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The Lansing Athletics Hall of Fame inducted three new members and a team into the 'Class of 2015'.  Steve Colt, Melissa Usack, Zacc Guaragno, and the 2002 Men’s Cross Country Team were honored at a ceremony and dinner at the Lakewatch Inn.

Coach Stuart Dean nominated Colt.  Head Coach and Hall of Fame member, Jason Eade nominated Usack, and Lansing Athletic Director Adam Heck nominated Zacc.  Hall of Fame member Steve Colt presented the plaque for the team.

Steve Colt

Steve was a 1974 graduate of Lansing High School. He was a nine time letter winner while at Lansing, recording 3 in football, 2 in basketball and 4 in baseball. Colt was a 5 time League All-Star.

Colt has been the Director of Lansing Parks and Recreation for the past 30 years and has provided lifetime sports and recreation participation for thousands of Lansing residents during his tenure.

Steve is credited with starting the Small Fry Football League that became known as the YFL, the Youth Football League.

He was a founder in establishing youth baseball and softball in Lansing, along with youth leagues for boys and girls in basketball, soccer, bowling, gymnastics and arena football.

He helped develop the Hot Stove softball and baseball programs, where our youth participate at the Rink during the winter months.

Colt has started numerous adult programs, such as Yoga, Ukele Camp, Gymnastics, cardio step and strength classes, adult volleyball and adult open swim at the high school pool.

Colt is also in charge of the Myers Waterfront area that includes swimming, boating, sailing and paddle boarding, along with numerous camping sites and multiple pavilions that are used for various family and community gatherings.

One of Steve's most successful programs is the "Concert in the Park" series that occurs on Thursday evenings in the summer, along with the Ludlowville Park Concert series.

Colt is credited with providing over 50 different sports and recreational programs, both men's and women's, to the Lansing community members.

Local recreation directors have copied Steve's programs, the highest form of flattery.

Former Lansing Athletic Director, Coach and Hall of Famer Ed Redmond said, "Steve Colt has been the foundation of the Lansing Recreation Department for years".

Redmond added, "The recreation program has been responsible for building a solid foundation for the Lansing Central School District athletic success. The programs are highly respected throughout central New York". Coach Stuart Dean said, "Steve Colt has had an enormous positive impact on the many successes that Lansing Athletic programs have enjoyed, throughout his tenure as the head of the Lansing Recreation Program.

His initiative in youth sports have paved the way for a countless number of Lansing's young aspiring athletes to experience the thrill of team sports, in a safe and positive environment".

Dean concluded, "In addition, Steve has provided financial support to many of Lansing's athletic programs, with his camps and clinics, in addition to allowing the use of the town's facilities for our chicken BBQ fund raisers".

Current Lansing Athletic Director Adam Heck said, "Steve has to be one of the greatest guys to work with. Always opening doors for our athletic programs and giving student athletes as many opportunities as possible.

All of the banners in our gym are directly related to Steve Colt and the recreation programs he has developed.

There is no question, Lansing athletics would not be where they are today without Steve's support and generosity, but most importantly, all of his commitments to giving the kids all of the opportunities in the world".

Heck continued, "We have to share facilities, and there is never a question why or how. The response is always, come up, we'll have it ready".

Adam concluded, "This accolade for Steve is as deserving as anyone out there. I guarantee, nearly every Hall of Fame member, present and future, has had a connection to Steve Colt".

Congrats to a great supporter, but more importantly, a great man.

For me, I had the privilege of coaching Steve on the varsity baseball team back in 1973 and again in '74. He was my go-to pitcher and the Bobcats number 3 hitter. He was a two-time all-league selection.

More importantly, he was our captain and a team leader, who was respected by his teammates.

Just as he does today, he showed self-control and poise when under game pressure. And, he's a great next door neighbor.

Following his graduation, Steve attended SUNY Cortland where he played baseball and graduated with a degree in Physical Education and Recreation.

The Lansing Community is proud to induct Steve Colt as a Contributor in the Lansing Central School Athletic Hall of Fame.

Steve is the Director of Lansing Parks and Recreation.

He is married to his wife, Ann. His son Thomas was also inducted with the 2002 Cross Country Team.

Melissa Usack

Melissa Usack was a 15 time letter winner while at Lansing, earning 5 in Cross Country, 5 in In-Door Track & Field and 5 in Out-Door Track & Field. She is believed to be the only Lansing athlete to record 3 varsity letters as an 8th grader. More impressively, she was a 15 time scholar athlete.

Usack is one of the most decorated runners in school history. Melissa competed in 14 NY State Championship Track & Field and Cross Country meets.

Usack was a 5 time NY State Champion, winning an individual title as a sophomore, winning the 800 meter championship.

She was on 4 consecutive relay winning teams, capturing the NY State title in the 4 X 400 Meter Relay in 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th grades. Melissa was a nine time League MVP.

Hall of Fame Coach Jason Eade credits Melissa with holding every school record for In-Door Track & Field, with the exception of the 55 Meter, 400 Meter and 3000 Meter events.

Melissa was a Charter Member of the Girl's Cross Country Team when it was re-established.

She was on the first Girls' Team to qualify for the NY State Championships in Cross Country, where she finished 15th in the State.

Jason Eade said "Melissa was one the most talented runners I have ever coached. Her strength was her ability to mentally distance herself from any distractions".

Eade continued, "Melissa was one of the most respected runners in the League, because of her sportsmanship and class. In the IAC, many of her staunchest admirers were the other coaches".

Jason said "Melissa's most impressive run was winning the 800 Meter State Championship and one hour later anchoring the final leg of the 1,600 Meter Championship Relay Team".

He said, "When Jackie Ryan received the hand off to run the third leg, Lansing was in 5th place. When Jackie handed off to Melissa for the final leg, Ryan had opened up a 10 yard lead.

Down the back side of the track, the second place team was just off of Melissa's shoulder. Then she hit another gear and pulled away. Lansing won by 70 yards".

In speaking with Melissa, she said how much she respected fellow runner Molly Huddle. Many times Melissa ran second to her. To tell you how tough Molly Huddle was, is easy:

She ran for Elmira-Notre Dame and would graduate from the University of Notre Dame. She holds the Notre Dame Track & Field record earning 9 All-America honors. She was a three-time USA Track & Field Champion in the 5,000 meters and she finished 11th in the 2012 London Olympics and is currently a professional distance runner. There was no shame in finishing second to Molly Huddle.

Melissa has great admiration for her coach, Jason Eade. Usack said, "Coach was so dedicated to us. He pushed us and supported us, and always kept us focused. He's the reason we enjoyed such great success".

Ten years after her graduation, Usack still holds 7 Out-Door Track & Field records: The 800 Meter, 800 Medley Relay, 1600 Medley Relay, Sprint Medley, 3200 Medley Relay, the Distance Medley Relay and the 6400 Medley Relay.

Melissa did not compete in College. After 5 years of Cross Country, In-Door Track & Field and Out-Door Track & Field at Lansing, she just needed a break. She found herself "burned out".

She still maintains a high active athletic lifestyle that gradually and ultimately shifted in focus to outdoor wilderness sports. Most recently, she has been passionately involved in cycle tourism, bicycling thousands of miles with camp gear through national parks and along the west coast of the US.

She has spent much of her time as a career adventurer, traveling and learning the aspects of life that are not taught in classical education. Principally; sustainable farming/ homesteading, yoga and wilderness stewardship.

For a while she lived locally, volunteering much of her time at RUFF Acres Farm, a small scale livestock farm owned and operated by her grandfather in Erin, NY.

With stops in Oregon and Vermont, she is presently pursuing a craft career in ceramics, studying under master potter Hugh "Shug" Dakers in Little River on the Mendocino Coast of California.

Melissa is still enjoying bachelorettehood.

She graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz, majoring in Environmental Geology, with highest honors.

Zacc Guaragno

Zacc is a 2004 graduate of Lansing Central School. He is one of Lansing’s all-time best athletes. He was a 6 time letter winner with 3 in basketball, 2 in football and one in Track & Field.

In football, he was a two-time Division 6 All-Star, and he was a two-time Ithaca Journal Eleven All-Star. Guaragno played in the Ernie Davis All-Star Game and scored on a 43 yard touchdown pass, helping the West defeat the East 25-23.

Guaragno was a 3rd Team All-NY State selection as a wide receiver his senior year.

Guaragno’s career statistics included 63 catches for 1,478 yards, averaging over an incredible 23 yards per catch. He rushed for 572 yards on 66 carries, averaging an amazing 8.6 yards per carry. He scored 31 touchdowns.

He was also a force on defense, where he recorded 30 unassisted tackles, 67 assisted tackles, 11 sacks, 5 fumble recoveries and 1 interception.
I asked, why only 1 interception? The coaches responded, the other quarterbacks wouldn’t throw into his area. That’s respect.

As a three year basketball player, he helped Lansing to a 28-15 record. He was a two-time 1st Team IAC All-Star, helping the Bobcats win the Fred Caliel Christmas Tournament his junior year.

That year, he was named the Christmas Tournament MVP. As a senior, he made the Christmas Tournament All-Tournament Team. He was named the IAC Division MVP as a senior.

Guaragno scored 904 career points averaging 18 points per game, along with averaging 11 rebounds and 4 blocked shots per game. Zacc pulled down 567 career rebounds.

Guaragno ran Track & Field as a senior, and Lansing won the Division III title, along with a Section IV Class C Championship.

Guaragno set the IAC record in the 100 meter dash with a time of 10.9. He ran the 200 Meters in a record time of 22.9.

He was also a 6’ high jumper. Zac was a NYS Track & Field Qualifier in three events: 100 Meter Dash, 200 Meter Dash and the High Jump.

In the NY State Championship Meet, he set a Lansing school High Jump record by clearing 6’ 5”, while finishing 2nd. He also finished 4th, in the State while running an 11.4 100 Meter Dash.

Ten years after his graduation, Guaragno is still the record holder in 4 Track & Field events: the 100M dash, 200M dash, the High Jump and the High Jump Relay.

Lansing Coach Stuart Dean said, “Zacc Guaragno was an amazingly gifted athlete who excelled in every sport he participated in”.

“Zacc was an extremely hard working, self-motivated athlete, whose competitiveness set him apart from his peers.

He was a vicious hitter in football, ranging from sideline to sideline in pursuit of the ball carrier.

In basketball, he was a rare combination of finesse and power. He could beat you in many ways, hitting the outside jump shot or attacking the basket with authority”.

Dean concluded, “In track, his speed and power are reflected in the fact that he still holds the school record in the 100 and 200 meter events”.

Coach Adam Heck said, “Where do I start? One of the best athletes I have seen come through Lansing and Section IV in years.    

In basketball, he was a standout since his sophomore year. There are many stories I have had with Zacc, but a few standout.

Heck said, “We were losing to T-Burg at halftime by 7 points. It was pretty simple…..Zacc needed more touches.
The first 3 minutes of the second half we were down 14 and I called a 30 second timeout. I met the team nearly at half court and asked point guard Colin Gardner one question-“How many times has Zacc touched the ball?”
He shrugged his shoulders. I asked Zacc, and he said “not enough.”

Adam then said, “Get the ball to Zacc. That’s it. We proceeded to go on a 20-2 run the rest of the quarter and won by 14”.

“The next day, the headline read, Heck makes halftime adjustment to beat T-Burg. Adam said, “If they only knew”.

Adam relates a second story, “Another was in the Sectional semi-final at the Binghamton Arena versus Tioga. Tioga had All-State player Barry Closner and Coach Jim Ryder. We were coming in playing really well. We took a good lead but Closner got hot and we found ourselves down 3 with 9 seconds left. Zacc is on the line shooting one and one.

I told Zacc to make both and we would foul and get the ball back. Zacc made the first and, I still think intentionally, missed the second, got his own rebound and scored to tie the game. We went on to win in Over Time”.

Zacc could take over games. At the top of the 1-3-1 zone, it was nearly impossible to reverse the ball.
Watkins Glen Coach John Fazzary still remembers Zacc. Fazzary said, “Lansing had this 1-3-1 zone that was impossible to beat” Guaragno at the top was like throwing the ball over Mt. Everest. Forget about it”.

Adam said, “I could tell if teams prepared for what they had to face, just by looking in that point guards eyes when they went up against our 1-3-1. Zacc knew it too. He would just look at me and smile and we knew that team was in for a long day”.
Heck said, “Zacc was a great athlete, but I was lucky to know him as a person. I have never coached a player who handled so much and handled it with poise and promise. He was a great son, older brother and a great role model.

My wife Beth and I always marveled at Zacc’s maturity and he always appreciated the little things. He always said thank you when we gave him rides or just had him over for dinner.

We always said we would be lucky to have a son like Zacc. Zacc, you are one of the best”!

Following his graduation, Zacc attended SUNY Stoney Brook, where he started as a tight end. He also played wide receiver and defensive end. Zacc also ran In-door and Out-door Track & Field, where he high jumped 6’ 8”.

He transferred to SUNY Cortland for his final two years, where he was a starting wide receiver. While at Cortland, he helped the Red Dragons win the NJAC Championship. The team was named the ECAC Team of the Year and Cortland was named the Lambert Cup Champions.

Guaragno was named a First Team ECAC All-Star selection and was named Cortland’s most valuable offensive player of the year.

He was only the second receiver in school history to gain over 1,000 yards receiving in a single season.

Zacc is currently employed by the U. S. Navy and is based out of Coronado, CA.

Zacc, we thank you for your service.

Zacc is married to his wife Kristy and they just had a baby girl named Luca.

2002 Men's Cross Country Team

The 2002 Men's Cross Country Team was coached by Lansing Hall of Fame Coach Jason Eade. In only the 5th year of the Cross Country program at Lansing, this group of athletes went through their senior season dominating every Invitational and Championship meet on their way to the NY State Cross Country Championship meet.

The Cross Country program was dropped in the mid 1980's and revived in 1998. These 7 athletes put the program on a state and national radar.

Lansing won the Corning Invitational, and defeated NY State Cross Country powerhouse Ithaca High School for the 1st time in school history. Alejandro Papachryssanthou – Bernard won the race but sustained a high ankle sprain that would force him to miss the next two months of action. Lansing won the Windsor Invitational, led by race winner Nate Lockett. The Bobcat harriers won the Auburn Invitational, also led by race winner Nate Lockett.

It was winning the Windsor Invitational, when the runners realized how good they really were. In this race, the team went out and raced as a group. About halfway through the race, Ali said "we should start running". The group agreed and they took off. There were 125 runners in this Invitational. Lansing finished 1, 2, 3, 6 and 10. It was Ali 1st, Nate 2nd, Andrew 3rd, Jeff 6th and Thomas 10th.

The second largest invitational race was at McQuade High School in Rochester. Lansing lost by one point. Ali didn't run, as he was still out due to injury.

The team that beat Lansing was East Aurora. There were three divisions, Small School, Large School and Elite. East Aurora was entered as an Elite School. However, they arrived at the Invitational late and both the Elite and large school races had already started.  East Aurora was entered in the Small School race.

Later in the season, East Aurora would win the NYS Class B State Championship.

Here's how competitive the Lansing Bobcats were. They asked to be allowed to run in the Elite Class. The race organizers said no.

Lansing raced Waverly in a league meet. While warming up, Waverly was bench jockeying Lansing. The talk became pretty heated. Ali was still out because of his bad ankle, but he pulled the team together and set up a strategy for the race.

Ali suited up and when the gun went off, he raced as quickly as he could to the lead. He knew he was only going to race the first half of the race, because of his bad ankle.

All the Waverly runners tried to keep up with Ali and looked stunned when he stopped and dropped out at the halfway mark.

The game day strategy worked as the Bobcats runners all raced past the Waverly runners to finish 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

On two occasions, Lansing runners finished ahead of the entire opponents runners. In other words, Lansing finished 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 in a dual meet, with the opponent finishing 8th-14th.

Nate Lockett told me a funny story about manager Kevin Howell. It was at a race and a couple of Division I coaches were there recruiting Nate.

After the race, Kevin overheard one of the coaches encouraging Nate to come to their school. As the coach walked away, Kevin ran up to Nate with tears in his eyes and begged him not to quit the team. He didn't realize it was part of the recruiting process.

I was forwarded an email that was sent to Steve Lehr, from Kevin Howell. He said he had many memories of the Cross Country team. He would run with them during practices. He remembers going on a long run on a hot day. The Team took a detour to the Lansing Falls to take a swim. The only catch was "don't tell Jason". In fact, he said, "a lot of stuff involved those three words; "don't tell Jason".

Howell continued, "They taught me as a person, that pushing yourself and working hard can help you achieve your dreams. They basically took a little kid, and treated me like I was one of them".

That was one of my first experiences being on a team that felt like family".  Howell said, "I remember standing at the start line waiting for the gun to go off.

They would toss me their warm up suits. The gun would go off and I'd find Jason. We'd then run to the finish line waiting for Nate to come out of the woods first. I remember many times Lansing finishing 1-2-3. I would like to add my congratulations to the 2002 Boys Cross Country Team".

Kevin must have learned how to win from this group of runners. A few years later, he would be the starting catcher on the Bobcats State Championship Baseball team.

Lansing won the Manhattan Invitational, one of the most prestigious High School Cross Country Invitational meets in the country.

Lansing competed against teams from all over the United States. It was lead runner Alejandro's first race back after injury, and he was not 100 per cent.

Lansing defeated all future NYS Class Champions at this event. Following this outstanding team performance, Harrier Magazine ranked Lansing #9 in the United States.

Lansing won the IAC Championships and followed that by winning the Section IV title.

They went on to finish 3rd in the NYS Championships, behind Sauquoit and Tully, and a field of World Class Runners. Papachryssanthou-Bernard ran at 80% and Nate Lockett was ill, but still ran in the championship meet. I am betting if they were both healthy, this team would have won the NY State Cross Country Championship.

Head Coach and Hall of Fame Member Jason Eade said, "To help everyone understand, 10 years ago no one could even know what the future would hold.

At the time, they were all kids in high school running races against each other. Only the coaches, athletes and those with knowledge of the sport were able to understand at what level they were competing.

They finished 3rd in a field of World Class runners, with their top runner at less than 100% and the number two runner who ran sick.

Tully, at the time consisted of a future 2-time Olympian, Lopez Lomong. Lomong represented the United States in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and the 2012 Olympics in London. Lopez won every high school Cross Country event he attended.

Three of the other 4 scoring positions were his direct relatives, who were obviously quite talented. All of whom were survivors from the Sudan. A movie and a book were produced and they became known as The Lost Boys of the Sudan. And they finished second. Eade continued, "Lansing's best performance that year was the Manhattan Invitational at VanCortlandt Park and that was with Alejandro at only about 80%.

It was his first race back and he had not run other than in a swimming pool for almost two months. No one knew then, where an athlete's future would take them.

But we all understood what tremendous potential that every one of the athletes involved, possessed. Thirteen years later we can reflect back and see the talent that was involved.

Alejandro Papachryssathou-Bernard finished 10th overall at the NY State Championship meet. He went on to win the NY State Championship Outdoor Track & Field 3200 meter relay with teammates Nate Lockett, Jeff Abbott and Joey Usack.

He also finished second in the State in the 1600 meters behind Olympian Lopez Lomong, by one .01 of a second. An event Lomong ran in his first Olympic games.

Alejandro was also a Section IV Champion in the 1,600 meters and 3,200 meter relay. He went on to study music at Ithaca College.

Nathan Lockett was also a member of the State Championship 3,200 meter relay team and was Section IV Champion in the 3,200 meter run, holding league records in both.

He won all the Cross Country Invitational events while Alejandro was out of action. He also beat Alejandro to win the IAC and Section IV Championships. He went on to compete in college at the University of Buffalo and SUNY Geneseo. Lockett is enshrined in the SUNYAC Cross Country Hall of Fame.

Jeff Abbott was also a member of the NYS Championship 3,200 meter relay team. He was a League and Sectional IV Champion in the 800 meters as well as a record holder. He went on to compete at Ithaca College.

Andrew Barnard was the Section IV and IAC Champion in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. He is also the IAC record holder in the same event. Andrew still competes in endurance races and triathlons.

Thomas Colt only ran one year of cross country and was a tremendous anchor for the team. He won a dual meet at Lansing that same year and set the Lansing course record.

He went on to compete on the In-Door Track team where he won 3 Section IV championships and was named the year's Section IV Most Outstanding Track & Field Athlete.

He won titles in the Long Jump, Triple Jump, and 1,600 meter relay. He went on to become a successful baseball player at Oneonta State, where he played centerfield.

Joey Usack was also a member of the Section IV and NY State Championship 3,200 meter relay as its lead off runner.

Erik Herter went on to win a Section IV Championship in the 1,600 meter relay in Outdoor Track & Field.

Jason Eade added, "The 2002 Lansing Cross Country Team had 7 of the most talented runners I have ever coached. They all had a burning desire to train and compete. The hardest thing I ever had to do was to keep them from over training.

These seven men ran against the best in high school. They ran against future NCAA Champions, Olympic runners and World Champions, and were victorious on many occasions.

In the spring, they also combined for one of the most dominating performances in Section IV Outdoor Track history by winning the 800 meter, 1600 meter, 3000 meter steeple chase, 3200 meter, 1600 meter relay and 3,200 meter relay. They won every distance event that year.

They set a Section IV record in the 4 X 1600 meters that may never be challenged again. They "lapped" 2nd place, not once, but twice in that race, while setting the record.

This group spent the year setting records and breaking each other's records which made them the runners and athletes they were. They are truly a Band of Brothers".

Ladies and Gentlemen, a 2015 TEAM Member of the Lansing Athletic Hall of Fame:

The 2002 Men's Cross Country Team.

Let's meet this Hall of Fame Team:

This man was in Ireland, when he received word of his team's selection in to the Hall of Fame. We were prepared to skype Jason into tonight's event. However, he was able to move flights around and be with us this evening.

A current member of the Lansing Sports Hall of Fame, Head Coach Jason Eade.

He teaches Music at Liverpool High School, Jeff Abbott

He is in Medical Device Sales for Cardinal Health. He lives in Shaker Heights, OH  Andrew Barnard.

He teaches History at Cortland High School, Thomas Colt.

He is a Graphic Designer in NYC, Erik Herter.

He is a college counselor at a charter school in Harlem, NY. He also works for the admissions department at U C  Berkeley. Nate Lockett.

He is a private music teacher and performer in Ithaca, Alejandro Papachryssthanthou-Bernard

He is a PhD student at the Agilant Lab In Bio-Engineering at Cornell University, Joey Usack

He is a 13 Fox Fire Support Specialist in the United States Army, stationed in Detroit, MI. And we all thank you for your service. Kevin Howell

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