First Dynamic Duo In OFA Girls Sports, Teams Enshrined Together
BY DAVE SHEA
When the Ogdensburg Free Academy/St. Mary's Academy Athletic Hall of Fame inducted its second class recently it welcomed its first inductees from female athletics at OFA.
It was fitting that Becky Skelly Wassus (Class of 1974) and the late Marilyn May Ferguson (Class 1975) were inducted together.
They formed the first dynamic duo in Blue Devil Girls Basketball and helped jump start girls sports into a place of prominence in the community energizing the 1974 girls basketball team which went 12-0. They also established a standard for backcourt play which has continued uninterrupted to the present time.
May Ferguson was a member of the 1974 and 1975 OFA Girls Basketball teams which were the first OFA girls teams to be inducted in the hall of game. Becky Skelly Wassus was a member of the 1974 team which also set the standard for excellence in team play as programs and rivalries developed throughout Section 10..
May Ferguson was a standout athlete in basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball graduating in 1975.
In basketball she was a big part of the Girls' Basketball 19-game winning streak. She was the leading scorer in basketball in 1974 and 1975 and the Team MVP in Basketball in 1974.
"May was talented but also a spark plug and leader. She was coachable and an excellent example of a team player."
She planned to take those attributes into the military as she enlisted in the Army after graduation but never had a chance to apply her talents and attributes to a career. She tragically died from complications after surgery at the age of 19.
Her qualities are remembered each year by OFA as the May (Marilyn) Ferguson Outstanding Female Senior Athlete Award is presented to a graduating student-athlete who personifies teamwork, dedication to Girls Athletics, team leadership, a good work ethic and is an unselfish, exceptional female athlete.
"May Ferguson was part of our dynamic duo. She led the team in points and assists. She had tremendous intensity and could pick the team up at any time. She was a great example for younger players," said her high school coach Penny (Raftis) Sharrow at the induction ceremony.
"She lived for teamwork and she was a lot of fun."
BECKY SKELLY WASSUS
As an 1974 OFA graduate Becky Skelly Wassus only had one school year to play Blue Devil sports but definitely made the most of the opportunity. She participated in basketball, softball and volleyball and was captain of every team.
She teamed with May Ferguson in the high energy and high impact guard combination of the undefeated 1974 girls basketball team and was the MVP of the 1974 Girls Softball team.
Tehe depth of athleticism also matured and travelled well. She won an American Gladiator competition in Georgia at age 35.
She played in Women's Softball teams for many years. She was a house wife, mother and grand mother and pursued a career in New York State Department of Corrections where she retired.
"It was awesome to watch Becky play with May. They were definitely a dynamic duo," said Becky's coach Penny Sharrow.
"I had a great time as a player. Thanks to everyone who helped me," said Becky Skelly Wassus at the induction ceremony.
"We had a lot of fun together."
1974-75 GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAMS
The 1974 OFA Girls Basketball team, coached by Penny (Raftis) Sharrow posted a 12-0 record as Northern League and Section 10 Champions and the first undefeated girls basketball team in Section 10.
The team's co-captains were: Ruth Nichols and Becky Skelly and the team leaders were: May Ferguson - high scorer and MVP, Becky Skelly - assist leader, Lisa Boyer - leading rebounder and Peg Langley - Most Improved Player.
Other members of the team were: Sheila Shea, Maureen Sharrow, Carla Swan, Kathy O'Reilly, Cindy Lauson, Liz Stuckey and Sandy Ferguson.
The 1975 team was also coached by Penny (Raftis) Sharrow and went 10-2 as Northern League Division A Champions, set the OFA Girls Basketball for points in a game at 72 and was part of a 19-game winning streak, Team members were Kathy O'Reilly, Lisa Boyer, Sandy Ferguson, Peggy Langley, Luz Stuckey, Sheila Shea, Mary Skelly, Cindy Lauson, Carla Swan, Debbie Lewis, May Ferguson, Polly Briggs and Maureen Sharrow.
Lisa Boyer and May Ferguson were team Co-Captains and Co-MVPs. Boyer led the team in scoring, Ferguson led the team assists and Peg Langley led the team in rebounding and was honored as Most Improved Player.
"These players made the first step in the long journey for girls sports. They were pioneers and this honor is well deserved. They had talent and high energy and started an era of outstanding girls basketball at OFA. From 1974-1979 OFA teams won four straight titles and went 71-15," said Coach Penny (Raftis) Sharrow.
"They set the bar high and they were there for each other. I was blessed."