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Inductees - See All

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Jerry Leo Jerry Leo
Inducted: 2005 - Graduated: 1965

Jerry Leo exemplified what it means to be a student-athlete

forNanuet High School long before his tragic death on the

wrestling mat in the winter of 1964 during the Mount

Vernon Christmas Tournament, four months after his 17th

birthday. “Jerry was an outstanding team leader, symbolic

of the type ofNanuet sports participant that we encouraged

our later athletes to emulate,” recalls Mike Achille, former

Nanuet multi-sport varsity coach.

Few names are as closely intertwined with a school as Jerry

Leo’s is with Nanuet High School. Jerry Leo Memorial

Field is home to Nanuet football players, track and field

athletes, lacrosse players and others, the athletic complex

having been named in Jerry’s honor shortly after his death.

Perhaps themost enduring tribute to Jerry’s legacy is the Jerry

LeoMemorialScholarship, institutedin1965.Thisprestigious

award recognizes outstanding character, citizenship,

scholarship and athletics, and is presented annually to the

top scholar-athlete from the graduating class at Nanuet High School. It has helped countless young men and

women pay for their college education. The inaugural

recipient was Phil Carpenter, one of Jerry’s closest friends

and a wrestling teammate.

Jerry showed glimpses of his future athletic prowess at an

early age. In the Nanuet Little League’s very first game in

All-Star competition, he was the team’s starting second

baseman and scored the team’s only run (driven in by

Veltidi) in a loss to Haverstraw.

At Nanuet, Jerry was a multi-talented three-sport athlete

whomade his greatest impact on the wrestlingmats.He was

Nanuet’s first sectional champion in that sport, capturing

the Section 9 title at 132 pounds as a junior in 1963, aswell as

placing in the top six in the New York State championship


Jerry wrestled at the varsity level for three years, gaining

distinction as the Rockland County champion in 1963 and achieving first-team All-County honors in 1962 and 1963.

He moved up in weight class over his career and wrestled

from 112 to 132, illustrating his flexibility, strength and

team spirit. Jerry captained a strong Nanuet squad that

was second in the county to traditional power Suffern.

“He was our leader, the guy who led us around,” says Rob

Veltidi, a lifelong friend, classmate and teammate of

Jerry’s in wrestling, football and baseball. “He was an

important cog for us.”

In football Jerrywas a halfback and linebacker for theKnights,

achieving varsity status in 1963 and being elected captain in

1964. For his exploits on the gridiron he was recognized with

All-County honorable mention status in his senior year. (His

jersey number, 32, was retired posthumously.) Jerry also

was the starting catcher and captain of the varsity baseball

team in 1962 and ’63 and garnered RCPSAL honorable

mention honors in 1963.

Jerry’s legacy continues to be felt today in greater safety

standards for wrestlers. As a result of his death, rules governing

scholastic wrestling in New York State were changed

to outlaw the “chicken wing” half-nelson, a maneuver that

twisted the shoulder into a dangerous position.