BRASHER FALLS - Mullets and other old hairstyles were gone and sports uniforms were instead replaced by dress clothes, as the 15th class of the St. Lawrence Central Hall of Fame was inducted Friday evening.
The class consists of: Robert Shope, 58; Tony Arquiett, 83; Jamie Sutton, 88; Timothy Agans, 89; Joe Burley, 00; and the 1984 Lady Larries basketball team.
Mr. Shope was unable to appear at the ceremony but his sister, Paulette Lantry, accepted the plaque on his behalf. Sue Stubbs led off the ceremony by speaking of Mr. Shope, a football, basketball, and baseball player while at SLC.
Robert was described as quiet and unassuming, but this Tennessee boy made a big impact on SLC sports in the two years he was here, Ms. Stubbs said referring to his transfer from Tennessee whose family came north to work on the St. Lawrence Seaway project.
Robert was on the first 11-man football team. He played running back his junior year and quarterback his senior year. He also captained the team and was described as very tough and aggressive, as well as being quiet and unassuming now which is interesting.
Mr. Shope played shortstop for the 1956 and 1957 baseball teams that finished with 13 wins against just 3 losses, good for second place in the league. His batting average was above .325 both years and he co-captained the team during his senior year.
During those same two years Mr. Shope played basketball for a team that finished with 14 wins and 8 losses, second in the league as well, while earning the role of captain his senior season. When discussing her conversation with Mr. Shope, they discussed his famous high standing vertical jump.
I said, Well how high is high standing vertical? He said I could stand under the basket and just jump, and he said my wrists would go over the rim, she said.
Even though he was not present to accept his plaque, Mr. Shope did leave a letter for his presenter to read.
Id like to take this opportunity to thank St. Lawrence Central coaches, teachers, and most of all the Hall of Fame Committee for this award. I thought I was well past the time of being excited about anything, but I am about this honor. As for my athletic achievements, I thought they were very ordinary, it read.
Up next was Tony Arquiett who played football, hockey, lacrosse for the Larries. The Brasher natives SLC career included numerous accolades and he was presented his plaque by his friend and former teammate David Barnes.
Tony is the epitome of an athlete. Hes a leader and most of all he was passionate when he played sports, Mr. Barnes said. ... Whether it was lacrosse, football, or hockey, he led with passion.
Mr. Arquiett dedicated the induction to his parents.
I did really enjoy seeing my senior picture in the paper this morning. To be honest with you, I have put on six or eight pounds since my senior year, Mr. Arquiett quipped. ... Tonights honor could not mean more to me. As I look back at that era of my life and playing sports, those were some of the best times of my life. Having the ability to play sports was a privilege.
Standing up here, being honored tonight bring almost a small feeling of guilt because again, I always felt that I was so fortunate to have that ability to get out there. It was certainly my parents that gave me that ability. ... They made sure to get to all my practices and games even though I had two brothers and a sister that played sports as well and very seldom did I ever look in the crowd and not see one of them. For those reasons, Id like to dedicate my induction to the hall of fame to my parents.
Up next was Winthrop resident James Sutton.
Mr. Sutton played hockey and lacrosse for SLC during the late 1980s before moving on to play at Clarkson University in the 90s. He was presented his induction plaque by his former hockey coach, Mickey Locke.
One thing that Jamie Sutton did not have to do on the athletic field was play smarter. Jamie was a brilliant player... he was almost like a playing coach. (He had) outstanding fundamentals, it was brains over brawn, Mr. Locke said. For those of you who didnt have the opportunity to see Jamie play and have seen his son Jake play, there are so many similarities between the two players. Both players play the game with their minds. I dont want to start a family feud, but I think Jake can get to that level that his dad achieved, but I think suffice to say Jamie would be king of the Sutton household right now.
Mr, Sutton explained that he still plays hockey a few times a week, and in his adulthood, he has come to realize the importance of all of the behind the scenes work put in by numerous people to keep high school and minor sports going.
A huge thanks to all of the coaches of the school sports that spent a lot of time on the field, in the gym, or on the rink. Also, a big thanks to the community for supporting the school sports program, he said. I used to think winning was the most important thing in life. Dont get me wrong, losing is never fun, but through all my experiences I realized the importance of being a part of a team.
The fourth individual athlete to be honored was Timothy Agans. He played football, basketball and baseball for SLC and earned the role of captain during his senior seasons for football and baseball. Timothys brother, Tom, presented the plaque to him.
There is no better guy you could ask to have on your team. You can ask anybody that played with my brother in football, basketball or baseball, he was an asset to that team. His accolades are countless but I can say they speak for themselves. All you got to do is talk to the people that played with him, Tom said.
I just want to thank first of all the committee, all my coaches were great. If it wasnt for them, I wouldnt be who I am. My teammates (were) awesome. Baseball, basketball it doesnt matter which it was, Timothy said. I dont have a big speech, I just wanted to thank everyone and this is a great honor.
The final individual inductee was 2000 graduate Joe Burley. Mr. Burley played football, hockey, and baseball for the Larries, earning many honors in all three. He was presented by Mr. Locke as well.
When you look back at an athletes career I think most of us have specific images, maybe one image, maybe there are words, phrases or maybe a single word that best captures that athlete. When I hung up the phone with Joe Burley this past summer, there were some images that came into my mind but more importantly than the images; one word jumped out and that word was class, Mr. Locke said. Joe had some really significant achievements on the playing field. But I think what was most important was the process or the methods that he went about achieving these awards. He always conducted himself with class.
Mr. Burley was a league MVP for hockey twice, playing goalie for a handful of successful teams. He noted his appreciation for all who made him the athlete he was, in particular Coach Locke.
I dont think Id be here if it wasnt for my years at St. Lawrence Central with Coach Locke, he said. Theres nothing that showed confidence more than when (Locke) said to the team, Cover your man, if they get by you theyre not going to score on Joe Burley.
He also suggested he first got involved with goaltending based on his growth spurt when he was younger. This, he said, led to his goalie ventures starting at age 7.
Following the individual honorees was the induction of the 1984 St. Lawrence Central womens basketball team.
This team finished 18 and 4 including a 9 and 3 league record. Coached by Bob Norton, they finished as Northern League champions, as well as Section 10 champions.
Mr. Norton spoke on behalf of the six team members in attendance.
In 1981 I was hired to coach the girls basketball team at St. Lawrence Central. Several of the ladies here tonight were members of that squad. At that time I had coached swimming, JV baseball, and they were all boys sports, Mr. Norton said. The team averaged 55 points per game and held their opponents to 41 points per game. Heidi Hazen led the team in scoring with over 17 points per game, while Beth Kilcoyne added another 16 points per game.
Besides these achievements, this team had the distinction of winning close contests against very talented competition.
The 1984 roster included: Kim Burnett, Carolyn Snyder, Heidi Hazen, Eleanor Stewart, Xann MacDonald, Mary Lyon, Lisa Montgomery, Debbie Thompson, Vicky Collins, and Beth Kilcoyne.