Cabrini’s athletic department started a tradition in 2006 to recognize students, coaches and significant individuals alike.
The athletic hall of fame is there to honor and pay respect to all the people that have been considered essential to the athletic program.
On Sept. 22, 2017, seven more people were added to the list of influential and trail-blazing members of the hall of fame. Tom DeMatteis, Mike Friel, Mike Keeley, Joe Kelly, Mary Beth Senkewicz, Michael Tims and Carolyn Wilson Geonnotti were all inducted into the hall of fame.
It was an elegant event. Students checked for the guest tickets at the door. The night began with a cocktail reception where the inductees mingled with student athletes, coaches, family and old friends that traveled to Cabrini to support them.
The Nerney pavilion in the Dixon center was filled with laughter, drinks and maybe a few nerves. At 7:00 p.m., heels clicked into the main gym area to begin the ceremony.
The gym was transformed with beautiful tables, balloons, a bar area and a buffet style dinner. Once everyone was done socializing, they took their seats, were called up in sections for dinner and the speakers began to come up to the podium.
Reverend Carl Janicki, the chaplain, led the group in prayer that spoke about Mother Cabrini. He mentions how she cared about giving back and how the inductees embodied these qualities.
“Good character fulfills its obligations,” Father Carl said.
Each inductee then had a speaker that knew them very well to introduce their legacy to the crowd. These speakers ranged from wives, husbands, coaches and even just great friends.
Justin Geonnotti, husband of Carolyn Wilson Geonnotti, said “I’m not surprised my wife has been nominated. She was undefeated, 42-0, 81 wins and only one loss. She simply refused to lose.”
Each inductees’ speech was filled with appreciation, gratitude, fond memories and many thanks to those that helped them achieve their plaques. Many of the inductees touched on how proud of the new facilities they were.
They took note what it was like in the past and how we’ve come such a long way as an institution.
“I’m very proud of where Cabrini is today,” said Friel.
“Sophomore year we had to wear these dress-like uniforms. Junior year, we got shirts and finally shorts. There have been so many changes. We don’t have all the data to prove stats and things like that, because it was all pre-history. We didn’t have all that there is now,” said Senkewicz.
They also talked about lessons that they learned and what they took away from their experience.
“If there is one thing I found to be the most important when it comes to sport, it is team chemistry,” DeMatteis said. “You have to have a solid foundation and I believe that if an athlete can find that in faith, then they will go very far.”
Each inductee shared a wealth of history, funny stories, tales of depending on your team and how they were so happy to be back at Cabrini after such a long time.
“Its nice to think back to when I wasn’t a mother trying to get my child to go to sleep, but rather, when I was just a student athlete,” said Geonnotti.