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Janet Pietropaolo Janet Pietropaolo
Inducted: 2003 - Graduated: 1980

Being the youngest in a family with four older brothers is

never easy. However, being the youngest Pietropaolo, and

a girl to boot,made life all the harder.They are all so amazing

and talented. For many years I wondered how I could

belong to this incredible family and what I could possibly

do to be worthy.

In eighth grade it all started to happen—I started running.

I knew my family would love and support me no matter

what I did or didn’t do. It just helped my own self-esteem

knowing there was something I could work hard at and

achieve my goals. My parents taught my brothers and

myself the value of a good work ethic, honesty, determination

and faith. Much of the successes I have had in my life

were achieved from the values my parents instilled in me.

These values and the support and training from my high

school coaches brought me to a nice level of success.

Cross country for girls was in the early stages when I started.

Brenda Saunders of Clarkstown South and Lizette

Hautau of Tappan Zee paved the way for girls like me. I

had the great pleasure of running with the boys’ team, as

well as the girls’, andcultivatedamultitudeof great friendships

I will forever hold dear tomy heart. The great conversations about life and love and all that lies between, with many special


My coaches trained and guided me all along the way.

Ralph Coleman started me off and he was wonderful.

Dave Hanson taught me to work hard and stay focused.

Coach Denton stuck by me, although I was stubborn and

hard to reach. Even though Coach Teetsel was from

Albertus Magnus and did not directly coach me, he also

was a huge influence. Larry Beckerle gave me something

that no one else could. He gave me faith in myself. He

taught me to find strength from inside, not only on the

track, but also in my life. Larry was my teacher and coach,

but most of all he was and continues to be my friend.

Having the solid foundation frommy parents and brothers,

along with years of running and training with incredible

people who have influenced and enriched my life, has

brought me to the person I am today.

I have enjoyed 19 years of success in the newspaper industry.

Currently I am the Retail Advertising Manager for The

Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. My career and life’s

adventures have enabled me to live in various places, such as California, Virginia and Germany. I’ve enjoyed the

rewards of volunteering through the years for the

American Cancer Society as a crisis intervention counselor.

My greatest accomplishment in my life is by far my two

wonderful boys, Vinny and Matty. They are 9 and 6. They

are the true meaning of life.

Janet Pietropaolo was a pioneer of girls’ track and cross

country at Nanuet. She was the Golden Knights’ first

female running star and set the standard for allwho followed.

Her legacy among Nanuet’s athletic elite endures to this


In cross country, Janet is the school record-holder for the

Bear Mountain 3-mile course (17 minutes 58.4 seconds)

and the Van Cortlandt Park 2.5-mile course (15:25.1). She

ranks No. 6 on the all-time Rockland County list for Bear

Mountain and No. 7 for Van Cortlandt. In 1978, she won

the Rockland County and Section 9 Class B championships,

placed fourth in the New York State Class B

championships, and finished a solid 29th in the AAU

National championship meet. Janet won her division in

both the Manhattan and St. John’s invitationals at Van

Cortlandt, finished second in her division at the Eastern

States championships, and was undefeated versus

Rockland County opponents that season.

Janet was runner-up in both the County and Section 9

meets in 1977. She was a two-time, first-team All-County

honoree, and team captain and MVP in 1977, ’78

and ’79.

For all of her lofty accomplishments in the sport,

Janet was one of 21 women to earn a berth on the

prestigious Rockland County Cross Country

All-Century Team.

In track, she enjoyed an equally stellar career. In spring

track, she was team captain and MVP all four years she

competed. Janet was a two-time, first-team All-County

recipient and still holds the Rockland County record

in the 5,000-meter run (18:00.0). She earned

Rockland and Section 9 titles in the 2-mile run and

clocked a time of 10:22.4 for 3,000 meters, which at

the time was a Rockland and Section 9 record and still

ranks seventh on the all-time County list.

In winter track, she was team captain all four years, and

team MVP and first-team All-County in 1977, 1978 and

1979. Janet finished second in the mile in the 1978 Section

9 meet and also finished second in the 1979 County meet.

She qualified for the state meet in the 2-mile and ran a time

of 11:19.9, which currently stands eighth on the all-time

Rockland list. During her career she set school records at

800 meters, 1,000 meters, 1,500 meters, 3,000 meters and

5,000 meters, in addition to her cross country marks.

After high school, Janet competed for the University of

Delaware her freshman year but injuries curtailed her collegiate

career. However, she later went on to run three

marathons, qualifying for the Boston Marathon and posting

an excellent personal-best time of 3 hours 22 minutes

for the 26.2-mile distance.