Congratulations to the Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2020!
Joanne Miceli

Blair Academy is proud to announce the Athletic Hall of Fame class of 2020: Janet (Jones) Harrington ’76, Melissa Henderson Koenig ’84, Chris Nallen ’00, Patrick Santoro ’85 and Steven Mocco ’01. The Blair community will celebrate the athletic careers of these outstanding Buccaneers at Alumni Weekend. All are welcome to attend the induction ceremony on June 6 at 9 a.m.

“I am excited to induct another very impressive Hall of Fame class,” said Director of Athletics Paul Clavel ’88, chair of the Hall of Fame Committee. “Each of these former student-athletes had a successful high school career and won a number of accolades at Blair and beyond. Several have competed at the highest level in their respective sports and one continues to do so. These inductees are a solid group of individuals that truly represent the excellence of the Blair Academy athletic program.” 

The class of 2020 is the fifth group of athletes named to Blair’s Athletic Hall of Fame. In keeping with the School’s long tradition of excellence in sports, Blair established the Hall of Fame in 2016 to recognize the athletic achievements of alumni and coaches. 

In order to be considered for Hall of Fame membership, nominees must have exhibited the highest caliber of athletic accomplishment during their time at Blair and have been outstanding members of the School community in the areas of scholastic achievement, citizenship, integrity and moral character. Selection is based primarily on athletic accomplishments while a Blair student or coach, although subsequent achievement in athletics or other areas may be considered. Finally, alumni nominees become Hall-of-Fame eligible in the 10th year following their graduation, while coaches become eligible after their retirement from Blair.

This year's Hall of Fame Committee members include former athletic directors John Frere, Dan Hazen and Jim Stone; Chief Operating Officer and former wrestling coach Jim Frick; Assistant Director of Athletics, head wrestling coach and former Blair athlete Brian Antonelli '93; history teacher and track and cross country coach Martin Miller, PhD; Dean of Campus Life, softball coach and former Blair athlete Carolyn Conforti-Browse '79; Chief Advancement Officer Craig Hall; Director of Alumni Relations Shaunna Murphy; Sports Information Director and former Blair athlete Rhett Moroses ’13; former Director of Alumni Relations and former girls' soccer coach Jenny Maine; Athletic Operations Manager Danielle Cosantino; and Board of Governors President Robert Van Stone '69. The committee considered more than 50 nominees, many of whom were suggested by Blair alumni, parents and friends of the School.

Blair congratulates this year’s Athletic Hall of Fame inductees! Read more about them below.

Janet (Jones) Harrington ’76 

A three-season athlete, Mrs. Harrington captained Blair’s field hockey, basketball and softball teams as a senior. “Nettie,” as she was affectionately known at Blair, earned all-New Jersey Prep League accolades for field hockey in 1975 and softball in 1976 and was the first recipient of Blair’s William Zester Prize, given to the female athlete who best represents Blair in competition. 

Mrs. Harrington continued her athletic career by playing field hockey at Widener University before transferring to Rider University. Mother of Stephen T. Harrington ’12, she served as a member of Blair’s Alumni Board of Governors from 2005 to 2011.

Melissa Henderson Koenig ’84

Winner of 11 varsity letters, Mrs. Henderson Koenig was a member of the Buccaneer field hockey, swimming and track teams. She was a top New Jersey swimmer during her years at Blair, finishing second in the 200 medley relay and third in the 100m breaststroke at States in 1982, third in the 200 individual relay and first in the 100m breaststroke at States in 1983, and third in the 100m breaststroke and second in the 50m breaststroke at the 1984 and 1985 Y district championships, respectively. She received the William Zester Prize and Captain’s Trophy as a senior, but her accomplishments extended well beyond Blair’s athletic venues. Mrs. Henderson Koenig was awarded the Harding Memorial Prize for contributions to musical organizations and the Lee Rose Memorial Trophy for performing with merit in the classroom while contributing significantly to Blair life. As a sophomore, she received the John Kinch Leach Merit Award for her record of scholarship, participation in activities and citizenship. 

Mrs. Henderson Koenig matriculated at Kenyon College, where she earned varsity letters in field hockey from 1985 to 1987 and in swimming and diving in 1985. She was a Division III All-American swimmer in 1985, placing 15th in the 100m breaststroke as a member of Kenyon’s NCAA championship-winning team. Having taken up speed skating in recent years, Mrs. Henderson Koenig currently serves as vice president of racing for the Amateur Skating Association of Illinois and head coach of the Glen Ellyn Speed Skating Club. She is an accomplished Masters skater who holds multiple national age-group titles, as well as the former national record-holder in the 777m race for ages 40 to 49. At the 2020 Winter World Masters Games in Innsbruck, Austria, she placed second in the 50-to-54 age group in the 500, 1000 and 1500m races and was a member of the fourth-place mixed gender relay team.

Chris Nallen ’00 

Having swung his first golf clubs at 3 years of age, Mr. Nallen was well on his way to becoming a serious player when he entered Blair in 1996. By the time he was a senior, he was a state champion golfer with a 32.5 nine-hole scoring average, a record for the area. Mr. Nallen won Blair’s Zimmerman Golf Prize and became the New Jersey Herald and Blairstown Press “Male Athlete of the Year” in 2000. That same year, he won his second straight American Junior Golf Association Junior Izzo championship, tied for 13th at the New Jersey State Golf Association (NJSGA) Open, placed second at the Lucent Technologies Junior Boys championship and made the first team Rolex Junior All America. 

Mr. Nallen continued his stellar career at the University of Arizona, where he helped lead the Wildcats to three top-10 NCAA championship finishes, including third-place finishes in 2001 and 2004. He won a number of tournaments over his four years in college, and his many honors include Golf Coaches Association of America Freshman All-American (2001), NJSGA Player of the Year (2002 and 2003), first team All-Pac-10 (2002-2004), Pac-10 Player of the Year (2004) and four-year All-American, making the first team in 2003 and 2004. He was selected to represent the United States as a member of the Walker Cup team in 2003 and the Palmer Cup team in 2003 and 2004. 

After becoming a semifinalist for the 2004 U.S. Amateur championship, Mr. Nallen joined the ranks of professional golfers. He won the 2004 Gila River Classic in his first Nationwide Tour start, becoming the first player in tour history to simultaneously qualify on Monday, lead wire-to-wire and win his first career start. Another professional highlight was winning the 2008 BMW Charity Pro-Am partnered with hockey legend Wayne Gretzky. Mr. Nallen became an assistant coach at Arizona State in 2013, where he has since helped guide the Wildcats to individual and team success.

Patrick Santoro ’85

Throughout his storied wrestling career, Mr. Santoro has achieved national success as a competitor and coach. He captained the Buccaneers during his postgraduate year, earning accolades as the 1985 prep national champion at 142 lbs. and outstanding wrestler of the tournament. Wrestling for the University of Pittsburgh, he was the Panthers’ only four-time NCAA All-American (1986 to 1989), winning the NCAA championship at 142 lbs. in 1988 and 1989. He was also a three-time Eastern Wrestling League champion and the recipient of the 1989 Golden Panther Award as the University’s outstanding athlete of the year. 

On the world wrestling stage, Mr. Santoro was a four-time member of the U.S. national team from 1995 to 1999, serving as an alternate to the 1996 U.S. Olympic team and the 1999 world team. He placed second at the 1992 U.S. Open Freestyle championship, third at the 1992 U.S. Olympic trials and fourth at the 2000 U.S. Olympic trials. 

Mr. Santoro’s coaching career has taken him from Penn State and Duquesne University, where he served as assistant coach, to head coach at the University of Maryland from 2003 to 2008, and, finally, to Lehigh University, where he has served as head coach of the powerhouse Mountain Hawk wrestling program since 2009. His coaching achievements include NWCA National Assistant Coach of the Year (2003), ACC Coach of the Year (2008), EIWA Coach of the Year (2009, 2012, 2016 and 2018) and NWCA Division 1 Coach of the Year (2018). He has mentored two NCAA champions and led 11 wrestlers to 20 All-American finishes at the NCAA Division 1 championships. Mr. Santoro has also taken leadership roles within the sport, serving as an NWCA board member and mentor for the NWCA CEO leadership-training program. 

Steven Mocco ’01

Mr. Mocco is one of the country’s most accomplished heavyweight wrestlers, a four-time NCAA finalist and member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic team. He came to Blair as a junior and built upon the outstanding wrestling career he had established at St. Benedict’s Prep, winning the Stephen Curry Prize for marked improvement during his first year at the School. By the time he graduated from Blair, he was a four-time prep state and prep national champion (1998-2001), three-time junior national champion (1999-2001), two-time Ironman and Beast of the East champion (1999, 2000) and Cadet National champion (1998). He also participated in judo, earning a junior national championship in 1999 and placing third at U.S. nationals in 1999. Mr. Mocco was recognized for his high school wrestling success with four national awards: the 2001 ASICS Tiger High School Wrestler of the Year, the 2001 Junior Hodge Trophy, the 2001 NHSCA National High School Wrestler of the Year and the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award. He placed fourth in the 2001 Junior World Championship. 

Heavily recruited by top college wrestling programs, Mr. Mocco continued to excel at the University of Iowa, where he placed second nationally as a freshman in 2002 and was NCAA champion as a sophomore in 2003. Additional accolades in 2003 include the New York AC Christmas International and Sunkist Kids International Open championships, as well as a second-place showing in Russia’s Ivan Yarygin Cup. He then transferred to Oklahoma State University, where he concluded his college career as the 2005 NCAA champion and 2006 NCAA runner-up. He received the Dan Hodge Trophy as the nation’s best collegiate wrestler in 2005 and helped lead Oklahoma State to NCAA team titles in 2005 and 2006. Mr. Mocco also played football for the Oklahoma State Cowboys in 2006, appearing in five games as a defensive lineman. He concurrently pursued freestyle wrestling and was a five-time finalist at the U.S. Open from 2004 to 2009, earning the senior national title in 2009.

Mr. Mocco won the U.S. Olympic trials in 2008 to earn a berth on Team USA at 120kg, placing seventh in his weight class at the Beijing Olympics. He continued his successful competitive career over the next several years, winning the prestigious Ivan Yarygin Gold Medal and Alexander Medved International Championship in 2009, earning gold medals at the Pan American Games in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and winning the Cerro Pelado gold medal in Cuba in 2010. He also earned a national title in judo and won five professional mixed martial arts competitions from 2012 to 2015. 

During his coaching career, Mr. Mocco served as assistant coach under fellow Blair Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Pat Santoro ’85 at Lehigh University in 2011 and 2012, where he mentored a heavyweight champion and helped lead the team to top-10 national finishes both years. He is currently the head wrestling coach and head of the Mocco Wrestling Club at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida, named the best mixed martial arts gym in the world for three consecutive years. Mr. Mocco has coached many fighters to world championships in all professional fight leagues. He is the former president and current chairman of the Florida Amateur Wrestling Association.

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