Newest members honored in November
By MIKE MADERA
(September 12, 2019) - The West Haven Hall of Fame Committee has announced its newest inductees to be honored, Saturday, November 23, 2019 at Cielo, West Haven Italian-American Club.
With five members and a sibling trio added to the prestigious club, there are now 178 inductees since the start in 2000.
West Haven Hall of Fame Class of 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Included in the Class of 2019 are David Sheppard, Jim Rice, Megan McGorry Severino, Kevin Gilhuly, Matt Gianini, and the sibling trio of Toni Ginsberg, Kelly Johnson DiNapoli, and Herb Johnson.
“This is another outstanding group of inductees to be enshrined into the West Haven High School Athletic Hall of Fame,” West Haven Hall of Fame chairman Jon Capone said. “The Hall of Fame is a way to show our gratitude for all the hard work and dedication they gave while attending West Haven high school.”
Gianini was a standout pitcher for the Westies who graduated in 2004. Playing for Hall of Fame member Mike Anquillare, Gianini was a 3-year ace for the Westies, compiling a 25-4 record.
Gianini is a two-time All-State and three-time All-Area selection. Gianini went on to play at Central Connecticut State University where he compiled a 21-15 career record with a 3.34 earned run average.
The lefty made his mark at Central as he is part of several university records, including first in shutouts with six, second in wins (21) and complete games (21), third in innings pitched (278), and fourth in strikeouts with 207.
Severino is a 2007 graduate who starred in the pool and on the tennis courts. While excelling in both, Severino stood out above the rest in the pool as she was the team’s most valuable player all four years, made All-State in the fly in 2006, and still holds the fly record 13 years later.
Severino was the team captain for both the swim and tennis teams her senior year, while also participating in the marching band and jazz band.
Severino earned a Division I scholarship to swim at Central Connecticut State University, breaking three school records in the 1,000, 1,650 and 800 relay. Severino still holds two individual records ten years later.
Severino was a NCAA All-America honoree in the 500 free, and made it to the Olympic trials before she was cut in the 400 meter free.
A hockey and baseball star under Hall of Fame coaches Art Crouse and George Hanchette, Sheppard made his mark in the rink and on the baseball diamond.
Sheppard, who could find the back of the net with the best of them on the ice, is third on the all-time West Haven scoring list with 138 points. He was an All-District selection as well as second-team All-State selection his senior year.
Sheppard graduated in 1982 and also played three years of varsity on the baseball diamond. With a knack of getting on base and the smooth hands to anchor the infield in the middle at second base, Sheppard was an All-District selection his senior campaign.
Sheppard went on to play college hockey at the University of Connecticut where he played four years at right wing, finishing with 35 goals, 48 assists and 83 points.
Toni Johnson Ginsberg, Kelly Johnson DiNapoli and Herbie Johnson become the first trifecta of siblings to be inducted at the same time.
Ginsberg starred on both the volleyball court and softball diamond as a 1988 graduate. A 3-year starter in volleyball, Ginsberg excelled in serve percentage and hits, and despite suffering a knee injury her senior season, she was chosen as the team’s captain.
On the softball field, Ginsberg was a 4-year starter for a West Haven team which was the District League champion all four years.
An All-District first team selection three times and honorable mention once, Ginsberg had the Toni Johnson Award for Offensive Excellence named for her, and upon graduating, held school records in hits, runs batted in, doubles (just broken in 2019) and home runs (still stands).
DiNapoli is a 1992 graduate who was a four-year varsity starter in soccer and softball.
On the pitch, DiNapoli was a formidable defender and stopper who made the All-District team as a junior, and All-State as a senior, when she was the team’s captain.
DiNapoli made her mark on the softball field from the start as she batted fourth and led her team in stolen bases as a freshman. DiNapoli played center and pitched, while hitting .487 as a sophomore, leading the team in homers with five.
DiNapoli was an All-District League selection as a junior after hitting .431 with 26 stolen bases. She was also the team’s most valuable player.
Johnson is a 1991 graduate who starred in football and hockey, winning a combined three state titles with the two teams.
A defensive nose guard and offensive center on the football team, Johnson’s teams won the state title his freshman and junior years. Anchoring the middle on both sides of the ball, Johnson was a second team All-District selection his junior year, before being named All-District and third-team All-State his senior campaign.
Initially not going to play high school hockey due to his love of football, Johnson was switched from defense to forward and made a home at left wing for three years under coaches Crouse and DeLucia.
Johnson was a key cog of the state championship team his junior year. As a senior, he finished with 16 goals and 20 assists, and was named to the North-South All-Star game.
Johnson went on the play Division I football at Central Connecticut State University as a defensive nose guard, scoring his first and only touchdown against Hofstra.
Rice is a 1955 graduate of West Haven, where he played football, basketball, and track and field. Rice was well decorated in each sport, holding the shot put record at West Haven for 50 years.
On the football field, Rice used his 6-foot 185-pound frame to dominate both sides of the ball as a tight end and linebacker. Rice was named second-team All-State as a senior.
The versatile Rice also starred in the shot put, hammer, and javelin under Hall of Fame coach William Irons.
Gilhuly is a 1974 graduate who starred on both the football field and in the shot put.
Gilhuly played four years of football and was part of the 1972 state championship team. The tight end and defensive end was a key piece to the team's success, which also saw West Haven end Xavier's 34-game win streak.
A ferocious competitor, Gilhuly was named to the All-District team in 1973 as a defensive end, and was also the team's tri-captain his senior year.
Away from the gridiron, Gilhuly starred in the shot put event for four years.
Upon graduating, Gilhuly went on to play football at Columbia University, where he was a defensive tackle and three-year starter.
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