As part of Homecoming, the new class of Foxcroft Academy Athletic Hall of Famers are being inducted this evening. Over the last eight years, 55 former Ponies have been enshrined into our Athletic Hall of Fame and tonight, five more members will be added. They include:
Edward Craine, Class of 1943 – Ed Craine was a student-athlete at Foxcroft Academy during the outbreak of World War II. Ed grew up outside of town in Sebec, and because of this, he sometimes had difficulties getting to town, as automobiles were not prevalent during that time, but that didn’t stop his desire to run. Thanks to friend and teammate, Ed Blodgett, Mr. Craine would get rides to town so he could participate and thrive at FA. Ed was a member of the first-ever cross country team at Foxcroft Academy in the fall of 1941, a team that would make history over the following two years. Thanks to the leadership of then, Head of School Claire Wood, cross country would become a varsity sport. The squad featured seven boys, including star runner Lloyd Blethen (Hall of Fame Class of 2013), Ed, and five other teammates. They would crisscross Maine to find meets and all they did was win, quite literally. Ed’s teams went 20-0 over the next two years, winning two state championships before there were class distinctions, and more impressively, winning the 1942 National Championship at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey; a meet featuring over 100 high schools and 700 runners. For that meet, the team boarded a train in Newport and spend a day in New York City, something high school students in the 1940’s didn’t have the opportunity to do on a daily basis. In addition to cross country, Ed was a member of the track team at FA. He and several of his class and teammates would make their way into military service and proudly serve our country during World War II, both on the Atlantic and Pacific sides. As for his time at FA, Ed fondly remembers all his running teammates including Lloyd Blethen, Ed Blodgett, George and Ernest Fowler, Don Kinney, Ed Harrington, and Dave McClure. Also, his coach, Jerry Twitchell, Head of School, Clair Wood, and local businessman, Roy Bozworth, who owned a Ford Truck with a box body that the team traveled to away meets in. Ed says, “We weren’t what you would call great athletes, but we were a team that cared about each other, and the sum of the parts made us unbeatable.”
Joe Champeon, Class of 1978 – Joe Champeon was a three-sport, three-season athlete during mid to late 1970’s at Foxcroft Academy. In the fall, Joe played on the football team for two seasons and decided to run on the cross country team for the other two. He went back to football during his senior year and was the quarterback for the Ponies. In the winter, Joe was a mainstay on the basketball court. He played on the freshmen team in 1974-75, the year the varsity basketball team won the state championship. With a large graduating class, Joe quickly found himself playing on the varsity team, logging plenty of minutes for the rest of his time at FA. During his senior year, the Ponies finished 10-8 and made it back to the Bangor Auditorium for the first time since the 74-75 season. The #8 Ponies lost to #1 Orono in the quarterfinals, but FA tasted the playoffs once again. During the spring, Joe played baseball all four years, playing shortstop and catching from the Ponies. Joe was a leader of all his teams as he was captain for all of them during his senior seasons. As for memorable events, Joe just said he enjoyed playing in every game. Athletics kept him focused on his classwork because if his grades slipped, his parents wouldn’t have let him compete. He had several people that were influential on his career at FA and beyond including his dad, Wayne, Gary Worthing, Dennis Kiah, Rusty Clukey, and Johnny King…..as Joe put, ‘Johnny was one of the hardest working, kindest, and best men I ever met”.
Michelle Merrill Langston, Class of 1995 – Michelle Merrill Langston was a star, 3-sport athlete during a strong period for girls athletics at Foxcroft Academy. In the fall, Michelle was a mainstay on the field hockey team. As a freshman, she was a contributor to the first-ever Pony State Championship winning team. She followed that up with all-state honors during the fall of 1993 and her senior year of 1994. In the winter, Michelle was a two-sport athlete, playing hockey on the boys’ team and truly shining for the indoor track team. During her career, Michelle won multiple regional and state championships in the shot put and discus. In addition, she was part of the 4×100 team that took 3rd place in the state. In the spring, Michelle made her name known statewide finishing 3rd in the shot put and 1st in the discus, setting a school record that wouldn’t be broken for over twenty years. Speaking about her athletic career at FA, Michelle fondly remembers her field hockey coach and fellow hall of famer Gene Philpot and track coach Gary Worthing as both being highly influential on her career.
Brian Bellemare, Class of 2000 – Brian Bellemare had a standout athletic career spanning all season. In the fall, Brian was a member of the Pony Football team. He was part of the 1996 state championship team and the 1997 east regional champions. He was a 3-year starter and 4-time letter winner. He was a 2-time First Team Defensive Back, 3-time All-Conference Kicker and Kick Returner; and a 2-time First Team Running Back. Brian was the first Class C player ever to be Fitzpatrick Trophy semi-finalist. He left FA as All-Time leading scorer at FA with 366 points including a single-season school record of 209 points and 1,794 rushing yards during his senior season. In addition to that, he was captain and team MVP his senior year. During the winter, Brian was on the Pony Indoor Track team and didn’t disappoint. He was a 3-year letter winner including being a member of state record-setting Eastern Maine champion 4×200 relay team. For the Pony Baseball team, he was a 4-year starter and was named team MVP and captain. Brian was also named an All-Conference outfielder. Following high school, Brian has competed in several road races, half-marathons, a full marathon, and has hiked and biked all over the world. As for Brian’s memorable games at FA, he remembers the 1997 LTC Finals vs Bucksport known as the ”Snow Bowl” and the 1996 State Championship vs Old Orchard Beach. Brian credits Wayne Strout, Gary Worthing, Paul Withee, and Dawn Macpherson-Allen as influential teachers and coaches on Brian’s career at FA and beyond.
Holli Nichols Leveille – Class of 2001– Holli Nichols was a three-sport, four year player for Foxcroft Academy. In the fall, Holli was a driving force behind the success of the field hockey program. The Ponies made the playoffs all four years she played, falling in the regional finals in her junior season and making it to the semifinal round during her senior year. She was named a co-captain for her senior season. On the basketball court, Holli saw success, even being smaller in size. She was a scrappy point guard of a team that saw success most haven’t here at FA. During her senior season, the Ponies finished with an 8-10 record, good enough for 7th place in a very tough Class B. The Ponies went on a magical run, knocking off Oceanside, Winslow, and Erskine before falling the regional championship game to MDI. At the time, it was only the second girls’ basketball team to make it that far. In the springtime, Holli saw tremendous success on the track, helping the FA outdoor track team to numerous conference, regional, and state championships. She also had several individual honors as well, keeping FA Track and Field on the map.
Cameron Fadley – Class of 2013 – Cameron Fadley competed for two teams at Foxcroft Academy and saw team and individual success on the field and in the pool. During the spring, Cameron played for the Pony baseball team. During his time, FA got better and better, making it to the Class C regional championship during his sophomore season, and winning the Class B regional championship during his junior season, coming up one run short in the state final. They made the playoffs in all his four years. Cameron’s team success on the baseball field is only shadowed by his individual success in the pool. If you look at the all-time leader board on the wall at the pool at the Piscataquis Regional YMCA, Cameron’s name is there on every event he competed in. During his junior and senior seasons, Cameron, a team captain, was named the “Outstanding Performer” at the 2012 and 2013 Class B State Swimming and Diving Championships. He was also Class B Swimmer of the Year in 2012 and was a 5-time state swimming champion. According to his teammates and coaches, Cameron just swam like a fish, fast and with purpose. He continued to have success after FA as he swam in college for LaSalle University in Philadelphia, going on an athletic scholarship. He won numerous events competing in the Atlantic 10 conference, breaking six school records, three in relays and three as an individual. As for his time at Foxcroft Academy, Cameron credits Mark Chevalier, Derek Smith, Peter Hartel, and his parents as those with a profound impact on his career.