Ten past Lawrence County athletic greats are set to be recognized for their success.

Former standouts in various areas of the sports scene will be inducted into the Lawrence County Historical Society Sports Hall of Fame on May 7 at the New Englander. Doors will open at 12:30 p.m. The program will begin at 3.

All tickets are $35 and can be purchased at the Lawrence County Historical Society annex on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets also can be purchased on the Lawrence County Historical Society website. The last day to purchase tickets is May 1.

The 2017 class includes Sam Campoli, Gary DeGruttola, Sam Flora, Jessica Levine, Stefanie Lombardo Leonard, Mike Maricone, George Mike, Dave Salmen, RoxAnn Schofield-Gallagher and Rick Sumner.

Harold Taylor will receive induction into the Hall of Honor, while the 1948 and 1949 New Castle High football teams will earn the Ellis Hoffman Team Award.

Last year’s New Castle News Athlete of the Year winners Samantha Seaburn (Shenango) and Jake Wilson (Laurel) also will be recognized.

Following are the bios of the inductees:

 

HALL OF FAME

SAM CAMPOLI

Campoli was a football standout at New Castle High, from where he graduated in 1971. 

Campoli was the starting guard and outside linebacker for the Red Hurricane on the 1970 squad that finished 10-0. New Castle outscored the opposition 317-36 and that team is generally regarded as the school’s best-ever team.

As a senior, Campoli collected First Team All-Midwestern Athletic Conference, Second Team UPI All-State (offense) and Third Team AP All-State (guard) honors. He was a Big 33 selection as well.

Campoli attended Miami (Florida) on a football scholarship. He played on the Hurricanes’ football team for four years, earning a letter as a senior and graduating in 1975.

 

GARY DeGRUTTOLA

DeGruttola, a 1979 Laurel graduate, was a three-year letterman in football and track and field. He helped lead the Spartans’ football team to a 30-4 mark during his three seasons as a running back and defensive back.

DeGruttola earned first-team Tri-County accolades on offense as a senior as Laurel’s football team compiled an 8-2 record. 

The Spartans notched a 12-1 record during DeGruttola’s junior year and and 10-1 during his sophomore season.

In track and field, DeGruttola  took fourth in the 300 hurdles as a senior in the state meet, setting a school record that still stands.

DeGruttola played collegiately at Westminster College. He lettered each of his final three years with the Titans.

DeGruttola led Westminster to a 5-3 record as a sophomore, starting and lettering on the squad.

As a junior, DeGruttola was named to the NAIA All-American First Team, the Pittsburgh Press All-District First Team and the NAIA District 18 First Team on defense. He made 62 tackles, assisting on 43, with three sacks, 14 pass breakups, two interceptions, two blocked punts/extra points and a fumble recovery. Westminster went 10-1 and lost in the NAIA semifinals.

DeGruttola was a co-captain as a senior, garnering Kodak Division II All-American status along with NAIA All-American First Team, Pittsburgh Press All-District First-Team defense, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette All-District First-Team defense and NAIA District 18 First-Team defense accolades. He notched 71 tackles, 34 of which were assisted stops, with six pass breakups, seven interceptions, a touchdown and two blocked punts. Westminster finished with a 9-2 mark, falling in the NAIA semifinals.

DeGruttola was a starter and letterman as a senior in football and track and field. He competed in the 100 and 200, while participating on the 400 relay team.

In 1983, DeGruttola was a free-agent safety and signed on with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

 

SAM FLORA

Flora played football and track and field at New Castle, graduating in 1970.

Flora earned three varsity letters in football and three more in track for the ‘Canes.

Flora was a member of the 1967 WPIAL championship and also earned first-team all-conference honors in 1968 and 1969. He garnered honorable mention status on the all-state team in 1968 and was selected as a top 100 back in the country in 1969.

Flora was offered an NCAA Division I scholarship to Louisville in 1969.

During Flora’s three-year football career at New Castle, he scored 19 touchdowns with 1,718 rushing yards and a 5.3 yards per carry average.

 

JESSICA LEVINE

Levine was a standout in tennis and basketball before graduating in 2000.

In tennis, Levine teamed with Sarah Barber to reach the WPAL semifinals in 1997. The duo was eliminated in that round but won the consolation match to finish third. She reached the PIAA semifinals in 1997 as well in singles.

Levine advanced to the WPIAL quarterfinals in singles and semifinals in doubles with Jessica McCullough. The tandem won the consolation match to finish third and Levine also qualified for the PIAA singles event.

In 1999, Levine won the section singles title and reached the WPIAL semifinals. She captured the consolation contest to place third and participated in the PIAA singles tournament. Levine was an all-state selection in 1999.

Levine scored 1,685 career points in basketball and ranks seventh on Lawrence County’s all-time scoring list, third on Neshannock’s all-time list. She averaged 20.8 points per game as a senior and was an all-state selection on the fifth team. 

 

STEFANIE LOMBARDO LEONARD

Lombardo Leonard was a standout in volleyball, basketball and track and field at Laurel, where she graduated from in 2002.

Lombardo Leonard paced the Lady Spartans volleyball team to the WPIAL championship as a junior. She earned three varsity letters in volleyball and set the school’s all-time mark in kills and digs.

Lombardo Leonard twice was named all-state in volleyball.

In basketball, Lombardo Leonard earned three varsity letters. 

Lombardo Leonard captured two varsity letters in track and field while becoming the first female pole vaulter on Laurel’s girls track squad.

Lombardo Leonard earned an NCAA Division I scholarship to continue her academic and volleyball career at Rider College.

As a freshman in college, Lombardo Leonard finished fourth on the team in kills. She compiled double-digit kills in six games that season.

Lombardo Leonard played in all 101 games for Rider as a sophomore. She was second on the team in kills, attacks and service aces, while sitting third in digs, blocks and block assists.

In her junior year, Lombardo Leonard played in all 104 of Rider’s games. She was second on the team in kills and digs. Lombardo Leonard was named to the all-tournament team at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships as well in the Bronc Invitational hosted by Rider.

Lombardo Leonard made the 1,000 digs and 1,000 kills club as a senior and was recognized by ESPN for that accomplishment. She made the all-MAAC team and the New York Lottery MAAC Academic Honor Roll three times each.

MIKE MARICONE

Maricone excelled in football, basketball and baseball at Shenango, from where he graduated in 1968.

Maricone was a first-team all-section and all-Tri-County selection in football, basketball and baseball during his junior and senior years.

A quarterback, Maricone led the Wildcats’ football team to a 9-0 record as a senior under coach Frank Bongivengo. He completed over 50 percent of his passes. Maricone still holds the school record for least number of interceptions in a season (3).

In basketball, Maricone was the team’s second-leading scorer as a junior and senior, earning all-Section 20 status. He averaged over 17 points per game. 

Maricone was an all-Section 6 choice in baseball his junior and senior years as an outfielder. He compiled a .371 batting average.

Maricone continued his collegiate career at Geneva College, where he competed in football, basketball and baseball. He played offense and defense on the Golden Tornadoes’ football team. 

Maricone got into coaching after graduating from Geneva. He was an assistant coach at Freedom from 1971 to 1984, before serving as head coach from 1984 to 1987. The Bulldogs’ 1977 team went 11-0, capturing the Midwestern Athletic Conference championship.

Among the players that Maricone coached included Jimbo Covert, who went on to play at Pitt and the Chicago Bears. Covert was on the Bears’ 1985 squad that won Super Bowl XX.

Rochester hired Maricone as an offensive coordinator, a position he held from 1987 to 1992. The Rams won the WPIAL championship in 1991 and 1992. They were PIAA runner-ups in 1991 and 1992 as well. 

Maricone retired from coaching at age 42 and he retired from teaching at Freedom after 35 years.

 

GEORGE MIKE

Mike is a 1928 New Castle graduate who competed in football.

Mike helped lead the 1927 ‘Canes squad to a 10-1 record, outscoring the opposition 454-26.

Mike played collegiately at West Virginia Wesleyan and was a four-year starter. He was a co-captain as a senior.

In 1936, Mike earned Associated Press First Team Little All-America accolades. During that season, he tackled the punter in the end zone to give West Virginia Wesleyan a 2-0 victory over Orange Bowl-bound Duquesne, which beat top-ranked Pitt that same season.

In 1938, Mike was named to the College All-Star Team and played in the game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Later that year, Mike was offered a contract from the New York Giants, but he turned it down citing he made more money as a teacher.

After his playing days, Mike coached football in the 1950s as a Major in the Army. He also coached two seasons at North Huntingdon High, now known as Norwin. Prior to his arrival at North Huntingdon, the school failed to post a winning record for several years. But he guided the team to a 7-2 ledger in his first season and 8-1 in his second campaign, capturing the Westmoreland County crown.

 

DAVE SALMEN

Salmen is a 1980 Union graduate, where he was a three-sport standout in football, basketball and baseball. He earned eight total varsity letters.

In football, Salmen was a three-year letterwinner and played a key role on the Scotties’ 1979 Tri-County championship squad, which advanced to the WPIAL semifinals. He played wide receiver and defensive back.

Salmen claimed two varsity letters in basketball, propelling Union to the WPIAL semifinals in both 1979 and 1980 as a forward.

Salmen was a four-year letterman in baseball and was an all-conference selection as a junior and senior. He threw a no-hitter during a pre-season spring trip to Tennessee against top-ranked Hillwood (Tennessee). 

Salmen continued his academic and athletic career at Geneva College, playing football and baseball. He excelled on the diamond as a collegian.

In baseball, Salmen was a three-year starter and letterman for the Golden Tornadoes. He was named NAIA District 18 MVP as well as NAIA All-American in 1983. He set and still holds the school’s single-season hit streak (22 games) as well as the record for single-season slugging percentage (.798).

Salmen was drafted in the 22nd round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Cincinnati Reds after his junior year as an outfielder. He played for the Reds’ Rookie League affiliate Billings (Montana) Mustangs, where he had three home runs and a .370 batting average as a starter and a .256 average overall. Salmen was part of Cincinnati’s minor league system that included future big-leaguers Eric Davis, Paul O’Neill, Lloyd McClendon and Rob Dibble. 

After his stint in the minors, Salmen continued to play in the North County League. During his time in the league, he played a big role in propelling Brindle Printing to 13 league championships.

  

ROXANN SCHOFIELD-GALLAGHER

Schofield-Gallagher was a track and field star at Mohawk, graduating in 1979.

Schofield-Gallagher won three WPIAL championships as a sophomore. She captured the 440-yard individual run, while competing on the 440-yard and 880-yard medley relay teams that claimed district gold.

Schofield-Gallagher took third place in the state meet that year in the 440-yard run and the 880-yard medley relay.

As a junior, Schofield won four titles at the Tri-County meet — 100, 220 and 440, while participating on the victorious 440-yard relay squad.

Schofield won the 440-yard individual gold and participated on the mile relay team that set a district record at the WPIAL meet.

Schofield shined at the state meet, winning the 440-yard run and setting a state record, while taking fourth in the 220 and teaming up to claim fifth on the 440-yard relay team.

During her senior year, Schofield again won four Tri-County crowns — 100, 200 and 400, while competing on the winning 400-meter relay squad. She won two WPIAL championships as well, claiming the 400-meter dash and running on the 1600-meter relay team.

Schofield took second at the state meet in the 400 dash and the 1600 relay, while scoring a fifth-place finish in the 400 relay.

 

RICK SUMNER

Sumner was a football standout at New Castle, graduating in 1974.

Sumner was a three-year starter at quarterback for the ‘Canes. He helped guide the team to the WPIAL championship in 1973, claiming all-state first-team UPI, all-WPIAL first-team and all-MAC first-team honors that year. Sumner received a scholarship to the University of Akron.

Sumner was 194 of 43 through the air for 2,795 yards and 29 touchdowns for his career. He set single-season records of 1,115 yards and 15 touchdowns, which have both been broken.

 

HALL OF HONOR

HAROLD TAYLOR

Taylor is a 1979 Shenango graduate and was a three-year letterman in football. 

Taylor was a member of the Penn State University track and field team as a walk-on and later became a member of the athletic department staff. He was on the Nittany Lions’ sideline during the 1986 national championship victory over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl. 

Taylor began coaching junior high football as an assistant in 1984 and remained in that capacity until 1987. He became the Pop Warner coach in 1987. Taylor made the jump to varsity coaching in 1993 through 2016 and served under such coaches as Frank Bongivengo, Brian Cooper, Ryan Mayo and current coach Mike Commesso.

(Email: rponiewasz@ncnewsonline.com)

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