The oldest of seven ( 5 sisters, 1 brother) started his athletic career at St Joseph’s grammar school on Main Street. Summers would be spent on the playgrounds and swimming pool of PS #63.
Don played little league football for Karts Dairy. In 1956, his freshman year, Don played for the Bennett’s JV football team. His sophomore year, he lettered playing both offensive and defensive tackle. This is the role Don played on a team that went on to win fifteen straight games that included two Harvard Cups in his Junior and Senior years. Don was a unanimous first team All-High selection in both the Buffalo Evening News and Courier Express newspapers his senior year.
Don went on to the University of Buffalo where he played freshman football and graduated from Millard Fillmore College. In 1967, Don started a 29 year career with the Buffalo Fire Department. In 1970, Don was awarded the Buffalo Fire Department Edward H. Butler Gold Medal for Bravery.
Don is celebrating 29 years of marriage to Mary Beth Wright of Buffalo, who is a retired reading specialist from the Maryvale School System.
Don is a self employed business owner of M.B. Orsolits Co. Inc., and lives in Williamsville while not living at his summer residence in Crescent Beach, Ontario. Don plays golf, hunts, fishes and enjoys traveling with Mary Beth.
Carla was the consummate scholar / athlete, the kind every coach would want on his or her team. A four year volleyball player, Carla was a team captain and team MVP twice. The Lady Tigers won one city championship and two second place finishes during this time. Bennett’s cumulative record during Carla’s tenure was 43 wins and 5 losses.
Carla was even more successful in swimming, her strongest sport. Carla was an All-High swimmer in at least one event all four of her years on the squad, with the Tigers winning two Syracuse Cup championships during that time. Carla finished with six school swimming records and two city records in the 100 yard Individual Medley and the 200 yard Freestyle Relay.
Carla didn’t waste her spring seasons either. She played three years of varsity tennis, with the Tigers winning the Dr Bapst city championship all three of those years. Carla was an All-High first doubles player.
Carla earned a Rochester National Scholarship to the University of Rochester. There she was the only freshman to start on the U. of R. volleyball team. Carla later received a BS degree in Computer Science from S.U.N.Y. Buffalo, and an MA degree from Clark University in Massachusetts. She is presently employed by Avocent Corporation as their Mid West Sales Director.
Carla and her husband, Michael Bankovich, reside in Cleveland, OH, and have three daughters, Francesca 16, Arianna 12, and Nina age 8.
Shane was a three sport athlete at Bennett, majoring in football, basketball and track.The Tiger squads Shane played on won the Harvard Cup in the 1985 season, the Yale Cup in the ‘87 season, and the Scalp & Blade track championship each of his years on the track squad. Although an All-High high jumper in track, Shane’s first love in sports is basketball. Shane was a third team All-High selection after his senior season, and led the Tigers as an undersized 6’ 2” high school center. The Tigers went undefeated in Yale Cup play, non league games and the Section VI championship. The ‘87 Tigers became the first Section VI squad to go into the state championship at Glens Falls undefeated. The Tigers finished the ‘87 season as the #1 ranked large school in WNY, a real tribute to Shane, having to guard bigger centers every game.
Shane’s basketball skills continued to grow at Buffalo State College. His Buff State teams won the SUNYAC Conference each of his 4 years with the team, and Shane was named the All Conference center each year. Shane was inducted into the Buffalo State College Athletic Hall Of Fame.
Today Shane Johnson is a science teacher in the Arlington County Public Schools in the D.C. area. Shane and his wife Alicia have two children. Shane Jr., 19 (a football player at the University of Pittsburgh), and daughter Savannah, aged 15. Shane is the son of today’s inductee Sylvester Johnson.
Maurice Maloney, ‘48, competed in his first track competition in the spring of his sophomore year. He won his second race–the half-mile– helping him earn his first Bennett letter. As a junior, age 15, Maurice led Bennett to a Columbia Cup Championship in cross country. He finished second overall in the race–7 seconds faster than the previous course record. His senior year, Maurice ran the mile only once in competition–winning the race at 4:36 and breaking the Bennett record. At the Buffalo All High track meet, he was declared second in the half-mile in a dramatic and disputed finish.
While at Bennett, Maurice also raced with the Buffalo YMCA Track Club. The “Y” team–made up of high school kids–competed in the NAUU CC Championship in Detroit. Racing against 15 colleges, Maurice finished 7th overall, and helped lead the “Y” team to a second place finish behind Michigan State–besting 14 other colleges. He also became Canadian Junior Champion of the half-mile, winning the race 3 tenths of a second off the all-time Canadian record.
Maurice received a scholarship to Michigan State. At MSU, he was Captain and high point man of the Freshman Cross Country and Track Teams, and the only sophomore to make the Cross Country Varsity Team. Competing with 40 colleges at the IC4A CC Championships in New York City, he was the first sophomore to finish the race. His team won the 1949 NCAA Championship. In track, he was a member of MSU’s undefeated 4-mile relay team.
A serious knee injury at the end of his sophomore year ended his running career.
Kristin played three varsity sports, volleyball, basketball and softball during her three year tenure at Bennett H.S. Interestingly enough, Kristin’s coach for all three sports was her dad Steve Poliachik, a long time coach of girls sports at Bennett H.S. Coach Poliachik got to see first hand, his daughter achieve first team All-High status in each of two sports in both her junior and senior years. In volleyball, Kristin was regarded as an excellent server, once serving 14 consecutive points in a key league match against Hutch Tech. In her best sport, softball, Kristin was second team All-High as a sophomore, and first team All-High as a junior and senior. Kristin was a catcher / first baseman on some very competitive Tiger softball teams. After her senior season, Kristin was selected to participate in the “super Senior All-Star softball game”. Kristin’s high water mark was a lofty .350 season batting average. Her efforts led to a softball scholarship offer from Edinboro State College in PA. Among Kristin’s awards at graduation was recognition from the “West Side Businessmen’s Association” as a top scholar-athlete.
Kristin transferred to Canisius College after two years, and became a teacher. This school year will be her 18th year as a teacher at her Alma Mater, Bennett H.S. Kristin joins her sister Kim as a member of our Bennett Sports Hall of Fame.