By Alexandra Monfalcone
You don’t make it into any Hall of Fame by yourself.
Olympian Christina Epps thanked her family and coaches on Sunday during her induction into the Morristown High School Athletic Gallery of Honor.
“They were a huge support system for me, always pushing me to be the best that I can be,” said Epps, a triple jumper in last summer’s Rio Games. The 2009 MHS grad also acknowledged her teammates, with whom she remains close.
Epps joined an elite group of alumni who have given back to Morristown in numerous ways. This year’s inductees included Connor Lade, Pat Mattos, Carter Mobley, Joe Thorpe, Jamahl Cochran, Ted Baldanzi, Sandra and Charles Gibson and the 1947 Boy’s Tennis Team.
Special recognition was given to the Flynn Boys, who played for legendary football coach William Flynn in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s.
Wintry weather pushed the ceremony from Saturday to Sunday at Morristown High.
Connor Lade has made it to the pro ranks, as a soccer player for the New York Red Bulls. Ryan Lade, Connor’s cousin, and Matt Manion presented him with his award. In addition to his athletic achievements, they said, Connor Lade is an outstanding individual, volunteering at fundraisers and soccer clinics on behalf of the team.
Even though he plays for New York, Lade continues to help Morristown in whatever ways he can, they said.
Special Contributors Sandra and Charles Gibson also were inducted on Sunday. The Gibsons have put in countless hours, even in their retirement, to help the MHS Swim Team.
Their daughters were avid swimmers, and the Gibsons pitched in long after the girls had graduated. They remain involved to this day.
Inducting a photographer may sound odd at first. But anyone who has ever met Ted Baldanzi knows exactly why he was honored.
Baldanzi played soccer in his youth, a time when nobody in America really cared about the game. He knew what it was like for a team to go unrecognized.
When his daughter entered Morristown High School, Baldanzi decided to use his considerable photographic skills to highlight teams that otherwise might be unheralded.
Years after his daughter’s graduation, the owner of Morristown’s 70 South Gallery continues taking beautiful shots of the MHS Girl’s Field Hockey and Lacrosse teams.
Though technically not an MHS alumni, Baldanzi’s contributions earned him a rightful place in the Gallery of Honor.
These are just a few of this year’s talented inductees. If you come to MHS for a game or an event, stop by the Gallery of Honor to learn more about how they have impacted Greater Morristown.
Alexandra Monfalcone is a senior at Morristown High School and an actress in the drama program.