Woodland Hall of Fame to induct largest class to date

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By Kyle Brennan, Citizen’s News

BEACON FALLS — The Woodland Regional High School Hall of Fame honors the top athletes, coaches, staff, alumni and contributors in the school’s history, and it will grow again this fall with its largest class of inductees to date.

The WRHS Hall of Fame committee announced last week that eight honorees will comprise the fourth induction class, which will be feted at a gala Nov. 23 at Aria in Prospect.

The inductees, in alphabetical order, are:

Eric Alfiere: Alfiere, a 2008 graduate, is best remembered for his 2007 outdoor track season when he earned the javelin titles for the Naugatuck Valley League, Class M, the State Open and the New England championships. He was the school’s first all-New England athlete and added four All-State and five All-NVL honors among track and football. Alfiere was also one of the top weightlifters in school history and earned several medals in NVL competition. He went on to throw at UConn.

Heather Framski: Framski, a 2011 graduate, holds the Woodland girls basketball career scoring record (1,231 points) and led the Hawks to the 2011 Class M semifinals, their deepest run in program history. She was a two-time All-State and two-time All-NVL honoree in basketball, and she was an All-NVL pick and a league champion on the volleyball team. She went on to become one of the best hoops stars in program history at the University of Saint Joseph.

Larry Hutvagner: Hutvagner was a longtime community volunteer and integral to many of the efforts to support Woodland in its early years. Two of his three children, Tim and Emily, attended Woodland and were standout student-athletes. Hutvagner helped lead booster clubs, fundraising efforts and many youth social activities at the school through his involvement in the Beacon Falls Lions Club. He died in December 2020 while still a member of the Beacon Falls Board of Finance.

Jared Katchmar: Katchmar, a 2005 graduate, was Woodland’s first starting quarterback and led the Hawks to the Class SS state title and the NVL championship during the undefeated 2004 campaign. He earned All-State and All-NVL honors as a senior, when he was also named the NVL Top Senior. Upon his graduation, he was among the top 20 in three state record categories. Katchmar later returned to be an assistant coach in multiple sports.

Tanner Kingsley: Kingsley, a 2014 graduate, earned 11 varsity letters as a quarterback, guard, outfielder and pitcher. He is the only athlete in Woodland history to earn All-State honors in three team sports, and he was a five-time All-NVL honoree. He led the football team to the 2013 Class S final and the 2012 Class S semifinal, and still holds state records for single-game passing yards and career passing touchdowns. He is also the school’s all-time leading scorer in basketball (1,312 points) and among the top five for career hits in baseball. He later quarterbacked at Central Connecticut State and Anna Maria College.

Jeff Lownds: Lownds has coached cross country and track at Woodland since the school’s opening, making him one of only two active coaches at the school to be one of the Hawks’ original coaches. He has led Woodland to an astounding 30 NVL titles in boys and girls cross country, indoor track and outdoor track, and he has accumulated 415 victories in cross country with 262 more in girls outdoor track. He was also the Connecticut High School Coaches Association’s 2016 Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year.

Tim Shea: Shea coached at Woodland for 15 years, including stints as head coach in football and boys track and field. He was the defensive coordinator for the football teams that won the 2004 and 2005 Class SS state titles and NVL championships. As head coach from 2008-13, he went 44-25 with two NVL division titles and three playoff appearances, including the 2013 Class S final. In track, he helped lead the Hawks to a combined 16 NVL titles between the boys and girls indoor and outdoor seasons, plus three Class M runner-up performances for the boys outdoor squad from 2012-14.

Jen Valente: Valente, a 2006 graduate, was the first basketball player in school history to reach the 1,000-point mark for her career. During her senior season, she led the NVL in scoring at 21.7 points per game en route to being named the NVL Top Senior and earning All-State accolades. She was a two-time All-NVL honoree in basketball, and she also earned All-NVL second-team honors in volleyball. Valente later was a standout hoops player at UMass Lowell.

Tickets to the WRHS Hall of Fame induction gala, which will also celebrate the school’s 20th anniversary, will go on sale in the fall. For information or to reserve sponsorship space in the program, contact Loren Luddy (lluddy@region16ct.org), Paul Geary (pgeary@region16ct.org), or Kyle Brennan (kylebrennan1@yahoo.com).