NORWICH – On Saturday, the 11th annual Norwich high school sports hall of fame inductions took place inside the Jack Jones Gymnasium, where five athletes and a one contributor were honored.
Representing the class of 2023 were Frank Speziale, former Evening Sun photographer, Clarence “Jock” Taylor from the graduating class of 1923, Richard “Dick” Harrington, class of 1957, Ken Stewart from the class of 1956, Jim Ward from the class of 1971, and Johanna Schultz-Dalton from the class of 1998. All were nominated by fellow peers for this prestigious honor while the hall of fame committee spent countless hours researching facts and stats on each individual.
After a wonderful dinner, catered by Curtain Call out of Earlville, each inductee was well-spoken about by their presenter.
Pat Newell sent in a video message while Tom Rowe had the pleasure of talking highly about his fellow photographer Frank Speziale, highlighting how Frank’s photos made any sports article they had written stand out tremendously like “frosting on a cake”. Frank came up to the podium and thanked everyone and added that he would do his job all over again.
Rowe also spoke on Clarence “Jock” Taylor, who graduated 100 years ago this year. Rowe had just found out about Jock not too long ago, but came to find out that he was the greatest NHS athlete of his time. He was remembered for his time on the baseball team, where he only got out once in his career and only went hitless in one game. Rich Turnbull, the committee’s chairman and NHS’ athletic coordinator, had the pleasure of looking up and notifying Jock’s family. Fred Taylor, his son, along with Jock’s grandchildren, came to the ceremony all the way from California.
Gib Harrington presented his teammate, no relation, Dick Harrington and talked of their times together on the cross country team. Gib spoke of how they ran on an eighth of a mile track with coal cylinders and how Dick was such a private person as his family never knew of his great accomplishments. Dick’s daughter, Kathleen was shocked to receive the phone call because her father never shared about his athletic abilities.
Ken Stewart played a big role at NHS from his 40 years of being a student-athlete, teacher, and a coach. He is also the third Stewart brother in the NHS Sports Hall of Fame. John Stewart, his nephew, reminded all of us in attendance how “telling these stories” is what makes Norwich great.
The family also created a Ken Stewart Scholarship and held a golf tournament for over 25 years in honor of his legacy.
While Ken Stewart was known for tennis, another famous Tennis player to follow 15 years later was Jim Ward. Ward is quoted by his fellow teammate John Swertfager as being the “best tennis player” of Norwich high school. Jim never lost a singles or doubles match in his junior or senior year. Jim grew up in a supportive tennis family and had the advantage of living by the Conkey Ave tennis courts. The Norwich tennis community is still thriving well due to these past efforts made by Ken and Jim.
Johanna Schultz-Dalton was looked upon on a “walking double-double” as stated by former Evening Sun sports editor Pat Newell. She is still Norwich’s second all-time leading scorer in girls basketball with 1,096 points since graduating in 1998. Johanna’s coach Mary Halloran spoke highly of her talent on the court and being a great leader on and off the court. Johanna said she appreciated being looked upon as a skilled player, but said it’s the team as a whole that plays a big role. She also said commitment inevitably leads to improvement.
A full list of the Norwich High School Sports Hall of Fame inductees can be viewed on the Norwich City School District website under its athletics tab.