More than 250 people filled the Venus de Milo banquet room Saturday night to pay tribute to the newest members of the Warren Athletic Hall of Fame. It was a night filled with fond memories and emotion.
The Class of 2013 includes Brian Beausoleil, Joseph Catalfano, Wanda Lukas, Michael Marino, Neil Murphy, Gregory J. Sampson, Kyle C. Teixeira, and the late Roger Araujo, Charles H. McCanna Jr. and Will “Biddy” Smith, who were inducted posthumously.
Also inducted were members of the 1936 Warren High School Class C Championship baseball team and state runners-up; the 1936 Warren High Class C Championship football team; and 1970 Warren High Suburban East Championship wrestling team.
In addition, winners of the annual Peter Sepe Scholarship Award were announced. They are Warren residents Steven J. Foster, a senior at Portsmouth Abbey who stars in football, lacrosse and swimming, and Annie Venditti, a senior at La Salle Academy who was a state doubles champion in tennis while earning a 99.5 GPA in the classroom.
Romeo Lombardi, a member of the undefeated 1970 wrestling team, said he was surprised to be elected to this year’s Hall of Fame induction class.
“It was nice to know that I was remembered in this special way,” he explained. “We had such a great team that season.”
For Joseph Catalfano, being inducted into the Warren Athletic Hall of Fame was a dream come true.
“This is such a wonderful honor for me and my family, especially my dad, (Joseph “Topper” Catafano), a member of the Bristol Athletic Hall of Fame. You could see how proud he was tonight.”
Michael Marino, brother of Warren Hall of Famers Angelo and Jerry Marino, was one of the great wrestlers to come out of the town of Warren. He talked about the development of the wrestling program at Warren High School and the valuable lessons he learned from his coaches.
“Our coaches instilled in us that we could be champions,” he told the audience.
A top-rated baseball player in high school, Michael also wrestled at Worcester Academy, Lehigh University and URI. He also did a little boxing, and placed first in an intramural boxing tournament at Lehigh. Most recently, he partnered with his daughter, Lilly, to win two gold medals in Rhode Island’s Special Olympics unified bowling.
Dinner chairperson for the Hall of Fame banquet was Martha Delekta. Invocation was given by Hall of Fame chaplain, Rev. Ned Gammons. Masters of ceremonies were Jack Flynn, Hall of Fame Committee chairman, and Lester “Butch” Lombardi Jr.
Also offering their congratulations to the new inductees were State Sen. Walter S. Felag Jr., and Town Council president Chris Stanley. Presenting the inductees and awards were Hall of Fame Committee members Ted Abrain, Jay Ferreira, Diane Gempp, John Jannitto and Beth Penkala.