Class of 1981
Donna Maruszak Roberts, Class of 1981, was a versatile athlete best remembered as the fastest sprinter in Green Wave girls’ track & field history.
Donna’s sports contributions at NMHS were scarcely limited to the track. A four-year member of the volleyball program, she earned her letter as a sophomore and junior for a state tournament-caliber net squad. Along the way, Donna developed court skills and a knack for strong net play to complement her height and jumping ability.
As a senior, she emerged as one of the league’s best players, earning team MVP and all-Western Connecticut Conference laurels for coach Bill Kraft’s Green Wave.
Yet it was on the track that Donna truly carved her niche in Green Wave sports annals. From the start of her freshman season through her final meet as a senior, she was a major point producer and clutch performer for a multi-talented Green Wave squad that, through Donna’s junior year, also featured fellow AHOF inductee Maggie Rinaldi-Chappuis.
Donna’s freshman year was literally a blur as her sprinting quickly became a significant force for the 10-1 Green Wave. She highlighted her rookie season at the WCC meet by contributing to the Green Wave’s victorious medley relay quartet, dashing to runnerup finishes in the 100 and 220 and running a leg on the team’s second-place sprint relay. Donna made her state debut at the class ‘M’ meet by racing to third place in the 100.
As a sophomore, Donna graduated to the head of her class by winning the WCC 100 and 220 and keying gold-medal sprint and medley relays.
She and her teammates proceeded to share WCC championships in both her junior and senior years. Her sweep of the 100, 200 and 400 meters played a huge role in a pivotal 65-62 victory over Weston during her junior season. She also peaked at the Big ‘B’ Invitational that spring with a 25.5 time in the 200 meters, still a school record nearly four decades later.
Donna reached the zenith of her WCC dominance at the 1982 league meet, winning the 100, 200 and 400 and anchoring the Green Wave’s 4 x 100 relay.
Competing during an era when there was no state open meet for girls, she went on to grab state ‘M’ runner-ups in the 200 and 400, in the process posting a career-best 58.1 in the latter event, and led the NMHS relays to strong finishes.
Donna’s senior year started slowly but she rallied to win another WCC 200-meter gold, earn second in the 100 and help her teammates to win the sprint relay. Of note, the WCC had instituted a three-event limit for athletes for the 1981 league meet, likely with Donna’s 1980 dominance in mind.
As a two-time team MVP, she closed the book on her Green Wave career with third place in the state ‘M’ 200 and fifth place in the sprint relay.
By the time Donna bid farewell to WCC competition, she had accumulated a remarkable 11 gold medals and four silvers. Taken in historic context, her best performances in the 200- and 400-meter runs established times that have long remained school records.
Following graduation, Donna opted for volleyball as her sport of choice at Southern Connecticut State University.