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Eight Former Greats Will Be Inducted Into BHS Athletics Hall of Fame

Honorees span five decades of excellence.

Eight former student-athletes spanning five decades will be enshrined into the Belleville High School Athletics Hall of Fame next Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 6 p.m. at The Chandelier.

Tickets for the event are $40 and are available by contacting principal Russ Pagano at (973) 450-3500.

“What we are looking to do is honor specific alumni that have contributed significantly to the sports programs. It's to honor athletes and also to honor those who have had a special impact on Belleville sports,” BHS Athletic Director Tom D'Elia said.

Here are some highlights from the respective athletic careers of all eight Class of 2011 inductees.

Roger Caruso, Football (Class of 1960)

A three-year varsity letterwinner, Caruso ranks among the all-time great running backs in Buccaneers' history. He rushed for 1,800 yards as a senior, garnering All-Essex County honors and earning a full scholarship to Youngstown State College.

James Harvey, Cross Country/Track & Field ('63)

Harvey remains the school record-holder in the 880-yard and one-mile runs, having gone undefeated in both events during dual meets before competing at collegiate track power the University of Oregon.

Joseph Latore, Football ('63)

A four-year starter at quarterback, Latore led the Bucs to eight straight wins in 1962 before collecting Second Team All-Essex County accolades and being named team Co-MVP with All-American Richard Luzzi. He also played at Rutgers.

Raymond D'Atrio, Baseball ('64)

D'Atrio starred for three seasons as an outfielder and relief pitcher, which included his being honored as a Third Team All-County performer. In his senior year, he helped the Bucs turn back rivals such as Montclair and St. Benedict's Prep.

Thomas Smith, Basketball ('78) 

A three-year starter and two-year captain in an era where freshmen were ineligible to play varsity, Smith blossomed as a senior, averaging better than 20 points a game while earning a slew of all-star honors.

Wayne Bubet, Basketball ('81)

Bubet was the second boys basketball player in school history to eclipse the 1,000-point plateau, finishing his career with 1,365 points. He averaged 26.5 points per contest as a senior, leading the area before earning Athlete of the Year accolades from the Optimist Club of Belleville and the Outstanding Athlete of the Year award from the Belleville Varsity Club.

Jonathan Perna, Wrestling ('95) 

One of the most decorated grapplers in school history, Perna won the 119-pound state championship in 1995 via pin in the final seconds after trailing 11-0 earlier in the bout. This came after two consecutive runner-up finishes. Also a three-time Most Oustanding Wrestler in Region 4, he captured three Essex County, District 14 and Region 4 gold medals before earning a full scholarship to Seton Hall University.

Gianna Immersi, Softball ('03) 

In her celebrated career on the diamond, Immersi earned a place on the All-Essex County and all-area teams three times apiece. However, her biggest achievement came in her sophomore season when she pitched the Bucs to the state Group 4 championship game. Immersi was also a two-time First Team All-Northern New Jersey Interscholastic League Division A honoree. 

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