Lauralton Hall to dedicate new field, honor Hall of Famers

The athletic program at Lauralton Hall, a Catholic college-preparatory school for girls in Milford, is recognized for its All-State athletes and championship teams. Now these players will be playing on an new field after a $2 million construction project.

A field dedication ceremony will be held in conjunction with the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Luncheon on Monday, May 16.

Inaugurated in 2012, the Lauralton Hall Athletic Hall of Fame recognizes outstanding individuals who are nominated for performing with athletic distinction or having been instrumental in the overall development and success of athletics at Lauralton.

This year’s event starts at 11:30 a.m. and will officially recognize Elizabeth Higgins Gladfelter, Mary Ellen Curran, Tom McDonald and Theresa Napolitano.

Elizabeth Higgins Gladfelter

A Class Valedictorian for the Class of 64, she played field hockey, basketball and softball. Gladfelter has completed 30 half marathons, 18 marathons and triathlons. She graduated from Stanford University and earned a Ph.D. in Biology from UCLA.

Mary Ellen Curran

A 1982 graduate, Curren played tennis and basketball in high school and college. She has completed nine 200-mile bike rides to benefit the Jimmy Fund. An accomplished executive,  Curran is a community advocate and philanthropist.

Tom McDonald

McDonald coached Lauralton in softball and basketball, winning a softball state title. He was inducted into CT Softball Hall of Fame in 2014.

Theresa Napolitano

Napolitano coached the Crusaders to championship seasons in both softball and field hockey. She was a National Coach of the Year and inducted into CT Softball Hall of Fame in 2015.

The keynote speaker for the Induction Ceremony is Dr. Donna Lopiano, President and Founder of Sports Management Resources and former CEO of Women's Sports Foundation.

Named one of The 10 Most Powerful Women in Sports by Fox Sports, Lopiano has been nationally and internationally recognized for her leadership advocating for gender equity in sports.

The Athletic Field and Practice Track Dedication ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m., with opening remarks by Benjamin Blake, Mayor of the City of Milford.

Other speakers include Chairman of the Board, Dr. Trudy Dickneider, Lauralton’s President Dr. Toni Iadarola, Athletic Director Jeanne Cooper and a blessing of the field by Sister Liliyan Frayer and Rev. Michael J. Doody, S.J. from Fairfield University.

All attendees are then invited to experience the field firsthand by taking a celebratory lap.

“Lauralton Hall scholar-athletes have always been recruited by top colleges for basketball, softball, crew, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, track, and other sports,” Dr.  Iadarola said.

“In fact, this year, there are actually four juniors who have already received verbal offers to colleges, including Elyse Darcy to Iona College for lacrosse, Nicole (Nikki) Zaccaro to UC Berkeley for lacrosse, Madelyn Monahan to Lehigh University for field hockey and Kerry Ullman to Gettysburg for lacrosse.”

The new athletic field will be used for soccer, track, lacrosse and field hockey. During the planning stages of the project, Cooper had the student athletes play on a variety of surfaces to determine their preference. They chose artificial turf over natural grass, because there are no uneven or differently textured areas to alter the speed of a ball or affect performance. There is no downtime due to weather conditions. It is also infilled with sand and rubber particles that act as artificial earth, giving the athletes shock absorption and natural footing.  Additionally, a majority of Lauralton Hall’s competitor schools play on artificial turf.

Iadarola notes that artificial turf fits in perfectly with the school’s commitment to caring for the environment. Lauralton carefully monitors their use of resources, minimizes waste production and maximizes recycling. Artificial turf requires no watering, mowing or chemical fertilizers and is made with recycled materials.

“This project is only possible because of the generous donations from parents, trustees, alumnae, faculty, staff and friends,” Iadarola said. “They support our goal of providing student-athletes with an opportunity to learn the importance of ethical behavior, good sportsmanship, positive values and a realization of their self-worth.”