More than 100 guests turned out on Oct. 24 to see the Amityville Sports Hall of Fame induct nine individuals and the members of two football teams. The newest members of the district’s athletic hall of fame are Warriors Reynolds Hawkins Jr., Cherese Hinckson, Oliver Hinckson, Albert “Allie” Leftenant, Richard Allen Maher, Mary “Mazie” Kretz McDonough, Victor S. Niemi, Jeannette Santos and Kenny Young.
Reynolds Hawkins (Class of ’78), a founding member of the Amityville High School Sports Hall of Fame, was nominated and selected for induction this year because of his achievements in basketball, cross-country and track. Among his accomplishments are setting a New York State freshman two-mile record that stood for 27 years and holding cross-country course records at Sunken Meadow State Park. He has also been a successful coach at Amityville since 1996, earning 24 league/county Coach of the Year awards and coaching 16 state champions, among other achievements.
In her acceptance speech, Cherese Hinckson (Class of ’97) said she had long been focused on competition with her brother, Oliver, also a member of the Class of 1997 and the 2014 Sports Hall of Fame.
Cherese said she was especially grateful to her parents, who were constantly on the go shuttling kids to games.
Oliver, for his part, said he first became devoted to athletics after being sent to the time-out room while in high school and ogling the trophy case. He said it inspired him to become a serious athlete.
Tommy Leftenant accepted the award on behalf of his father, who was unable to make it, although a dozen other Leftenants were in attendance. Tommy said his father was proud to be part of the Warriors legacy.
Jeannette Santos, a long-time member of the Amityville Board of Education and a Warriors athletics booster since 1960, said she was amazed. She felt, as a mother, that all the kids were hers and urged all members of the community to support the children.
Inductee Richard Maher, who won county wrestling championships in his weight class in 1965, 1966 and 1967, was equally humble, saying he was just one wrestler in a long line of great Amityville wrestling teams.
Bruce Pescitelli spoke on behalf of inductee Kenny Young (Class of ’75), who was both an outstanding soccer and baseball player. He said that when Young stepped up to bat, the baseball scouts would get out their stopwatches to clock how fast he ran. He was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 20th round of the 1975 Major League Baseball draft and was awarded a baseball scholarship to the University of New Haven, where he decided to attend.
The 1956 and 1961 varsity football teams, both winners of the Rutgers Cup, were inducted as well. George Cerchiai, a member of the 1961 team who now lives in Miami, said he was thrilled to be back in Amityville with his former coach Lou Howard, who Cerchiai referred to as “Caption Lou.”
The goal of the Amityville High School Sports Hall of Fame is to honor and acknowledge past great athletes, coaches, contributors and teams that have impacted the Amityville school sports community. Its mission is also to reunite the past sports history of the school with the present champions that add to the rich fabric of the Amityville High School athletic program.
Browse the photo gallery for a look at all the inductees.