Four Spartans immortalized

Stuart Stefan, Ryan Zielinski, Rich Reilly, and Jamie Lemieux Durkee holding their respective plaques at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Set up like a black-tie event with a breakfast service in the 1787 Room, the 2023 Castleton Hall of Fame ceremony commenced with four new inductees to the Hall.  

There were tables, a podium, awards, lively chatter of families and a lot of congratulations. 

Saturday, Sept. 16 on homecoming day, Castleton welcomed four new additions to the Hall of Fame. The four inductees included 2008 men’s basketball graduate Rich Reilly, 2010 women’s volleyball graduate Jamie Lemieux Durkee, 2011 men’s hockey graduate Stuart Stefan, and 2013 baseball alumni Ryan Zielinski. 

First to be inducted was Rich Reilly, an energy filled Manassas, Virginia native who was a four-year starter for the men’s basketball team. Reilly amassed many honors during his time at Castleton such as second team all-conference in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) his sophomore year, honorable mention All-NAC his junior year, and again receiving second team All-NAC his senior year.  

Individually Reilly found himself in the record books for Castleton, graduating as the all-time leader in assists with 551 and with a lot of room to spare.  

“I would have had about 500 more if my teammates never missed a shot,” Reilly said jokingly.  

On top of being the assist leader Reilly also is fifth all-time in scoring with 1,466 points, fifth in three-pointers made with 180, and fourth in steals with 191.  

Next was Durkee, a Fort Edward, New York native who was a four-time team MVP award winner and the first volleyball player to ever be inducted into the Hall of Fame. As well as a four-time MVP award winner, Durkee also was two-time All-NAC honorable mention in her freshman and sophomore years and a two-time First Team All-NAC in her junior and senior years. She also holds records in kills with 875, aces with 299, and blocks with 295 which have held up to this day.  

“Coming to Spike Mountain throughout high school I would look at the Hall of Fame and just picture what it would be like, and I made it. So just want to say thank you to my team members, you can’t get a kill without a set,” said Durkee. 

Them posing at midfield with their families and Sparty at halftime during the Homecoming football game.

The third to be inducted was Stefan. The Delhi, Ontario native ended his career just a game shy of the Castleton games played record when he graduated with 103 games played but that didn’t hold him back from setting the all-time goals record with 54 and the all-time powerplay goals record with 23. Stefan also ranks fourth all-time in points with 110, but when he graduated, he ranked second. In Stefan’s final season with the Spartans, he earned First Team All-ECAC East, First Team All-New England and Third Team AHCA All-American while posting 19 goals and 26 assists for 45 points.  

“He was an unbelievable hockey player, but his work ethic was something I recognized right away, as a this is how we are going to operate our program for years to come. He’s extremely humble and again just as a complete hockey player being around the game for as long as I have, he’s probably the best I’ve ever seen,” said men’s hockey coach and former teammate, Kyle Richards. 

Last to be inducted was Zielinski from Schenectady, New York. A star for the program from the start, hitting a home run on his first at bat, he never looked back raking in NEAC rookie of the Year, Second Team All-Conference, Second Team All-New England from the ECAC, and Third Team All-New England from the NEIBA all in his freshman year. He then found even success winning NEAC East Player of the Year, First Team All- Conference, and Second Team All-New England in his junior year. He rounded out his career during his senior year earning First Team All-NAC and finished as the all-time leader in hits with 227, runs scored with 161, RBIs with 151, walks with 86, extra-base hits with 67, and doubles with 48.  

“He was a very impressive player, but the thing that really stood out in addition to what Ryan was able to accomplish statistically was what he was able to accomplish teamwise. He brought everyone together, the stuff we did in his four years was really special,” said head baseball coach Ted Shipley. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post Senior runners leading by example
Next post New tennis coach sets expectations