‘Hall stars’: 14 Dartmouth legends inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame

Jun 26, 2024

Growing up in Dartmouth, Keri Branquinho had always been quite involved in various extracurriculars, but she said she was also made fun of a lot.

“Sports gave me a place to grow,” Branquinho told friends, family, former teammates, coaches and dozens of others at the 2024 Induction to the Dartmouth High School Athletic Hall of Fame on Sunday, June 23. 

Branquinho, class of 2006, was a member of the volleyball, spring track and winter track teams, particularly shining in the realm of throwing, including shot put and discus. She recalled her coach recognizing potential in her all that time ago.

“I gained confidence. I gained pride,” she said. “It truly developed me into the woman I am today.”

A decade after completing Dartmouth High School, Branquinho said she went to community college. Taking her success and Dartmouth pride with her, she earned valedictorian before heading to Boston College to complete a master’s degree in social work and now runs a senior center down in Georgia. 

She emphasized the importance of “paying it forward,” how kindness creates community and the value of athletics in Dartmouth. 

“We truly went on a wonderful journey together,” Branquinho said, encouraging the Dartmouth community to continue investing its support, time and money into the athletic program.

Branquinho was one of 14 inducted into the 2024 Athletic Hall of Fame, which was held for the first time since 2018. Hall of Fame Co-Chair Mike Shea said it was the high school’s new principal, Ryan Shea, who pushed for the revival of the program.

The other Hall of Fame inductees are as follows: Jay Regan, class of 1970; Mark DaCosta (Deceased), class of 1974; Sue Silva, class of 1984; Jeremy Costa, class of 1995; Jessica (Smith) Pelenberg, class of 2004; Stacey Furtado, class of 2004; Justin Mello, class of 2009; Sean Sylvia, class of 2009; Garrett Allen, class of 2011; Kathryn Hiller, class of 2012; Riley Marion, class of 2012; Barry Haskell, Coaches Award; and Jeff Hoyle, Coaches Award.

Jay Regan played on the football, basketball and baseball teams back in the late ’60s and took the time Sunday night to reflect on his “reckless” behavior in his youth and the importance of embracing humility.

Regan told Hall of Fame attendees about his struggles with addiction which had “devastating” effects on his life. However, on Oct. 1, he will be celebrating 30 years of sobriety.

“It took me 25 years of sobriety — way longer than most — to forgive myself for being the despicable person I was when I was younger,” he said. However, he’s a “tough Dartmouth kid — that’s just fact.”

“It’s never too late to be who you intended to be,” Regan added. “Just don’t give up.”

Like Banquinho, Jessica Pelenberg grew up playing sports in Dartmouth and in high school was on the volleyball and basketball teams. 

Many of the inductees emphasized the sacrifices their families made in order for them to achieve their goals in their respective sports. Pelenberg recalls, “My AU tournaments turned into our ‘family vacations,’” and she thanked her family for their support throughout that time in her life.

Pelenberg said growing up and playing basketball in this town, “were some of the greatest times in my life.”

“I will always have a special place in my heart for the town of Dartmouth and the people who live here and support the girls basketball program and the people who supported me when I was just a girl,” she said.

“It was truly a magical place to grow up,” Pelenberg said, adding, “At least a small part of me will always remain in Dartmouth.”