By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – The Bristol Sports Hall of Fame is proud to announce the Class of 2014.
This year’s inductees are Bob Montgomery, Linsie Esau, Ginny Ziogas Torreso, Bob McCabe, Bill Benecick, Steve Cooke, Greg Sassu, and Roger Godbout (deceased).
The BSHOF induction will be held on Friday, Nov. 21 at the Double Tree Hotel in Bristol.
Ticket information can be obtained by contacting Brian Farrell at (860)490-8486 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional information on the induction and information about the Bristol Sports Hall of Fame can be obtained on the hall of fame website bshof.org
This week, the Bristol Observer will take a look at a couple of these outstanding individuals as this edition will have a bit of a “Bristol Eastern-theme” to it.
When Linsie Esau came on the scene at Bristol Eastern, a peculiar thing started happening.
Both the football and basketball programs began to take off in terms of record.
A 1988 graduate of Eastern, Esau was a member of the Lancers’ football team and was a first team CCC South All-Conference selection and All-State pick.
A tri-captain his senior season, he was a National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete.
On offense, Esau was a split end (wide receiver); on defense, he roamed in the back as a safety, using his speed to track down opponents.
And his senior campaign was a special one as he made 61 receptions for the Lancers, establishing a new school record.
He once tallied 237 receiving yards in a game for the Lancers, 967 yards as a senior, and 1,200 for his scholastic career, which were school records at the time.
Esau had great game all along the campaign.
He tallied 186 yards off just six passes in Eastern’s 28-7 win over St. Paul during Week 2 of 1987 while one week later in a 25-15 loss to Hall, he gained those 237 yards off 11 passes from QB Steve Mills.
In just two games, Esau zipped up 423 yards off 17 passes (24.9 yards-per-game) and proved to be a tough option to stop.
He also excelled in basketball at Eastern and served as a team co-captain his senior year.
Esau averaged 17.2 points, six rebounds, six assists, and two steals-per-game while hitting on 80 percent of his free throw attempts for the Lancers.
No one was better than Esau from long range in the 1980s as he banged in 16 three-pointers over his career and scored 615 points overall for a lifetime average or 11.8 points-per-game in 52 career games.
Esau, as a senior, led the hoops team in scoring 13 times and on March 9, 1988, he had a career game at the best possible time.
The Lancers took on No. 8 Branford on the road and in a big upset, Esau flipped in a career high 29 points – hitting the go-ahead basket down the stretch – as Eastern went on to win 52-48 (don’t ask about the next game against Harding, the defending Class L champions…).
Before the Harding game, Esau had hit for double figures in 17 straight games and 22 of 24 overall to end his scholastic career.
He then went on to Hamilton College, where he continued to play and excel at the two sports.
Esau was a football tri-captain his senior season in 1992 and an All-NESCAC pick.
Over his colligate career, he totaled 1,463 receiving yards for Hamilton.
In basketball, Hamilton was under the guidance of legendary coach Tom Murphy and Esau helped the squad to an 82-9 record overall during his playing days.
Esau’s main contribution to the men’s hoop squad came doing his junior and senior campaigns.
He was a vital member of the squad when Hamilton was ranked the No. 1 NCAA Division III team in 1991.
That year, Hamilton finished the regular season with a ledger of 24-0, going 26-1 overall and was an ECAC Regional Finalist.
The 26 victories Hamilton ramped up a team record that still stands today while Esau’s squads also won an ECAC championship.
Ginny (Ziogas) Torreso
When the Bristol Eastern girls basketball teams were scooping up state championships, Ginny Torreso was a big part of the final two titles for the Lancers.
But it wasn’t all about basketball for the then-Ginny Ziogas.
She played four years of soccer, basketball and softball for the Lancers as a member of the class of 1991 and her basketball teams were Class LL champions in both 1990 and 1991.
She was named all-conference in each sport, was a two-time All-State pick in basketball, the MVP of the state All-Star game, and was named Connecticut’s Gatorade Player of the Year for girls basketball.
Torreso notched a total of 1,134 points during her basketball career, which included those two state championship squads.
At the time, only fellow Eastern teammate Kathy Ferrier and Lancers’ standout Laura Lishness tallied more points then Torreso did.
Currently, she’s sixth all-time in city history in scoring.
Over her two final campaigns at Eastern, the Lancers went a combined 46-3 and over that same time period, Torreso never notched fewer than 10 points in a game.
And she was also one of the Lancers’ top outside guns when Eastern wasn’t known as a three-point shooting juggernaut.
Torreso hit six of Eastern’s first nine three-pointers in school history and she is still ranked in the top 30 all-time in trifectas.
After her scholastic years at Eastern, Torreso took her game to an even higher level.
Torreso went on to play basketball at Pace University in New York and ripped it up for the Setters.
She scored 1,540 career points and dished out 378 assists for the squad.
In her senior campaign of 1996, Torreso earned several postseason honors.
She earned a spot on the All-NYCAC first team, was named the Pace University Female Athlete of the Year and was the NCAA ECAC Women’s Division II MVP at the championships.
Once she came back to Bristol, Torreso made her way to Bristol Central as both a teacher and successful coach.
Her coaching resume includes freshman volleyball, JV softball, and varsity basketball at the school on the hill.
At Bristol Central, she turned around the basketball program and made the Rams a viable contender in 2001 and 2002.
In 2001-02, the Rams were 13-9 and that would be the squad’s best ledger until current coach Steve Gaudet guided the program to an identical 13-9 finish.
Comments? Email mletendre@BristolObserver. com.