Hall of Fame
Maloney Hall of Fame
7th Induction Class
MERIDEN —A four-sport athlete from the early days of Maloney, a recordholding football and wrestling standout, three stellar basketball/baseball players, and a former player and coach of the Maloney volleyball dynasty comprise this year’s slate of inductees into the Maloney High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Joe Annino, Sr., Rich Vitale, Patrick Good, David Rackie, John Curry and Joanne Burkhardt Conte, Maloney’s seventh Hall of Fame class, will be inducted on Thursday, May 5 in a ceremony at the Aqua Turf Club. Tickets are $30 and available at Maloney, Alan’s Cup ‘N Saucer, Aresco’s Superette and Barry’s Package Store.
The following are highlights from the inductees’ careers at Maloney.
-Joe Annino, Sr.:A 1962 graduate who defined versatility, Annino played four sports and earned 11 varsity letters.
He began his career in the fall of 1959 as a football player for coach Ed McGee and played on Maloney’s first undefeated team. He was a halfback and fullback on offense and a cornerback and middle linebackeron defense.As a senior, he led Maloney to the 1961 CCIL conference championship. He and teammate Bob Chester tied for third place in the state in scoring with 149 points.
Annino was named the team MVP and was the first recipient of the Terry Wanat Award, created in memory of a former teammate who had died on the football field the previous year. Annino was named All-Conference and played in the Nutmeg Bowl all-star game.
In basketball, Annino earned four varsity letters under coach Norb Fahey. He averaged 18 points as a senior co-captain and fell just shy of the 1000-point plateau. In the spring, Annino ran track as a freshman, then shifted to baseball, playing center field and pitching for coach Bill Papallo.
Patrick Good:The 1988 graduate starred in basketball and baseball. As a three-year varsity basketball player under coach Howie Hewitt, Good led the Spartans in scoring as a junior and senior with an average of 14 and 18 points, respectively, and was named All-Conference both seasons. He finished with 816 career points and was selected as one of the top 50 basketball players at a commemorative ceremony celebrating the 50th anniversary of Maloney High School.
Pat also excelled in baseball as a shortstop. A three-year varsity letter recipient, he led his team in assists all three years and was instrumental in leading Maloney to the Class L semifinals in 1987.
-Joanne Burkhardt Conte:Her four stellar years as a player under Cindy Opalski were superseded only by her own remarkable coaching career. The 1984 grad spent one year as an assistant coach at Lyman Hall before assuming the head position at her alma mater in 1986 as a 19year-old college student.
She continued Maloney’s volleyball dynasty throughout her 11-year career, leading Maloney to eight CCC South championships and five state Class L finals, three of which the Spartans won (1987, 1988, 1992).
Burkhardt Conte was voted the 1995 Connecticut High School Coaches’ Association Volleyball Coach-of-the-Year. A year later she received the National High School Coaches’ Association District 1 Volleyball Coach-of-the-Year honors and was one of eight finalists for the national award.
Three years ago she was voted into the Connecticut Volleyball Hall of Fame.
-Rich Vitale:A 1983 grad, Vitale was one of the premier football players and wrestlers in school history, competing in both for four years.
In football, Vitale was All-Colonial Conference for three consecutive years.He holds individual records for 185 assisted tackles and 89 solo tackles. His state record of 515 career tackles was broken in 2002, but he remains second in that category.
Vitale was Stoddard Bowl Defensive MVP in his junior year and also the recipient of the Fred Biestek Award as the most outstanding football player. As a senior, he was an All-State linebacker, the New Haven Register’s Player of the Year, and named in Who’s Who in American High School Football.
Vitale’s wrestling accomplishments were equally noteworthy. He was on coach Ray Mainville’s 1980 state championship team and completed his four-year career with a record of 105-3-2. He was All-Conference and a Class M champion for three consecutive years and won State Open titles in 1982 and 1983. He also holds New England and National titles in folk and freestyle wrestling.
-David RackieThe 1981 graduate was the only junior starter on coach Norb Fahey’s 1979-80 undefeated basketball team. He was captain in his senior year, was named All-Colonial Conference and, like Good, was selected as one of the top 50 basketball players at Maloney’s 50th year celebration.
Rackie also played baseball for four years under coach Ed Zajac. He was starting second baseman for three years and could also pitch. Rackie hit .395 as a junior and led Maloney in RBIs and extra base hits. As a senior captain, he led the Spartans in batting average (.377), RBIs, runs scored, doubles and home runs. Colonial Conference coaches deemed Rackie “the toughest out in the league,” Rackie was twice All-Colonial Conference and made the Connecticut High School All-Star Team in 1981. A scholarathlete, he was awarded the Robert Kuhn Memorial Baseball Award as the team’s most valuable player.
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