Class of 2002: Swimming
Bryan Brown grew up in Ballston Lake and started competitive swimming at the age of five with Schenectady Swim Club and the Woodlin Swim Club. Bryan began his Varsity swimming career in 9th grade and was a four year starter competing primarily in the 200 Individual Medley, 500 freestyle, and the 100 Backstroke. Bryan competed in the Section 2 swimming and New York State swimming championship four straight years and is a 10-time Section 2 champion.
In 2001, during Bryan’s junior year, he led the swimming team as co-captain to a Class ‘B’ Section 2 title and was named team MVP. The following year, in 2002, the Burnt Hills Swimming team had an undefeated season and won the Class ‘A’ Section 2 title. Bryan was recognized during the 2002 Section Championship with the Swimmer Scholar Award and the Most Outstanding Swimmer Award. Competing at the state championship that year, Bryan finished 3rd in the 200 IM, 2nd in the 100 backstroke, 2nd in the 200 medley relay, and was a state champion in the 400 freestyle relay. The relay earned a school record, a Section 2 record, All-American status, and a time ranking the relay top 5 in the nation. Bryan broke numerous pool records throughout his swimming career and still holds 4 school swimming records.
When Bryan wasn’t swimming, he also was a member of the Burnt Hills Rowing Team. Bryan joined the rowing team as a junior in 2001 and was a two year varsity 8 starter. In 2001, as “5 seat” of the Men’s Varsity 8, his crew finished first at the state rowing championship. The varsity 8 was subsequently invited to the US Rowing Youth National Championship, travelling to Cincinnati, OH, where Bryan and his team finished 8th in nation.
Outside of high school athletics, Bryan also competed in the Empire State Games on the Adirondack Water Polo Team. Bryan competed as a starter in water polo for 2 years at the state level, finishing 2nd in 2000. The following year, Bryan scored 8 goals in the state tournament, helping his team secure a state championship. Bryan has accomplished what few other scholastic athletes can claim – three state championships in three separate sports.
Following high school, Bryan decided to pursue an education in aviation and attended Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida. Bryan was a four year starter on the Division I Men’s Rowing Team, individually earning five Florida state championships, one Southeastern regional championship, and 3rd at the prestigious Dad Vail national regatta. His senior year, as captain of the rowing team, Bryan was named team MVP and was also awarded as the Top College Student Athlete at Jacksonville University.
Bryan currently works at Southern Air as an airline pilot and airline safety manager. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with his wife, Kate and 6-month old daughter, Emma.
Sarah (Morton) Della Pia
Class of 2006, Volleyball & Basketball
Sarah Morton Della Pia, is amongst the best female athletes that have ever graduated from Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake. At BH-BL, Sarah was a four year starter on both the volleyball and basketball teams. As a student-athlete Sarah received numerous awards. Some of her accolades in high school include: Channel 13 Basketball Player of the Year, 1000 career kills in volleyball, Gatorade NY State Volleyball Player of the Year and BH-BL female scholar athlete. Sarah, however, views her most prestigious awards as being a member of three high school volleyball state championship teams and one basketball state finalist team.
She continued her volleyball career playing volleyball at the Division I level at Syracuse University, and was a 2010 graduate with a major in Public Health and a minor in Psychology. She gained numerous academic and athletic honors while at Syracuse University, gaining Co-SIDA/ESPN The Magazine honors, and she was a First-Team Academic All-American. Sarah capped off her illustrious collegiate career by establishing herself as the best blocker ever to don the Orange. She set Syracuse career records in solo blocks (196), block assists (458), total blocks (654) and blocks per set and (1.35) during her senior season. She also set single-season records for total blocks and blocks per set (1.55) in 2009 and owns the single season record for solo blocks (72), which she set in 2007. As a senior co-captain , Sarah led the Orange at the net both offensively and defensively, leading the NCAA in the nation in total blocks (186) and solo blocks (52) through the entire 13 weeks of the season, while ranking fourth nationally with 1.55 blocks per set. A two-time first team All-Big East honoree, Morton earned CVU.com Blocker of the Year honors following the 2009 season. Sarah was a three-time Big East All-Academic selection, and was given the 2010 Soladay Award, the highest honor for a Syracuse student-athlete.
After being invited to the U.S. National Team tryout in Colorado, Morton connected with an agent to pursue the possibility of playing overseas. Sarah chose to join Saint Raphaels, based in the south of France. In 2012, Sarah was the assistant coach at Clarkson University and helped guide the program to its first ever NCAA Elite 8 appearance in the history of the University.
Her greatest joys are her children Stephen and Julia and her husband John. She now currently resides in Del Rio, Texas.
Class of 2006, Track & Field
Between her freshman and senior years, Brittany Dexter won Suburban Council Championship titles five times, and was a seven time Sectional champion as a high jumper. She qualified for the New York State meet seven times, placing six times and winning three times. As a junior, Brittany was named the All-Area First Team high jumper by the Times Union, was the high jump champion at the Bishop Laughlin Games in NYC, Dartmouth Relay Meet, and the Yale Classic Invitational. She finished first at indoor nationals her senior year, was the Eastern States champion, placed 2nd at the Penn Relays, and was 2nd at Nike Outdoor Nationals her senior year.
In addition to these high jump titles, Brittany also was a seven time Sectional champ and a four time Suburban Council champion in hurdles. In the spring of her junior year, she was named the All-Area First Team Hurdler by the Times Union. She also ran a leg of the winning 4×400 meter relay team at both indoor and outdoor Sectionals of her senior year and won the open 200 meter at outdoor sectionals in 2006. Brittany was also a member of the 4×400 relay team at the outdoor state meet in 2006, and ran the 400 leg of the Distance Medley Relay at Nike Outdoor Nationals. Brittany was named the Times Union Athlete of the Year for Track and Field, in 2006.
After graduating from Burnt Hills, Brittany attended Sacred Heart University, in Fairfield, CT. She continued to high jump throughout college, breaking the school record during her first track meet. She went on to win seven conference jumping titles. After graduating with her Masters in elementary education, she taught fifth grade before choosing to stay home once her daughter was born. She is now the proud mom of two little girls, Annalyn (3.5), and Lydia (10 months), and spends her time raising them with her fiance, in Connecticut.
Class of 1998: Soccer
Kenny Hayner began his varsity soccer career in 10th grade as one of the two sophomores chosen for the team. That year, he was named a Suburban Council Second Team All-Star and the team was crowned Section II Class B Champions. Kenny was named captain of his team for 11th and 12th grade, and also put on the Suburban Council First Team All-Star and the Section II Class A All-Star teams both years. As a senior, Kenny was honored as the Suburban Council Player of the Year, Section II Class A Player of the Year, NSCAA/UMBRO All State-First Team and the NSCAA/UMBRO All Region-All East Team.
He continued his soccer career at the University of New Hampshire, a Division 1 program in the America
East conference. Kenny started and played all four years while at UNH. Following college he played a small amount of semi-pro indoor soccer before moving into the “real world”. He continues to play to this day in an Over-30 Men’s League in the Portland, Maine area.
Kenny has worked and coached youth throughout his entire career, from coaching recreation programs while still at BH-BL, during college at many camps, and after college with a few local Premier soccer clubs in NH and Maine. He now is dedicating his coaching time to his son’s, Lucas and Tyson, who both love the game.
Soccer has been an integral part of his life, has taught him many lessons and will always be a part of what shaped him into the man he is today. It has taught him self-discipline, strength, determination, team work, leadership among many other traits. And it has also taught Kenny how to deal with adversity, humility and most importantly how to be a good sport in everything he does. BH-BL and soccer helped shape him into the successful son, brother, uncle, husband and father that he is today.
Katy (Cerrito) Headwell
Class of 2001: Swimming
Katy Cerrito Headwell began her varsity swimming career in seventh grade, and was given the Rookie of the Year Award. She qualified for the New York State Championship meet in eighth grade, beginning a five year run at the meet. At the New York State Meet, Katy placed 3rd, 5th, 8th and 9th in the 100 Backstroke during her years in high school. She still holds school records in the 100 Backstroke (57.80), 50 Freestyle (24.37) and as part of the 200 Freestyle Relay. Individually, she ranks 10th in the 200 IM, 11th in the 200 Freestyle and 15th in the 500 Freestyle in the history of BH-BL swimming.
At the Section 2 Championship Meet, Katy placed 3rd in the 100 Backstroke as an 8th and 9th grader, and 2nd during her sophomore, junior and senior years. In the 50 Freestyle, Katy placed 5th in 9th and 10th grade, and followed that with 2nd and 3rd places the following two years. She was also part of relay teams that placed second (five times) and third (one time) in the Sectional meet. Katy was named the Most Valuable Swimmer on the BH-BL team for three years in a row.
Katy went to the University of Connecticut where she held the school record as part of the 200 Freestyle Relay with a split of 23.87. She has the third fastest time in the history of her college in the 50 Backstroke and 100 Backstroke. Katy qualified for the Big East Championship meet and placed in the top 16 each year in the 100 Backstroke, 200 Backstroke and 50 Freestyle.
She is married to Sean Headwell, a former swimmer at Fonda-Fultonville and the current assistant swim coach at Albany Academy. They have a son, Jackson, and live in Ballston Spa. She is the Food Service Director and a Registered Dietitian for the Shenendehowa Central School District.
Class of 1949, Basketball and Baseball
Glenn Kinns was a basketball and baseball player at BH-BL High School. In Basketball, Glenn was chosen to represent the school in the north versus south game at Convention Hall in Saratoga Springs, where he accounted for most of the points for his team. He was a member of the 1948 and 1949 championship baseball teams, and his 1948 team was inducted into the BH-BL Hall of Fame in 2014. Glenn also was a goalie on the soccer team for two years, and a member of the National Honor Society. He was given the Outstanding Athlete Award and the Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award as a senior.
Glenn entered Union College in the fall of 1949 and was a member of the undefeated freshmen basketball team, a feat that hadn’t happened since 1932. That year, he was the leading scorer for the team. He was moved up to the varsity level as a sophomore and competed at this level until his graduation in 1953. During his final season, he had a 17.8 scoring average per game. In his junior year, he topped all other players on the team with 279 points in 18 games, and as a sophomore he scored 130 points during the season. Coach Pete Nistad said that Glenn “was the best shot he ever coached.” Glenn scored 35 points on February 26, 1953, in a game against Hamilton College, which was a new individual single game record for Union College. It was broken in 1971 by James Tedisco, who scored 38 points at Williams College. Glenn was on the dean’s list at Union, and was a member of the Pre-Medical Society and the Block U Society.
Glenn went on to the Albany Medical School and graduated in May, 1958 after an internship at Ellis Hospital. He married Joan Fawthrop of Clifton Park on November 1, 1958. In 1960, Dr. Kinns opened an office at Whitbeck Drive for the practice of General Medicine. He was the physician for the BH-BL School District for 28 years, and was active in many sports programs. In 1985, he received the Physician’s Recognition Award from the American Medical Association.
Coach, Administration & Faculty
Girls Volleyball Coach and Boys Basketball Coach
Gary Bynon graduated from Herkimer County Community College and earned his Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science degrees from SUNY Cortland. He has taught at BH-BL Central Schools for 28 years in the physical education department.
Gary has guided the girls volleyball to unprecedented heights with six New York State championship titles, all since 2002. Since October, 1990, the girls volleyball team has won 377 Suburban Council wins in a row, and his teams have won 28 Suburban Council divisional titles. His volleyball teams have been to 12 state finals, have won 17 regional championships and 21 sectional championships, including the last 14 in a row. His overall record is 646-60. Every year, his teams have been given scholar athlete awards.
Gary has over 100 wins for the boys basketball team, and won the first ever sectional title in the 70 year history of BH-BL basketball in 1991.
Gary runs the Lakeside Volleyball Club for boys and girls, and the Spike Mountain Volleyball camp in Vermont, one of the top camps in the Northeast. He has sent many of his athletes to play in college, including four who have been named All-Americans. Gary has also served on the NYS Championship Committee, and last year started the New York Volleyball Coaches Association, and currently serves as the president.
In the community, Gary had the initial idea to start a community Flag Day Parade, which the business leaders began 15 years ago. He also started the current Farmers Market in town. Gary lives on Goode Street in Burnt Hills with his wife of 28 years, Laura. They have two sons and one daughter: Michael is the head volleyball coach of the Coast Guard Academy, Matthew is the assistant coach at UMASS and the head boys coach at Windham High School in New Hampshire, while Lindsay will be a junior at Nazareth College where she plays volleyball.
1956 Football Team
The 1956 football team were the first in BH-BL history to have an undefeated (5-0-2) season and they shared the Saratoga County League title. Coaching the team were Murray O’Neil and Ed Dempsey, who guided the BH-BL football teams through its first 30 years, and Coach Agar.
1949 Girls Varsity Cheerleading Team
The first in the history of the school to win the Saratoga County League Championship. Members of the team were Eleanor Bradley Barowsky, Phyllis Laws Brandt, Kathleen Mooney Caresse, Barbara Ettinger DeSantis, Elizabeth Hodgman, Pat McPhilomy Misuva, and Mary Monk.
2004 Volleyball Team
The 2004 season began with a team that was hungry. The season before, without any seniors, the squad did not have a great state final four. They could not wait to get back on the floor in 2004! Led by seven seniors, they set out to ‘Make their Mark.’ They won the Suburban Council divisional championship, beat Ravena for the sectional championship and Corning East for the regional championship. Their only loss the entire season came at the prestigious Horseheads Classic. Down 2-1 in the state championship match, they stormed back to take sets four and five to win the state championship game over a great hendrick Hudson team. This team also celebrated the 200th straight victory in Suburban Council play at Shenendehowa that year.
2005 Volleyball Team
Perfect! This is the word that describes the 2005 edition of the BH-BL girls volleyball team. Led by a strong group of seniors that included All-American Sarah Morton, the Spartans went where no other team before them had gone. They swept through the Suburban Council and all of their tournaments, including being the first team to win the prestigious Horseheads Classic. After winning Section 2 and the regional, they went to the state final four in Oneonta. After surviving pool play, they faced Canandaigua from Section 5 for the state championship. Down two games to 0 and 20-16 in game four, the Spartans stormed back to win game 5 in what many call the biggest win in program history. They concluded their season at 29-0. At the time, the 29 wins was the most in program history. They remain to this day the only team to be ‘perfect’ the entire season.
Ginny Adams Mottolo
Community member & Class of 1951
Ginny Mottola graduated from BH-BL Central Schools in 1951. She went on to SUNY Plattsburgh, graduating in 1955 with a BS in nursing. Her first employment was for BH-BL as a school nurse at Pashley Elementary School. When her first born came along four years later, this took her out of this job and put her on the night shift in geriatric nursing. She had a very rewarding career in nursing, working herself from staff nurse to director of nursing in a skilled nursing facility. During this period, she took a four year break to become an administrator of an adult home. She ended her working career in home care, retiring her license at the age of 70.
This now gave her time to volunteer for different causes and organizations. Ginny is the co-chairperson of her class reunions and also the class historian. She wrote a booklet entitled “The History of BH-BL Sports 1920-1940’s,” and has been an advocate for including teams in the BH-BL Hall of Fame from the earlier years of our school. Her researching skills are put to great use, as she is now in charge of the Legacy Committee, which helps to recognize athletes through the BH-BL Hall of Fame.
Verna Dobbins is a graduate of Ohio University in 1946. Before starting at BH-BL she taught swimming at Little Troy Park and was instrumental in developing the Charvale Pool Association. She started at BH-BL as a physical education teacher traveling to different schools. In 1958, she started at Charlton Heights Elementary when the school opened. After three years, she started at the Junior High School, where she coached intramurals and took her teams to different Play Days.
In 1970, Verna transferred to the Senior High School where she coached soccer, basketball and volleyball. When the swimming pool opened in 1969, she developed and ran the adult community swim program and Summer Recreation. Verna established the first synchronized swimming team. Verna was the instructor for the Red Cross Water Safety Courses, teaching instructors as well as students. These student were life guards and were able to gain employment at local pools, including at the high school. Verna was well respected by her students, and they still talk about the many opportunities they had because of her teaching. She also taught 40 students how to ski so she could accompany the ski team, Verna retired in 1982.
She is the widow of Paul Dobbins and the mother of three children: Dr. Ann Dagianis, Paula Dobbins Ourso and John Dobbins. Verna has six grandchildren and two great grandchildren. At the age of 91, Verna is still going strong.