On Wednesday night, family and friends gathered at Cascade Fine Catering to honor two former Hamden High School track and field athletes, Aaron Salinger (Class of ’99) and Courtney Dinnan-Knapp (Class of ’08) who were inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame sponsored by the Hamden Education Foundation. Both athletes were part of the fourteenth class of inductees that also included Stephen Geary (1964), a former football standout; Paul Panaroni (1977), also an ex-football standout; Craig Henrici (1971), a former hockey standout; Robert Deobil (1961), also a former football standout; Kassondra Silva (2008), an ex-softball standout; George Barone (posthumously, 1976), a former football star; and Vin Virgulto, the longtime former baseball coach.
Aaron Salinger (Class of ’99) and Courtney Dinnan-Knapp (Class of ’08)
Aaron Salinger is a graduate of Hamden High School, class of 1999. As a senior, Aaron set the Hamden High School pole vault record at 14’6.5” on his way to an undefeated season in which he won the SCC, Class L and State Open Indoor championships. In his outdoor season, Aaron won the Quinnipiac Division, SCC, Class LL, State Open and New England Championships. In addition to the school record, his clearance of 14’6.5” was also a CT State Open Meet Record. At the New England Championship meet, he vaulted a foot higher then the next closest competitor. His Indoor (14’6”) and Outdoor (14’6.5”) school records still stand at Hamden High School.
Aaron was recruited to pole vault at Brown University, where he was a 3-year letterman. His college best of 15’11” was third all-time at the university.
Aaron currently lives in Johnston, RI with his wife Sherrie and their two children, Nathan and Haley. He is a practicing chiropractor in Providence RI, where he owns and runs his clinic, Balance Chiropractic & Wellness Center.
Courtney Dinnan-Knapp, a 2008 graduate of Hamden High School, competed in cross-country and indoor and outdoor track, where she received All-State and All-New England honors.
Courtney attended the University of Connecticut on an athletic scholarship and ran cross-country and indoor and outdoor track all four years for the Huskies, and was captain of the cross-country team in her senior year. After graduating from UCONN in 2012 and with a season of cross-country eligibility remaining, Courtney attended Southern Connecticut State University where she ran and qualified for the NCAA Cross-Country Championships. She then served as an assistant coach at SCSU for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Courtney completed her Master’s Degree in Speech and Language Pathology at Mercy College in New York. She is currently employed by the East Haven Board of Education as a speech and language pathologist.
Courtney continues to run competitively, competing as a member of the soundRunner Racing Team. Over the last three years, she has competed in many racing events including six half marathons. In 2015 Courtney placed as the first female overall runner in the Cheshire Half-Marathon. Running in her second Hartford Half-Marathon, Courtney finished as fifth woman overall with a time of 1:20.24. She is looking forward to competing in more half-marathons and will be training for a full-marathon next year.
A complete list of all the Hamden Hall of Fame Inductees is available at the Hamden Education Foundation website.