2022 Hall of Fame Inductees

Alumni Athletes

Joe Iuliano

Class of 1965, Wrestling, Football

Joe Iuliano was a two-time Section 2 wrestling champion, was never beaten in Section 2 matches, and placed in the NYS tournament twice, the first BH-BL wrestler to do so. Joe was coached by Murry O’Neil, a BH-BL Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, who was very influential to Joe as an athlete and coach. Joe came from a very athletic family. His brother, Blaise, was a two-time All American from Ithaca College, and was inducted into the BH-BL Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014.

Joe went on to play football and wrestle at Central Connecticut from 1967-1972 where he would earn a Master’s degree in administration and a BS in Health and Physical Education. Joe was team captain of his wrestling team and undefeated until a knee injury ended his career. In 1967 he recorded the fastest pin in NCAA history, pinning his University of Hartford opponent in six seconds. The record stood for many years. It was at Central Connecticut that Joe would meet his future wife, Sue, and have two children, Chris and Courtney.

Following his graduation, Joe coached wrestling at Southern Connecticut, leading the team to a New England championship, defeating long reigning champion Springfield College. In 1976, at age 30, he came in second place in the U.S. Olympic wrestling trials, just missing an opportunity to represent his country in the Summer Olympics in Montreal.

Joe later coached and taught at South Glens Falls for 30 years, where he compiled a record of 178-12 for wrestling. Every year of his tenure his teams were state ranked. He continued to coach at wrestling clinics around the Northeast until he retired in 2007. He also coached the defense of the South Glens Falls football team. His team won the Foothills Council in 1980, and his team ranked first in Section 2 for defense.

Joe was a charter member of the Adirondack Search and Rescue team and now has 27 years to his credit. They assist the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation on searches. Over the years, they have contributed to many rescue operations, and Joe is tasked with providing survival training for the department of conservation. For the last five years, Joe has volunteered with disabled veterans, helping them shoot skeet and trap. Joe has received many honors such as being inducted into the South Glens Falls Athletic Hall of Fame, the SGF Wrestling Hall of Fame, and the Wrestling Hall of Excellence.

Steve Madej

Class of 2005, Basketball, Baseball, Football

Steve Madej was a three-year starter for the BH-BL basketball  team, and was a tri-captain for the 2004–05 team under coach Bill Martin. During his senior year, he was the Suburban Council  Player of the Year, Section 2 Class A Tournament MVP, Saratogian Player of the Year, and was part of the All New York State team. Other honors included being named to the Section 2 1st team, Daily Gazette and Troy Record 1st Team and a News 13 All-Star. Channel 10 named Steve a Top 5 Player to Watch, and he was on the 2nd Team for the Albany Times Union. Steve was the team leading scorer during his senior year with 20 points per game, he averaged 6 rebounds per game, and led all Section 2 players with 77 three pointers. Steve is the BH-BL all time leader with three point baskets, is 5th all time with 953 points, and ranks second with the highest single season scoring 519 points) and 3rd with the highest single season free throw percentage, at 83.8%.

Steve led his team to become the Section 2 Class A Champions, and they were Regional finalists in 2003-04 and 2004-05, the only time BH-BL teams went this far in the New York State tournament. Steve was the three-time recipient for Scholar Athlete Award for basketball, and was the 2005 male recipient of the Capital Region Scholar/Athlete Award.

Steve went on to play basketball at Union College under coach Bob Montana, where he scored  991 points, and graduated with honors in Managerial Economics. Since graduation, he is employed by Bloomberg LLC in both New York City and San Francisco. He is living in Tarrytown, NY, with his wife, Meredith, and daughters Landon (2) and Ava (2m).

Steve Richardson

Class of 1970, Football, Basketball, Track, Baseball

Steve Richardson was the quarterback and captain of the 1968 and 1969 football teams. He led the team to the first league championship in 1968 as a junior for BH-BL, and for both years, BH-BL was the Suburban Council champion. The football team was tied for first place in the area in 1969. Although no official statistics were kept at the time, Steve held all of the passing records on the team upon graduation, including the most pass attempts, most completions, most completion yards, and the most touchdown passes. Steve was on the Schenectady Gazette and the Albany Times Union All-Star teams as both a junior and a senior.

Steve was captain of the basketball team as a senior, and the basketball team had the best team record (9-9) since 1959. He also earned a varsity letter in track his junior year, and in baseball during his senior year. Went to St. Lawrence University where he was the quarterback, and set the school record for passing. Steve coached JV and freshman football at BH-BL, and was also the freshman basketball coach, both for ten years.

Peter Sander

Class of 2003, Volleyball, Baseball

Peter Sander was a member of the first Boys Volleyball Team at BH-BL. He was a 4 year varsity starter and a team captain during his junior and senior years. As a freshman, he was named a Suburban Council Honorable Mention, as a sophomore he was selected as a first team all star and as a junior and senior he was named the league’s most valuable player.

In his junior year, Peter led the team to an undefeated league record and the Suburban Council championship.  This accomplishment was achieved in just the third year of the teams existence in a league where BH-BL is one of smallest schools. As a senior, the team was also undefeated. Peter still holds BH-BL school records in total points (kills, blocks and aces) with 1,718, hitting percentage (kills minus errors divided by attempts) with .443 and kills with 1,435. He is also ranked third in aces with 134 and sixth in blocks with 149.

During high school, Peter played on three Empire State Scholastic volleyball teams, where the team earned a bronze medal in 2001 and a silver medal in 2002. He also played club volleyball and received national recognition by being named to the All Tournament team at the 2002 USA Volleyball Junior National Tournament.

Peter was also an accomplished baseball player, where he was on the varsity team for three years and was awarded the team’s most improved player award in his senior year. After graduating from high school, Peter went on to play volleyball for four years at Springfield College, a top program in Division III for Men’s Volleyball. During this time, he continued to compete at the Empire State Games in the open division, and was part of teams that won two bronze medals.

Peter currently lives in Montana with his wife, Katy Porcelli, also a BH-BL graduate. They welcomed their daughter, Zuzia, this year. Peter enjoys skiing, mountain biking, and traveling. He works at Big Sky Ski Resort as an electrical specialist for the numerous ski lifts.

Brian Sankowski

Class of 2002, Swimming

Brian Sankowski was on the BH-BL swim team that was ranked first in NYS, and fourth in the USA during his senior year. He swam breaststroke on the medley relay team that earned a Section 2 record, and that team placed second in NYS for both 2001 and 2002. Brian was one of the top swimmers on the team in 2002 when BH-BL was ranked 4th in the USA, and 1st in NYS with an overall record of 12-0. At the Section 2 Championship meet, Brian is a five-time champion (500 freestyle 2002, 100 breaststroke 2001, and 200 medley relay in 2000, 2001 and 2002) and a six-time Section 2 runner-up (100 breaststroke 2002 and 2000, 200 freestyle 2001, 200 IM 2000, 200 freestyle relay 2002, 200 medley relay 1999). He graduated with three school records in the 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle and the 200 medley relay. On the BH-BL All-Time Top 40 listing, Brian is currently 2nd in the 500 freestyle (4:45.82); 3rd in the 200 freestyle (1:46.29); 7th in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.78) and the 200 IM (2:00.46); 14th in the 100 freestyle (49.92); and 21st in the 100 butterfly (57.89).  He is a six-time Eastern Zone Meet qualifier.

Brian attended Marist College.

Todd Snavely

Class of 1985, Football, Baseball, Track

Todd Snavely was a three-year varsity starter in football and baseball and a tri-captain his senior year for football. He earned Saratogian first team honors in 1982-1984, Times Union and Schenectady Gazette first team honors, and was the Player of the Year in 1984 for football. As an outside linebacker, he was voted to the first team in New York State during his senior year. Todd was a recipient of the prestigious Harmon Rivenburg award given to the outstanding male senior athlete at BH-BL.

He went on to play football at the University of Connecticut and lettered three years. In 1987, Todd left school to participate in bobsled trials for the United States team. Winning National Championships in two and four man, he was named to the USA World Cup team. From 1988-1992, he was a member of USA 1 four man sled and competed and medaled in World Cup events throughout Europe.

Upon returning home, Todd played centerfield and was a member of two National fastpitch championship teams. In 1994, 1995 and 1996, he was awarded All American honors in softball.

After finishing his degree at the University of Connecticut, he worked in the restaurant field for 15 years, as well as owning his own vending company. Currently, Todd is employed with UGOC, a development company out of Troy, NY. Todd and his son KC reside in Clifton Park, NY. You can often find Todd back at the bobsled track in Lake Placid, watching his son compete. Go USA!

Heidi (Wiederkehr) McCarthy

Class of 1982, Track, Basketball, Cross Country

Heidi Wiederkehr moved from Niantic, Connecticut to Ballston Lake during the summer of 1979. She was a member of the cross country (1979-1980), basketball (1979-1982) and track (1980-1982) teams at BH-BL.

Heidi led the basketball teams in both rebounding and scoring both junior and senior year. The basketball team was the Suburban Council con-champion, and during her senior year, she averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds under coach Dick Burke’s tutelage. She participated in the Empire State Games at the scholastic level for basketball in 1980 and 1981, and at the open level in 1982.

For track, Heidi successfully competed in the 800, 1500 and 4X800 relay events. In 1981, Heidi was the Section 2 champion in the relay with a record breaking time of 9:33, with her anchor leg a record 2:18. At Saint Bernard High School, Heidi was on the state champion team in 1978, while at BH-BL, she placed in the top ten for several XC meets. Heidi was also a member of the National Honor Society and received the English Department medal.

Heidi turned down a full scholarship to Anselm’s College in New Hampshire to attend Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, where she started all games as a freshman and sophomore. The team were Keystone Conference champions both years, and she averaged 12 points, 9 rebounds and three blocks a game. Heidi led the nation in blocked shots in 1983-84, and was named the team MVP. During the spring of 1984, Heidi was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and left school, missing half of the next season. When she returned, she was named the NCAC Player of the Week, played in the Division III tournament, and was selected to the All-Regional Tournament team in 1987. She became a 1,000 point scorer in March, 1987, the third player at the time to do so. Heidi still ranks in the top five of all-time at Allegheny at #3 for rebounds in a game (24), #4 for blocked shots in a season (52) and #5 for career blocked shots (119).

After graduating from Allegheny, she began coaching girls varsity basketball at Babylon High School, where she also coached JV field hockey and volleyball, JV cross country, and cheerleading. After three years, Heidi left to raise a family. She settled in Manorville, NY, where she ran Heidi’s House Daycare before assisting her husband with his Allstate Insurance office. She has coached JV girls basketball at Center Moriches High School for ten years, JH track from 2008-2015, and girls varsity track in 2016. She is happily married to her husband of 31 years, Kevin. Heidi has three children, Shane, Dalton and Haley, a daughter in-law, Dene, and two grandchildren, Owen and Jack.


Dr. Maryellen Symer

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction

Maryellen Symer retired from Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake CSD in July 2019, after 26 years with the district as an administrator and 36 years as an educator. She attended SUNY Albany earning a BS and MS in Business and Marketing Education and after a few years of teaching, returned and earned her administrative certification. Later in her career Maryellen earned an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from The Sage College. At BH-BL she was the K-12 Director of Career and Technical Education (CTE) for 12 years, High School Principal for eight years, and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for six years.

Maryellen shared an office with two BH-BL athletic directors, Hal Van Earden and Bob McGuire, when she was the K-12 CTE Director. Often the AD would be out on the fields at pre-game time and Maryellen was often in the office. If the secretary was gone for the day, one could often find Maryellen assisting a coach, official, parent, or anyone with a question about an athletic contest. Attending and supervising after-school events, including interscholastic athletic competitions, is a natural part of the school day for a high school principal. This became a favorite part of Maryellen’s day as principal. Watching students compete, performing outside of the classroom and succeeding is fun. During her principalship there were 14 state championship teams, 3 individual state champions, 7 state finalist teams, and numerous semifinalist, regional, and sectional championship teams. There were also a few firsts in school history that made her extremely proud. The academic achievement of student athletes was a priority for Maryellen and the high school faculty. For the first time in school history in 2010-2011 all 27 Varsity teams were scholar athlete teams and BH-BL High School was recognized as a School of Distinction. Another first occurred in 2012 when the Field Hockey team was recognized as a Scholar Athlete State Champion with a 96.378 GPA. As proud of all the athletic state championships received, Maryellen was equally–if not more–proud of our student athletes’ academic accomplishments. The high school also achieved its first Football State Championship in 2012–another highlight of Maryellen’s principalship. It was a great time to be a Spartan!

Programs and activities outside of our interscholastic athletic program that Maryellen was involved in developing include the Career Exploration Internship Program; the Corporate Sponsors Program; the Career Awareness Jamboree; the Leadership Training Program; “dreaming big” with high school faculty to develop proposals that resulted in significant upgrades to the high school including the STEAM addition and Centennial Field; and the one-to-one laptop initiative for students in grades 3-12.

Maryellen lives in Ballston Spa with her husband Tim. They have three children Theresa ‘06 Columbia HS/Field Hockey & Softball (Brian, Jake, Ella, and Maya), Michael ‘09 BH-BL/Soccer & Baseball (Ashlie, Theo) and Daniel ‘15 BH-BL/Volleyball & Basketball and four grandchildren.


Paul Sander


Paul Sander has coached the varsity boys volleyball team for 23 years, which currently includes the entire history of the program. During this time, the team has logged a 489–97 record, which includes a State Championship in 2007, 3-second place State finishes and 15 Section 2 titles. The team has recorded 12 Suburban Council championships including a string of 133 consecutive Suburban Council league victories between 2004 and 2010.

Under Paul’s guidance many players have had individual success in volleyball. Fourteen of his players have been selected as the Suburban Council Most Valuable Player. Three players were named All-Americans in college and two have played professional volleyball. In addition, all of the 23 teams earned scholar athlete awards.

Paul was a leader in the start-up of the boys volleyball program at BH-BL. He and Pete Farrell were the organizers who convinced the school to add this varsity sport in 1998. Paul served as president of the booster club during the first 2 years when the program was self-funded. Paul has also served as the Suburban Council Boys Volleyball Chairperson for the last 21 years. In addition, he was the Section 2 Fall Boys Volleyball Coordinator for 12 years. During this time, he successfully spearheaded the effort to gain permission for Section 2 boys’ volleyball teams to participate in NYSPHSAA championships, which they had been excluded from prior to this time.

In addition to coaching the varsity teams, Paul has been involved for many years in organizing and coaching club volleyball for both boys and girls programs including starting the Burnt Hills Volleyball Club in 1994. He especially enjoyed coaching the Scholastic Boys Volleyball Team at the Empire State Games. These teams had much success winning a silver medal and two bronze medals.

Paul was raised in North Bergen, NJ where his primary sport was baseball. He was an all- conference player in both high school and in college. He attended college at Stevens Institute of Technology where he earned B.Eng. and M.S. degrees in metallurgy. After graduation he served in the Air Force for 7 years followed by 15 years of part time service in the NYS Air National Guard. Since leaving the Air Force he has worked as a principal scientist at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory. He got involved with volleyball as an adult and continues to play to date. For the last 20 years, his primary play has been in the senior bracket (50+ age). His teams have won a gold medal and 2 silver medals at the National Senior Games and 17 gold medals at the Empire State Senior Games.

Paul lives in Glenville where he raised his family. Both his daughter (Katie) and his son (Peter) were outstanding athletes in BH-BL programs. It is especially meaningful to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a coach on the same day that Peter is being inducted as a player.


Kristin Short

Community Member

Kristin Short began her work with the BH Track Club in the fall of 2009, when her older son, Jared, started running cross country. That first year, she was immersed in XC, followed by indoor and outdoor track. By the summer of 2011, she joined the the BH Track Club Board, became the web site administrator and began organizing drivers for the away meets, predominantly for XC and Indoor Track. She also started to get much more involved with the planning of the Burnt Hills XC Invitational. Kristin became the President of the BH Track Club in 2013, a role that had been previously been held by Laynie Loeffler. She continued to serve in this capacity until June 2018 when her younger son, Logan, graduated.

Each year started with Meet the Team Night at Saratoga Spa State Park and planning for the Burnt Hills XC Invitational, which grew significantly from 50+ schools to over 100 during her time. The Invitational, held at the Saratoga Spa State Park on a Saturday in mid-October, oftentimes required significant logistical arrangements with the park and others whose events were being held the same day. For the Invitational itself, more than one hundred volunteers were recruited to help fill a wide variety of positions.

Outside of the Invitational, volunteers were also needed to drive athletes and coaches to away meets, and to help run home meets. A team pasta party was held before the Suburban Championship meet, and then the season mostly wrapped up with a banquet just before Thanksgiving break. Indoor Track quickly followed, or overlapped. A “Meet the team” event was held, there were exciting away meets to organize drivers for, volunteers were recruited as helpers at the local meets and an end of the season banquet was held. Outdoor Track slowed down some with more focus on local meets. For our own home meets, adult volunteers were needed for each of the events and scoring.

While each year had much of the same flow, the dynamics always changed. There were new runner families that came on board and graduated families who left. Those who came aboard were always willing to learn what was needed, offered new insight and gladly continued to volunteer.


Boys Cross Country


Team players included Harvey Arnold, Marvin Arnold, Sam Benjamin, Andrew Caldwell, Jack Carr, Tom Decara, Frank DeFleece, Fred Foss, Stanley Garrison, Hoarst Nittman, John Mancini, Ralph Robinson, Louis Samler, Bill Sheppard, and Melvin Smith. This year was the beginning of the cross country team sport at BH-BL, and was coached by Ray Benjamin. The team won the Amsterdam Northeastern New York Cross Country Championships.

Boys Basketball


The 1986 Boys Basketball team was comprised of Sean Cain, Mark Carmichael, Jeff Cole, Dan D’Allaird, Rick Drozlek, Mark Howard, Tom Huerter, Tony Leva, Chris Matura, Dan McKeown, Scott Pearsall, Dave Pyne, and Dave Versocki, and was coached by Gary Plimpton, with Ken Merchant as an assistant coach.

The team had a record of 21-2, and were the Gold Division champions for the 1985-86 season, and were 2nd place in the Suburban Council. The team ended up ranked 9th in New York State, and 3rd in Section 2, with the best record in school history. It was the first team to make the Section 2 final four. The only loss came to undefeated Shenendehowa. The group held teams to 43.2 points per game in 20 games, and they scored 61 points per game.

Many players went on to play basketball in college, including Tom Huerter, who was the Siena captain, Mark Carmichael, who was the Utica captain and played professionally in Belgium and Australia, Dave Versocki who was the Hartwick captain, Rick Drozlek who played at Alfred, and coach Gary Plimpton was inducted into the BH-BL Athletic Hall of Fame.