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Vermont Sports Hall to induct inaugural 13

SOUTH BURLINGTON — The Vermont Sports Hall of Fame will honor 13 of the finest Green Mountain State athletes and contributors when it inducts its inaugural class on Nov. 17.

Dave Hakins, chair of the VtSHF board of trustees, unveiled the Class of 2012 Tuesday afternoon at Cairns Arena. The enterprise is in cooperation with Prevent Child Abuse Vermont, the VtSHF’s designated charity.

Members of the class represent 11 sports, several generations and most Vermont counties. Collectively, they have earned multiple Olympic medals, won several team sports world championships and captured numerous individual and team accolades.

The Class of 2012 includes (in alphabetical order):

n Tony Adams, contributor (media): Tony was a trailblazer in bringing televised sports to Vermonters on WCAX-TV for 35 years. He was also the voice of University of Vermont and St. Michael’s College sports teams and was named the Vermont Sportscaster of the Year five times. He resides in Essex Junction.

n Larry Benoit, outdoors: Larry is a legendary deer hunter. He has an unparalleled record for bagging large, mature bucks in the woods of northern Vermont and Maine. He was called “The Best Deer Hunter in America” by Sports Afield in 1970. He resides in Duxbury.

n Jen Carlson, soccer: Jen was a standout soccer player at Champlain Valley Union High School and the University of Connecticut. A two-time high school All-American, she was a three-time Big East first team selection. She finished her college career among the UConn leaders with 40 goals and 40 assists.

n Jake Burton Carpenter, contributor (snowboard): While residing in Londonderry, Jake was the inventor of and an innovator in snowboarding. His vision led to the rapid spread of the sport nationally and internationally. He hand-built many of the first snowboards, took part in the first competitions and helped organize the first national championships at Suicide Six.

n Ray Collins, baseball: The Colchester native was a standout at Burlington High School and the University of Vermont before he joined the Boston Red Sox. Ray pitched seven seasons with Boston, with a record of 84-62 and a 2.51 ERA. He was in the rotation for the 1912 and 1915 World Series champions and started the first World Series game at Fenway Park.

n Larry Gardner, baseball: Larry was a stellar player at Enosburg High School and the University of Vermont before signing professionally with the Boston Red Sox. He played 17 years with the Red Sox, Philadelphia Athletics and Cleveland Indians, hitting a career .289. A superior defensive third baseman, Larry helped the Red Sox win three World Series titles and the Indians win one.

n Albert Gutterson, track & field: Raised in Andover and Springfield, Albert stood out in several sports at Springfield High School. He continued his outstanding track career at the University of Vermont, winning several New England titles and another in the prestigious Penn Relays. He then became Vermont’s only Olympic gold medalist in track & field by winning the long jump at the 1912 Stockholm games.

n Bill Koch, Nordic ski: Bill competed in four Olympics: 1976, 1980, 1984 and 1992. From Brattleboro, he is arguably America’s greatest Nordic skier. He was the first American to medal in Olympic cross-country skiing, earning the 30K silver in the 1976 games. He was the flag-bearer for the U.S. team at the 1992 Games and was the overall Nordic world champion in 1982.

n Andrea Mead Lawrence, Alpine skiing: The three-time Olympian (1948, 1952, 1956) from Rutland was 15 years old at her first Games. She swept the U.S. nationals at age 17. In 1952, Andrea became the first American Alpine skier to medal in the Olympics, winning the gold in slalom and giant slalom, the only time an American won has two Alpine gold medals in the same Olympics. It was 20 years before another American woman earned any Alpine medal.

n John LeClair, hockey: John had outstanding careers at BFA-St. Albans and the University of Vermont before making his mark on the National Hockey League. Scoring on his first shot in his debut for Montreal in 1991, he scored two overtime goals in the 1993 finals to help the Habs win the Stanley Cup. He moved to Philadelphia where he was a five-time all-star and was the first American-born player to have three consecutive 50-goal seasons. He finished his career with 406 goals. He also helped lead the U.S. to the 1996 World Cup title and he won a silver medal at the 2002 Olympics.

n Nicole Levesque Andres, basketball: A native of Shaftsbury, Nicole was a standout guard for Mount Anthony Union High School where she scored 1,938 points, including a then-state single-game record of 40 in 1990. She went on to Wake Forest where she became the school’s all-time assist leader and ranked third in scoring while twice earning All-ACC honors. She is the first and only Vermonter to play in the WNBA, playing for the Charlotte Sting in 1997.

n Ken Squier, contributor (stock car racing; media): Ken, a native of Waterbury, has spent decades broadcasting high school sports in Vermont and he was a pioneer in the television broadcasting of NASCAR races. He built and still co-owns Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre. He is a five-time Vermont Sportscaster of the Year. The NASCAR Media Award bears his name.

n Bob Yates, football: A native of Montpelier, Bob was an all-state player for Montpelier High School before a fine career as an offensive and defensive lineman at Syracuse University, where he also handled kicking duties. He helped the Orange win the 1959 national championship (11-0 and Cotton Bowl victory) and was a Sporting News All-American as a senior. He went on to play six seasons for the Boston (now New England) Patriots.

More information is available on the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame website at Ticket information for the 2012 induction dinner and celebration, to be held Saturday, Nov. 17, at the DoubleTree by Hilton in South Burlington, will be announced soon.

Launched in October 2011, The Vermont Sports Hall of Fame is a nonprofit organization to recognize those individuals whose achievements and efforts have enhanced sports, athletics and recreation in the Green Mountain State. In addition to honoring those who make a significant contribution to the state’s sports legacy, the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame will promote and provide inspiration in sports and recreation to the state’s youth.

The VtSHF is also conducting an online auction featuring sports memorabilia, non-sports items and personality engagements. To see the items and to bid, go to Nominations are welcome for the Class of 2013 and information is available on the website.

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