BRISTOL - While five different athletes, along with one team, were inducted into the Plainville Sports Hall of Fame, all of them shared one thing in common - that growing up in Plainville and being in the spotlight of their respective sports made them become the person they are today.
For David Hansen, sharing the night with his mother was special.
“The first thing I did was call my mom up and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to a dinner. I’ve been elected to the Plainville High School Hall of Fame,’” Hansen said.
In response, Hansen’s mother said that it was about time.
Hansen had a stellar athletic career at Plainville as a three-sport athlete, but it was his prowess in football that stood out. That was his favorite sport, as he went on to play at the collegiate level for UConn.
“I had an opportunity to play professional baseball and I had no interest,” Hansen said. “In football, I had a lot of interest from mostly smaller colleges to play football and I chose UConn.”
It was somebody in particular who couldn’t be there with Hansen that had the biggest impact in his life.
“The biggest one is my father,” Hansen said. “My father died 15 years ago and I remember he would come home from work and he always had time for me to go outside and play catch and kick the football to me. I don’t think he ever missed a game from Little League all the way to UConn to see me play. He was really proud of me and I didn’t realize how important that was to me then, but it is now.”
Plainville had a 1992 state champion baseball team being inducted into the Hall of Fame, including catcher and outfielder David Fish.
Fish was a standout performer at the plate and batted over .350 in his career. He was the captain of the state championship team in 1992.
On the football field, Fish also contributed as a fullback and inside linebacker and was named All-State as a senior in 1991.
Being a member of the Blue Devils’ 1992 state championship baseball team resonates more with Fish than the individual award.
“My favorite memory would be the championship game in 1992 baseball when we won,” Fish said. “Not only did we win the championship game, but we were ranked number one in the entire state, which hadn’t happened in the entire four years that I was there.”
Fish travelled all the way from Virginia to come to the induction dinner.
“I haven’t been back to Plainville since I graduated from college,” Fish said. “Just to come up here and see some people that I haven’t seen in 25 years is pretty special and to be inducted with all the other people is an honor, to be one of the few inducted into the Hall of Fame.”
He wasn’t the only inductee that travelled many miles to make the ceremony. Sandra Paradis Fray made the trip from Texas to receive the honor.
Fray, a three sport athlete who participated in volleyball, basketball and softball at Plainville, received her second Hall of Fame honor, as she was inducted into the University of Valley Forge Hall of Fame and was an All-American in basketball.
Fray was described as a ferocious guard during her playing days at Plainville and also spent a great amount of time doing work in the community, something she still does today in different community school and church groups in Texas.
“It’s just an honor and I was very grateful to get the call a few months back,” Fray said.
Unlike Fish and Fray, Jaime Crowley Krajewski is still in the area as a Plainville resident, so her trip was short.
Krajewski attended Plainville High School from 1998 to 2002 and was a standout member of the soccer, swimming and track and field teams.
She went on to swim for Central Connecticut State University and earned Academic All-American Honors in 2005 and 2006.
Krajewski also qualified for the NCAA Tournament in those years and placed 20th in the 100 breaststroke.
In 2005, she finished in sixth place at the Short Course Fina World Cup Competition in New York in the 50 freestyle, which ranked 52nd in the world at that time.
“There are so many deserving individuals who have played sports or have coached throughout the years at Plainville,” Krajewski said. “And for them to select me out of the thousands of individuals who could be eligible is really meaningful.”
Krajewski has three boys who are also into swimming, and she describes her family as a “swimming family,” with her husband having also been a collegiate swimmer at CCSU.
While Scott Martin doesn’t have kids, teaching the games that he grew up with is very much part of his life as the varsity baseball coach and girls basketball coach at Stafford High School.
Martin was a four-year member of both the Plainville baseball and basketball teams and was part of the baseball teams that competed in four consecutive state championship games.
He was a standout pitcher who went on to pitch for CCSU and was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“I just want people that might be reading to know that if you keep up the hard work, that there might be an opportunity out there for you,” Martin said. “I went to college and worked my tail off and I made something out of it, to really make a life out of it.”
All five members of the Class of 2017 still hold Plainville High School close to their hearts, no matter where they reside years later.
“Growing up in this town was fantastic,” Martin said. “It’s such a sports town, that to be recognized means the world. There have been a unbelievable number of players and athletes to come through this town and to be part of this illustrious club means a whole lot.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter: @OrencoleDan