UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – The Greater Utica Sports Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2023 on Monday afternoon, a class that includes four individuals in four different sports and one team.
The Class of 2023 includes NCAA basketball official and former Utica Pioneer D.J. Carstensen, major league baseball player and RFA graduate Archi Cianfrocco, NASCAR Hall of Famer and Rome native Jerry Cook, and national champion field hockey goalie and Sauquoit Valley graduate Jess Jecko, along with the1983 New York-Penn League champion Utica Blue Sox.
The qualifications for each of the inductees are as follows, per the Greater Utica Sports Hall of Fame:
Jess Jecko, a former Sauquoit Valley High School star, played 68 games for Syracuse University, posting a 1.31 goals-against average. As a senior captain, she helped the Orange to the 2015 NCAA championship after a runner-up finish the year before.
Jerry Cook, a longtime Rome resident, won six NASCAR National Modified Championships, piling up 342 wins during his career. He later was a NASCAR executive, and was inducted in the organization’s Hall of Fame in 2016.
Archi Cianfrocco, who starred at Rome Free Academy, Smith Post American Legion, Onondaga Community College, and Purdue University, spent seven seasons in the National League with the Montreal Expos and San Diego Padres, mostly in utility roles. He also played 10 seasons in the minor leagues, and ended his career with the Seibu Lions in the Japanese Pacific League.
DJ Carstensen, a New Hartford resident, was Utica College’s first Division I basketball recruit when the Pioneers moved up to the NCAA’s top tier under Coach Larry Costello in 1981. He had an outstanding playing career, was a team captain, and then went on to officiating. He has refereed hundreds of games across the country and has been selected to officiate the NCAA Division I tournament for most of the last two decades. He officiated the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 this season.
The 1983 Blue Sox, managed by Jim Gattis, won the NY-P title in a dramatic and wildly entertaining race, edging the Little Falls Mets by a half game for the Eastern Division crown, and then beating Newark two games to one in the championship series. Joanne Gerace, a GUSHOF board member and Hall of Fame inductee, was general manager of the team. Team president Roger Kahn, author of the celebrated “The Boys of Summer,” about the Brooklyn Dodgers, chronicled the season in another book, “Good Enough to Dream.”
The event will be held at noon September 17, at 171 Events in downtown Utica, with serving beginning at 1 p.m. and the induction a 2. Tickets are $50 for adults, and $25 for those under 18. Tickets will be available at CNY Awards and Apparel behind the New Hartford Shopping Center.