ROCKLAND COUNTY TIMES
The Rockland County Track & Field Hall of Fame will enshrine nine new members during its 12th induction ceremony on Saturday, May 20, beginning 6 p.m., at the Casa Mia Manor House in Blauvelt.
The class of 2017 includes a trio of state champions: jumper Drew Hirshfeld of Clarkstown North, distance runner Erin Haugh Colleran of Nanuet, and hurdler Ricky Gross of Albertus Magnus. They are joined by national-caliber half-miler Stanley Lagrenade of Nyack, distance champion Sheri Felenstein Dempsey of Nanuet, record-setting thrower Tony Klebetz (posthumous) of Spring Valley, athletes/coaches Jim Pollard of Spring Valley/Ramapo and Joe D’Innocenzo of Tappan Zee/Clarkstown North, and Coach Betsy Evans of Spring Valley.
“This year’s roster of inductees is among the finest we have assembled since the Hall of Fame was established in 2004,” said Chairman Jamie Kempton. “Track and field showcases a full spectrum of athletic skills and this year’s class represents the cream of the crop in running, jumping and throwing from their respective eras.”
Hirshfeld, class of 1984, won the 1984 New York State indoor triple jump title and finished third outdoors. He claimed three Rockland County and three Section 9 championships, and went on to excel at the University of Vermont, winning three Eastern Intercollegiate titles.
Haugh Colleran, class of 1997, captured the 1994 State Class C cross country championship and finished runner-up in the 1996 State Class B 1,500- and 3,000-meter runs. She racked up nine Rockland and nine Section 1 crowns and set a County record in the 3,000 meters (10:07.07) that stood for 10 years. At Wake Forest, she earned All-ACC honors.
Gross, class of 1999, annexed State and Eastern States titles in the 110-meter high hurdles and clocked 14.0 seconds, No. 3 on the all-time Rockland list. He finished second in the 60-meter hurdles at the National Scholastic indoor championships, and later starred at the University of Connecticut.
Felenstein Dempsey, class of 1993, qualified for the New York State meet in 11 of her 12 seasons of competition, and led Nanuet to the 1990 State Class C cross country title as the Golden Knights’ No. 1 harrier. She accrued nine Rockland and 10 Section 1 gold medals, and mentored multiple state champions as a Nanuet coach for 15 seasons.
Lagrenade, class of 2002, finished second in the national Golden West Invitational 800-meter run in 1:52.1, one of the fastest Rockland times ever in that event. He earned four County and five Section 1 championships and later competed for Georgetown University.
Klebetz, class of 1938, set a Rockland County record in the shot put of 48 feet, 1.75 inches that was not broken for 16 years. He also won County crowns in the discus and high jump. D’Innocenzo, class of 1955, starred for Tappan Zee’s championship cross country team and was County 880-yard run titleholder. He coached the Clarkstown and Clarkstown North teams from 1959 to 1978, the last 11 years as head coach, leading the Rams to four Rockland championships.
Pollard, class of 1963, set a Rockland triple jump record of 42 feet, 10.5 inches and anchored a County-record-setting 880-yard relay for the Tigers. He won a combined nine County and Section 9 titles and later had a successful run as Ramapo coach. Evans was one of the first female track coaches in Rockland County. She guided several Hall of Fame athletes during a three-decade career in the East Ramapo school system.
Tickets for the dinner are $65 at the door and $25 for children 12 or younger. For ticket information, contact Bill Dailey at 845-323-0976 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the hall of fame’s website at www.rctfhalloffame.org.