2020 SCSD Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees are Named
Posted on 01/15/2020
SCSD Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees are Named

2020 Schenectady City School District
Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees are Announced

The Schenectady City School District Athletic Hall of Fame Committee is pleased to announce that the 2020 inductees will be Ed Alger, Al Burnham and Joe Zelezniak. The dinner and ceremony is scheduled for September 14, 2020 at Glen Sanders Mansion.  The ceremony will also include a legacy tribute honoring the undefeated 1969-70 Linton High School basketball team.

About the Inductees

Ed Alger
ran on sectional championship cross-country and track teams at Mont Pleasant High School.  He was the 1952 state intersectional mile champion, after finishing third the year before.  He was the sectional mile champion in 1951 and 1952.  He was a two-time Section II cross-country champion, setting a course record while winning the 1950 title.  Alger finished fourth in the 1950 state intersectional cross-country race. Mont Pleasant was the runner-up.  He finished fifth in the 1951 state intersectional cross-country run when Mont Pleasant won the state title.  He won the Watertown Interscholastic Invitational Cross-Country Run in 1950, Poughkeepsie Road Race in 1950, Fordham Run in 1951, and Utica-Proctor Invitational Cross-Country Meet in 1951.  Alger was recruited by more than fifty colleges.  He selected Syracuse, where he ran cross-country.  He finished 46th in the 1953 NCAA Cross-Country Championships.  His Syracuse team finished third.  Alger finished 41st in the 1954 NCAA Cross-Country Championships, when Syracuse finished second.

Al Burnham was a standout player on two undefeated Nott Terrace High School football teams.  The 1953 team outscored opponents 277-6 and was inducted into the Capital Region Football Hall of Fame in 2019.  The 1954 team outscored opponents 193-33.  Burnham scored four touchdowns the game vs. Troy.  He was an all-county halfback in 1954, as well as a tough defensive back and linebacker.  He was also an outstanding baseball player at Nott Terrace.  He batted .500 as a senior and was a member of two league championship teams. He also wrestled as a junior, losing only one match.  Burnham was a member of the 1953 Niskayuna Post 1092 New York State American Legion Junior Baseball Championship team.  He was selected as the 1955 Junior Chamber of Commerce Senior Athlete of the Year.  He was signed by the Dodgers’ organization and played minor league baseball for parts of the 1957 and 1958 seasons.  He hit a homerun on the first pitch of his first professional baseball at bat.  He was also a superb softball player who was asked by pitching icon Eddie Feigner to pay with “The King & His Court” touring softball team.

Joe Zelezniak lettered in football, baseball and track at Mont Pleasant High School.  He was an all-county quarterback who played on two Class A league championship football teams.  He was the 1969 and 1970 state shot put champion and a two-time sectional champion.  He was undefeated as a junior and senior in the indoor and outdoor shot put.  He still holds the official Section II shot put record with a distance of 62’3”.  Zelezniak finished second in the 1970 state discus competition.  He was a two-time sectional discus champion setting the record in 1970.  Zelezniak was also the 1969 Eastern States shot put and discus champion.  He won the Eddy Meet shot put twice and discus once.  He graduated high school as the fifth best shot putter and eighth best discus thrower in state history.  He had a very successful career after high school.  He was once ranked as the number one shot putter in the Eastern U.S.  Zelezniak competed against Al Oerter, Michael Carter and Brian Oldfield.  He set the shot put record in many meets.  He won multiple Millrose Games and Dartmouth Relays.  Zelezniak finished third at the Olympic Sports Festival and fifth in the 1981 National Sports Festival.  He represented the U.S. in the European Indoor Championships, finishing fifth.  He also finished second in a U.S. vs. England dual meet.  Zelezniak won eight Empire State Games shot put gold medals.  He set the Empire State Games shot put record.  He finished ninth in the 1981 “World’s Strongest Man” competition.

The legacy tribute will honor the 1969-1970 Linton High School basketball team.  The team, coached by Schenectady City School District Athletic Hall of Famer Walt Przybylo finished the season undefeated with a record of 22-0 and was ranked No. 1 in New York.  Linton was led by 6’9” All-American Center Sidney Edwards, also a member of the athletic hall of fame.  He led the team in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots.  He later played at the University of Houston and with the Harlem Globetrotters.  The team is considered to be one of the greatest in Section II history.

Additional information on the inductees is available from the document container below.

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