Six Legendary Figures Comprise Saint Michael’s Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2019

Courtesy St. Michael’s Sports Information

COLCHESTER — The Saint Michael’s College Department of Athletics announced its 2019 Athletic Hall of Fame class on Tuesday, with six new members set to be enshrined at the 31st Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet on Saturday evening, Sept. 28, at the Roy Room in the College’s Dion Family Student Center.

The Class of 2019 is comprised of: Mike Armstrong ’68, champion boxer; Tracy Romano ’86, all-conference cross country runner and a leader in the field of marine mammal health; Sarah Turkington Kallajian ’92, a key contributor during women’s basketball’s early-90s heyday; Darren Beers ’99, assistant captain for the 1999 NCAA champion men’s ice hockey squad; Amanda Soule Hull ’08, a well-decorated and versatile women’s lacrosse player who graduated with multiple school records; and Paul Schimoler, former men’s lacrosse head coach and legendary goalkeeper.

The Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet, which is a cornerstone of the College’s Alumni and Family Weekend, begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 28 followed by the dinner and induction ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Additional details for Alumni and Family Weekend and the Hall of Fame ceremony, including ticket information, will be available in July.

Mike Armstrong ’68, Golden Gloves Boxing

Armstrong, who passed away in March at the age of 73, grew up in Stamford, Conn., before settling in Essex Junction, Vt., and was a star Vermont Golden Gloves boxer during his undergraduate years before making a heralded comeback in his 30s. Following graduation, he remained heavily involved in the sport, including as a referee, a certified USA Boxing official and as head of the Golden Gloves Association of Vermont, coaching and training the next generation of boxers in Vermont.

The first stage of Armstrong’s career began while a high school senior, as he won his first three decisions at the 1964 New York City Golden Gloves Tournament in the 147-pound division – despite only one week of training – before losing to the eventual runner-up. During his initial year at Saint Michael’s, Armstrong won the 1965 Vermont Golden Gloves championship at 135 pounds, earning tournament most outstanding boxer honors. He advanced to the New England Tournament of Champions in Lowell, Mass., where, with only 11 career matches on his résumé, Armstrong took down Walter Gauvin, who had more than 100 matches to his name, for the regional crown. Now at the national Golden Gloves championship in Kansas City, he lost a first-round decision to Detroit’s Willie Richardson, who went on to win the national title in 1967.

During the summer prior to his sophomore year, Armstrong switched from a left-hand-dominant fighter to righty. He ended up being unable to defend his Vermont Golden Gloves crown that year, losing to Canadian national champion George Graham, a man who then won New England Golden Gloves and made it as far as the national semifinals. However, Armstrong followed up that loss by winning Adirondack and New England Diamond Belt championships while competing at 139 pounds. To that point, he had 20 wins in his first 28 bouts, including six by knockout.

The Vermont Golden Gloves tournament was discontinued in Armstrong’s junior year, temporarily halting his amateur career. However, when it returned in 1978, Armstrong was there not only as tournament co-director but, after not boxing in a dozen years, as a competitor. He made good on his comeback attempt, winning the 147-pound division, a feat that landed him in Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd. Armstrong again advanced to New Englands – where he was also head coach of the Vermont team – losing to the brother of professional boxer Marvin Hagler, but Armstrong remained a familiar face in the ring in the following years. He competed twice more in Vermont Golden Gloves, in 1980 and 1981, with his 1980 run including another qualification for New Englands, where the Lowell Sun reported he lost a “controversial” decision. “Armstrong seemingly had it sewn up. ‘I guess they don’t like the old guys to win,’ said a distraught Armstrong.”

His boxing career now complete, Armstrong continued coaching out of the Essex Boxing Club, training four-time New England champ Tony Robitaille and two-time titlist Dave Fields. Armstrong continued to be a resource for up-and-coming local boxers up until his death. In a 2019 Addison Independent story, 2019 Vermont Golden Gloves champion Ian Gill, a senior at the University of Vermont who hails from an hour south of Burlington, credited Armstrong with helping him continue his training during the academic year leading up to the title.

Armstrong worked at IBM for 25 years before moving into real estate with Keller Williams, Re/Max North, and Century 21 Jack, with SMC Athletic Hall of Famer Jack Russell ’70. Armstrong was also a long-time landlord in the Greater Burlington area, owning as many as 60 units at one point in a career started in his 20s. A philosophy major and Dean’s List student at Saint Michael’s, he went on to complete his MBA at the University of Vermont in 1974.

Tracy Romano ’86, Women’s Cross Country

A native of Rochester, N.Y., Romano lives in Stonington, Conn., and becomes the seventh women’s cross country representative in the Athletic Hall of Fame. An all-conference cross country runner in the 1980s before becoming a leader in her field of marine mammal health, Romano was inducted into the Saint Michael’s Alumni Academic Hall of Fame in 2012.

Romano was a regular scorer for the women’s cross country team in the mid-1980s, serving two years as a captain after earning the Coaches Award as a sophomore. In 1985, she placed seventh to earn all-conference while helping the Purple Knights win the Mideast Collegiate Conference Championship during their first year competing at a league meet. The Purple Knights then placed 12th at the NCAA East Regional Championship in East Stroudsburg, Pa., their best result in a regional field that size until 2009. Romano also twice qualified for all-state honors through her performances at the Vermont Intercollegiate Championship.

As a senior, Romano earned the Roger F. Keleher ’15 Award as the outstanding female scholar-athlete of the graduating class. According to the press release announcing that honor, head coach Zaf Bludevich said Romano was the only four-year runner in her class, and that while she was “not blessed with natural technical talent, she was the hardest working athlete he has ever had the pleasure to coach.”

Romano is a founder of the field of marine mammal neuroimmunology and is a leader in the field of marine mammal health. After earning her bachelor’s degree in biology in 1986, she earned her master’s degree from the University of Rochester in 1991 and completed her doctorate in neurobiology and anatomy at Rochester in 1993, which she followed up by being awarded a postdoctoral fellowship with the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program in San Diego. Romano moved her operations to the Mystic (Conn.) Aquarium in 2004, serving as the vice president for biological research and chief scientist.

During her career, Romano has also secured fellowships from the American Society for Engineering Education and the National Research Council. She created and implemented a nationally-recognized science-based education and cultural exchange program for Native American youth and has led more than 15 field expeditions to Alaska and other Arctic locations. Through her leadership, Mystic Aquarium became the first aquarium to receive funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish an NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates site (REU), offering state-of-the-art research opportunities to college students in marine sciences.

Since her college career ended, Romano has continued giving back to her sport as a coach at Pawcatuck (Conn.) Middle School for the past 15 years. In 2004, she was a keynote speaker for the Saint Michael’s Centennial Celebration. The first former student-athlete to be inducted into the College’s Alumni Academic Hall of Fame, in 2012, Romano earned an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Saint Michael’s in 2017.

Sarah Turkington Kallajian ’92, Women’s Basketball

Kallajian, who hails from Rockville, Conn., and has returned to her hometown, will be the 13th women’s basketball inductee. She was a talented and reliable post player during some of the women’s basketball team’s greatest years in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Despite being nagged by injuries throughout her career, Kallajian scored 1,000 points and pulled down nearly 1,000 rebounds in 113 games, with 98 starts.

Kallajian broke into the starting lineup as a first-year in 1988-89, averaging 7.6 points and 7.0 rebounds, as the Purple Knights finished the year at 16-12 (11-7 Northeast-10 Conference) and advanced to the NE10 Championship quarterfinals, where they fell to Saint Anselm College, 63-62. As a sophomore, she averaged 8.8 points and 8.7 rebounds, helping Saint Michael’s (17-14, 11-7 NE10) advance to its first NE10 Final Four and also its first the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Tournament. In a rematch with the Hawks, the Purple Knights lost 73-64 in the NE10 semifinals despite Kallajian’s team-high-tying 14 points in just 25 minutes. She almost had a double-double in the ECAC semifinals, posting 11 points and nine rebounds during a 62-59 win over Mercyhurst (Pa.) University, before totaling 13 points and seven rebounds in a 82-68 loss to the University of Massachusetts at Lowell in the title game.

Kallajian’s junior year was her best in terms of averages, as she posted 12.0 points and 9.9 rebounds. The team was 17-11 on the season (11-7 NE10) and participated in both the NE10 (quarterfinals) and ECAC (semifinals) tournaments. In her senior season, the captain registered 9.3 points and 7.9 rebounds, leading the team back to another NE10 Final Four. The Purple Knights finished the 1991-92 season at 17-13 (11-7 NE10). She averaged 13.5 points and 8.0 rebounds while shooting 68.4 percent in the team’s two win-and-advance postseason games that year. During her career, the Purple Knights were 67-50 overall and 44-28 in NE10 play, finishing third in the conference three times and fourth once.

Kallajian graduated ranked sixth on the program’s all-time scoring list (1,063) and second in rebounding (945). Her career field goal percentage (52.0) was a record when she graduated, and her 102 blocks were second.

After graduating with a degree in elementary education, Kallajian began a career in banking at The Savings Bank of Rockville (Conn.). She is currently the Assistant Vice President, Human Resources Information System and Reporting Officer for United Bank in nearby Hartford, Conn.

Darren Beers ’99, Ice Hockey

Beers, who hails from Brewer, Maine, and lives in Colchester, Vt., is the 16th men’s ice hockey representative to earn induction. He was a four-year standout defenseman who helped the Purple Knights claim the only NCAA Tournament title in College history, the 1999 NCAA Division II crown. Also a durable player, Beers tallied 47 points in 99 career games, missing only five possible contests. Saint Michael’s was 65-35-4 overall and 42-14-3 in league play during his career. After scoring all four of his goals as a freshman during his first 10 games, the defensive-minded blue liner had six goals in his last 89 career contests, ending with 37 assists among his 47 points while contributing to program-record-setting defense.

The 1995-96 squad finished 12-11-1 overall and 7-6-1 in the old Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Central while advancing to the ECAC North-Central-South Tournament quarterfinals. Saint Michael’s posted a then-school-record 3.77 goals-against average, and Beers ended with 12 points. Beers added five points as a sophomore, when the Purple and Gold’s 3.80 GAA came en route to a 17-7-1 (11-2-1 ECAC Central) season and a second-place showing in the league. Despite a goal by Beers – one of only two he scored all year – the fourth-seeded Purple Knights were upended by No. 5 University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, 3-2, in the ECAC North-Central-South Tournament quarterfinals. Things came together in 1997-98, when Saint Michael’s set a still-standing school record for wins during a 20-7 (12-2 ECAC Central) season that culminated with a regular-season title, the Purple Knights’ first, in the ECAC Central. After two decisive postseason wins, Saint Michael’s again fell to UMass Dartmouth, this time in the title game, 4-2, in the Purple and Gold’s title contest debut. Beers had a career-high 17 points and helped Saint Michael’s record a 3.58 GAA, its lowest in the first 32 years of the program’s modern era.

The previous years’ postseason experience proved key for the 1998-99 team, with Beers serving as assistant captain. After going 12-4-1 in the ECAC Northeast, the Purple Knights entered the postseason 14-9-1 and downed Tufts University, 3-2, in overtime during a quarterfinal, just the second postseason victory in program history. However, Saint Michael’s lost a 6-4 decision to second-seeded Fitchburg State University in the semifinals. The Purple Knights earned a second chance at a crown by joining Southern New Hampshire University in the two-game NCAA Division II Tournament series, with the winner claiming the national title. Game one was a 4-4 tie during which the Penmen scored in the third period to force the deadlock, and the teams staged a winner-take-all contest for the national crown in game two. Saint Michael’s led 3-0 by early in the second period before coming through with an 8-5 win, celebrating the College’s first national title on the ice at the Essex Junction Skating Facility. Beers matched a career high with 13 assists that year, and the squad posted a 3.98 GAA.

Beers was well-decorated following the season, earning NCAA Division II All-America first team, New England Hockey Writers Association (NEHWA) All-New England, and ECAC Northeast All-Conference first team accolades. In the press release following the championship, head coach Lou DiMasi said, “Darren is one of the strongest players we’ve ever had here. He started his career as a forward and moved to defense because that’s what we needed from him.” Following the championship, Beers and four fellow seniors threw the ceremonial first pitch at a Boston Red Sox game on May 5, 1999.

A biology major, Beers was the College’s first member of the Northeast-10 Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and was selected as the league’s national SAAC delegate in 1998-99. He earned the Athletic Department’s Doc Jacobs Award as a senior and was also involved on campus with MOVE. Since graduating, Beers has worked for the South Burlington Police Department for more than a decade.

Amanda Soule Hull ’08, Women’s Lacrosse

Hull, a native of Hartland, Vt., who resides in Bethel, Vt., becomes the 14th women’s lacrosse representative chosen. More than a decade after her graduation, Hull still holds program records in three statistical categories, as the high-scoring midfielder was a well-rounded presence around the field. The two-year captain was twice named Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) All-North Region, twice chosen as Northeast-10 Conference All-Conference, and landed NE10 Academic All-Conference laurels three times. Since leaving Saint Michael’s, the Vermonter has become a successful high school coach at her alma mater, Woodstock Union High School.

Hull graduated first in program history in career ground balls (156), draw controls (164) and caused turnovers (87) – metrics that measure aptitude on faceoffs and defensive proficiency, and have been tracked by the NCAA for the last 20 seasons – and game-winning goals (7), which have been followed since 2005. Hull was also second in goals (136) and third in points (157); classmate Brynne Curran ’08 holds the records for goals and points, as the two shared the field for four years. Annie Martin ’19 only recently broke Hull’s caused turnovers mark this past spring. During her career, the Purple Knights went 30-28 overall and 16-14 in the NE10 while making three postseason appearances.

As a rookie, Hull started all 13 games while posting 20 goals, 23 draw controls, a team-high 48 ground balls, and a then-school-record 27 caused turnovers. Saint Michael’s went 6-7 overall and 6-4 in the NE10 but lost a home quarterfinal to Assumption College, 11-10, despite Hull’s two goals, nine ground balls and five draw controls. From her position in the midfield, Hull led the team in scoring as a sophomore, with 37 goals, adding a then-school-record 60 draw controls, a team-best 39 ground balls, and 18 caused turnovers. The Purple Knights went 8-6 (5-5 NE10) but missed the postseason by losing a tie-breaker for the sixth and final spot. Hull was named to the IWLCA All-North Region second team, the NE10 All-Conference second team, and NE10 Academic All-Conference. Thanks to another stellar season from Hull – 37 goals, nine assists, 29 draw controls and team highs of 41 ground balls and 23 caused turnovers – the 2007 Purple Knights (7-8, 5-5 NE10) returned to the postseason. The junior captain notched a hat trick and three ground balls in a quarterfinal setback. Despite not earning any athletic honors following the campaign, her mettle in the classroom shone through, as she claimed NE10 Academic All-Conference first team and IWLCA Academic Honor Roll nods.

While again serving as a captain her senior year, Hull was second on the team with 42 goals, and led the squad in draw controls (52) and caused turnovers (19) while scooping 28 ground balls. The Purple Knights (9-7, 6-4 NE10) made their deepest postseason run in her career that year, advancing to the NE10 semifinals. Hull totaled five goals, 16 draw controls, four ground balls and three caused turnovers to trigger a 19-14 quarterfinal win on Merrimack College’s home turf. In the semifinals at powerful Stonehill College, Hull closed out her career by scoring twice in the opening 8:59 to stake the Purple Knights to a 3-2 lead in an eventual setback against a Skyhawk squad that went on to win its ninth straight NE10 tournament crown. Hull was well recognized after the season, being named to the IWLCA All-North Region second team and NE10 All-Conference second team. She was chosen as NE10 Academic All-Conference and qualified for the IWLCA Academic Honor Roll. Hull also received the College’s Doc Jacobs Award for her behind-the-scenes contributions to the Athletic Department, where she was a student intern.

Hull graduated from Saint Michael’s with a degree in business administration, but she soon found her calling as a teacher, both in the classroom and on the field. She returned home to work as a JV coach and later a varsity assistant at Woodstock Union High while graduating from the Upper Valley Educators Institute Teacher Intern Program in 2015. While becoming a kindergarten teacher at Hartland Elementary School, Hull also took the reins of the Woodstock Union High varsity team, leading the Wasps to the Division II state title with an 8-7 win over Stowe High in her debut season of 2015. It was the program’s first crown since 1997 after having not even advanced past the quarterfinals since 2000. In 2016, Hull’s charges made their second straight title game appearance but fell short of back-to-back titles, losing a 12-9 decision to Chelsea High. Woodstock lost by one goal in the first round in 2017 before advancing to the quarterfinals in 2018, falling to the eventual state champ. Hull has also been active in her community by serving as an EMT in Barnard, Vt., for nearly a decade.

Paul Schimoler, Men’s Lacrosse Coach

Schimoler, who died in 2013 after a short battle with cancer, grew up on Long Island in Upper Brookville, N.Y., and is the fifth representative of the men’s lacrosse program to earn induction. The longest-tenured and winningest head coach in program history, he led the Purple Knights to four Northeast-10 Conference Championship semifinals, was a legendary goalkeeper during his playing days, and was instrumental in growing the sport, founding the Vermont-based VTribe lacrosse club.

During his eight years guiding the Purple Knights, between 2004 and 2011, Schimoler put together a school-record 61 wins. His squads reached the NE10 Championship six times, advancing as far as the semifinals on four occasions. Schimoler’s charges were regulars in the national poll and posted a 14-5 mark in NE10 play in 2006 and 2007, tying for second in the regular-season standings during the latter.

In 2011, Schimoler’s final season, the Purple and Gold tied a school record for wins during a 10-6 campaign, going a program-record 8-2 in league play, while losing only 8-7 in a league semifinal to Adelphi University, the eventual NE10 champ and national runner-up. Schimoler and that group of student-athletes laid the foundation for the Purple Knights to go a combined 22-10 overall and 15-6 in conference play the next two campaigns combined, with two more semifinal appearances. Unsurprisingly for a former goalkeeper, Schimoler’s teams were built on stout defense, registering a goals-against average in single digits seven times in eight years while allowing fewer than 10 goals 67 times in 117 games.

Schimoler’s memory lives on in the Saint Michael’s men’s lacrosse program through the Coach Paul Schimoler Player of the Year Award, presented annually since 2013 to an exemplary member of the program that displays leadership and commitment as exemplified by Schimoler, and which has been made possible thanks to the generosity of men’s lacrosse alumnus David Dillmeier ’91.

Named the 2011 New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) Coach of the Year in his final season at the College, Schimoler joined the Dartmouth College coaching staff as an assistant in 2012. As an assistant coach at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) for the three years prior to his arrival at Saint Michael’s, he helped the Engineers to a national ranking and also spent three seasons as an assistant at Cornell University, his alma mater.

In his playing days, Schimoler was a four-time All-America goalkeeper at Cornell – the program’s first four-time All-America pick – and landed All-Ivy League laurels each season. He was the Ivy Player of the Year as a senior in 1989, and helped the Big Red to national runner-up finishes as a sophomore and junior, as well as an Ivy title in 1987. Schimoler posted a career .636 save percentage with 787 saves, 299 ground balls and a 38-17 record. He stood fourth in NCAA Division I history in career saves upon his graduation and was still 15th entering the 2019 season. Schimoler’s 85 stops in four games during the 1988 NCAA Tournament remain the national mark.

Schimoler won gold with the U.S. National Team during the 1990 and 1994 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Lacrosse Championships. He was later selected by the Boston Cannons in the 2001 Major League Lacrosse Supplemental Draft. In addition to his work with VTribe, Schimoler was an instructor at youth camps around the country and a guest speaker at regional and national coaching clinics. He was a featured speaker at the 2005 US Lacrosse Convention and part of the selection committee for the U.S. National Team that competed at the 2006 FIL World Lacrosse Championship.

A member of this coming October’s induction class for the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, a program of US Lacrosse, Schimoler was also previously inducted into the Cornell Athletics Hall of Fame, Long Island Metropolitan Lacrosse Hall of Fame and Port Washington (N.Y.) Youth Activities Hall of Fame.