ROME — Several students from Rome Catholic School were recently inducted into the Rome Sports Hall of Fame. The not-for-profit organization is dedicated to honoring and preserving the achievements of the athletes in Rome, N.Y.

   Among those recently honored were Sam and Hayley Heffernan. Sam is a sixth grade student who will attend Notre Dame Jr./Sr. High School in Utica next fall. He said the induction ceremony “was cool because a lot of my friends who play different sports were there being honored, too.”

   Sam is a small forward with Rome Select AAU Basketball sixth grade boys team, which went undefeated to clinch the Dick Miller, Mychal Harris league championship, as well as tournament championship. Sam’s team is now eligible to compete at the Cleveland Cavaliers National Tournament.

   Sam also serves as a Student Council co-president and is a Rome Character Initiative winner. He is not surprised that so many Rome Catholic students have made it into the Rome Sports Hall of Fame.    

   “Just because we’re a small school, doesn’t mean we can’t do everything that kids from bigger schools can,” he said.

   Hayley is a fifth grade honors student and a point guard with Rome Select AAU Basketball fifth grade team. She along with her classmate and teammate, Adrianna Larson, center, went undefeated to win the Dick Miller, Mychal Harris league championship, as well as the championship tournament. They have been undefeated in league and tournament play since October. The team is headed to the state championships and national qualifiers as a Division 1 top-ranked team.

   Haley said she most enjoys the teamwork during practices and games. “But our coaches, they’re like our family,” she added.
   The accomplishments of the other inductees from Rome Catholic are:
   • Emily Toth-Ratazzi, grade 5, The Storm basketball team, won the Valentine League championship Tournament.
   • Evelyn Denton, grade 4, Rome Grizzlies Hockey Squirt Orange team, won the Snowbelt League Championship.
   • Derek Entelisano, grade 6, and Jon Denton, grade 6, were both members of Rome Grizzlies Pee Wee Team Blue Hockey, and placed first after winning the Snowbelt league division.
   • Josh Talbot, grade 5, is a member of the Rome Grizzlies Squirt White Hockey team, which captured the Squirt D Championship.

   The Rome Sports Hall of Fame is the only municipal Sports Hall of Fame with its own museum in New York State. The museum has more than 50 exhibits honoring the city’s gifted athletes. For information, email

   Dyann Nashton is the development director at Notre Dame Jr./Sr. High School in Utica, a freelance writer and a contributing writer to the Sun.

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