Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Banquet


Kick off the 2013 Homecoming weekend by joining WSU alumni, athletes, families and friends at the 26th Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Banquet on Friday, October 25, 2013 on the campus of Worcester State University.

This fall, we are proud to recognize five top athletes and one contributor: Rochelle (LaVoie) Castell ’05, Olaseni I. Fujah ’07, Bruce E. Stearns ’89, Justin W. Vallas ’05, Ann E. (Clark) Woodard ’07, and contributor Marvin E. Degon III.

Rochelle (LaVoie) Castell ’05

Rochelle (Lavoie) Castell ’05 was an outstanding women’s volleyball player and a standout softball catcher for WSU and also competed as a freshman on the women’s basketball team during the 2001-02 season.

On the volleyball court, Castell was a three-time All-MASCAC First Team setter who helped lead the squad to an overall record of 47-24 for a .662 winning percentage.

In addition to playing a key role in aiding the volleyball team to its first winning campaign in 17 years during the 2002 semester, Rochelle was instrumental in helping the team reach the MASCAC Tournament semifinals twice and the championship game in 2004.
From her position behind the plate on the softball diamond, Castell was an offensive and defensive presence which earned her nods to the All-MASCAC team in all four years – including three selections on the First Team as the league’s best catcher.

In her rookie season, Castell impressed by leading the league in runs and triples. She also was second in batting and runs batted in to help lead the Lancers to the MASCAC Tournament semifinals in 2002. After hitting a league-best .391 clip during her senior semester, Rochelle also garnered ECAC New England All-Star Second Team laurels.

Among softball career leaders since 1985, Castell has the fourth-best career batting average (.402) and is second in career hits (154) and total bases (260). In addition to being third in career homers (12), Castell is fourth all-time in singles (97), doubles (26), runs (76) and RBIs (84).

In her lone campaign on the hardwood, Rochelle reset the single-season women’s basketball rookie scoring record with 346 points and she corralled 191 rebounds in 27 games. Castell was the only underclassman in the league that season to earn All-MASCAC laurels and she was honored as the MASCAC Rookie of the Year.

Upon her graduation, Castell was honored with the prestigious Worcester State Senior Female Athlete Award.

Olaseni I. Fujah ’07

Olaseni Fujah ’07 was a tremendous track and field athlete who established himself as one of the best throwers in New England. Fujahi was recognized as an All-American in the hammer during his senior year.

Fujah was a four-time MASCAC Champion in the weight throw and also captured New England Alliance titles three times. He also established a new program standard in the weight throw at Bates in his final semester – an outstanding mark that still stands today (57-4.25).

In addition to earning Division III Indoor New England laurels in the weight throw twice, Fujah was recognized with All-New England accolades for a pair of sixth-place finishes in his junior and senior year. Fujahi was also the runner-up during the 2005-06 campaign at the ECAC Division III Indoor Championships in the weight throw.

In the hammer throw, Fujah dominated the event as a three-time MASCAC title winner, which included an Alliance title in his final conference championship meet. In the outdoor postseason, Fijah earned Division III New England and All-New England honors in three consecutive years.

Fujah was also ranked in the top 30 in the NCAA Division III Indoor standings in the weight throw as a three-time provisional qualifier, peaking as high as 13th during the 2006-07 season. Fujah finally got the chance to compete on the national stage in his last collegiate meet and he lived up to the challenge by garnering All-American accolades with eighth place overall in the hammer.

In recognition of his achievements on the men’s track and field team, Fujah was honored with the Senior Male Athlete Award.

Bruce E. Stearns ’89

Bruce Stearns ’89 was a standout sprinter and hurdler best known for his excellence on the track in the 55 and 110 meter hurdles.

After taking several years off from school, Stearns enrolled at Worcester State and competed against collegiate performers at the age of 31. He made an immediate impact on the squad during the 1986-87 campaign as he promptly broke both school marks in the sprint hurdles in his first season as a collegian.

That winter, Stearns became the school’s fourth Division III New England Champion in the 55-meter hurdles before he earned All-ECAC honors with sixth place in the same event. In the spring, he captured both the 1987 Worcester City Championship and the MASCAC crown in the 110-meter hurdles.
Stearns also matched the NCAA Division III Indoor Championship standard in the 55-meter hurdles in 1987 and 1988, while his school-record split of 7.74 in the 55-meter hurdles stood for 18 years until it was broken in 2005.

Since 1981, Stearns has served as an assistant sprints, hurdles, vertical jumps and multi-events coach for the women’s track and field team at The College of the Holy Cross. Throughout his 32 years at College Square, Bruce has seen a number of individuals and relay teams compete at the ECAC Division I Championships, at the Open New England Championships and at the NCAA Division I East Regionals.

Justin W. Vallas ’05

Justin Vallas was a four-year starter on the men's soccer and ice hockey teams. As a men's soccer player, Vallas earned All-MASCAC honors three times and in 2005 he was honored as the MASCAC Player of the Year. In each of his last three years, Vallas helped lead the squad to the NCAA Division III Tournament (as his team was MASCAC Tournament and Regular Season Champions) and he wrapped up his career third in career points. As an ice hockey player, Vallas was the ECAC Northeast/MASCAC Rookie of the Year and helped lead the team to the ECAC Northeast Tournament twice. He ended his ice hockey career just 11 points shy of 100 to tie for 23rd on the All-Time scoring list.

Ann E. (Clark) Woodard ’07

Ann (Clark) Woodard ’07 was a dynamic women’s lacrosse and field hockey player who ended her four-year career as the all-time leading scorer in both sports.

On the women’s lacrosse field, Woodard was one of the most dominant players in the New England Women’s Lacrosse Alliance, scoring 80 or more goals in three of her four seasons. She led the NCAA Division III in goals per game in 2004, 2006 and 2007, while her 7.00 points per game in 2007 topped the nation.

In addition to being honored as a four-time All-NEWLA First-team pick, Woodard received the NEWLA Offensive Player of the Year trophy twice. In her junior and senior years, she also helped lead the Blue and Gold to the NEWLA Tournament on two occasions and to the ECAC Division III New England Tournament semifinals in 2006 and 2007.

With eye-popping totals of 316 goals and 77 assists to her credit for a total of 393 career points, Woodard is fourth all-time in points per game in the NCAA Division III record book (6.55 points per game), and her cumulative career sum is fifth overall.

As a standout forward on the field hockey team, Woodard was instrumental in a trifecta of Little East Conference Tournament appearances, a pair of ECAC Division III New England Tournament berths, and the 2006 MASCAC Regular Season Championship.

In her senior semester, she tied a school record with 16 goals and she finished with four assists to earn a spot on the National Field Hockey Coaches Association All-New England Second Team.

Woodard hung up her cleats with 43 goals and 103 points to her credit, which established new career marks in both categories.

For her four-year efforts on both the women’s lacrosse and field hockey squads, Woodard was recognized with the Worcester State Senior Female Athlete Award.

Contributor: Marvin E. Degon III

Marvin Degon’s exploits are legendary for what he accomplished as an ice hockey student-athlete, but he is also known for duplicating his efforts towards making the program competitive as both a head coach and an assistant coach.

From 1971-75, Degon helped put Worcester State on the map as he was instrumental in leading the Lancers to the 1972-73 ECAC Division III Regular Season Championship and the 1973-74 ECAC Division III Tournament Championship. As a freshman, he netted an astounding 71 goals during the 1971-72 season to help the Blue and Gold post a 21-3 slate that season.

He also garnered ECAC East Division All-Star honors twice, and in 1973-74 he was distinguished as an NAIA All-American.

In the 1973-74 ECAC title game against Wesleyan, Degon took away MVP trophy honors for sending in four tallies, and he chipped in with a pair of assists in an 11-5 triumph over the Cardinals.

Degon, who set the ECAC and Division III record with an incredible 43 hat tricks in 82 games, ended his career with 209 goals and 108 assists for the program’s all-time mark of 317 points. Nearly 40 years later, his goals are still the second most and his points are fourth highest among NCAA Division III career leaders.

Degon came back as a head coach to help guide the Lancers from 1990-92 and has served as an assistant coach several times over the years. Most recently, during the 2010-11 campaign, he helped pilot the team to its first 10-win season in 10 years and in 2011-12, the Blue and Gold captured their first playoff victory since the ECAC Division III Championship in 1976-77.

Degon is also a member of the St. Peter’s High School Hall of Fame as a standout ice hockey and baseball player and was inducted into the inaugural Worcester Ice Hockey Hall of Fame Class in 2011.

Marvin is also a member of the St. Peter’s High School Hall of Fame as a standout ice hockey and baseball player and was inducted into the inaugural Worcester Ice Hockey Hall of Fame Class in 2011.

Worcester State University takes great pride in its Hall of Fame tradition of recognition and it is a tremendous honor for us to salute these outstanding men and women. We invite all alumni, athletes and friends to gather on the Worcester State campus for this special event and hope you will make every effort to attend. 

Cocktails will begin at 6 p.m. followed by dinner and the ceremony at 7 p.m. Click the "registration" button above to RSVP your attendance by Friday, October 11, 2013.  You are encouraged to contact Nancy Lapriore at 508-929-8141 or with any questions.

Contact Information
Primary Contact
Karen Sharpe
Executive Director of University Advancement
Worcester State University
486 Chandler Street
Worcester, MA 01602

  Secondary Contact
Nancy Lapriore
Worcester State University
486 Chandler Street
Worcester, MA 01602

Date & Location
Date: 10/25/2013
Time: 6:00 PM
Location: Worcester State University