Answer to Question No. 1: HOF Member Donna Nevulis (AHS Class of 1975) was one of the first legit female sports legends in school history. She was a star player on the Lady Ram softball and basketball teams and in 1978, she earned all-american recognition playing SUNY Brockport softball.
Answer to Question No. 2: HOF member Sarah Brownell was the valedictorian for the Class of 1993 at Amsterdam High School. Sarah graduated from RIT with a degree in mechanical engineering. She has since devoted huge amounts of her time and technical talents to the development of solar powered sanitation systems in Borgne, Haiti. In 2009 Browned founded Friends of Borgne with a small group of people to provide education to the people of Borgne. To date, there are three schools with over 250 children attending through the organization’s efforts.Sarah is currently a lecturer at RIT in Design Development and Manufacturing at the Kate Gleason College of Engineering.
Answer to Question No. 3: AHS HOF member Ken Engle (Class of 65) is the only person in the school’s history to coach the combination of varsity soccer, basketball and baseball teams. Engle coached the school’s varsity soccer team for 16 years, the varsity basketball team for four and the varsity baseball team for ten seasons. He also served with distinction as JV coach in all three of those programs.
Answer to Question No. 4: Mike Tuman (Class of 71) was one of the greatest all-around athletes in AHS history. He led both the Rams’ varsity baseball and football teams to league titles in his senior year and then became an outstanding collegiate catcher for the University of Pennsylvania. He would go on to become a dentist, marry his high school sweetheart, Amsterdam native Karen Bergen and establish a thriving dental practice in Philadelphia.
Answer to Question No. 5: There are now a total of six women in the GASD Hall of Fame. Thy include the most recent female additions to be honored this year, Brittany Stahura (Class of 2008) and Maria Riccio (Class of 68).
Answer to Question No. 6: The only two individuals to serve as associate principals of Amsterdam High School were Bert DeRose and Claude Palczak. They were appointed to that post in 1971 and continued to co-lead the high school until the early 1980’s. DeRose was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016 and Palczak will be inducted in 2018.
Answer to Question No. 7: The four GASD hall of famers who played minor league baseball include Brian Mee, Buddy Flesh (Class of 70), Gary Tuck (Class of 72) and Joe Hage (Class of 74).
Answer to Question No. 8: The three GASD hall of famers who have served as members of the City of Amsterdam’s Common Council include David Pietrusza (Class of 66) Paul Ochal (Class of 64) and Joe Emanuele (Class of 74).
Answer to Question No. 9: The only siblings currently in the Hall of Fame are Judge Felix Catena (Class of 75) and his younger brother, Dr. Tom Catena (Class of 82).
Answer to Question No. 10: The only father and son combination currently in the Hall of Fame are long-time AHS varsity basketball coach Rick Cetnar (Class of 64) and his son, the all-time leader in scoring for the AHS basketball program, Todd Cetnar (Class of 96).
Answer to Question No. 11: The player pictured above is Chuck Wert (Class of 68), son of longtime Montgomery County Sheriff, William Wert. Chuck was an outstanding defensive end and special teams player on the 1967 Rugged Rams, who once blocked three punts in a single game against Johnstown. Chuck married Amsterdam native Mary Ann Nadler and they ended up settling in Watertown, NY, where they opened up a hugely successful chicken wings restaurant called the Wing Wagon. Sadly, Chuck passed away in December of 2017 after a courageous battle with lung cancer.
Answer to Question No. 12: The 86 Rugged Rams finished the season 10-0 and outscored their competition 296-48. Running back Kevin Billington was selected the Schenectady Gazette’s Offensive Player of the Year and linebacker Alex Gonzales received that newspaper’s Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Answer to Question No. 13: The five hall of famers who played quarterback for AHS Rugged Ram football teams include; Pete Diamond (Class of 69), Buddy Flesh (Class of 70), Gary Tuck (Class of 72), Brian Bonanno (Class of93) and T.J. Czeski (Class of 2006).
Answer to Question No. 14: The only hall of famer with a black belt in Jiu Jitsu is the former all-everything lineman for the Rugged Rams, Richie Alteri. Richie also happens to be the only member of the Hall of Fame who can pick up the front end of a compact car as well!
Answer to Question No. 15: Both Gary Tuck and Dave Weissman are Hall of Fame members who graduated as classmates and football teammates in the AHS Class of 72. Paul Tonko graduated from AHS in 1967 and went on to become a US Congressman and Joe Hage was an all-league baseball and football player in the AHS Class of 1974.
Answer to Question No. 16: “What was once home is home again…my Amsterdam”
Answer to Question No. 17: Tim Kolojay (Class of 64) was a near perfect high school basketball player. He was Amsterdam’s first 1,000 point scorer and its only two-time All-American. He went on to enjoy a solid hoops career at Duke University and an outstanding professional career in the insurance/financial industry. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and high school sweetheart, Amsterdam native Sandy Gallagher.
Answer to Question No. 18: David Pietrusza (Class of 66) is a nationally acclaimed historian of both U.S. politics and baseball and his book “1932” won the 2017 Independent Book Awards Silver Medal. James Ziskin (Class of 78) won the 2017 Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original for his mystery novel “Heart of Stone”.
Answer to Question No. 19: Sue Blazejewski (Class of 83) was one of the great female athletes in AHS history. She attended Marist College after graduation on a basketball scholarship and graduated with a degree in Communications. In 1996 Sue became a member of the U.S National Women’s Bobsled Team and competed in events in this country and other countries throughout the world.
Answer to Question No. 20: One of the two other legacy teams enshrined in the Greater Amsterdam School District Hall of Fame is the 1962-63 Fabulous Five Basketball team coached by the great John Varsoke. The Fab Five were starters Tim Kolodziej, Phil Schuyler, Tom Urbelis, Gary Blongiewicz and Dave Smith. They won 30 straight games over two seasons and captured both a Class A League and Section 2 Championship. The other legacy team in the Hall is the 1973-75 Amsterdam Varsity Baseball Team, coached by Brian Mee. Those teams put together a 53-game winning streak that extended over three seasons and captured two section championships in the process.
Thanks for taking the AHS Hall of Fame Quiz. Hope to see you at the 2018 Induction Dinner on September 28th. Meanwhile, stay tuned for my next Amsterdam Trivia Quiz which will focus on the history Amsterdam’s wonderful neighborhood grocery stores.