UTICA — Four former Utica High School athletes and an individual whose voice is synonymous with Utica football will be the inductees into the 2011-12 Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday.
Larry Connell, Benny Wright, Dave Davis, Traci Varrasso and Pat Mulligan are this year’s inductees, as voted on by members of the Utica Redskin Athletic Hall of Fame.
The inductees will be honored before the home varsity basketball game Friday against East Knox.
Connell is a 1959 graduate of UHS and is being recognized on behalf of his football accomplishments. Connell spent his junior and senior years at Utica, where he was selected to the All-Licking County League team and All-Mid Buckeye League as offensive tackle and middle linebacker. He was captain of the Redskins his senior year and was a two-year member of the Varsity “U” Club. Connell also participated in track both years at Utica.
Wright, a 1981 graduate, was a standout pitcher for the Redskins. Wright was a four-year varsity letterman and was the leading pitcher for the Redskins most of those years. His talent on the diamond earned him Utica’s Most Valuable Player his junior and senior years after being named to the second team All Licking County League as a sophomore. He also received second team All District honors his senior year. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds after a year of playing college baseball at Iowa Central Junior College.
Davis compiled quite a list of accomplishments on the wrestling mat during his years at Utica. The 1994 graduate wrestled in the 112-pound class as a freshman and 119-pound class his succeeding three years, and was a two-time Buckeye Athletic Conference champion. Davis was sectional champion his sophomore, junior and senior seasons, eventually compiling an overall record of 139-31. He was a champion in 22 high school tournaments and Most Valuable Wrestler in five of those tournaments. Davis won the Utica Invitational meet three out of four years in his weight class and was Most Valuable Wrestler in two of those years.
“I am very thrilled over this,” was Mulligan’s reaction after he was voted to receive an honorary membership into the Athletic Hall of Fame. For the past 32 years, Mulligan has been the voice at Redskin home football games. He took over the announcing duties in the early 1980s from now retired Utica Junior High eighth-grade history teacher, Steve Edman. Mulligan’s tenure as an announcer at the games has spanned three varsity football coaches: Tom Russell, Bob Klockner and current head coach Randy Felumlee. With his position on football Friday nights, Mulligan could walk right through the gate not paying any admission, but he always stops to buy a ticket as a financial show of support for Utica athletics.
In the mid 1990s, Utica enjoyed some of its most successful seasons in girls basketball. Varrasso was a member of the 1997 team that went to the state semifinals, finishing with a 27-1 record. Varrasso played point guard for the Redskins and had a 12.4 points-per-game scoring average. While being named second team All-Buckeye Athletic Conference her junior year, her talent on the hard court exploded in her senior season. Among her accomplishments are First Team BAC, second team All District, second team Central District, first team District 11 and first team Mount Vernon News.
Published on January 3, 2012