Rome’s sports stars, past and present, gather Sunday

The 1955 Smith Post baseball team which claimed Rome’s first American Legion state championship will be among those honored when the 35th annual Rome Sports Hall of Fame awards dinner is held on Sunday at the Beeches.

The squad will be honored as the second recipient of the Ellie Bruce Exceptional Team of Excellence Award. The team will also be recognized with a permanent awards plaque at the Rome Sports Hall of Fame located at 5790 Rome-New London Road. The team award is sponsored by Bruce, one of the Hall of Fame co-founders and a longtime member of the board of directors.

The banquet will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Beeches and will feature the induction into the Hall of Fame of Kevin Davis, Linda Harjung, Tom Nelson, Anthony Ortolano, Larry Schneible and the late Jack Bean.

The awards dinner will be preceded by a reception for the inductees between 3-5 p.m. at the Rome Sports Hall of Fame located at 5790 Rome-New London Road.

Newspaper group photos will be taken at the Beeches 15 minutes prior to the start of the dinner.

All tickets for the dinner were sold in advance, but the reception at the Hall of Fame is free and open to the public.

Mike Adey, the Rome Sports Hall of Famer who coached New York Mills to a state basketball championship, and Rome Free Academy graduate and Utica College hoops standout Jessica Berry will be honored as the city’s male and female sports personalities of the year.

A pair of individuals for many years associated with youth sports in the city, Tom Barry and Mike Hoke, will be presented with the Frank Clark Service Award. The award is named in memory of Clark, who was a longtime member of the Rome Sports Hall of Fame.

Several others will be honored in various high school and adult categories as yearly award winners during the dinner,

The 2010-11 special award winners were nominated in voting done by the Hall of Fame selection committee and were approved by the Hall’s board of directors. Official forms are available at City Hall for persons wishing to submit nominations for consideration for future entry into the Hall of Fame or for consideration for annual awards. It is not necessary to re-submit previous nominations for Hall of Fame induction.