This is the second in a multi-part series highlighting the newest members of the Berlin Athletic Hall of Fame.
Sarah Szczepanik Sayko, 1993
Sarah Szczepanik Sayko graduated from Berlin High School in 1993 where she was a three-sport athlete.
In volleyball, she was a tri-captain in 1992 and received the Ace Award with 102 for the season. The 1992 team was the Northwest Conference champion. Szczepanik also participated in gymnastics, and in 1991 was an All-Northwest Conference Selection. But the sport Szczepanik really excelled in was track and field.
At the time, the school did not have a track, so the team had to practice on the school’s asphalt parking lot. In 1990, she set the school record in the 4x100 in 52.5 seconds and duplicated it in 1991, a record that was not broken until 2008. In 1991, she also set the sophomore record in the 100 meters (12.9 seconds), which stood until 2006. In 1992, Szczepanik qualified for states in the 100-meter hurdles, 4x100 relay and the 300-meter hurdles.
In 1992 and 1993, she was a team co-captain and won the Coaches Award both years. During the 1993 season, Szczepanik made the All-Northwest Conference team for the 100-meter hurdles and was selected to the All-Herald area team. She set the school record for a senior in the 300-meter hurdles (47.44 seconds), which stood for 15 years, and was the state Class M champion in that event. Szczepanik was a three-time All-Northwest Conference selection for the 300-meter hurdles. She was the first Berlin athlete to compete in the CIAC heptathlon.
After graduating from Berlin, Szczepanik attended Wheaton College in Norton, Mass. where she was a member of the volleyball team for her four years, from 1993-96. In 1993 and 1994, the team was the New8 Conference champion and in 1994, was the ECAC Tournament champion. Szczepanik was a co-captain her senior year.
Szczepanik graduated from Wheaton College with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and from Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass with a Masters of Education as a consulting teacher of reading. She is currently a doctoral candidate in education at George Washington University in Washington D.C. Szczepanik is a senior research associate at RMC Research Corporation in Arlington, Va., which specializes in education research, program evaluation and technical assistance.
Szczepanik serves as the Deputy Director of the National Center on Improving Literacy as well as the West Virginia Sate Coordinator for the Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center, which helps the state Departments of Education implement the Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act and increase their capacity to assist districts and schools.
Szczepanik Sayko lives in Washington D.C. with her husband Joshua and their daughter Isla.
Cory Carlson, 1995
Cory Carlson graduated from Berlin High in 1995.
During his time at Berlin he was a member of the soccer, basketball and baseball teams. In soccer, Carlson was a four-year participant, receiving All-Northwest Conference and Defensive Player of the Year honors his senior year. He was also a member of the basketball team for three years, from 1992-94.
As a four-year member of the baseball team, Carlson had a career pitching record of 18-1 and was a tri-captain his senior year. He was an All-Northwest Conference selection two times, 1994 and 1995. In 1994, Carlson received the Outstanding Pitcher Award, and in 1995, he was a CHSCA/Hartford Courant All-State selection as a pitcher and was selected to play in the CHSCA All-Star game. The 1995 baseball team was the Class M state champion with a 22-1 record and was the No. 1 ranked team in the state.
Carlson was the recipient of the Richard E. Patterson Award, which named after the first Berlin High graduate to have sacrificed his life in World War II. It is awarded to a senior who has shown outstanding ability in the field of sports, good scholarship, good sportsmanship on and off the field and has been a credit to Berlin High School.
After graduating from Berlin, Carlson went to Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla. where he was a varsity starter for his four years and a tri-captain his senior year. He graduated in 1999 with his Bachelors of Arts in sociology and in 2003, received his masters degree in U.S. History from the University of New Haven.
In 1999, Carlson became the pitching coach for the Berlin American Legion team and continued in that position until 2011. During that time, the team won six zone championships, two state championships, one regional title and one World Series berth in Fargo, N.D. Carlson has been a pitching instructor for the Berlin Little League, helping to develop the pitching skills of numerous Berlin youth ages 7-12.
Carlson has been a history teacher at Northwest Catholic since 2004 and has been the head baseball coach since he started and is going into his 15th season. During his tenure as the baseball coach, Carlson’s teams have appeared in 14 consecutive state tournaments, have five conference championships and two state titles, in 2010 and 2015. His current record at Northwest Catholic is 208-108. He has also been coaching the CT Moose 18u team since 2016.
The Berlin Athletic Hall of Fame induction dinner is scheduled for April 22 at the Aqua Turf, 556 Mulberry St., Plantsville. For ticket information, contact Marie Siegal at (860) 828-1115 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit bhshalloffame.org