Two of the best teams in school history and a coach who inspired some of the top runners to come out of the school are the 2022 inductees into the Horseheads Athletic Hall of Fame.
The school will honor the late Tom Jansen, Horseheads' 1991 state champion softball team, and its 1999 state champion baseball team this week.
An induction ceremony is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 29 at Tanino's restaurant in Horseheads. The inductees will be recognized at halftime of the Blue Raiders' homecoming game against Owego Free Academy on Sept. 30. Game time is 7 p.m.
Jansen was an impactful coach, teacher
Jansen graduated from Horseheads High School and made an impact for 31 years as a coach and teacher of special education and health at his alma mater. He coached multiple Section 4 champions in track and cross country.
He was the recipient two liver transplants, in 2002 and 2009, and won multiple medals as a runner at the Transplant Games. Jansen's leadership contributed to numerous medals for runners he coached at Horseheads.
"He has a way of motivating kids to go that extra step to find something within themselves," Horseheads coach John Malnoske said in 2009.
Last year, 2012 Horseheads graduate Brian Crimmins, one of the top runners in Section 4 history, praised Jansen as "a great coach" at the high school level shortly after joining the elite list of runners to run the mile in under four minutes.
Jansen died Jan. 30 at age 62. Survivors include his wife, Mary Ellen Sierzant Jansen, and sons Colin and Connor.
Horseheads softball team started string of state titles
Horseheads is adding to its Hall of Fame a softball team that started a string of success in the 1990s. The 1991 team's state championship in New York's highest classification was followed by state titles in 1993 and 1996.
The teams were coached by Warren Conklin, who guided the Blue Raiders to 570 wins from 1978 to 2010. He is the winningest softball coach in Section 4 history.
Horseheads' 1991 champions closed a 26-2 season with a 4-2 victory over Arlington High School in Clifton Park.
"I think they're a great bunch of athletes and in postseason they rose to the occasion and played their best ball of the year," Conklin said in 1991.
The team included Toni Bacon, Darsay Bennett, Kelly Buckley, Jerica Crain, Lissy L'Amoreaux, Tricia Matison, Jill Marcocci, Carrie Richmond, Tara Rupp, Tonia Smith, Wendy Stevens, Heather Surdak, Julie Viele, Jill Webster and Jodi Webster.
Baseball team has special place in Horseheads school history
The lone state championship for Horseheads' tradition-rich baseball program belongs to the 1999 team coached by Jeff Limoncelli, who remains coach for the Blue Raiders. Horseheads finished with a 25-3 record and claimed the Class A state title with a 2-0 victory over Massena.
Members of the team celebrated a 20-year reunion in 2019 and Limoncelli talked then of his appreciation of the people the players had become.
"Just watching them as they walked in I saw success. I see how their lives are. They're all successful people," Limoncelli said. "Champions breed that. When you accomplish things, it's because of people who know how to sacrifice and understand self-discipline."
The roster included Eric Andrews, Bob Brown, Greg Burt, Marc Chamberlain, Tom Clark, John Cronin, Tom Curry, Brett Gryska, Charlie Hasty, Beau Hays, Jesse Hoobler, Brian Lindsay, Matt Gagliardo, Mike Petroziello, Rob Phillips, Mike Robbins and Larry Woodward.
This article originally appeared on Elmira Star-Gazette: Horseheads Hall of Fame to add 2 state champs, longtime coach