To coincide with Homecoming 2016, the North Shore Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was held on Saturday, October 29th, 2016 in the North Shore High School Gymnasium. Don Lang, Director of Physical Education, Health and Athletics at North Shore, led the ceremony proudly congratulating the eight inductees and their families for their outstanding athletic careers at the North Shore Schools (and beyond) and being the recipients of this prestigious honor. He then turned the microphone over to Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Edward Melnick who stated, “Outstanding athletic departments, programs, and teams composed of dedicated athletes, coaches, and faculty are imperative to strong public schools like North Shore.” He thanked the community, devoted faculty/athletics staff, and Booster Club for helping to support North Shore’s excellent athletics program over the course of so many years and congratulated the inductees for their exceptional accomplishments.
The microphone was then handed over to the Master of Ceremonies, Mr. Josh Knight, who called each of the following eight inductees including Philip J. Como II, Robert Grabher, Ashley Janelli, Lauren Janelli, Laura Orticelle, Emily Osman, Elizabeth Sheerin, and Brianna Welch up to the podium to receive their Hall of Fame plaques which will hang on the Athletics Hall of Fame wall for everyone to see at North Shore High School. Mr. Knight also highlighted impressive facts and accomplishments of each of the eight North Shore 2016 Athletics Hall of Fame inductees which are summarized below:
Philip J. (P.J.) Como II Class of 2005: His name is Philip Joseph Como, but everyone at North Shore High School knows this outstanding athlete as “P.J.” During his time at North Shore High School, he was a dominant three sport athlete, who played 3 seasons of Varsity football, 3 seasons of Varsity basketball and 4 seasons of Varsity baseball. P.J. received “All County” honors in Football and earned an “All-Conference” title for his work on the baseball field. His no-look passes and his excellent three-point shot allowed the Vikings Basketball team to finish as the runner-up at the 2004 Nassau County Men’s Basketball Championships. As the lead-off batter on the 2004 North Shore Men’s Baseball team, P.J. helped the Vikings to win the Long Island County Baseball Championships. His stellar work on the baseball field was not finished and he earned an athletic scholarship to play for Fordham University. From 2006-2010, P.J. played the center field position for the Division I Fordham Rams, and he left a legacy of a .271 career batting average with 6 home runs, and 65 runs batted in. The Fordham Rams baseball team was founded in 1859, and P.J. ranks 10th overall in triples, and 14th overall in games played. Currently P.J. is a teacher at North Shore Middle School and is the J.V. Coach for the North Shore Vikings High School Football team. He is also the 8th Grade Baseball Coach. In his limited spare time, he volunteers with the Sea Cliff Mutual Concerns Committee. P.J. is married to Kiki Palazzo, another talented North Shore athlete.
Robert “Rob” Grabher, Class of 2009: Rob Grabher has left an indelible legacy at North Shore High School. This amazing athlete, scholar, and natural born leader, received 14 Varsity letters for his work on the Vikings Soccer team, the Football team, the Wrestling team, and the Lacrosse team. Rob was a 3-time Captain of the Soccer team, a 2-time Captain of the Wrestling team and a Captain of the Lacrosse team. During his tenure at North Shore High School, he was a member of 12 New York State “Scholar Athlete” teams. As the place kicker for the Varsity Football team and the forward for the Men’s Soccer team, he earned the distinction of being the only athlete (from 2001-2016) to play two Varsity sports in the same season. On the soccer pitch, he scored 42 goals, which ranks 2nd overall in Vikings history. As the 2009 Division I Nassau County Champion Wrestler (in the 160 lb. weight class), Rob is one of only 8 North Shore wrestlers to win a County title. On the Lacrosse field he earned numerous “All County” accolades and was named a 2009 Academic All American Lacrosse player. Rob is such a talented athlete that he was recruited by Division I Colleges in soccer, wrestling and lacrosse. In addition to these honors, Robert was named the News 12 Scholar Athlete of 2009, the North Shore High School Outstanding Athlete of 2009, and he received the prestigious James Reagan Award as the top Scholar Athlete for all of Nassau County. BUT THERE IS MORE…Rob played lacrosse at Colgate University! During the 2009-2013 seasons, Robert set 2 NCAA Single Season Records, 3 Patriot League Single Season Records, 4 Colgate University Records, and 4 Patriot League Records for groundballs in a season and face-offs won in a season. In 2012 he helped the Colgate Raiders to their best season in school history with a 14-4 record…which allowed them to reach the NCAA quarterfinals for the first time in school history. Robert played in 61 total games, and had a career high of 365 groundballs, the second most in Raiders history. If that wasn’t enough he was a four-time Patriot League Academic Honor Roll Recipient. After graduating from Colgate University he obtained a Masters of Public Administration at the Wagner School at New York University. Currently, Rob works as a manager in hospital administration at the North Shore University Hospital and volunteers as an instructor at the youth lacrosse clinics at North Shore High School.
Ashley Janelli, Class of 2008: Ashley Janelli is the eldest member of the Janelli dynasty. As a student athlete at North Shore High School, she set a standard of excellence in Field Hockey, Basketball and Lacrosse. She was a Captain of all three teams and a two-time “All County” recipient in both Field Hockey and Lacrosse. As one of the top defenders on Long Island, Ashley played an important role in helping the Lady Vikings win 2 LONG ISLAND FIELD HOCKEY COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIPS! But it was her stellar work as a midfielder on the Vikings Lacrosse team that led to a U.S. Lacrosse High School All American nomination and a scholarship to play for the C.W. Post Pioneers Women’s Lacrosse team. Throughout her college career Ashley played the midfield position. As a senior, she was named a Captain of the Pioneers Lacrosse team, and helped them to win a Division II NCAA Championship title. But her work was not finished. As a Graduate Student in Elementary Education she worked as an Assistant Coach, and once again helped the Pioneers win their second Women’s Lacrosse NCAA Championship title. Currently Ashley is an Elementary teacher at P.S. 121 in South Ozone, Queens. Her passion for Field Hockey and Lacrosse is still strong and last year, Ashley coached the Women’s Field Hockey and Lacrosse teams at Friends Academy. During the summer months, she is an instructor at the Nike Women’s Lacrosse summer camp.
Lauren Janelli, Class of 2011: Lauren Janelli is the second member of the Janelli dynasty to make her mark in the competitive world of Field Hockey and Lacrosse at North Shore High School. She was a Captain of both the Vikings Field Hockey team and the Vikings Lacrosse team. Lauren received an “All County” nod for her work as a defender on the Field Hockey team and three “All County” honors as a midfielder in Lacrosse. As a junior Lauren was a participant on the elite Long Island Women’s Lacrosse team that won the Gold Medal at the Empire State Games. She also competed as a representative of the Long Island “A” team at the School Girls National Lacrosse tournament. Her excellence as a midfielder on the Vikings lacrosse team, earned Lauren a U.S. Lacrosse High School All American nomination and a scholarship to play for the Adelphi University Panthers. In 2014 and 2015, Lauren helped lead the Panthers to win two consecutive Division II Women’s Lacrosse NCAA Championships. For her outstanding level of play on the Lacrosse field, she was named to the “All Rookie” team, and earned two “All Tournament” titles. She was also a Captain of the 2015 Panther’s Women’s Lacrosse team that won the National title. While finishing her Nursing degree, Lauren worked as an Assistant Lacrosse Coach, and helped the Panthers reach the NCAA Finals. Today, Lauren works as a Labor and Delivery Nurse at Northwell Hospital in Lake Success, NY. In her limited spare time, she is an instructor at the Nike Women’s Lacrosse summer camp
Laura Orticelle, Former NSS Athletic Director: Throughout her twenty years as the Director of Physical Education, Health and Athletics at North Shore High School, Laura Orticelle was always a trailblazer. As the first female Athletic Director at North Shore Schools, she challenged a traditional mindset and made things happen! Laura understood the importance of Middle School sports and she fought to increase the number of teams that were represented at the Middle School level. Under her tutelage, she championed the belief that there should be equal participation and opportunities for both men and women. Her tenure saw the level of participation at the Middle and High School hit an all-time high of almost 70%, with females playing on the Middle School Football & wrestling teams, Varsity Baseball team and our varsity cheerleaders entertaining fans at both the Men’s and Women’s Varsity Basketball home games. Laura further initiated the Men’s Golf team, Men’s and Women’s Fencing, Women’s Bowling, and the Women’s Swim team. Laura made it her mission to have the achievements of the North Shore athletes recognized. Her unique vision led to the creation of the prestigious North Shore Athlete’s Hall of Fame. She was instrumental in starting the the Pot Luck Supper Awards night, she gave the go ahead for the ever popular Student Athletic Profiles and she made sure that the Vikings were always front and center at the News 12 Scholar Athlete awards. Laura was involved in the creation of the North Shore Athletic website, the Student/Athlete handbook, the Coaching handbook, and the Athletic Advisory Board. At every competition, Laura was on the sidelines with her camera, snapping photos of the North Shore athletes. To everyone’s delight, she would decorate the halls of the Athletic office and the gym with these live action photos.
During her tenure, she was the President of the Nassau County Athletic Director’s Council of Administrators, as well as the Vice President of Women’s Athletics. Laura was a member of the Nassau County Safety and Sportsmanship Committees, and she served on the Executive Board for the New York State Public High School Athletics Association representing Nassau County. Laura was elected to the Nassau Community College Athletics Hall of Fame for her athletic achievements. For her contributions to Girl’s and Women’s Sports she was the recipient of the distinguished New York State Athletics Director Award, the Stony Brook University Crown Trophy Award and the Hofstra University Service Award.
Although she misses the excitement of North Shore sports, Laura is enjoying her retirement. She has been busy checking off her bucket list. With a handicap of 13, this avid golfer has travelled all over the world. Her favorite courses are the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland and Bandon Dunes in Portland, Oregon and she has recently become a Bridge Life Master. Laura would like to recognize the fact that the success of the Athletic Programs at North Shore Schools were a team effort. She would like to thank the coaches, the staff, the administration, the community, and especially Dolores Gulde for all their hard work.
Emily Osman, Class of 2011: Emily Osman was a four-year Varsity member of the Women’s Cross Country team, the Women’s Winter Indoor Track team and the Women’s Spring Track team at North Shore High School. This exceptional runner was a Captain of all three teams and excelled in the 400m hurdles, the 400m, and the 800m events. Emily was part of the elite Distance Medley Relay (DMR) that won the Women’s High School New Balance Outdoor Track National Invitational and broke the United States record. She earned an “All American” title as a member of the fastest DMR in the nation, and received “All State” honors, “All County” “All Conference” and “All Division” accolades for her work on the Cross Country team and the Winter and Spring squads. This student-athlete was also a 12-time member of the North Shore Scholar-Athlete team and received the U.S. Army Strong award for her accomplishments on the track and in the classroom. For her speed and her academic excellence, Emily earned an athletic and an academic scholarship to Fordham University. As a Ram she made her mark on all three Fordham’s Women’s Track teams and was a member of the Atlantic 10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll. Emily graduated cum laude in 2015 from the Gabelli School of Business and works as an Investment Banking Analyst at Barclays. She is looking forward to competing in the 2016 Brooklyn Marathon.
Elizabeth Sheerin, Class of 2011: Elizabeth Sheerin was a versatile three sport athlete. She played three years of Varsity Volleyball and earned two “All Conference” honors and one “All County” nod for her work playing the “middle-hitter” position. As a three-year member of the Varsity Basketball squad, she received an “All Conference” and an “All County” award and was named to the Scholar-Athlete squad. Elizabeth was a one-year participant on the Women’s Varsity Spring Track team. This all-around athlete was a member of the elite Distance Medley Relay (DMR) that won the Women’s High School New Balance Outdoor Track National Invitational and broke the United States record. She earned an “All American” title as a member of the fastest DMR in the nation. In 2011 Elizabeth was named North Shore High School’s Female Athlete of the Year.
Brianna Welch, Class of 2010: As an athlete, Brianna Welch is the perfect combination of raw talent, a fiercely competitive nature, and an unparalleled work ethic. She started running with her Mom, Donnajean, (a former Division I track star), and immediately knew that this was her destiny. Very few people realize that when Brianna began her Track Career at North Shore High School, as a seventh grader…she was the only member on the Women’s Varsity Cross-Country team. This fact did not deter Brianna, and within a week, her passion for running, attracted 4 other female athletes to join this squad. Brianna’s boundless energy, her steadfast dedication, and her ability to compete at the National level, became the spark that ignited the North Shore Women’s Track program. As a young track star, it was not uncommon for Brianna to be under-the-glare of the always-present-media and scrutinized by the Track and Field Community, but she always conducted herself with grace, and humility. Brianna competed on the North Shore Varsity track team for 18 consecutive seasons and has the unique distinction of being the only athlete to win individual Nassau County titles in the 600m, 800m, 1000m, 1500m, 3000m races and in the Cross-Country event. She still holds the New York State 7th Grade Record in the 1-mile race. During her reign at North Shore High School, she held every school record from the 400m to the 5k race. Brianna was a 4 time, Long Island USA Track and Field Cross-Country Champion, she amassed 18 “All County” awards, 15 “All-Long Island” honors, and 12 “All-State” accolades. Additionally, Brianna is a two-time individual “All-American” in the 800 meters, placing 4th in the nation in the 9th grade and in 5th place in the country as a sophomore. During her junior year, Brianna posted the fastest 1200m split (3.33.0) in the United States. In 2010 Brianna was named North Shore High School’s Athlete of the Year. Brianna’s brilliant track career continued at Duke University. As a Blue Devil she served as the Captain of the Women’s Track and Field team, received all ACC Academic Honors all four years and achieved a lifetime best in the 1500 meters running 4:33. In May of 2014 Brianna graduated from Duke and received a B.A. in Public Policy and a minor in Women's Studies. Today Brianna works as a Program Coordinator at Futures and Options, which connects urban youth to internship opportunities and provides college preparation. In her limited spare time, Brianna is a member of the elite Central Park Track Club and she looks forward to training hard over the next 4 years in hopes of making it to the 2020 Olympic Trials.
Closing remarks were led by the 2008 Hall of Famer, Coach Gerald Farrell. Many thanks go out to the North Shore Athletics Booster Club for their continued generosity and support including the donation of the beautiful plaques for each inductee. Additionally, a big “thank you” to Roz Johnson for writing and creating the Hall of Fame booklet for the induction ceremony (as well as the individual bios above).
Congratulations go out to all eight North Shore Athletics 2016 Hall of Fame Inductees. We wish you continued success in all of your future endeavors.
Article and photos by Shelly Newman