Mika Conley Mannix is guarded by sister Terry during the womens championship game at the Tanneberger.
For the 35 years following the death of Westport native Dr. Thomas Tanneberger, community and alumni have returned to the Eagles homecourt to pay tribute to him through basketball and fundraising.
The 35th Annual Dr. Thomas Tanneberger Alumni Basketball Tournament will take place Saturday, March 15, with games starting at 1 p.m. featuring teams comprised of alumni from the school.
Carol Schwoebel, Tanneberger’s sister, and her husband Jeff have been working as tournament organizers for many of the 35 years and are joined on the Tanneberger Scholarship board by Jim Forcier, Pete Frisbie, Michael Tyler and William McHone.
“It’s an incredible feeling knowing how the community has supported the scholarship efforts started by Tom’s friends 35 years ago,” Carol said. “The tournament started as a way to honor Tom, his spirit and love of athletics, academics and community. The annual alumni basketball and golf tournaments have been a perfect way to reach out to others in Tom’s honor while supporting scholarship efforts.”
Alumni participating in the tournament are asked to sign in by noon March 15. There will be sign-in during an open gym for alumni players at the school from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday evening, March 14.
Alumni players are asked to register by calling the Schwoebel’s at 962-8567 or online at Tanneberger.com. A $25 registration fee includes a t-shirt and gathering for two after the event.
“Early on, I enjoyed watching Westport Alumni ‘come back home’ to play basketball,” Schwoebel said. “The camaraderie was so fun. I most enjoyed hearing the fun stories told about Tom by his friends, acquaintances, and teammates who new him. Those stories have dwindled, but the camaraderie and fun competition remains strong. Now, I love seeing the family reunions. Kids come home to play and mothers and fathers join them on the court. Alumni players bring their younger children who join in with the biddy basketball players. It has become the strongest alumni connection for Westport Central School. I am honored to be able to be a part of it all.”
Games start with the first men’s matchup at 1 p.m., with a halftime skills and drills show by current students in kindergarten through second grade. The second men’s game begins at 2:15 p.m., with biddy basketball players grades 3/4 playing at halftime and players in grades 5/6 playing between the second men’s game and the consolation game at 4 p.m.
Following the men’s consolation game, the women’s game will take place ay 5 p.m. with a halftime foul shooting competition for students in grades 7-9. That game will be followed by the men’s championship game at 6:15 p.m. with halftime three-point competition for students in grades 10-12.
Admission, which along with registration fees for players go toward the Dr. Thomas Tanneberger Memorial Scholarship Fund, are $4 for adults and $2 for students, with preschoolers admitted for free. There will also be a 50/50 raffle throughout the day.
The basketball tournament is one of the two major fundraisers for the Tanneberger Memorial Scholarship, along with an annual golf tournament which will be played in June at the Westport Country Club.
“The golf tournament is not an alumni event, so there is a network of people who come to golf every year,” Schwoebel said.
The Tanneberger Memorial Scholarship is given annually at Westport Central.
“The award is given to a graduating senior who exemplifies excellence in both athletics and academics,” Schwoebel said.
For more information, visit tanneberger.org or call 962-8567.