11th annual ceremony

Midcoast Sports Hall of Fame inducts eight, chooses top athletes, honors team

Bresnahan, Christie, Graffam, Magnusson, Mazurek, Pinkham, Witham, Wootton honored
By Staff | Nov 09, 2017
Courtesy of: Paula Roberts The Midcoast Sports Hall of Fame's high school girls and boys athletes of the year for 2016-17, honored on Oct. 21 at the Elks Lodge in Rockland, are Charlotte Messer of Camden Hills, second from left, and Michael Norton Jr. of Oceanside, second from right. Presenting the honors are Penny, left, and Charlie Crockett, who sponsor that portion of the MSHOF awards ceremony.

Rockland — Eight new inductees, two athletes of the year and a highly-successful girls basketball team from the 1950s were honored during the 11th annual Midcoast Sports Hall of Fame banquet on Saturday, Oct. 21 at the Rockland Elks Lodge on Rankin Street.

The MSHOF Class of 2017 included Rick Bresnahan, Jim Graffam, Travis Magnusson, I.J. Pinkham, Troy Witham and Sue Wootton, as well as, posthumously, John Christie and Ed Mazurek.

Interestingly, Wootton's husband, Charlie, also is a member of the MSHOF, as is Mazurek's son, Rich.

Also recognized at the Oct. 21 ceremony were 1958-60 Waldoboro High School girls basketball teams that won the Knox-Lincoln championship, compiled 33 wins over two years and were invited to play at the Boston Garden.

Finally, that same night, the organization announced its male and female high school athletes of the year for 2016-17. They were Camden Hills' Charlotte Messer and Oceanside's Michael Norton Jr.

Currently, Messer is a freshman at the University of Maine in Orono, where she plays soccer, and Norton a Mariner senio, who plays football, basketball and baseball

A summary of each of this year's MSHOF inductee's achievements follows:

Bresnahan moved to the Midcoast in 1974 and has been extensively involved in providing facilities and opportunities for youth and the general public. Some of his accomplishments include being a member of the founding board of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a driving force behind starting the Midcoast Junior Golf Association, was president of Knox Suburban Little League, part of the CSD team that brought a track, larger fields, a maintenance shed and auditorium to Camden Hills Regional High School, was one of a team of four families to bring the Midcoast Recreation Center — which provides tennis, skating, ice hockey and pickleball, among other activities, to youths and adults in the area — one of the founders of the Pen Bay Soccer Club and also helped bring The Pitch (Pen Bay Indoor Turf & Community Hub) to the Midcoast. He also has received the Maine Principals' Association Service to Maine Youth Award.

Christie graduated from Camden High School in 1955, received a bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College in Brunswick in 1959 and advanced studies in the International Graduate School at the University of Stockholm. Christie then began a nearly 50-year career in the ski industry, which began at Sugarloaf in 1961. He was named general manager of Sugarloaf in 1965. He then moved to Vermont in 1968 and became vice-president and general manager of the Mount Snow Development Cooperation. He returned to Maine in 1972, purchased Saddleback Mountain. Christie has been a member of the Ski Museum of Maine, a key influence in forming the Maine Ski Hall of Fame and elected as an inductee to that hall in 2007. Christie died on May 7, 2016.

Graffam graduated from Waldoboro High School in 1968, where he was a standout athlete in baseball, basketball and cross country. He went on to the University of Southern Maine, where he earned varsity letters in basketball and baseball. Graffam went on to a successful career in coaching basketball and baseball at the college level. He coached at St. Joseph’s College in Standish, Westbrook College, University of Maine at Fort Kent, Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vt. and College of St Joseph’s in Rutland, Vt. He coached teams to four conference championships, four NAIA Region 8 playoffs and coached 49 all-conference players and three All-Americans. Graffam is a six-time coach of the year and was inducted into the USM player Hall of Fame, the UNE coach Hall of Fame, St. Joseph’s Coach Hall of Fame and the New England Basketball Hall of Fame. He also coached is high school alma mater for several seasons.

Magnusson graduated from Georges Valley High School in 2002, where he excelled in soccer, basketball and baseball. He scored 2,159 points as a basketball player, which placed him in the top five scorers all-time for Maine high school basketball. He was a Mr. Maine Basketball finalist and in 2002 the Class C tournament most valuable player. In soccer, he scored 73 goals, which placed him in the top three all-time leading scorers for Georges Valley. He went on to the University of Maine at Farmington where he had a stellar career in basketball, scoring 1,400 points, which put him in the top-five leading scorers in program history. Magnusson has gone on to have a successful coaching career at Livermore Falls of Jay and Dirigo of Dixfield high schools. In 10 years, he has won more than 150 games, voted Class C coach of the year three times and led Dirigo to the state Class C championship in 2012. Magnusson also coaches girls soccer, where his teams have won 70 games, reached the Western Maine finals and has been named coach of the year.

Mazurek grew up in Stamford, Conn., graduating from Stamford High School and Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he also played football. Upon graduation from college, Mazurek played professional football for the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings. Upon moving to Maine, Mazurek became the football and softball coach at Rockland District High School. He had a successful career as the football coach, helping turn the program around, creating a winning atmosphere. Affectionately known as ‘Coach Maz’, he is remembered for his intensity and fire on the field and being a master motivator. He coached the school’s softball team 18 years.

Pinkham graduated from Milbridge High School in 1965, where he was a basketball player, once scoring 53 points in a game against rival Jonesboro. He went on to Farmington State College where he was on the varsity basketball team under coach Len McPhee. But it was his coaching ability that truly made him stand out as he accumulated over 600 wins, making him the winningest basketball coach in Maine history. His first coaching job was in Buckfield, where he coached from 1971-76, winning 52 games. He then moved to Boothbay Region where he has coached since, racking up 551 wins, five regional championship and a state Class C title in 2001. His Boothbay boys hoop teams have qualified for the regional playoffs 24 consecutive years starting in 1993.

Witham is one of the most decorated amateur golfers in Maine history. As a student at Rockland District High School, he helped the Tigers win four straight state championships and also won the Maine Principals' Association individual schoolboy championship twice. He has been one of the few Maine golfers to earn a Division I scholarship to play at the collegiate level, attending Memphis State University. In 1986, Witham went to the US Amateur in Muerfield, Ohio where he made it to the Round of 8 in a 164-player field. He won the MSGA Junior Championship twice and in 1986, was the youngest player ever to win the Paul Bunyan Golf Tournament. While at Memphis State, he won the Music City Intercollegiate Tournament in 1991 and in 1992 was the medalist when the Memphis Tigers won the Great Midwest Conference championship.

Wootton graduated from Camden-Rockport High School in 1975, where she was a standout on the girls basketball team, softball team and two years on the ski team. She was most valuable player on the basketball team her junior year and captain her senior year. Wootton went on to the University of Maine at Farmington, where she played basketball and volleyball four years. Her 1978 basketball team was state champions and she served as captain her senior year. In volleyball, Wootton was selected to the All-New England and All-State teams. She also captained that team her senior year. Wootton then went on to a coaching career, which started during her senior year at Farmington, when she coached the Mount Blue eighth-grade girls. She then came back to the Camden-Rockport area to coach sixth- to eighth-grade girls before taking over as varsity girls coach in 1982. Wootton took a losing program and turned it around, as the Windjammers qualified for the Eastern Maine tournament each year during her three-year tenure. She also has done extensive work with the youth programs in the area and been a stalwart with the Rockland Women’s Golf Association.

Athlete-of-year finalists

The five male and female finalists for the hall’s 2016-17 high school athletes of the year were selected by the hall's board of directors after they considered a number of student-athletes for the honor.

The five male finalists were Camden Hills' Josiah Krul, Oceanside's Michael Norton Jr., Lincoln Academy's Samuel Russ and Medomak Valley's Brent Stewart and Steven Thompson III.

The female finalists were Vinalhaven's Gilleyanne Davis-Oakes, Medomak Valley's Gabby DePatsy, Camden Hills' Charlotte Messer and Lincoln Academy's Tahlia Mullen and Gabrielle Wajer.

Eight Midcoast high schools — Oceanside of Rockland/Thomaston, Camden Hills of Rockport, Medomak Valley of Waldoboro, Lincoln Academy of Newcastle, Vinalhaven, Islesboro, Boothbay Region and Wiscasset — were asked to nominate two male and female students for athlete-of-year consideration.

Those candidates were asked to complete a questionnaire and return it to the board to be considered for the honor. A candidate who did not return the questionnaire was not considered.

The boys finalists were:

Krul, a 2017 graduate of Camden Hills, received varsity letters in soccer, basketball and tennis. In soccer, Krul was named All-State four years, Kennebec Valley Athletic all-conference three years and All-New England his senior year, and was a key member of the Windjammers' success as Eastern Maine champions and state runners-up in 2013 and Northern Maine runners-up in 2016. In tennis, he played third singles and helped the Windjammers to four years of Eastern/Northern Maine championship titles and state championships in 2016 and 2017. Krul attends Bates College in Lewiston and plays soccer for the Bobcats.

Norton, a senior at Oceanside, has received letters in football, basketball and baseball, and plans to continue those sports this year. Norton played defensive back on the football team, which qualified for the Class C quarterfinals in 2015, and the Class C semifinals in 2016. In basketball, Norton's Mariner team was Class A North champions and state runners-up in 2016, and Class A North runners-up in 2017. As a sophomore, he was named to the Class A all-rookie team, and his junior year was named first-team Class A for all-conference, all-tourney and all-defense, and was selected team most valuable player for the Mariners.

Russ, a junior at Lincoln Academy, has received varsity letters in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. He holds two school records — indoor one mile and two miles. As a sophomore, Russ was an important part of the 2016 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B cross-country championship team, in indoor track, he was the individual league champion for two miles, and in outdoor track, he was the individual league champion in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters.

Stewart, a senior at Medomak Valley, plays golf, basketball and baseball. In his junior year, he received the team's most valuable player award for golf and baseball, was Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B first-team all-conference for golf, and qualified for the state tournament, as he placed 11th in Class B. In basketball, Stewart was an important member of the Panthers, who were Class A North runners-up in 2016 and league champions in 2017.

Thompson, a 2017 graduate of Medomak Valley, attends the University of Maine in Orono in the medical science program. While at Medomak Valley, Thompson was on the football team and outstanding, dedicated wrestler, named team most valuable his final three years and held the school record for the most wins, pins and points each year. Thompson was named the league's outstanding wrestler during his final two years, and was league champion both years in his weight class. In the Class B North regional, he was champion in 2016 and runner-up in 2017. He qualified for the state championship three years and was second in 2015 and third in 2016 and 2017.

The girls finalists were:

Davis-Oakes, a senior at Vinalhaven, has been a standout in soccer, basketball and softball. She has been an East-West Conference all star in three sports. In soccer, she was named all-star keeper in 2015-2016, but in 2016 broke her leg going for a save, which took her out for the season, but she was determined to heal in time for basketball. Davis-Oakes was an outstanding team leader for the Vikings hoop team and led the islanders regional runners-up squad in 2016 and the 2017 Class D regional and state championships — the first state athletic title in the school's history. As an individual, Davis-Oakes was awarded the Patricia Gallagher Award for the outstanding player in the Class D South tournament, and other awards. In softball, she was a top pitcher and holds records for the most home runs and triples.

DePatsy, a senior at Medomak Valley, earned letters in soccer (2 years), basketball (3 years) and softball (3 years). In basketball, she was named to the 2016-2017 league all-conference second-team. In softball, DePatsy received recognition from the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference each year — first-team all-conference in 2015 and 2017, second-team all-conference in 2016 and Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B player of the year 2017. She was named team most valuable player in 2015 and 2017 and was presented the athletic director’s Tri-Athlete Award at Medomak Valley.

Messer, a 2017 graduate of Camden Hills and current student-athlete (Division I soccer) at the University of Maine in Orono, was a letter winner in soccer (4 years), basketball (4 years), softball (2 years) and tennis (2 years) for the Windjammers. In soccer, she concluded her career by scoring the state championship-winning goal in overtime for the Windjammers, tying the school record for career goals (67), and by being named the Maine State All-American soccer player. In her four-year pitch career, Messer was named to the league first-team four years, All-Northern Class B two years, All-Northern Class A two years, All-State three years, KVAC Class A player of the year in 2016, Class A player of the year 2016 and state player of the year in 2016. Messer was a key player in the success of the Windjammer soccer team, including KVAC runners-up in 2014 and 2015 and KVAC champions in 2016, Northern Maine regional runners-up in 2015, Northern Maine champions in 2016 and Class A state champions in 2016. She was named the team's most valuable player in 2016, and was the school's 2016-17 female athlete of the year. In basketball, Messer received a number of league awards, and in tennis she helped the Windjammers win the Class A regional championship and Class A state runners-up in 2016 and Class A Northern regional runners-up in 2017.

Mullen, a senior at Lincoln Academy, is an outstanding runner who has lettered in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. She has captured Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championships in many events, including 2016 in indoor and outdoor 400 meters, indoor and outdoor 200 meters, indoor 4x800-meter relay and outdoor 4x400-meter relay runner-up. In 2017, Mullen was the league champion in the indoor 400 meters, indoor 200 meters and the outdoor 400 meters. She was the 2016 individual state champion in indoor 400 meters, outdoor 400 meters, outdoor 200 meters, as well as state runner-up in indoor 200 meters. In 2017, she was the state champion in the indoor and outdoor 400 meters. She holds six Lincoln Academy indoor and five outdoor records. Mullen was named to the all-conference indoor and outdoor track teams for 2016 and 2017, and was named to the Portland Press Herald 2016 All-State outdoor track team.

Wajer, a 2017 graduate of Lincoln Academy, was a letter winner in soccer, basketball and lacrosse. She attends Wingate University in North Carolina on a basketball scholarship, and studies sports broadcasting and communication. At Lincoln Academy, Wajer was captain of the soccer team four years and basketball squad two years. She received many league awards in basketball, including all-rookie and all-defensive in  2014, first-team and all-defensive in 2015, co-player of the year in 2016 and first-team in 2017. She was the recipient of the outstanding sportsmanship award in 2016 for the Class B South tournament and was a McDonald’s senior all star in 2017. She ended her basketball career at Lincoln Academy as a 1,000 point scorer.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.

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