EAST ORANGE, NJ – The East Orange Hall of Fame will hold its second Hall of Fame induction on November 24 at Cicely Tyson School of the Performing and Fine Arts.
The inductees in the sports category include Michael Booker, Thomas Dean, Chris Fletcher, Charles Hinton, Robert “Bob” Lester, Larry Shumacher, Sr., Raquel Vassell, Troy Webster, and Lance Wigfall.
The following are their biographies::
Christopher “Chris” Fletcher was born on December 25, 1948 in Morristown, New Jersey. He and his brother, the late Kevin Fletcher, completed their early education in Madison, NJ and Morristown, NJ before their family moved to East Orange.
Chris attended East Orange High School and was a member of the Track and Football teams. Chris’ dedication to football enabled him to play both ways: offense and defense. Chris graduated in the EOHS Panther, Class of 1966. He received a scholarship to Temple University. In 1970, Chris was drafted in the ninth round of the 1970 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. He played seven seasons with the Chargers from 1970-1976. During his career he amassed 13 interceptions, including one which he returned for a touchdown.
After football, Chris worked for 10 years as a Regional Sales Manager for Johnson-Wax. Although he is a New Jersey native, Chris enjoys fishing and warm weather. He has one son named Christopher.
Charles Hinton exemplified skill, speed, and athleticism, distinguishing himself both on and off the gridiron. As a remarkably talented running back deluxe player, his coaches often described Hinton as “all-everything,” including All-American. An explosive runner, Charles Hinton was named by the Star-Ledger as one of the top running backs of the decade. He was named to the All-County, All-State and All-American Teams.
After graduating from East Orange High School in 1969, Charles led the Arizona Western College Matadors to a 9-0 record, a No. 2 national ranking, and the championship of the Arizona Junior College Conference. After participating in the Shrine Bowl in Savannah, Georgia, Charles Hinton was recruited to USC, where he became a key member of the Trojans 1972 National Championship Team coached by John McKay. As noted by author Bill Block, “An Immortal Team of Mortal Men”, Hinton showed the nation what a “Jersey” East Orange football player could do!
Charles was a hybrid! McKay played Charles in both offense and defense.
In the 1972 Rose Bowl, USC, both undefeated and untied, Charles “Sugarbear” Hinton was stellar! He was then invited to play in a starter position on the 1972 College All-Stars, who played against the undefeated-untied Miami Dolphins.
From Charles’ point of view, the mind-set of the team is that you approach each game as a business. Subsequently, after professional careers in both the NFL (Broncos) and the WFL (Portland Storms), Hinton joined major Fortune 500 consumer product companies including: Johnson & Johnson, Durkee Foods, Scott Paper, Dr. Pepper, and Pepsi Co. as a Regional Sales and Marketing Manager covering the West Coast and Alaska. He also has given numerous motivational speeches, mentoring young athletes in Arizona and Portland. Charles enjoys seeing the passion in their eyes and the joy for the sport.
Charles Hinton lives with his wife, Cynthia, in California. They have four adult children and eight grandchildren.
Michael L. Booker was born to Henry and Margaret Booker on July 8, 1957 in East Orange, New Jersey. Mike was educated in the East Orange Public School System. He began his high school career starting as a freshman on an undefeated JV team that won the Big Ten conference and JV county championship. He started varsity his sophomore year under Coach Robert Lester and led the team in rebounding and averaged over 10 points a game. East Orange lost to Central in the Essex County Championship but went on to win the 1973 Group 3 State Championship, 68-54, against North Burlington High School, finishing No. 4 in the Star-Ledger poll with a 25-5 record.
During his junior year, Mike was named co-captain and helped lead East Orange to an Essex County Championship when they beat an undefeated Orange team, 76-72. Orange had beat EO twice during the Big Ten season which made the win a huge upset. East Orange went on to win the Group 4 State Championship against Neptune, 73-71, on a last-second shot by teammate Tyler Jenkins. Mike led the team in scoring, averaging over 19 points a game and was named First Team All-County and First Team All Group 4. East Orange finished No. 2 in the state behind an undefeated Camden team.
The 1975 team was referred to as the East Orange Express, scoring over 100 points in eight games, including four games in a row early in the season. East Orange won the Big Ten and Essex County Championship with a win over an undefeated Essex Catholic 92-85, which is still the highest scoring game in ECT history. East Orange was finally derailed in the State final by Lakewood, 72-71, snapping a 39-game winning streak and denying EO a fourth straight State Championship. Mike had given EO its only lead in the game on a baseline jumper with eight seconds left before eventually losing on two foul shots with one second remaining. EO finished the season 29-1, No. 2 in the state and No. 9 nine in the country. Mike averaged 22.5 points, 10.7 rebounds and 4.8 assists a game during his senior season. He scored a career-high 41 points in a 106-71 win over eventual Group 1 State champion Clifford J. Scott High School. He led EO to a Group 3 Section 1 championship by scoring 37 points against a strong Union Hill team. Mike completed his high school career as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,443 points. He was named first team All-Big Ten, first team All-County, First Team All-State, Worrall Publications Player of the Year, CYO Player of the Year and Men of Essex award winner for Best Athlete in the county. Mike was also named to the Star-Ledger’s 1970s All-Decade Team. He was a member of the National Honor Society, Yearbook Editor and was voted “Most Popular”. He graduated from the East Orange High School, Class of 1975.
Mike received a full basketball scholarship to attend Northern Illinois University to play in the Mid-American Conference. He started 12 games during his freshman year at Northern Illinois University before transferring back home in 1977 to play for Coach Richie Adubato at Upsala College in East Orange, NJ. Upsala made it to the Division 3 NCAA tournament all three years he played. He was named captain his last two years. They lost to North Park, Illinois in the 1980 Division 3 Championship game in Rock Island, Illinois. Mike led the team in scoring his junior year with an 18-points-per-game average. He was selected First Team All-East during his junior season. He had a career-high 34 points in a loss to Stony Brook University his senior year. Mike became the sixth player to score 1,000 points at Upsala and finished his career scoring 1,233 points. Mike graduated from Upsala College in 1980 with a degree in Business Administration.
Mike has worked 38 years as a Casino Manager at Harrah’s Atlantic City. He is a Day One team member who was recognized in 1998 with the company’s highest honor: “Chairman’s Award” for community service. He was the co-founder of Operation H.E.L.P (Harrah’s Employees Love People). The committee is comprised of over 100 team members who became actively involved with many local non-profit organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, American Cancer Society, Salvation Army, Atlantic County Food Bank and Blue Jeans for Babies, to name a few. Mike received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Salvation Army in 2007. He was a basketball coach for P.A.L from 2005-2010 and has retired from refereeing high school basketball for 15 years.
Mike currently resides in Galloway, New Jersey. He has been married 35 years to his high school sweetheart, Angela Nichols, Class of 1976 and Casino dealer in Atlantic City. They have three children, Lauren Allen-Booker (Vice President Impact Investment in San Francisco), Justin Booker, (Director Health Care and Volunteer Fireman in Long Island) and Tara Boros Booker, (professional basketball player/coach in Luxemburg).
LANCE T. WIGFALL
Lance T. Wigfall was born in Jersey City, NJ, March 4, 1985, to the parents of Marlene Milford and Rubin Wigfall and older brother to Jessica and Tiara Wigfall, Michael Davis and father to daughter Kendall Wigfall. During his early stages of life, he moved to East Orange, NJ, with his mother, where he was enrolled in the East Orange School District to further his academic career as the stepping-stones to prepare him for the real world. It was not before long that Lance found a liking to the sport of track and field, as it did not take long before he turned a liking of the sport, into the love of his life where he elevated onto high standings in the sport. At the end of Wigfall’s junior year, he became one of the top 400-meter runners in the state of New Jersey as well as the country, as he broke the New Jersey indoor state record in the 400 with the time of 47.19 and held it for eight years. Wigfall won three State Titles in the 400-meter dash, multiple championships in Essex County as well as in the Iron Hill Conference.
After high school, Lance decided to further his education at Montclair State University, as well as continue his athletic career under the late Gerald “Beenie” Benson. Upon the conclusion of his freshman year at MSU, and talking with family members and different mentors, Lance transferred to Lincoln University of Pa., to complete his Bachelor’s of Science in Health and Physical Education. Lance also competed under the leadership of the NCAA Hall of Fame Coach Cyrus D. Jones. During his stay at Lincoln University, he became a 16-time All-American in college, combined with both Montclair State and Lincoln University. Wigfall, a three-time New Jersey Meet of Champions 400 winner in high school and a multiple college All-American, has quickly shown that he is just as impressive as a coach as he was as a record-breaking sprinter.
After coaching stints at Lincoln in Jersey City for one year, and at Weequahic HS in Newark for four years, Wigfall returned to his alma mater at East Orange Campus High School as head cross-country coach and assistant track coach in 2013. Wigfall then became the head track and field coach at East Orange Campus HS during the 2015-2016 indoor track and field seasons, and promptly led the Jaguars into being one of the best programs in the country with the following accomplishments: 3-time Group 4 Indoor Track and Field State Champs (2015, 2017, 2018); New Jersey Coach of the Year in 2016, 2018; 7-time National Champs (3 times during the winter track and field, 4 times during the spring track and field season); 6-time Coach of the Year for the Essex County Coaches Association; 6-time Group 4, Section 2 State Champs (2 times during winter track and field, 4 times during the spring track and field season); 6-time Essex County Champs (2 times during winter track and field, 4 times during the spring track and field season); 5-time Super Essex Conference Champs (2 times during winter track and field, 3 times during the spring track and field season); Fastest American team at the Penn Relays two years in a row (2017, 2018), undefeated season during the 2018 winter season, ranking as NJ #1, and only taking one loss during the 2018 spring track and field season, during the NJSIAA Group 4 State Championship.
During the day, you can find Coach Wigfall walking the halls of East Orange Campus HS as the In-School Suspension Coordinator, encouraging students to continue the academic road of success by always telling them to “See It Through.” This motto of his came from his favorite poem by the late Edgar A. Guest from which he learned as he became a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. Eta Pi Chapter, Montclair NJ, also known as “The Community Ques.” Other than helping student-athletes achieve their goals by giving them a memory of a lifetime through the sport of track and field, Lance can be found spending quality time with his pride and joy Kendall Wigfall. His goal is to ensure that her road to success can be just as reachable as his was, but with greater rewards.
LARRY SCHUMACHER Sr.
Born in Rich Square, North Carolina, Larry Schumacher Sr. lived most of his life in East Orange, New Jersey. He attended Stockton and Columbian Public Schools in East Orange and was a graduate of Bishop Walsh Essex Catholic High School. Larry was a natural athlete. While attending Essex Catholic, he excelled in lettering in three sports: basketball, football, and track & field for which he held a state record for 20 years in shot put and discus. He was named First Team All-City and All-State. Larry was awarded the prestigious “Men of Essex Award” as the outstanding scholar athlete in Essex County, ’66. Larry was recruited by 60 different colleges. His choice was the University of Notre Dame, in South Bend, Indiana.
As a member of the Fighting Irish football team at Notre Dame, Larry’s accomplishments included the Herring Award, New Jersey’s Selected All-American, Independent Colleges All-American, and Midwest All-American and was their first black football defensive captain. Larry graduated with a B.S. in Economics and M.S. in Counseling Psychology.
Larry served as an Assistant Coach in 1970 at Notre Dame, was named Essex Coach of the Year by the East Orange Record in 1992 and 1996, and the Star-Ledger in 1992 and 1996. In 1997, he was named Coach of the Year by the East Orange Irish Association. He was inducted into the Newark Athletic Hall of Fame, Essex Catholic Foundation Hall of Fame, received the Notre Dame Centennial Award, and appointed as Honorary Head Coach of the North-South Football Classic. Larry also served as head football coach at the following high schools in New Jersey: Clifford J. Scott, Essex Catholic, Summit, Central and as the first head coach at East Orange Campus.
Larry worked with the Medger Evers College, Summit, Newark and East Orange School Districts, and the Essex County Vocational School. He served as a Senior Manager with Munford & McGrady, Inc., in Newark, NJ and as a Career Education Counselor with the State Department of Education. In 1998, Larry was appointed by the Honorable Robert L. Bowser, Mayor of the City of East Orange, New Jersey, to serve as a City Official in the position of Director of Recreation & Cultural Affairs, which he held until his passing on September 4, 2010.
Larry was the Co-Founder/Administrator of the Annual Paul Robeson Football Classic. He was the only member of the Men of Essex Organization who was also a recipient of the Men of Essex Award. Larry served on the Essex Catholic High School Foundation and as a member of the Notre Dame Monogram Club.
Schumacher achieved distinction as the first African-American defensive captain in Notre Dame Football. Larry’s career and life’s work were dedicated to the enrichment and development of youth through academic and athletic achievement. So as a memorial, the Larry C. Schumacher, Sr. Student Athlete Scholarship Foundation (LCSSSASF) was formed. The Foundation’s mission is to support the higher education aspirations of deserving student athletes from Essex County High Schools.
Troy Webster grew up playing basketball in Elmwood Park where his basketball skills were developed by the likes of his father, Leon Webster; Harry James, George Ramsey, Lou Miles, Bill Oliver and countless others. Troy attended Our Lady of the Valley High School where they won the county and state championships. He graduated from Clifford J. Scott High School in 1982 after leading the school to back-to-back state basketball championships. Troy went on to graduate from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. with a bachelor’s degree in communications before he was drafted by the New Jersey Nets. Troy’s time with the New Jersey Nets was cut short by a career-ending knee injury.
Since then, Troy has been very successful in construction and development, even after carving out the five years of dedicated service to the City of East Orange. From 2008 to 2013, Troy served as Zoning Officer, Ombudsmen of Redevelopment, City Business Administrator and Aide to Mayor Robert Bowser.
Troy has been married to Siobhan Webster for 30 years, has two children and two granddaughters.
Tom Dean graduated from Sidwell Friends School in 1947 and attended Bucknell University. He was the quarterback of the 9-0 1951 Bucknell football team, and he became the fourth member of that team’s offensive backfield to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
After graduation, Tom found his passion again in football, but this time as a coach. He began coaching in Pennsylvania. He also coached in Maryland. But, it was his coaching stint at a Group 4 high school in New Jersey that solidified his legacy.
Tom Dean became the head football coach at East Orange High School in 1960. During his first season, he defeated a ranked Orange football team that went 8-1.For the next few years, East Orange would post multiple-win seasons playing against some of New Jersey’s top programs in Belleville, Nutley, Montclair, and Phillipsburg. Then, in 1963, with High School All-American Jim Oliver, Coach Dean earned his first New Jersey #1 ranking. The victory against Montclair that year is said to be one of the best New Jersey high school football games ever played.
In 1967, East Orange was ranked #1 and undefeated as it entered its traditional Thanksgiving Game against Barringer High School. The game was played in a torrential downpour, and ended in a 13-13 tie. However, based on the Panthers’ wins over ranked teams Montclair and Phillipsburg that year, Coach Dean was awarded his second New Jersey #1 ranking.
The following year, in 1968, the Panthers posted an undefeated season, earning Coach Dean his third New Jersey #1 ranking in five years. East Orange would be one of a few programs in New Jersey history to win back-to-back state football championships in 1967 and 1968, and Tom Dean would go on to earn numerous awards and recognition for his coaching success.
Throughout the years, Coach Dean remained in close contact with his East Orange players, often catching a train from Maryland to join them in triumph and tragedy. He remains as one of the most notable figures in New Jersey football history.
ROBERT “BOB” LESTER
Coach Robert “Bob” Lester attended Central High School in Newark, NJ (1962-64). He was the starting center for the 1963-64 NJSIAA Group 4 state championship basketball team that finished with a 26-1 record and ended their season as the No. 1 team in the state of New Jersey. After graduation from high school, Bob Lester attended and graduated from Ft. Scott Jr. College (1966) and Montclair State College (1969). During his years at Montclair State University, Coach Lester played three years of varsity basketball with a final record of 64-16. It should be noted that during his senior year, his team won a school-record of 24 games and gained the NCAA College Division Eastern Regional Championship that competed in the NCAA College Division Final 8.
Bob Lester holds all the rebounding records at Montclair State University, which includes: most career rebounds (1, 271), most rebounds in a season (516) and most rebounds in a single game (35). From 1969-1972, Bob Lester served as an Assistant Varsity Basketball Coach at Montclair State University.
Bob Lester’s professional teaching career began in September 1969-1977, at East Orange High School. Subsequently, Bob started his interscholastic coaching career in 1971-72 as the Head Boys’ Basketball Coach. It is to his credit that Coach Bob Lester won the NJSIAA Section Championship, 8 times. As East Orange High School’s head coach, Bob secured the most consecutive wins (39), captured the best two-season record (56-1) and is a seven-time winner of the Essex County Tournament championship. During his tenure with the Panthers, Coach Lester participated in the Essex County Tournament as finalists 10 times in 16 years. His teams were the conference champions (8 times), conference runners-up (5 times), nationally-ranked three times (1974-75, 1975-76, and 1976-77). He was named five times as Coach of the Year! His six-year record at East Orange High School is 159-19.
Bob relocated to Atlantic City, New Jersey where he was a teacher and boys’ varsity basketball coach from 1977-1979. During the years of 1979-2003, Bob Lester became a teacher/counselor and coached the boys’ varsity basketball, cross-country and girls’ volleyball teams at Montclair High School. He retired from coaching at Montclair High School in 1989. Bob Lester ended his 18-year interscholastic coaching career with a record of 374 wins and 98 losses. His overall interscholastic basketball coaching accomplishments include winning the NJSIAA State Championships (4 times), NJSIAA State Runner-up (3 times) and NJSIAA State Finalist (7 times).
In 1985 and 1989, Coach Lester was recognized and awarded by the Essex County Freeholders for Outstanding Coaching Efforts, selected as the Basketball Coach of the Year by Star-Ledger; in 2003, chosen as Essex County Basketball Coach of the Half Century by Worrall Publication and acknowledged, in 2004, as Retired Essex County Coach of the Year. Coach Lester has been elected to:The Montclair State College Athletic Hall of Fame (1981), the Newark Athletic Hall of Fame (2003), Ft. Scott (Kansas) Community College Hall of Fame (2005) and the NJSIAA Athletic Hall of Fame (2010).
Bob Lester is very passionate about giving back to the communities in which he served and his contribution to interscholastic athletics is remarkable. Besides being a teacher/coach, he frequently speaks at various events, including town councils, civic and community groups, elected officials and athletic camps that includes lecturing to high-risk teenagers, at the Essex County Youth Detention Center.
Coach Lester lectured on “Successful Strategies for Coaches” as part of the Coaches Clinic sponsored by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association in the 1970s and 1980s. Additionally, he has written several articles for various basketball magazines, which were read by players as well as coaches.
Coach Lester has given introductory speeches for several former athletes who were inducted into various Halls-of-Fame, including the introduction speech for last year’s East Orange Hall of Fame inductee, Mike Dabney, who was also inducted into Rutgers University Basketball Hall of Fame. After his coaching retirement, in 1989, Coach Lester was the keynote speaker for the Men of Essex Athletic Banquet.
Bob Lester continues to contribute and stay current with the happenings in interscholastic athletics. He attended a workshop sponsored by the NJSIAA in Robbinsville where he learned strategies used to inform student-athletes about the harmful effects of drug use, including the DARE Program. Information and strategies were presented to teachers, coaches and athletes from various schools throughout New Jersey.
After teaching for 35 years, Coach Robert “Bob” Lester retired in 2003 and lives in Powderspring, Georgia. He married in 1971 and is the father of three children, seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Racquel Vassell is the daughter of Mark Vassell and Yvette Hines Arscott. She was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, where she spent the first 11 years of her early childhood while attending elementary and middle school. Racquel is no stranger to track and field, as she has been running since the age of 3. Throughout this period, Racquel only competed for her school and church during sporting events. It was not until Racquel was in sixth grade that she joined her school’s official track and field team. Her passion and desire grew for the sport, as this gave her the opportunity to enjoy what she loved and a chance to bond with her friends during track practice. In her last year of middle school, Racquel learned that after graduation she would be emigrating to the United States along with her mother.
In the fall of 2001, Racquel and her mother emigrated to New Jersey, and has since then, lived with her step-father, Donald Arscott, siblings and mother. During her first year-and-a-half in America, Racquel had a hard time adjusting, but she persevered through prayer and the help of her parents. Racquel’s breakthrough came during the spring quarter of the seventh grade, when her school hosted a field day event where she was able to showcase her talent in track and field. It was this event that led to her gaining to respect of her peer and other attendees.
Track and field really took off for Racquel when she attended a tryout event for the East Orange Dragon track team along with her siblings. Upon her arrival, no one knew what to expect nor could they have anticipated the outcome. To her surprise, Racquel had to compete with young boys, which for her was a first. Nevertheless, she landed first place, leaving everyone in shock and the boys definitely upset. This was her defining moment; she had made quite an impact and a lasting impression.
As her passion and desire grew, her focus and drive increased, but success did not come easily. She was patient, dedicated in her training and she sought every opportunity to improve. At the completion of her only club track season, Racquel ended with a personal best in the 200-meter dash in San Francisco, Calif.
Racquel was very excited to enter high school but little did she know what God had in store for her in this next phase of her life. High school was a transition for Racquel as far as track and field was concerned, but she overcame each obstacle in strides. High school brought on a new level of challenges both in school and track. She approached her first track meet with much anxiety and butterflies in her stomach, but this proved to be where her dominance in the sport was birthed. Winning did not come easy for Racquel; she had to earn it working earnestly to compete with her teammates and competitors on the big “stage.” Humbly, she took her time to grow and perfect her craft. Racquel was known as a sprinter, but the event she struggled with the most was the very event which brought her a state title. Through her freshman and sophomore year of high school, she worked earnestly to get better as a sprinter. Her coach, Arthur James, took the time to help develop her skills in the sprints, beginning with building her endurance, restructuring her technique and perfecting her start. During this time, Racquel felt uncertain of how talented she was, but she had a great support system. Her growth led to her asking her coach if she could try doing the hurdles, but little did she know it would not come so easy. In the initial stages of her hurdle development, Racquel wanted to quit, but her coaches encouraged her to keep working at it. Racquel’s first setback with her new events was the difficulty she initially had making Coach Richard Kirton’s shuttle hurdle team. It was discouraging but she knew her time would come when she would join her teammates on the track.
The latter part of her high school years were the defining moments in Racquel Vassell’s track and field career. Racquel rose to becoming one of New Jersey’s most promising student-athlete topping in her various events. Approaching the indoor season of her junior year, Racquel anticipated her performance for the fall and at what level. Her season started well, as she was improving as a sprinter and hurdler weekly, gradually meeting the expectations of both her coaches and those held for herself. Individually, she topped the performance list but her best and favorite moments were shared with her teammates. One of her most memorable moments was when her and her teammates won their first Melrose Games title in the 4×400 relay. Vassell and her 4×400 relay team had the fastest time in the nation on a flat track. Following that performance, Vassell was inspired to keep growing and improving upon her best as an athlete. In the outdoor season, Vassell added another event to her list, the long jump. Once again, she exceeded her own expectations, becoming one of the top long jumpers, hurdlers and sprinters in the state of New Jersey.
Approaching her senior of high school, Vassell knew she had to improve both in school and on the track. This was the year everything counted where all her studying and practicing would speak for itself. As the season began, Racquel came out the door excelling. In her individual performance, Vassell was making a name for herself and continuously improving. Her most significant event that year was the hurdles; she only lost one race that season. She was a great competitor and a wonderful team player. As the season progressed, Vassell was named top performer of the week in the county and the state. At the Essex County Championship she won four gold medals and broke three meet records in the same day. Vassell was the defending state Meet Champion in the hurdle both indoor and outdoor. At the completion of her senior year, Racquel Vassell had become not only a top performer in New Jersey, but also in the nation.
In the spring of 2007, Vassell received a full scholarship to Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia. College was a bitter-sweet experience for Racquel because success once again, did not come easily. Vassell’s freshman year of college was her coming out story. She was one of the top performers in her conference and on the East Coast at the end of her outdoor season. During the indoor season of her sophomore year, she established a name for herself. At this point Vassell thought she was making strides towards becoming one of Hampton University’s top performers both at the conference and national level but the course changed. In the outdoor season of the same year going into her junior year of the track and field season, success was stagnant. The events Racquel thought she would have succeeded in, rather flatlined. She had tremendous success in the long jump from her freshman into her senior year. In her final year of college, Vassell ran a personal best in the 60-meter hurdles and jumped a personal best in the long jump as well.
Now Racquel Vassell is a dedicated Minister serving at The Rock Place where she’s a school teacher. Vassell still enjoys working out because she loves running track. She gives thanks to God for the wonderful opportunities she had through track and field. She thanks her parents, siblings, extended family and coaches for their continuous support. She gives a special thank you to her step-father who granted her the opportunity of a lifetime by making it possible for her to migrate to the United States and therefore paving the way for her success.
2005 Essex County Champion (indoor); 2006 Essex County Champion (indoor and outdoor); 2006 3rd in the nation in 4×200 meter (indoor); 2006 The Men of Essex Track Athlete of the Year; 2007 Essex County Athlete of the Year; 2007 All-Around Performer of the Year; 2007 NJ Meet of Champion (indoor and outdoor) hurdler; 2007 Finalist of the Gatorade Athlete of the Year; 2007 5th in the nation in 55 meter hurdles (indoor); 2007 The Men of Essex Athlete of the Year; 2008-2009 MEAC Outstanding Performer (indoor and outdoor 2010 New Balance Collegiate Invitational Winner (long jump); 2011 16th in the Nation in 60 meter hurdles (indoor); 2011 2nd Team All-American (NCAA)