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Track Team Track Team
Inducted: 2008 - Graduated: 1965

The third season was the charm for Dave Hanson and his

Golden Knights track & field team. Under his astute

guidance, the Knights went from winless newcomers to

Rockland County Public School Athletic League champions

in three years. They hold the singular distinction of being

Nanuet’s first Rockland County team titleholder in any sport.

The seeds of a championship club are planted long before

the harvest is reaped, and Nanuet was no exception. In

Hanson’s first year at the helm, the spring of 1963, the

Knights lost all seven of their dual meets. It was a

rude awakening for Hanson, who had come from a

football background at Norwich (N.Y.) High School and

Ithaca College.

“I never played on a losing in team in high school or

college,” Hanson says. “I made up my mind right then and

there that would never happen again.”

He was as good as his word.With some key mentoring from

Albertus Magnus coach Dick Teetsel and untold hours

advancing his knowledge of the sport, Hanson quickly

brought the Knights to respectability, assisted by CoachMike

Achille. The 1964 squad went 2-4-1, not spectacular but

foretelling success in ’65, when the nucleus of the team

would be seniors – BobYatto, co-captains Phil Carpenter and

Charlie Young, Al Brown, Gaylord Ingham, EdWilson, Bob

Harniman and Bob Eckert.

The Knights breezed through their first four dual meets

before reorienting the Rockland track landscape with a

62-60 upset triumph over perennial power Clarkstown.

Brown’s come-from-behind anchor leg on the 880-yard relay

– after Ted Graziani, Ed Faust and Carpenter kept it within striking distance – and Eckert’s clutch pole vault keyed the

Knights’ victory. Eckert cleared 10 feet 6 inches on his final

attempt to grab three crucial second-place points and set the

stage for the 880 relay’s climactic triumph.

Just two days later, Nanuet would face a sterner test, taking

the short bus ride up Route 59 for a showdown with host

Spring Valley to decide the Rockland PSAL championship.

The Tigers were the two-time defending County titlists with

an 18-meet unbeaten skein on the line.

Five – count ‘em, five – busloads of Nanuet students

descended on Spring Valley that Thursday afternoon in

mid-May to root on their would-be champions. They

witnessed a battle royale befitting the two best teams in the

county. Hanson and Tigers coach Mike Adrian matched wits

like chess grandmasters, slotting athletes for maximum

scoring potential.

Neither team could shake the other. Dave Mumme gave the

Valley a huge lift by winning the pole vault with a New York

State record 13 feet 7 ½ inches, and teammate Sidney Allen

won the 220 in 22.2, just two-tenths off the County record.

With Allen set to anchor the Tigers’ vaunted 880 relay, the

last event of the meet, Hanson’s crew would have to steal

points elsewhere.

“I decided there was no way in hell we would beat Spring

Valley with Sidney Allen on the anchor,” Hanson says. “We

would have to make up ground in between.”

And so they did. Brown won the 100 in 10 flat; Ingham swept

the shot put (45-5 ½) and discus; Carpenter skimmed the 180

low hurdles in 20.9, four-tenths shy of the County record;Young pulled off an unusual double, capturing the triple jump

(41-3 ½) and leading a 1-2 sweep with Ray Pardillo in the

two mile; and Jeff Sargent took the mile (4:49.4). With the

880 relay a virtual lock for Spring Valley – the Tigers would

win in a sizzling 1:33.3, one-tenth off the county record –

Nanuet would need something special in the long jump, the

final field event.

Boy, did they ever get it. Brown uncorked a mammoth jump

of 22-1 – just eight inches short of the County record – to

secure first place.Wilson and Yatto both sailed well over 20

feet for second and third. Three jumpers, three

personal bests, 1-2-3 for the Black & Gold.

Final score: Nanuet 63, Spring Valley 59. Journal-News

sportswriter Sam Basson said it best: “Nanuet is a happy

hamlet this day. Coach Dave Hanson toiled with his boys in

fair and foul weather [throughout the season] in a fruitful

effort. The Knights met the best in the county and won

deservedly. The track title wasn’t any empty honor. It was

earned.”With the title clinched, the Knights completed their

unblemished campaign a week later with a 73-49 romp over

Tappan Zee. (Spring Valley and Clarkstown had tied earlier

in the season, thus Nanuet’s win over the Valley cemented

the County title.)

“We were a team small in numbers but we matched up well

event by event for scoring in dual meets with the 5-3-1

scoring system,” says Eckert, who is now a small-business

owner inWest LosAngeles, where he’s lived since 1973. “We

were fortunate to have good guys in almost all events and

some good speed men for the relay.”

More individual glory awaited several Golden Knights at the

County championship meet, even though it was held the day

after Nanuet’s Senior Prom. Nanuet athletes won three of the

six field events: Yatto in the high jump (5-11),Wilson in the

long jump (21-3 ½) and Ingham in the discus (148-8). Brown

(100) and Ingham (shot put) also earned silver medals, while

Carpenter (hurdles), Yatto (long jump) and Jim Laing (440)

garnered bronze medals. (Team scoring at the County meet

was not introduced until 1972).

Nanuet finished a strong third in the Section 9 Class B

championships behind Port Jervis and Warwick, with Yatto

adding the Sectional high-jump crown to his County title.

Yatto – who is currently a general-practice physician in

Tennessee – culminated an outstanding season with a

third-place finish at the NewYork State championships with

a County-record clearance of 6-3 ¾.

MikeAchille served as the team’s valuable assistant coach in

1964 and ’65. He had developed a strong relationship with St.

Agatha’s Home while recruiting for football and used those

connections to persuade several boys from St.Agatha’s to run

track, guys like Nelson Rosado, Joe Vega, Bernie Rosario,

Ray Perez and Ralph Cortez. “A number of them were high

point-scorers during the season,” says Achille, who had

coached several of the varsity team members on the junior

high level. “That was my largest contribution. I made a strong

effort to recruit the kids for track & field.”

Other members of the team included: Bob Anderson, who

won the County 440 title the following year, Larry Janarella,

Bob Nelson, Art Krentz, Bob Westervelt, Marty Metzger,

Frank Pezzella, Franz Zwolensky andWalter Strauss.

Under Hanson, Nanuet’s boys’ spring track team went

on to win eight Rockland County and eight Sectional

championships, as well as eight County and seven

Sectional flags in winter track. But it all started with the boys

of ’65.