ESM Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Five athletes and one coach were indicted into the the East Syracuse Minoa Central School District Athletic Hall of Fame Jan. 14. The 6th class of inductees includes Nancy Ames (Coach), Leah Andrianos (Track, Cross Country, 2007 graduate), Aubrey Bennett (Football, 2000), Nalin Bennett (Softball, 2007), Michelle Lissner (Lacrosse, 2005) and Mike Taylor (Soccer, 1999).
Induction day activities started with introductions and a plaque unveiling during halftime of the boys home varsity basketball game at ESM Central High School. A dinner and formal inductions was held in the evening.
Nancy Ames was an ESM innovator. When girl’s athletics was in its infancy, Nancy organized intramurals in track, soccer and archery and also organized basketball and volleyball games between ESM’s two middle schools since there were no modified sports.
She began her ESM career teaching physical education at East Syracuse Middle School. Nancy eventually moved to the high school physical education staff and it was here that she started her varsity coaching legacy.
In varsity track, Nancy coached many outstanding teams and had two athletes make states in the 440 yd. dash and the high jump. Her 440 athlete, Theresa Ingles, was the state silver medalist. Her time for that event from 1975 is, to this day, a school record. Nancy also coached JV volleyball to several undefeated seasons and assisted Coach Sue Schiebel in the varsity sectional championship.
As the varsity field hockey coach, Nancy coached her teams to two undefeated seasons, 5 league titles and one Section III championship. She was also named Onondaga County Coach of the Year.
She was the first coach in Onondaga County to raise money to take her track teams south for spring training. Nancy coached the first team in Onondaga County in field hockey to use a different playing format and to provide protective gear for the goalie and mouth guards for players. She also took many of her players to college games in both field hockey and volleyball to watch at the highest levels.
Leah Andrianos ‘07
As an 8th grader in 2003, Leah Andrianos was brought up to varsity to help shore up the depth of the distance running crew. She won league titles in two events and helped ESM to a sectional title.
Her freshman year, she won indoor track leagues in the 1000 m run and outdoor leagues in the 800. In 04-05 she was the cross country Section III champ and won indoor leagues in the 1000 as well as the state qualifier meet in the 1000. In outdoor track, Leah was the league champ in the 800 and the Section III champ in the 2000m steeplechase. She was 7th that season at the NYS Meet in the 2000 m steeplechase.
In Leah’s junior season, she was cross country league and sectional champ, won indoor league titles in the 1000 and 1500, was the Section III champ at 1000 meters as well as the state qualifier champ. She capped off indoors with a 6th place finish at the indoor state meet at 1000 meters. She was outdoor league champ in an unbelievable 4 events, the 400, 800, 1500 and 3000. She led her team to a Section III team title with wins in the 400, 800 and 1500 meter runs and would have won a fourth, but she allowed a teammate to cross the line first in the 3000. At the state meet, Leah set a school record at 1500 meters while finishing 2nd. She finished her junior year with a 4th place finish at the Nike National Championships in North Carolina in the 2000 meter steeplechase, earning her All-American honors. She set a Section III record in the steeplechase her junior year.
Leah’s senior year was spectacular. She won both the league and Section III title in cross country. Indoor track saw her win league titles in the 600, 1000 and 1500, the Section III title in the 1000, and she won the state qualifier in the 1500. She was 2nd at the indoor state meet, losing by .05 second with borrowed shoes when her spikes were stolen minutes before her event. Outdoors saw her win league titles at 400, 800, 1500 and 3000 meters and Sectional titles at 400 and 1500 meters. She won the 1500 at the state quals and 1 week later took the state title in convincing fashion at the 1500 in a school record time of 4:30.56. During her career, Leah won an amazing 21 league titles, 15 sectional titles and 1 state championship. She still holds ESM school records in 8 events, at 500m, 600, 800, 1000, 1500, 2000 steeple, as well as two relays.
After high school, Leah attended the University of Connecticut. She won All-American honors in the distance medley relay. It was the 8th relay team in NCAA history to break 11 minutes and the 3rd fastest in 2011. Leah ran the second fastest time ever in NCAA history for her 1200m leg in the DMR at 3:21. She became the UCONN school record holder at 1000m (2:46), 1500m (4:22), 4x800m relay (8:33) and Distance Medley Relay (10:59).
Leah was named to the Big East All-Academic Team all four years and was on the University of Connecticut Honor Roll. She was Cross Country captain in 2009-2011 and Track and Field captain in 2010-2011. She helped UConn to Big East titles in 2008, 2009 and 2011.
After college, she coached cross country and track and field at Carolina Friends Middle School, Central Connecticut State, Buffalo State, Duke University and Le Moyne College.
Aubrey Bennett ‘00
Aubrey Bennett, Class of 2000, was an integral part of turning around the football program that had been struggling. As team captain, Aubrey played both tailback and defensive back.
Aubrey’s junior year was a season of over 1000 yards rushing and more than 10 touchdowns, helping propel the team to 5-5, its best record in years. Aubrey was rewarded with 2nd Team, All-Area recognition as a tailback.
As a senior, Aubrey had a monster season starting off with a 96 yard touchdown run—one of the longest in school history. Also, that season Aubrey had another 1000 rushing yards and more than 10 touchdowns. Aubrey was named 1st Team All-CNY and was also selected to 2nd Team All-State as a tailback for 1999.
Aubrey’s all-time career stats include 4th in rushing with 2,648 yards, 4th in touchdowns with 34 and 6th in scoring with 174. His all-time seasonal statistics include 5th and 4th in rushing with 1,176 and 1,196 yards respectively and 9th and 7th in scoring with 84 points and 96 points respectively.
After graduation, Aubrey went on to Marist College to play cornerback where he earned 2nd Team All-MAAC honors in 2002 and 1st Team All-MAAC honors in 2003. Aubrey also ranked 2nd in single season passes defended with 18.
Currently, Aubrey is a high school social studies teacher and athletic director at Carver High School in Birmingham, Alabama. He was previously head football coach at the middle school level where his teams won three city championships.
Nalin Bennett ‘07
At an early age, Nalin Bennett showed great potential while playing Little League baseball. Her varsity softball career took off as an 8th grader in 2003 when Coach Kent Reardon recognized her potential.
She would go on to earn First Team All-CNY three times, her first coming after her rookie season. Her great speed on the field allowed her to break the Section III single season record for stolen bases with 45. Nalin capped off her varsity softball career with an impressive senior season when she batted .612, had 45 stolen bases, 41 hits, helped her team to a league title and was named First Team All-New York State at shortstop. She also participated on the cheerleading teams, earning MVP honors in 2005 and ran indoor track her senior year. She spent the summers of 2005-2006 playing travel league softball for the NY Bad Apples from Binghamton.
After high school, Nalin played softball at Seton Hall University, where she was a starter in center field for all 4 years. She rose to be among Seton Hall’s career leaders for stolen bases and hits. To add to that, she led the Big East in stolen bases in 2010. Hard work and dedication would allow Nalin to be selected 3rd Team All-Big East in 2009, Big East All-Academic All-Star in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and as a 2nd Team Arthur Ash Scholarship Award winner. Currently, Nalin is working on her Doctorate of Psychology from the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers.
Michelle Lissner ‘05
Michelle Lissner was an accomplished athlete in both soccer and lacrosse. In soccer, she started for three years and in her sophomore and senior years was named first team All-League goalie. She missed most of her junior season due to injury.
It was in lacrosse, however, where Michelle made her biggest impact. She was a four-year varsity starter and was named All-League each year. She was named most valuable player at ESM her junior and senior years and as team captain, she was an All-CNY selection and a USILA Lacrosse All-American her senior year. Michelle’s senior year she helped ESM to its only sectional championship in school history.
Her 84 goals as a senior still stands as a single season school record. She is third all-time in career goals with 209 and second in career assists with 90.
Other high school highlights include her 2002 Empire State Games gold medal as a soccer goalie and receiving the 2004 US Marine Corp Distinguished Athlete Award.
Michelle attended Le Moyne College on an athletic scholarship where she earned her BS Degree. Sadly, after playing lacrosse for three years, her career ended due to injury. She presently resides in Syracuse and is employed at Syracuse University as an IGERT/Soft Matter Physics Coordinator. She continues to give back to the game she loves so much as a youth lacrosse coach and is an assistant girl’s lacrosse coach here at ESM.
Mike Taylor ‘99
Mike Taylor was a three-year letter winner in baseball and basketball and four-years in soccer. Mike was all-league in all three sports, but he is best known for his prowess in soccer. He was named league “Player of the Year” in 1998, 1st Team All-CNY, 1st Team All-State and East Regional All-American following the 1998 season where he lead the team to a league championship and Section III runner-up.
Mike went on to attend the United States Naval Academy where he was a four-year letter winner and a three-year starter on the men’s soccer team. His class of 2003 finished with one of the highest 4-year win totals in the history of the Naval Academy. Mike also received his MBA from the University of San Diego.