Mitch Clark gets his hand raised after winning the NCAA title
The Upper New York Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame has announced the honorees for its Class of 2020.
This year's honorees, in alphabetical order:
Mitch Clark: The son of Hall of Fame Coach John Clark (former coach at St. Lawrence University), Mitch Clark wrestled at Canton High School, then headed west to Ohio State to wrestle for head coach Russ Hellickson. In 1998 Mitch won the NCAA Championship by scoring a technical fall over his opponent in the first period -- the only time a national title was won that way. He has shared his knowledge of the sport by co-authoring a book on wrestling, "Make It Happen" with Scott Conroe … producing a video with his brother John titled "Scrambled Legs" featuring the scrambling. Funk style of wrestling so prevalent today … and by running wrestling clinics throughout the United States as well as coaching the Lansing (N.Y.) Youth Wrestling program in recent years. In addition to this just-announced honor, Mitch was inducted into the Ohio State Hall of Fame in 2011, and welcomed into the North Country Sports Hall of Fame in October 2019.
James Cranfield: An Auburn High School graduate, Jim earned varsity letters in wrestling and track & field under coaches Jack O'Mara and Bob Alberti. Cranfield was a physical education major at Cortland State and garnered nine varsity letters in wrestling, cross country and track & field. Subsequently, Jim became a full professor at Auburn (Cayuga) Community College where he coached wrestling, cross-country and indoor/outdoor track & field. In 1990 Jim was inducted into Cortland's "C" Club and in 1994 Cranfield was awarded the State University of New York Chancellor's Award of Excellence in Education. Jim also officiated high school wrestling and worked two NYSPHSAA championships in 1973 and 1975. Additionally, he has served on the Board of Education for the Auburn Enlarged School District and was the president of the Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES Board of Education for 13 years.
Eric D'Arcy: Eric is a Social Studies teacher at the Newark Valley Central School where he has been employed since 1992. While at Newark Valley, Eric also coached wrestling, track & field and cross-country. His wrestling teams have won 6 overall IAC League titles, 9 IAC Divisional titles, a Division I Section IV title as well as a Section IV Dual Meet Championship. In addition, he was named the Coach of the Year three times for the IAC Conference and was a two-time Section IV Class C Coach of the Year. He also launched the Larry Goodrich Memorial Wrestling Tournament. After officially retiring from coaching at Newark Valley, Eric has served as a volunteer coach, and has worked with the Friends of Section IV Wrestling to advance and promote the sport in the area.
Mike Fusilli: This former Section V and Ithaca College grappler has had a distinguished career in wrestling. As an Ithaca College Bomber, Fusilli was on two Division III NCAA national championship teams and was a NCAA national champion in 1990. Additionally, Mike was a three-time East Region Champion (1988-1990) and was not only selected the Ithaca College Athlete of the Year in 1990, but also named that same year as Ithaca Journal Athlete of the Year. Beyond college wrestling, Mike has enjoyed an outstanding career in freestyle and Greco Roman wrestling on the national stage. In 1992, he won the USA Wrestling University Nationals Championship in freestyle and Greco Roman and received the !992 USA Wrestling University Belt Series winner. Beyond the mat, Mike has had an outstanding career in coaching at both the high school and college level, serving as head coach at Binghamton University, and as an assistant coach at North Carolina University and Ithaca College. If that weren't enough, Mike was a founding member of the Friends of Section IV Wrestling, serving as a board member for many years.
Eric Romanino: Eric has long been associated with Section I wrestling from his years as a Carmel High School wrestler to over thirty years of service to Beacon High School and Section I wrestling. In 1980 Eric commenced his career as a coach at Beacon High School and has functioned as the Section I Wrestling Chairman from 1995 to 2014. During his coaching career, his teams won six League Championships and two Divisional Championships. Additionally, Coach Romanino mentored two Section One champions and had a third-place finisher in the NYSPHSAA Championships. He was named League Coach of the Year six times and was designated the Poughkeepsie Journal Coach of the Year for Wrestling on four separate occasions. Additionally, Coach Romanino was the Director of Physical Education, Athletics and Health Services for the Beacon Central School for 20 years. Eric was selected as the 2013 "Athletic Director of the Year" by the Section One NYS Athletic Administrators' Association and has been inducted in the Beacon High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Eric has been credited with the establishing of the Section One weight certification program which is used throughout the Section.
Tom Shifflet: Tom has experienced an exceptional career in wrestling from his days as a wrestler for his father's Sweet Home High School team and his 1990 winning of the NYSPHSAA championships to his college wrestling career at Edinboro College under coach Bruce Baumgartner, where he was a three-time NCAA All-American. In 1995 Shifflet was named the Eastern Wrestling League Wrestler of the Year, Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Wrestler of the Year, and was selected as the Athlete of the Year at Edinboro University. Additionally, his coaching accomplishments are equally impressive. Tom served five years as an assistant coach for Rob Koll at Cornell University, coached four years as the head coach at University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and guided Hofstra University wrestling for five years (where he was named the Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year).
Timm Slade -- Outstanding American: The Slade family name is associated with excellence in wrestling in Section VI and throughout the state. Timm and his twin brother Todd -- along with their brother Scott -- all made their mark in the sport. Timm enjoyed a stellar career at Brockport State, where he played football and wrestled, becoming a SUNYAC Conference Champion, and a runner-up in the New York State Collegiate Wrestling Championships. The Golden Eagles won three SUNYAC Team Wrestling Championships during his tenure at Brockport. Subsequently, Slade would return to Section VI to teach and coach a variety of different sports. He became the Athletic Director for both Wilson and West Seneca Central Schools and in 2009 he was selected as the Executive Director of Section VI Athletic. Executive Director of Section IV, Ben Nelson, stated this about Slade, "Timm has always first and foremost advocated for what is best for all student athletes in all sports. His passion for wrestling is evident and he has been especially proactive in encouraging and promoting the growth of girls' wrestling in his section and the state." Slade exemplifies the leadership and dedication that all sports in New York need.
James Hughes -- Medal of Courage: The former co-captain of the Valley Central High School Vikings wrestling team, Jim Hughes, epitomizes all the characteristics of an individual who has met and overcome the challenges of a visual disability. Jim has been blind since the age of four due to glaucoma but that has not impeded him from living a full and meaningful life. Hughes wrestled for Hall of Fame coach, Bob Zifchock, who he credits with being his "eyes" during a match. Following graduation from Valley Central, Jim secured a degree from Binghamton University and has gone on to teach social studies at Farmingdale High School for many years. Jim teaches one of the most rigorous courses at Farmingdale, Advancement Placement - US History. In 2012 Jim was featured on a segment of CBS News' "On the Road" with Steve Hartman. In addition, Jim was awarded the Freida J. Reily Award in 2006 by the National Museum of Education to recognize an American teacher who has overcome adversity or made an enormous sacrifice to positively impact students. In 2008, Jim received the Distinguished Teacher Award from the Harvard Club to teachers on Long Island for their contributions in the field of education. If that weren't enough, Jim has been the coach of the successful Mock Trial Club, Peer Mediation Club, History Club and Debate Club.
Marcia Albrecht -- Volunteer Award: Marcia started her involvement in wrestling at Deposit High School working for Hall of Fame Coach Stan Elinsky. Albrecht worked as a wrestlerette for 6 years for the Lumberjacks; she was also cheerleader, and a table worker at tournaments. Subsequently, she moved on to Oneonta State to obtain a degree in secondary education. While there, Marcia was a volunteer manager performing a variety of tasks, from serving as scorekeeper for home and away matches, to driving a van to and from matches, to producing the programs, to calling in the results. After graduation Marcia commenced a career as a social studies teacher in the Walton Central School. She sustained her passion for wrestling by working at the sectional championships, serving as the Vice President of the Deposit Wrestling Booster Club, directing and scoring the Cuneen-Doanne Wrestling Tournament at Walton and working at many Pee Wee wrestling tournament in the area. Stan Elinsky said this of Marcia: "She has dedicated a good portion of her life to wrestling and the sport is better off for her hard work."
Rob Centorani -- Stanbro Media Award: Rob graduated from State University College at Buffalo with a degree in journalism and has worked with several newspapers as a sports clerk and sports writer throughout his career, including The Buffalo News, The Daily Star, and presently with the Press & Sun-Bulletin. His passion for wrestling is demonstrated by the fact that he has covered eight NYSPHSAA Championships along with penning numerous features, columns, previews and recaps in wrestling. During his journalism career Rob has won two New York State AP Awards and one Gannett Award.
The Class of 2020 will be officially welcomed into the Upper New York Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame on Sunday, September 20, 2020 at the Double Tree Hotel, 6301 NY 298, East Syracuse, New York 13057. Event starts at noon, with dinner at 1:00 p.m. and induction ceremony at 1:45. To purchase tickets or for more information, please contact Carl Koenig of the Upper New York Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 607.244.8432.