LACONIA — The Athletic Department of Laconia High School inducted four stellar athletes and two revered coaches into its Athletic Hall of Fame at a ceremony in the auditorium on November 25, emceed by David Rea, the legendary "Voice of Sachems."
The two coaches — Socrates Bobotas and Paul Phelps — left legacies that have enriched "Sachem Pride" long after they hung up their whistles. During his tenure from 1949 until 1976, Bobotas's baseball teams captured two state champions while falling one win short of the title four times. As athletic director he introduced Title IX sports in 1972, which placed girls and boys on a level playing field. Appropriately Sachem athletes will forever be reminded of his lasting contributions each time they step on to the practice field behind the school bearing his name.
A Sachem himself, Phelps returned to teach history and coach football basketball and track. As an assistant football coach for 26 years he helped steer teams to seven state championship games and win two of them. He was either the assistant or the head track coach for more than 20 years and in 1978 led his team to the Class I state outdoor championship to earn coach of the year honors. In 2002 Phelps was named AFLAC National Assistant Coach of the Year.
A star for all seasons, Wilbur Fay competed in football, basketball and baseball between 1921 and 1924 while finding time to compete in speed skating events throughout the state, including races run at Pearl Street where he finished second in the state and his Laconia team claimed the state title. After teaching and coaching at various venues, he returned to the area and in 1942 opened Fay's Boat Yard, still family owned and operated.
Amy Cantin of the class of 1986, excelled as an alpine skier as well as a field hockey and softball player. As captain and most valuable player of the field hockey team she earned all-state honors crowned her career by playing for Team New Hampshire which topped Team Vermont in the Field Hockey Classic. She joined the variety ski team as a seventh grader and was its most valuable member as a sophomore, junior and senior. She won the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association giant slalom championship in 1985 and the slalom title the following year.
A standout in both track and field and basketball, Charlene Emond of the class of 1988, capped her high school career by earning the Joyce H. Bobotas Award. Playing basketball for three years, she captained the team her senior year when she was named most valuable player. But, she shined in the spring, earning all-state honors in the shot put four years running and in the discus as a junior and senior. Her school record in the shot put, set in 1985, Twice she was New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association shot put champion and finished among the top 10 in the New England Meet of Champions.
Athletic director and football Coach Craig Kozens called Christian Burt, who graduated in 2009, "the real deal" and "one of the best athletes I've ever coached." On the basketball court, he captained the team as a junior and senior, tallied more than 1,000 points, earned all-state honors and took his team to the final four. On the gridiron he led the Sachems to an unblemished championship season in 2007 and earned all-state honors as a junior and senior. He was a winner of the Elks Scholar-Athlete Award and played his way to full scholarship to play football at the University of Massachusetts. "His fluidity as an athlete made it all look so easy for him." Kozens said.
- Category: Local News
- Hits: 661