Shannon (Campbell) Rich
Class of 2002: Volleyball
Shannon (Campbell) Rich played volleyball for BH-BL and graduated in 2002. Shannon was the Suburban Council Most Valuable player in 2001, leading her team to the New York State Class B Championship title. She was also named to the First Team for New York State two years in a row, and she played on two BH-BL teams that won both Section 2 titles and Regional titles.
Shannon graduated from The College of Saint Rose, where she played on the volleyball team. Upon graduation, she was the all time leader in assists, assists average and matches played. Shannon was the only player in Saint Rose history to reach 3,000 assists, was second all time in service aces and 10th in digs. Among her many honors, she was the 2006 Northeast 10 Setter of the Year, Daktronics First Team All Northeast, and Honorable Mention from the American Coaches Association. Shannon also was the 2003 Most Valuable Player at the Eastern College Athletic Conference Tournament and a two-time Northeast 10 All League performer.
Shannon continues to play volleyball and has coached at all different levels. She is now a second grade teacher at Troy Prep, married to her husband, Curtis, and has three children, Rowan, Max and Bailey. She and her family live in Delmar.
Class of 1933: Basketball, Baseball & Track
William Egan played basketball from 1929 until 1933, guiding his team to a win in the local championship game his senior year. He loved sports, playing basketball for four seasons under coach Frank Stevens, baseball for four years, and track for one season as a senior. One of Bill’s main influences on his early life was Father Daniel Hogan of Our Lady of Grace Church, who taught boys in the area how to defend themselves through his boxing camps. Father Hogan taught him the traits of character, honesty, perseverance and kinship to his fellow teammates which he carried with him throughout his life.
After graduation, Bill went on to Ithaca College to study physical education. He became the youngest player ever chosen for the varsity baseball team, playing under his coach, Bucky Freeman, who was inducted to the American College Coach Athletic Hall of Fame. While at Ithaca, Bill played with Eddie Sawyer, who went on to play for the Yankees and is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He also played with others who went on to play for major league teams, including Carlton Wood, Frank Clark, Charles Andrews and Gideon Hawley. The Great Depression necessitated him leaving college before graduating. During World War II, he entered the army in 1944. Bill served on Adak the Alentian Island of Alaska.
Upon his Honorable Discharge and receipt of the Good Conduct medal, Bill continued serving his country in a variety of ways at the local level. Bill entered politics, and was elected Town Assessor, Democratic Party Chairman for the Town of Ballston, and was President of the Ballston Lake Volunteer Fire Department. He also started a business, the William W. Egan Real Estate and ran it up to a week before his death.
Bill married Mary Joan Koonz, the BH-BL Librarian, and had four daughters who were all BH-BL graduates. He passed away December, 2001, at the age of 87.
Class of 1991: Wrestling
Chad Groncki was the first Groncki to lace-up wrestling shoes, beginning in second grade with his neighbor Bill Forlano. Once his brothers saw the trophies that could be won each weekend at tournaments, the family was hooked. For the next ten years, Chad was a member of multiple Empire State Games and National Teams for wrestling.
Slowed down by a football injury in 8th grade, Chad’s varsity wrestling career didn’t begin until his sophomore year. A two-time captain of the BH-BL varsity wrestling team, and member of the BH-BL Wrestling Hall of Fame for his 1989 team, he compiled a career record of 91-10; with 63 of those wins coming by pin or technical fall. Chad was a two-time Section 2 Champion, a New York State Runner-Up in 1990 and third place finisher in 1991. In his three year varsity career, he made the finals of every tournament he entered except for States his senior year.
Chad attributes his successes to his parents who took him all over the state and country for wrestling tournaments throughout the year. That support at home, in addition to excellent coaching from Don Marone, Warren Crow, Bill Martin, Phil Wright and Tim Koch, and a group of guys to practice with everyday that pushed one another to be their best, made being a wrestler at BH-BL during those years very special.
While wrestling his freshman year at SUNY Oswego, Chad tore his rotator cuff for the second time and that ended his wrestling career. Upon graduating from Oswego in 1995, Chad moved to Charlotte, NC, where he met and married his wife, Krista. Together, they live there happily raising their three daughters Kalyn, Haley, and Abygail. Chad teaches High School Chemistry and enjoys his time traveling with his family and being a father.
Class of 1991: Wrestling
Doug Groncki followed his twin brother, Chad, to the wrestling mat in 3rd grade and learned many of his most important life lessons through his years in the BH-BL wrestling program.
Doug was a two-time New York State runner up in 1990 and 1991. He was also the winner of the DeMeo Award, presented to the top Section 2 high school wrestler in 1991, and was the second runner-up in 1990. He was a two-time captain of his high school wrestling team and a member of the BH-BL Wrestling Hall of Fame for his 1989 team. Doug joined the varsity team as an 8th grader, winning 20 matches that year and compiling a 144-26 record over his career, going 37-1 as a senior and 36-2 as a junior.
Doug attributes much of his success to his twin brother, Chad, and younger brother Jeff, who always pushed him to do more than he would have done on his own, and to his parents who drove him and his brothers all over the state and across the country for tournaments throughout the year. The coaching of Don Marone and Tim Koch made an enormous difference on his wrestling career. He was fortunate to have amazing teammates and a tradition of excellence in the BH-BL wrestling program that helped each of the individuals to achieve more.
After high school, Doug attended Harvard College with his teammate, Bill Forlano, and earned a varsity letter, wrestling through his junior year of college. Doug majored in Economics and had the good fortune to get an off campus job working for a litigation consulting firm, Cornerstone Research, that exposed him to business, technology and law. He earned a scholarship to work and live in Madrid, Spain, for six months during college and that led to trips to Australia, New Zealand and Tahiti, which sparked an interest in international travel.
After college, Doug joined Microsoft and moved to Seattle where he lived for ten years and met his wife Leslie. They moved to Paris, France for over three years where Doug helped open the Microsoft International office. Doug currently lives in Winnetka, IL, on the north shore of Chicago, with his wife and their three children Douglas, Andrew and Grace. Doug continues to work for Microsoft and spends time at home, at local sports meets and traveling with his family. In his free time, Doug enjoys swimming, fly fishing and snowboarding and continues to be a lifelong learner and an avid reader.
Class of 1999: Soccer & Basketball
Matt Jones achieved great success on the BH-BL soccer team, where he was an All- American nominee, All East Region selection, and All State selection in 1998. He was also a Section 2 First Team selection in 1997 and 1998, First Team Suburban Council selection and runner-up for Suburban Council Player of Year in 1998 and a second team Suburban Council selection in 1996.
Matt attended The College of Saint Rose, where he was the men’s soccer captain for three years. He ended his career at Saint Rose third on the All Time list in points scored. After graduation, Matt played for three years for the New York Shockers, a semi-professional indoor soccer team. He also played for three years on the Albany Highlanders and the Albany Admirals, where he later coached.
Matt was named the head coach for men’s soccer at The College of Saint Rose for the 2011-2014 seasons, leading the team to a program best record while competing in NCAA Division 2. He also coached the team to a program first NE-10 Conference Playoffs appearance. Matt was also the assistant coach for the women’s soccer team at The College of Saint Rose from 2003-2005 and 2008-2010. Those teams made two appearances at the NCAA Division 2 Final Four. Matt was also the Assistant Coach for the Siena College men’s soccer team, where he recruited three future professional players. Matt has also been the head coach for BH-BL varsity boys soccer, and the Head Coach of the Hudson Valley Community College Men’s Soccer Team, leading the team to the regional playoffs. Matt was the Director of Operations for the Albany WPSL.
Matt is currently the coach for the New England Futbol Club, and a business owner of First Touch Soccer USA, a youth soccer club programming and training organization that provides hundreds of youth soccer players, coaches, and clubs in the Capital Region access to professional soccer training and coaching.
Lisa Missana Lett
Class of 1992: Basketball, Tennis, Softball & Volleyball
Lisa (Missana) Lett earned ten varsity letters in four sports, including four in tennis, one in volleyball, two in basketball and three in softball. She was a Suburban Council All Star in basketball and softball and a two-time Saratogian Dream Team selection in softball. She was named to the Suburban Council All-Star team in softball and volleyball, was the sixth-ranked tennis singles player in Section 2 as a junior, and was an important member of the sectional championship teams in softball and volleyball. Her basketball team reached the Class B title game, and she was a starter and co-captain of the team.
Lisa was the valedictorian at BH-BL, ranking first in her class with an average of 97.6 percent. She was a member of the National Honor Society, school choir and was the Student Council Vice President.
Lisa graduated from Princeton University, where she played JV Volleyball. She currently lives in Duluth, GA with her husband, Charles, and daughter, Elissa.
Class of 1998: Baseball, Soccer & Basketball
Jeffrey Stovall was a varsity letterman his junior and senior years at BH-BL in three different sports: soccer, basketball and baseball. He went on to win the Sheepskin Award his senior year for most varsity letters while attending BH-BL (seven total). During his senior year, while competing in the Class A Large School Division, he was co-captain of the soccer, basketball and baseball teams, all of which were either champions or co-champions of the Suburban Council Conference. During his senior year, the BH-BL baseball team won the regional finals and placed runner-up in the state finals. As a member of the Adirondack Region baseball team, Jeff earned a gold medal in the Empire State Games. While at BH-BL, Jeff was teammates with fellow Hall of Fame inductee Matt Jones in both soccer and basketball and was coached by fellow Hall of Fame inductee Matt Shell.
After graduating from BH-BL, Jeff played Division I college baseball at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. During Jeff’s senior year at Furman University, he recorded the fourth lowest ERA of all Division I pitchers, beating out eventual Cy Young Winner, Justin Verlander. Jeff was co-captain and most valuable player his senior year at Furman University. Jeff finished top 10 in school history for lowest career ERA while at Furman University, a record he still holds today.
After graduating from Furman, Jeff earned a juris doctorate from Pennsylvania State School of Law. During law school, he served as pitching coach for Dickinson College. Jeff currently practices law in Louisville, Kentucky, and is a city council member in the town in which he resides. Jeff is married to wife, Sabine, also a lawyer.
Coach, Administration & Faculty
Coach: Football, Track & Field, and Basketball
Matt Shell has coached the varsity football team for 15 years. His football teams have put together a 131-31 record, with nine straight Super Bowl appearances during one stretch, five straight Section 2 championships from 2008-12, and others in 2006 and 2016. BH-BL has played for four New York State titles, winning the Class A crown in 2012.
Matt has coached the girls outdoor track team since 2014. In that time the girls have won four Section 2 Group 2 championships and numerous girls have competed at the New York State Track and Field Championships.
Shell is a 2011 Capital Region Football Hall of Fame inductee, and was also inducted to the Gloversville School District Hall of Fame as a former star wide receiver. He is a 1992 graduate of SUNY Cortland where he was an All-American wide receiver and captain during his senior year.
In August, 2011, Matt and his wife, Kim, along with friends in the community, founded the Shellstrong Foundation, established as a New York State not-for-profit corporation with the mission to help kids who need it. The foundation’s fundraising efforts have included movie nights, the Be Strong Stroll, bake sales, and it’s largest annual fundraiser, the Spirits for Strength gala held at Key Hall. Since its inception, the Shellstrong Foundation has donated over $200,000 to the Melodies Center at Albany Med, the Double H Ranch, BH-BL High School scholarships and local families in need.
Matt and Kim live in Burnt Hills with their daughter, Hannah, and son, Jacob.
Coach: Basketball and Volleyball
Gertrude Rice was hired in 1924 as a fourth-grade teacher and the first female coach at the BH-BL School of Agriculture and Homemaking after graduating from Cortland State. She formed and coached the very first girls basketball team from 1924 until 1939. She taught in the district for 38 years, retiring in 1962.
In 1925, she formed a Monday night recreation class for women of the community. The older women played cards and the younger ones did physical activities such as volleyball, bowling, skiing, and sledding. Miss Rice coached and was the referee for volleyball. Even after retiring in 1960, Miss Rice was active with group, either as a referee or through playing cards with some of the other women. She was the first president of the recreation class, retiring from the position in 1977. This class is still going strong 92 years later.
Gertrude Rice died in October, 1986, at the age of 91.
1949 Baseball Team
The 1949 Baseball Team won the Saratoga County League Championship for the second year in a row under Coach Walter Reid. The team beat Corinth, Greenwich, Hoosick Falls, Luzerne, Mechanicville, Schuylerville, South Glens Falls, Stillwater, and Waterford, losing only to Ballston Spa by one run.
Roger Travis and Glenn Kinns led the team, with Charlie Travis playing catcher. First baseman Doug Nessle, who was on the team for four years, hit a long single in the final game that scored the two men on base and provided a one run victory. He shared the position with Charles Mason, rotating every other game.
Members of the team were Bob Baranowski, Robert Boice, Robert Campbell, David Cassidy, William Chandler, Douglas Clements, Ralph Cook, Edward Chase, John Dadez, Gareth Dunham, Roy Elliot, Lou Fisler, Dick Gode, Floyd Hatlee, Frank Hemsing, Marcley Hilderbrand, Glenn Kinns, Charles Mason, Billy Masters, Theodore Michalec, Ronald Nadler, Douglas Nessle, James Roberts, Henry Roth, Ronald Sisson, Thomas Stern, Albert Stote, Bill Thiele, Charlie Travis, Roger Travis, Frank Varrone, and Albert White.
1999 Boys Cross-Country Team
The 1999 boys cross country team culminated their season with a Class B New York State title under the guidance of their coach, Chip Button. After being behind after the first mile, the team swept through the field and finished in a very tight pack, led by Dan Crespin in 22nd place. The win was a great example of a total team effort and what believing in something can accomplish.
The team finished first place at the Section 2 Class B Championships over Queensbury and Scotia, and had a strong second place finish at the Suburban Council Championships. The team enjoyed a first place win at the Guilderland Invitational, and fifth place at the McQuaid Invitational. The dual meet record was 7-2, including a win over Shenendehowa, and a tie with Saratoga, which BH-BL lost on a tiebreaker.
Members of the 1999 team were Chris Camp, Dan Crespin, Chris Dolen, Joe Duchane, Ben Pangie, Matt Reilly, and Dave Reinhardt.
2004 Boys Cross-Country Team
The 2004 boys cross country team closed out their season with a first place finish at the Class A New York State Championship meet, and were third place at the Federation Championships. They won the Section 2 Championships, and were second place in the Suburban Council meet under coach Chip Button. During the season, the team placed first at the McQuad Invitational, fourth place at the Rochester Invitational and third place at the Guilderland Invitational.
The 2004 cross country team ended the season as Section 2 champions, Class A State champions, and finished third at the NYS Federation Championships, beating both of their strong, local rivals teams Saratoga and Shenendehowa. In the seasons prior, Burnt Hills placed second at the 2002 and 2003 New York State championship meets. These teams lost by extremely narrow margins, six points in 2002 and three points in 2003. The 2004 team came in dedicated to redemption for a NYS meet victory. Under the leadership of Coach Button, they were able to secure the state title in 2004 with a score of only 36 points. The second place finished with 97 points.
The team feels that they have been a part of the BH-BL running dynasty that Coach Button has created.
Each season, the captains of the team come up with a design for the team t-shirt. Some favorites through the years are “After us the Deluge” and “We are the Deluge.” The design refers back to the 1996 team’s shirt, claiming that we are the “deluge” of runners started by the 1996 and 1999 teams that won NYS championship titles. After that, the floodgates were opened, which led to the high performances of the 2004 and 2005 team, which were strong as a whole from the freshman team to the top.
Members of the team were Drew Houghtalen, Alex James, David Jones, Ken Little, John Mueller, Shamus Nalley and Colin Utz-Meagher.