Organizers of the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame named the first 13 members Tuesday. The inaugural class includes:
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.
Jen Carlson, soccer: A Shelburne native, Jen was a standout soccer player at Champlain Valley Union High School and the University of Connecticut. A two-time NSCAA high school All-American at CVU, she was a three-time Big East first team selection for the Huskies. She finished her college career among the UConn leaders with 40 goals and 40 assists.
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 Red Sox World Series champions and started the first World Series game at Fenway Park in October 1912.
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 Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Athletics and Cleveland Indians, hitting a career .289. A superior defensive third baseman, the native of Enosburg Falls helped the Red Sox win three World Series titles and the Indians win one.
Albert Gutterson, track & field: Raised in Andover and Springfield, Albert stood out in several sports at Springfield High School and was a Vermont/New Hampshire and New England prep champion in several track and field events. He continued his outstanding track and field 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 winning the long jump at the 1912 Stockholm Games.
Bill Koch, Nordic ski: From Brattleboro, Bill is arguably America's greatest Nordic skier. He competed in four Olympics: 1976, 1980, 1984 and 1992, and was the first American to medal in Olympic cross-country skiing, earning the 30-K silver at the 1976 games. Koch was the overall Nordic world champion in 1982, the first and only American to do so. He was the flag-bearer for the U.S. team at his final Olympics in 1992.
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. Alpine 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. It also was the first 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.
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 on to Philadelphia where he was a five-time NHL All-Star. LeClair was the first American-born player to have three consecutive 50-goal seasons and he finished his career with 406 goals. He also helped lead the U.S. to the 1996 World Cup of Hockey title and he helped the Americans capture a silver medal at the 2002 Olympics.
Nicole Levesque Andres, basketball: A native of Shaftsbury, Nicole was a standout guard for Mount Anthony Union High School scoring 1,938 points for the Patriots including a then-state single-game mark 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.
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 going 11-0 with a Cotton Bowl victory over #2 Texas. He was a Sporting News All-American as a senior and was named to the SU All-Century Team in 1999. He went on to play six seasons for the Boston (now New England) Patriots including playing in the franchise's first title game, the 1963 AFL Championship Game.
Tony Adams, contributor-media: Tony was a trailblazer in bringing televised sports to Vermonters on WCAX-TV for 35 years. He also served as the voice of University of Vermont, Dartmouth College and St. Michael's College sports teams and was named the Vermont Sportscaster of the Year five times. He resides in Essex Junction.
Jake Burton Carpenter, contributor-snowboarding: While residing in Londonderry, Jake is 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. Due to his efforts, the sport grew from a barn in Londonderry in the late 1970s to become an Olympic sport starting in 1998. He founded Burton Snowboards, a leader in the sport's industry in equipment as well as sponsorship of events.
Ken Squier, contributor- auto racing and 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.
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