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Torrington Varsity Alumni Club announces two events. Track and Field Invitational attracts 16 teams.

POSTED April 23, 2015
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON: They exist to give back.

From the moment founder Connie Donahue established the Torrington Varsity Alumni Club back in 1945, their mission has been to give back to the student/athletes at Torrington High School.

Nobody does it better for a group that has seen their share of legends amongst the ranks for the annual event, which holds various fund raisers during the year in order to keep the scholarships coming.

Back in 1948, when the first awards were given to students, the amount of the scholarship was $100 dollars but has grown to $1000 dollars with a minimum of six given out each year.

They have given out nearly $300,000 dollars to help students with college expenses and the like.

The legends I spoke of are two of the most dedicated men ever to come out of THS, Frank Russo and Andy Pace. Nicer guys, you will never meet and both have huge hearts.

The duo helped sponsor numerous teams over the years, including the Varsity Alumni Basketball League, which was THE game to be in during the 1950’2 to the mid-90’s.

Anybody old enough remembers with fondness the School Boy Invitational Basketball Tournament that brought in some serious ball players from around the state.

All it takes to be part of the club is a varsity letter.

In celebration of the brand new Robert H. Frost Complex, the VAC is holding a very special event on Saturday, May 2 that will pit the Naugatuck Valley League against the Berkshire League in the inaugural Torrington Track and Field Challenge.

16 teams have signed up so far, nine of 10 BL schools and seven NVL squads will do battle in a meet starting at 3:30 p.m.

Former Raiders track coach Mike Tyler is in charge of the event which the group hopes will be an annual event.

The meet will run with traditional events but there will an overall event winner along with girls versus girls, boys versus boys, NVL versus NVL and BL versus BL winners as well.

Expect nearly 400 runners on the complex on Saturday with fans from both leagues packing the now enlarged bleacher sections.

The Raiders team will be front and center as the look to defend their brand new home to most of the area’s high school running community.

Those who have not seen the complex are in for a serious treat when they do.

It’s exactly what the Turf Committee had in mind when they put this plan in motion some eight years ago.

A place to draw the best running talent in the region to one central location.

In June, the Raider 5K Run will take place.  

Now in its fourth year, the Raider Run has drawn between 160-180 runners each year and has become a reunion of sorts for the alumni that return to either run or man the grills for the hungry participants.

The 2015 Raider 5K Run kicks off at 10:30 on Saturday, June 6 and which direction they go, either out from the track as it was the first two years which led them back to finish on the track or out towards the road in front of the school and back onto the grounds, as they did with the track under construction, has yet to be decided.

Either way, it’s a great day.

For more information on the Raider Run, go to

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