NEW CASTLE —
Earlier in the evening, John Sansone and Michelle Watson were honored as the 2012 Athletes of the Year. Watson, a WPIAL champion in discus and shot put, thanked coaches and family that helped her to accomplishments at Shenango High in volleyball, track and field and softball. She competes on the women’s track and field team at Robert Morris University.
Sansone, a Neshannock star in baseball, football and basketball, was unable to attend because of obligations to the Florida State University baseball team. Kelly read a letter Sansone wrote stating his thanks to those who supported him. The Neshannock softball team also was celebrated for its 2012 PIAA Class AA championship with the Student Team Award. Coach Tracy Kimmel and former pitcher Amanda Furst accepted the award.
Two of the most recognizable names in Lawrence County were saluted with induction into the Hall of Honor — the Rev. Fats Cubellis and the Tom Riley Sr. family.
Cubellis was unable to attend the event because of health issues, and his son, Guy, gave an emotional speech about his father describing the vital role officiating played in his life.
Memories of New Castle for active youth usually meant a trip to Riley’s FunSpot. The Riley family was honored with induction into the Hall of Fame because of the important role the family played in sponsoring and providing youth activities in the area. After Kelly detailed his personal history at Riley’s, Kathy Riley Furst accepted the honor on behalf of her family.
“I bet there’s not one person in the audience over the age of 50 who hasn’t been to Riley’s Fun Spot,” she said. “If you have, please stand up.”
A chilling response followed, as wave after wave, table after table removed themselves from their seats, leaving nearly every chair unoccupied in the banquet room.
The 1955-1960 Wampum High School basketball team was the first to receive the Ellis Hoffman Memorial Team Award. After viewing a video that recognized the accomplishments of the historic team, which included 31-0 record in 1955, former player Ron Galbreath accepted the award for the table of Wampum players in attendance.