Sports

New Class Enshrined in Girls’ HS Hall of Fame

The 2018 GCHSAA Hall of Fame class includes, from left to right, Elizabeth Breden, Anton Turkovic, Richard Matzelle, Kelly Fitzpatrick-Mullahy, Andrew Francis (accepting on behalf of his daughter Phyllis Francis), Robert Atanasio, Rebecca Power-Hassard, Rick Dolan, Chris Hardardt, Gina Trani-Marshall and Linda Jordan. (Photo Michael Graziano)

The GCHSAA of the Diocese of Brooklyn inducted a new 11-member class to its Hall of Fame April 19 at Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach.

Held every two years, the ceremony recognizes the athletic contributions of athletes, coaches, administrators and officials, submitted as nominations by each school.

Here are the 2018 inductees:

Robert Atanasio grew up playing basketball at Our Lady of Angels parish, Bay Ridge, before enrolling at Brooklyn Prep, Crown Heights. He began his collegiate basketball career at the University of Scranton, Pa., before finishing up his studies at St. Francis College, Brooklyn Heights.

After a career in business, Atanasio began teaching and coaching at St. Joseph by the Sea H.S., Staten Island.

He later became the athletic director at St. Saviour H.S., Park Slope.

In 13 years before retiring in 2014, the teams at St. Saviour won 13 diocesan championships, while several individual players took home league sportsmanship awards. He also coached basketball at the school for six seasons and softball for three. He currently coaches the JV hoops team at Fontbonne Hall Academy, Bay Ridge.

Elizabeth Breden ran track at Lehman College, the Bronx. In 1974, she began teaching at Aquinas H.S., the Bronx.

When she first started, the school’s only sports team was varsity basketball. Breden helped expand the program to include JV basketball as well as varsity and JV volleyball, softball and track teams. While there, she coached multiple sports.

She currently sits on the executive board of the GCHSAA NY Division and serves as vice president.

Rick Dolan attended St. Thomas Aquinas School, Flatlands, and St. Francis Prep, Fresh Meadows. After earning degrees from St. Francis College, Brooklyn Heights, and Fordham University, the Bronx, he began teaching religion at Nazareth H.S., East Flatbush.

Early on, he coached girls’ varsity basketball and softball while also coaching football for the boys. Recently, his varsity softball team won the 2017 GCHSAA diocesan ‘B’ championship. Dolan, the school’s athletic director, has taught physical education at Nazareth since he started there in 1983.

Kelly Fitzpatrick-Mullahy graduated from St. Francis Prep, Fresh Meadows, in 1991. While there, she starred on the basketball, cross-country and track and field teams.

A 1,000-pt. scorer, she was selected All-City and First Team All-Brooklyn/ Queens in basketball. She was also First Team All-Brooklyn/Queens in cross-country and track for the 800-meter run and the high jump.

She attended Fordham University, the Bronx, on a basketball scholarship and was part of the 1993-94 team that appeared in the NCAA Tournament.

After an international professional basketball stint, she is currently the WWE director at international partnerships and strategy.

Phyllis Francis was a standout track runner at Catherine McAuley H.S. in East Flatbush, representing the school at the GCHSAA and state championships three years in row in the 600- and 800-meter races.

She went on to the University of Oregon, where she competed in the 400-meter – winning three straight Pac-12 Conference championships. She broke the American and NCAA collegiate indoor 400-meter record, which she still holds.

Francis placed second in the Team U.S.A. Olympic trials in 2016, earning a spot on the Olympic squad. In Rio de Janeiro, she was fifth in the women’s 400-meter finals and won gold with the women’s 4×400-meter relay team.

Chris Hardardt went to St. Joseph’s College Brooklyn, Clinton Hill, and upon graduating in 1989, he returned to his alma mater, Christ the King H.S., Middle Village, to coach JV football. He then coached varsity football for the Royals for eight seasons – including an undefeated regular season campaign in 1996.

In 1999, Hardardt took over as the athletic director at Holy Trinity H.S., Hicksville, L.I. The school’s teams have won numerous Nassau-Suffolk diocesan championships in softball, basketball, volleyball and track and field.

He is president of the CHSFL, vice president of the Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA and chairperson for Nassau-Suffolk girls’ and boys’ basketball and baseball.

Linda Jordan began her coaching career as a volunteer for Special Olympics in Queens Village before joining the track program at The Mary Louis Academy, Jamaica Estates, in 2002.

She has trained Hilltoppers who have gone on to state cross-country championships and intersectional steeplechase championships. A number of her athletes attended Division I colleges. She is currently the intersectional chairperson and state coordinator for the girls’ athletic leagues.

Richard Matzelle, a graduate of St. Pancras School, Glendale, and Brooklyn Tech, Fort Greene., received degrees from York College, Jamaica, and Adelphi University, Garden City, L.I.

After coaching in the local CYO for many years, he became the JV basketball coach at St. Agnes H.S., College Point. He became the school’s varsity hoops coach in 2000 and continued through the 2016-17 season. Since 2001, Matzelle has served as GCHSAA varsity basketball chairperson.

Rebecca Power-Hassard was a two-sport star at Archbishop Molloy H.S., Briarwood, in volleyball and track and field. She earned First Team All-Queens honors in volleyball in 2007 and was the GCHSAA record holder in indoor and outdoor pole vault.

In her high school career, she was a five-time national championship qualifier in pole vault and an 11-time N.Y. state qualifier shot put and pole vault. She won 13 Brooklyn-Queens diocesan championships and 11 GCHSAA individual intersectional titles.

She continued her athletic career at the University of Albany, competing in the pole vault, shot put and javelin. After college, she started her own company, Fitness with Becca, which provides personal athletic training to young adults with physical and developmental disabilities.

Gina Trani-Marshall was a catcher and center fielder on the Bishop Kearney H.S., Bensonhurst, varsity softball team prior to her graduation in 1996. She was one of the top players in program history, earning numerous All-City and M.V.P. honors.

She continued playing softball at Adelphi University, Garden City, where she compiled a .300 batting average over four years. She returned to her high school alma mater as a teacher and coached varsity softball, 2000-10.

She also served as Kearney’s assistant athletic director, 2002-15. She currently runs the school’s fitness club.

Anton Turkovic grew up in Yugoslavia and became a world-class kickboxing champion. He arrived at Christ the King H.S., Middle Village, in 2001 to assist with the girls’ basketball program’s conditioning.

In 2003, he became the school’s athletic trainer – the first full-time trainer in the CHSAA. He serves both Christ the King and opposing student-athletes in every sport.

His career has included working with Christ the King basketball legends Speedy Claxton, Sue Bird, Clare Droesch and Tina Charles. He also trained the late New Jersey Nets star Dražen Petrovic.


Contact Jim Mancari via email at jmmanc@gmail.com.

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