6, and 220, 21.6. His 100-yard time shares the No. 2 ranking on the all-time Rockland list and his 220 clocking stands No. 6 on the combined 220-yard/200-meter list. Pugh was coached by Joe McDowell.

Piluso Nestoros was a ground-breaking sprinter in the early years of girls track from 1975 to 1978. She won 10 Rockland titles, including a three-year sweep of the 100 and 220, captured eight Section 9 crowns, and set numerous County records in the 100, 220, indoor 60- and 300-yard dashes and relays. She had one third place (60) and two fourth-place finishes (220, indoor 300) at the State meet, lost only once over a three-year period in the 60 or 300 in Rockland and Section 9, won the Bishop Loughlin Games indoor 100 two straight years, and set the County record in that event (11.4) at the St. Francis Prep Games.

Farrell Gordon excelled in the high jump, capturing five County crowns and four Section 9 titles and medaling three times at the State meet, including a third place in 1981. She held the County record of 5-5 for three years and still ranks No. 8 on the all-time Rockland list. At Wagner College, she won the state AIAW indoor pentathlon and outdoor heptathlon in 1982 and qualified for the 1984 U.S. Olympic Trials in the heptathlon. She set school records in eight events, including the high jump (5-7).

Davis is one of Rockland’s most decorated sprinter-jumpers. She won four State titles in the long jump – including two Federation victories – and added five second-place finishes in the State or Federation meets in the long jump, 100 and 200. She also placed third in the national outdoor long jump and claimed 13 County championships. Davis tops the all-time Rockland list in the 100 meters (11.84), 100 yards (11.0) and 200 meters (23.9), ranks No. 2 in the indoor long jump (19-4.5) and 200 (25.16), and No. 3 in the outdoor long jump (19-8.25). She later starred at the University of Miami.

Lolagne was the 2001 State and Federation 400-meter champion and holds the County record in that event at 47.6. He swept the County 200 and 400 and indoor County 300 three straight years and totaled 11 Rockland individual titles. Lolagne ranks No. 1 all-time for Rockland in the 400 outdoors and indoors (49.03) and 600 yards (1:11.76), No. 2 in the indoor 200 (22.1) and 500 (1:07.4), and No. 4 in the outdoor 200 (21.4). At Penn State he ran on school record-setting 4×200 and 4×400 relay teams.

Romaniuk won the 2001 national indoor mile championship in a County-record 4:14.09, which still stands. He also captured the 1999 national 2,000-meter steeplechase and State Class A cross country titles and the 2000 State Class A 1,600 (4:12.99), and recorded runner-up finishes in the national steeplechase, Federation 1,600 and State 3,200. He notched 14 individual County gold medals, heads the all-time Rockland rankings in the indoor mile and 1,500 (3:55.89) and outdoor 1,200 (3:05.1), and ranks No. 2 in the 2,000 steeplechase (5:58.13). At Stanford he was 2003 Pac-10 champion at 800 meters.