New Haven -- In celebration of the sixth year of James Vick Foundation athletics, and with infinite pride, and love, we are pleased to present our first JVF Hall of Fame Inductee Class.
The James Vick Foundation, and what it has become, is only possible because of the faith, hard work, and sacrifice of so many young women that paved the way for the athletes representing organization today.
We want to join all of our supporters in extending congratulations.
We proudly present the 2024 JVF Hall of Famers! The induction ceremony, in which all inductees will receive a "Blue Jacket" will take place next spring during the Yale Series Championship.
Hayly Caruso North Haven High School Women's Field Hockey/Lacrosse
Hayly's place in JVF history has been secured for years, this induction simply formalizes the situation. In 2021 Hayly approached the JVF about the idea of starting a field hockey program. She made the argument that Field Hockey was growing in popularity, that there weren't many options, and that perhaps the JVF could take a chance, and start a program.
Under Hayly's guidance, the JVF did just that, starting with a clinic, then leagues, and now finally, a nationally prominent club program that would have never existed if it were not for the courage, ambition, and faith of this extraordinary young woman. All the images, all the accomplishments, everything we have done in Field Hockey started with Ms. Caruso,
Hayly was also a founding member of the JVF Vipers, alongside her friends, she created an incredible option in Connecticut for girls that are humble, competitive, and wanted to improve in the sport.
Hayly is a Mt. Olympus figure in JVF history, she gave so much to the organization, provided so much opportunity for the younger generation, please join us in welcoming her to the JVF HOF!
Lenora Longway Branford High School Women's Field Hockey
Widely considered the greatest Field Hockey player in the history of the program, Lenora was a founding member of JVF Field Hockey, taking the reins of a program less than two months old, and leading it into competition amid a ton of skepticism from the industry at large. Lenora gave the program an identity, and not many people were laughing when the JVF Dragons started torching established clubs in their first year.
The college commits, an endless amount of all conference players, the Yale Series, it all started with Lenora deciding she wanted to play for this new Field Hockey program in Hamden.
Lenora carried the program for TWO YEARS (including her Senior year) during a time that JVF Field Hockey was in it's formative process, we no brand recognition, weren't even playing on Astro Turf.
This hero of an athlete, who could have easily played for bigger, and more prestigious clubs, chose to lead our program at a time that it badly needed leadership. Lenora's sticks skills, her physical strength, instincts, elegance, her refusal to backdown, and unwavering confidence makes her without question the JVF Field Hockey Goat, it's not even a debate or up for discussion.
Mariella Herrmann Hamden High School Women's Lacrosse
The ray of sunshine from Hamden takes her place among the JVF Greats. Anyone who knows this young lady is a better person for it. To start a free lacrosse team in the highly competitive and elitist environment that is women's Lacrosse in CT, and actually succeed is amazing. Such a feat is only possible with optimistic, brilliant, loving human beings that don't care what other people think, and are willing to ride for the greater good.
That's Mariella, that's who she is, and that's what she pulled off, the JVF Vipers do not see the light of day without Ms. Herrmann. Alongside her friends, she left a legacy, an opportunity, for others to live up to, she played a massive role in making all of it possible. History would show just how special that effort was, and what it meant to the foundation.
Mariella is also a hero, when the world lost Elias Hnini, an amazing young man that was a star human being in Hamden, and a friend of the JVF, Mariella demonstrated a level of leadership, love, and poise that went well beyond her years. As amazing as she was as an athlete, it was her work with the JVF, and Jack Gaffney in wake of a tragedy, that would be prove to be her defining moment with the organization. Mariella's contributions to our mission, to our ideals, go way beyond sports, and will forever live in the JVF Hall of Fame.
Alessia Lye Trumbull High School Women's Lacrosse
"Les" is without reproach in the annals of JVF sports, she was the first elite women's lacrosse player to agree to play for our club, and she did it when it wasn't the popular thing to do, and she did it so she could play with her friends.
That choice is indicative of who Les is.
She values bonds, friendships, fun times, and good people, she also just happens to be an uber talented women's lacrosse competitor.
Les is tied to everything JVF Lacrosse, and a staunch advocate for the organization, volunteering at our soccer tournaments, our winter programming, fundraising, there was nothing she did not do to help the organization.
When the Vipers started out, the very first day, Les was there.
When the Vipers started to grow, and thrive, Les was there
When the Vipers made the jump, and finally went to a large-scale college showcase out of state, Les was there, and she did business.
Les demanded excellence from her teammates, coaches, even Christian, and everyone is better for it, the most impressive leader the program has ever seen, and she backed it up on the Lacrosse field. As the foundation considers future incarnations of women's lacrosse, we will always start with the standard set by Alessia. The toughness, how aggressive she was, the high standard of expectation.
Les went on to become the first ever JVF athlete to commit to a college for athletics, she set an example that so many have followed after her. Les isn't just a great athlete, she is a legend, and a 2024 JVF Hall of Famer.
Riley Minns North Haven High School Women's Lacrosse
Over the years JVF teams have demonstrated an institutional toughness, a willingness to compete, and not take no for an answer. That culture started with Riley Minns, perhaps the toughest and most physically intimidating athlete the JVF Lacrosse program has ever seen.
There wasn't anything she could not do on the Lacrosse field, matching advanced physical strength, speed, ambition, steady hands, vision, unique flexibility and a nose for scoring a ton of goals.
Riley was so dominant at one point we nicknamed her "Captain America". Riley alongside Les Lye was among the very first athletes at the JVF that clearly could compete at the college level.
The North Haven native's biggest moment on the field came at the Knickerbocker Fall Classic in Northern New Jersey, in which she led the JVF Vipers to a stunning result in their very first appearance on a big stage after two consecutive years of being a practice team.
In a defining opening match, paced by Gabriella Puklin, and Grace, Riley led an extraordinary comeback for the Vipers, inspiring the team to play at the highest level it ever would during the pilot phase of the program.
Riley's personality also set the table for future standard of leadership at the JVF, she was the picture of what we want, and hope for. We have seen her score a billion goals, and never once show up the other team, a voice of reason, calm, no arrogance, competitive fire, no time for defeatist attitudes, or negativity.
A Captain, a Thespian, a friend, a 2024 JVF Hall of Famer.