Poly Club Inducts Five into WPI Athletics Hall of Fame; Roberto Honored with Harrington Award

Hall of Fame Inductees - WPI Athletics 2022

The WPI Athletic Department, Poly Club, and Hall of Fame Selection Committee is proud to announce its 38th Class, the Class of 2020, 2021 and 2022. The five newest members were inducted on Saturday, May 21st as part of Alumni Weekend. 

The inductees include: Chris Bartley (Men's Basketball), Megan Forti '14 (Women's Soccer), Cherise Galasso (Women's Basketball Coach), Marshall Houskeeper '81 (Wrestling), and Noelle M. Richard (Women's Track and Field). To kick off the evening, Regina Roberto was recognized as the Frank C. Harrington (1898) Award recipient. 


CHRIS BARTLEY - Men's Basketball Head Coach

For two decades, Chris Bartley has guided a WPI men's basketball team that has been a mainstay at the top of the NEWMAC standings and on NCAA Tournament brackets come March.

The winningest coach in WPI men's basketball history, Bartley has led his teams to 11 NCAA Tournament appearances and has compiled 394 victories with a .720 winning percentage on the bench, including a 179-77 (.699) mark in NEWMAC play.

Under Bartley, the Engineers have been the NEWMAC regular season champions 10 times and have won NEWMAC Tournament won championships in 2005, 2006, 2013, when Bartley was named the Glenn Robinson Division III National Coach of the Year and most recently in 2022.

At the conference level, Bartley has been selected by his peers as NEWMAC Coach of the Year on six occasions, and has coached five NEWMAC Player of the Year winners, including Ryan Cain, who was the winner of the 2007 Jostens Trophy, given annually to the best Division III basketball student-athlete in the country.

Tasked with taking over a program that had gone winless the season before his arrival, Bartley quickly began a rebuild and by season three began a streak of 20 or more wins that lasted a jaw-dropping 13 straight seasons, at the time, the second longest streak of over the 400 men's basketball programs in Division III. 

"The success of the WPI Men's Basketball program under Coach Bartley has been unprecedented highlighted by winning 20 games for 13 consecutive seasons and a career winning percentage to date over 70%", remarked former Hall of Fame player and assistant coach Ryan Cain. "Coach Bartley recruits intrinsically motivated individuals who continue the tradition of playing hard, physical, tough and being the most prepared. With his engaging personality and ability to relate to people he has created a WPI Basketball Family that we are fortunate to be a part of."

His 2004-2005 team reached the Sweet 16 by defeating Western Connecticut in front of a raucous Harrington Auditorium crowd.  In 2012-13, Bartley's squad caught the imagination of the WPI community by rattling off 22 straight victories to start the season and a No. 2 ranking in the D3hoops.com Top 25 and just this past season in 2021-22, the Engineers posted a school record 27 wins en route to just its second Elite Eight appearance in school history, finishing with a top 10 national ranking.

One of the hallmarks of Bartley's teams has been their participation in community service, including a strong relationship with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization. In 2005, the men's basketball program was honored with WPI's Edwin B. Coughlin '23 Award for Community Service. Three years later, the group was recognized again during the university's annual Honors Convocation as recipients of the Denise Nicoletti Trustees' Award for Service to the Community. 

In addition to his coaching duties, Bartley has served as an Associate Athletic Director at WPI and on several key campus committees.


MEGAN FORTI '14 - Women's Soccer

It was clear from the early moments of her time at WPI that Megan Forti '14 was going to make a major mark on the Engineer's women's soccer program, and she certainly delivered over a decorated four-year career.

The first of Forti's 35 career goals for the Engineers was also the first of her 10 game-winners, and it jump-started a prolific rookie season that set the tone for her Hall of Fame tenure in Worcester. She finished her freshman campaign with a team-high 13 goals and 30 points, and was named both NEWMAC and ECAC DIII New England Rookie of the Year.

"Megan Forti is the type of player every coach wants on their team," said Corey Holton, who coached Forti and the Engineers during the 2012 season. "I had the great pleasure of coaching Meg during her junior year when she accumulated a team-high 15 points.  A fierce competitor, a tireless worker and an attacking threat on the field, Meg was exciting to watch and even more fun to coach.  She is more than deserving of this honor and I am happy to have been a small part of her career at WPI."

Building on her rookie campaign, Forti continued her assault on the WPI women's soccer record books. She finished her career with 35 goals and 88 points, both among the top-five in program history. In her senior season, she led the NEWMAC in goals (13), assists (9), and points (35). Her points total stands as the second highest individual season in WPI program history, and helped earn her a 2013 ECAC DIII All-New England 2nd Team selection.

"Megan was an impact player from day one, said current head coach Steph Riley-Schafer, Forti's coach her senior season of 2013. 'She was creative, smart and quick in her play. Those characteristics paired with her natural athleticism made her nearly unstoppable. As a coach, you knew you had a chance to win every game with an attacking presence like Megan on the field. Her love for the sport, our school and her teammates helped to set the standards our program still upholds today.

The 2013-14 WPI Varsity Club award winner, Forti was also a member of Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority. A chemical engineering major, Forti was a recipient of the Foisie scholarship for outstanding performance in science among engineering students.

Forti currently works as the Senior Manager, Technical Operations at Saniona, helping to develop ion channel modulators for the treatment of rare diseases and still plays soccer in a women's league with some former WPI teammates.


CHERISE GALASSO - Women's Basketball Head Coach

The all-time winningest coach in WPI Women's Basketball history, Cherise Galasso has been a pillar of the program for two decades.

Since taking the reins of the women's basketball program at the turn of the century, Galasso has won nearly 350 games on Boynton Hill.  She has led her teams to five NEWMAC championship game appearances, including a conference title and an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2016, when she was named New England Women's Basketball Association Coach of the Year.

Galasso first brought the Engineers to regional prominence in 2007 and 2009 with victories in the ECAC New England championships. Those same years, the Engineers were NEWMAC regular season champions, a feat they accomplished again in 2018. That team featured Ama Biney, who, under Galasso's watch, was a two-time NEWMAC Defensive Player of the Year and the 2018 NEWMAC Co-Athlete of the Year.

"What makes Cherise a great coach isn't found looking in the record books, it's the time she takes to invest in building relationships with each one of her players and the coaches on her staff," quipped long-time assistant coach Maegan Cook. "She is someone that I've learned a lot from these past 11 years, not only about basketball but life lessons".

The 2006-2007 squad won its final five conference contests to secure WPI's first-ever NEWMAC regular season title and first overall since a NEW-8 title in 1996.  The Engineers captured the ECAC New England crown with consecutive home victories over Nichols, Endicott and Wheaton.  It was déjà vu all over again two years later in 2009 as the Crimson and Gray rattled off six straight wins to reclaim the NEWMAC banner and then bested Colby-Sawyer, Emerson and Nichols to win their second ECAC title in three seasons.

The 2015-2016 campaign was a magical one for Galasso and her team as they started the season winning 20 of their first 21 games en route to equaling the 2008-2009 team's record for 24 wins in a season.  The Engineers earned national recognition by receiving votes in both the D3hoops.com Top 25 and USA Today Division III poll and established a new program-best winning streak with 18 straight triumphs.  After defeating Smith and Coast Guard in their first two NEWMAC Tournament games, WPI won its first conference championship tournament and NCAA berth with a pulsating 60-59 road win at Babson, scoring the winning basket of a diagramed play with just 7.3 seconds remaining.

Defense has always been a staple of Galasso's teams.  Just this past season, a year in which the Crimson and Gray went 19-6 and were again receiving votes in both national polls, they held opponents to under 50 points a game, yet again ranking in the top 20 nationally in team scoring defense.

Galasso, who also serves as an Associate Athletic Director and the department's Senior Woman Administrator, has emphasized service to the community. Her program has a partnership with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, participates annually in Relay for Life and the Worcester Cleanup service project, and has hosted the Central MA Special Olympics Championship.


MARSHALL HOUSKEEPER '81 - Wrestling

The WPI wrestling program would not be the New England powerhouse that it is today without the efforts of trailblazers like Marshall Houskeeper '81.

From 1978-1981, the heavyweight was at the top of a WPI wrestling team that consistently placed among the top five teams in New England's. Houskeeper himself was one of the strongest individual competitors in the region, and in 1979, he wrote himself into WPI lore when he became the first New England Champion for Hall of Fame Head Coach Phil Grebinar.

"Marshall Houskeeper was a perfect "closer" in finishing many dual meet wins for WPI Wrestling", commented Grebinar. "He always worked hard and set a perfect example for all team members as he was elected as one of the team captains in 1980-81. Special to me is that he was my first individual New England Champion (1979), beginning a great history of future wrestlers winning championships for WPI."

Houskeeper placed among the top six in New England in each of his four years, one of just 16 WPI wrestlers to garner All-Region four times.  His efforts helped lead the Engineers to a higher finish in three consecutive seasons, culminating in a 2nd place showing at the New England championships in 1981, when the team finished a program-best 18-2. 

Pins were the heavyweight's specialty as Houskeeper's name is all over the WPI wrestling record book. His 11 falls during his sophomore season of 1978-79, till share the program's all-time single season record as he produced those in just 17 dual meets (.647%). 

If you had dinner plans after the match that you couldn't miss, Houskeeper was your guy as he shares WPI's career mark with six pins under a minute, including two of 16 seconds or quicker.  He also had an impressive streak of four straight falls during his junior season of 1979-80, starting with Trinity and ending with Mass Maritime.

Overall he amassed 25 dual meet pins, ranking fourth all-time with a pin percentage of .472 in 53 dual meet bouts. With the large bounty of falls came impressive point totals as Houskeeper totaled 87 in 1978-79 and an eye-popping 247 in his career to rank sixth and tied for fifth respectively. 

"Marshall was a dominant heavyweight wrestler in New England while wrestling for WPI; a time when WPI competed against Division I, II, and III teams, recalled Grebinar. "He was a big guy who had good agility and athletic ability."

Houskeeper has had a distinguished career as a senior software engineer with extensive experience in designing and implementing real-time image processing and embedded systems. He has worked in both medical device development and video editing software development.


NOELLE M. RICHARD - Women's Track and Field

Noelle Richard '13 helped usher in a new era of women's track and field success at WPI. Her dedication to the program and commitment to excellence set the benchmark for future classes of Engineers to shoot for. Richard believed that being competitive on a conference, regional and national level was well within her and her teammate's capabilities, and she pushed everyone to achieve to their fullest potential.

Richard remains the school record holder in the 400 meters for both indoor (56.38) and outdoor (56.61) seasons. She qualified for the NCAA Track & Field Championships six times, and her best times in these two events would still qualify her for every NCAA Championship since she graduated. In 2011, she became the first ever Indoor New England Champion for the WPI women's program and was a two-time ECAC champion in the 400 meters as well.

"Noelle was a moose of an athlete in a diminutive frame," noted Head Coach Brian Chabot. "You always knew you were going to get her best in every race she ran and usually that meant a win. I can draw a straight line from Noelle joining us as a first year to the success we've seen, especially in our women's team, over the last 10 years. She was that important to our program."

After exhausting all of her track and field eligibility during her undergraduate years at WPI, Richard took up distance running and joined cross country for her graduate school year. Typically not an easy endeavor for a lifelong sprinter, Richard earned her spot on the team, was a top-7 runner all season, and was a member of the NCAA Regionals team. 

Richard excelled in the classroom and the community as well as on the track. She earned CoSIDA Academic All-District in three straight seasons, and was voted Academic All-American in 2013. She was a three-time USTFCCCA All-Academic honoree, made Dean's List in seven of her semesters, and graduated with High Distinction. Richard was a member of Pi Mu Epsilon Math Honor Society and was awarded the Robert Fellman Memorial Prize, the Varsity Club Award and the Carolyn McCabe Award.

Richard graduated in 2013 with high distinction and earned a bachelor's degree in Mathematical Sciences and a year later went on to earn a master's degree from WPI in Applied Statistics.  The Millbury native currently works as a Quality Engineer at The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, MA and continues to live in Central Mass, where she still enjoy running and also cycling and hiking. 


REGINA ROBERTO - Frank C. Harrington (1898) Award

This year's recipient is Regina Roberto, who retired as the Director of Health Services of WPI in June of 2002. 

Regina arrived at WPI after serving as the Women's Health Clinical Coordinator at Holy Cross and oversaw health services for nearly 20 years.  An important partner with the Athletic Training office within athletics, her skill, professionalism and leadership blended well with the not only our athletic trainer but also the Engineer coaching and student-athletes.  Regina impacted all of the athletic programs at WPI and her expertise would be showcased when the wrestling program would host multiple New England and NCAA Northeast Regionals and was she was integral in the planning of the medical policies and coverage. 

Her final months on Boynton Hill were spent helping the University understand and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.  Regina always went above and beyond to ensure that the concerns of the students were the top priority.