Phil Natowich
Courtesy photo
Phil Natowich

BHS/BUHS Athletic Hall of Fame announces its Class of 2023 inductees

The Brattleboro High School/Brattleboro Union High School Athletic Hall of Fame recently announced its Class of 2023 inductees.

The induction banquet will be held on Oct. 28 for new members Beth Juscen (1978), Denny Robinson (1966), Diedrich Stolte (Coach), Don Robinson (1966), Donna Dearborn (1971), Hugh Barber (1968), Jeff Dixon (1999), John Dimick (Coach), Kyle Henry (2003), Pam Packard (1974), Pete Beebe (1956), Phil Natowich (1966), and Scott Nadeau (1983). Here, in alphabetical order, are capsule biographies of the inductees:

• Hugh Barber was a standout in golf and ski jumping. As a BUHS athlete, he was the Vermont Ski Jumping State Champion in 1967 and 1968. At Middlebury College, he won jumping events at four of the college's winter carnivals and placed in the top five of the NCAA events. In 1971, BarBer was an NCAA Ski Jumping All-American and was the only American named. In 1972 he was named to the Eastern Ski Association Ski Team and competed in the 1972 Olympic Tryouts. Most famously, Barber won the 1972, 1973, and 1974 competitions at the Harris Hill Ski Jump, becoming one of few who retired the Winged Ski Trophy after three victories. As a golfer, Barber has been the Brattleboro Country Club Junior and Senior Champion 10 times and the Club Champion 13 times.

• Victor Louis "Pete" Beebe was among Brattleboro's greatest athletes of his era. He was a three-year starter in football, basketball, and baseball and was awarded the Stolte Cup and the Sherman Award at his graduation in 1956. As an end and halfback in football, he was a first-team All-State selection in 1952 as a freshman. He was second in scoring on the undefeated 1953 team, and was a second team All-State selection in 1953 and 1954. He was captain of the 1954 team, which he led in scoring, and was selected to play in the 1956 Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl. On the basketball court, Beebe was Brattleboro's first 1,000-point scorer and twice led the Southern Vermont League (SVL) in scoring. A great catcher and strong hitter on the baseball diamond, in 1959, he signed with the Boston Red Sox and played one season for their New York-Penn League affiliate.

• Donna Dearborn lettered in five different sports at BUHS. Dearborn was co-captain and leading scorer in her junior and senior years on the varsity field hockey teams in 1970 and 1971. She was two-year co-captain on the tennis team and was undefeated at No. 1 singles and doubles as a junior and senior. She also played two years of varsity basketball and was co-captain and leading scorer in her junior year. She was on the ski team as a freshman and senior and vaulted on the gymnastics team for one year. She won the Sherman Award in 1971.

Her athletic success continued at Springfield College, where she was a four-year varsity field hockey player and two-year co-captain. Her teams went undefeated in her junior and senior years, and she was twice named to the Northeast Field Hockey Association All-Star Team in the National Tournament and was captain of the All-Star Team. She won the Maroon Award and Scholar Athlete Award for her field hockey performance and also played on their tennis team for one year.

Her post-graduate achievements included winning multiple Brattleboro Outing Club singles and doubles championships. A committed runner, she participated in multiple marathons, half-marathons and other long-distance races and track meets. She was the women's winner in 54 races, and her age-group winner in 98 races. She ran the Boston Marathon twice and took first place in the 1984 National Masters' Indoor Track Championships. She also competed in cross-country ski races, and completed the Catamount Trail, skiing the length of Vermont in 2013.

Her outdoor adventures, no doubt inspired by her father Frank, also include extensive hiking accomplishments, including the Long Trail and most of New England's high peaks. She has also tackled trails, treks and peaks in New Zealand, Australia, Nepal, Peru, Patagonia, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Her commitment to athletics and fitness extends to her professional life, which includes graduate degrees in exercise physiology, and stints as a tennis professional, tennis coach at BUHS, field hockey coach, fitness trainer, ski instructor, and Outward Bound instructor.

• John Dimick revived the sport of cross-country running at BUHS and served as boys' and girls' head coach from 1986 to 2018. His boys' teams were Division I state champions in 1992 and 1997, were runners-up in 1993 and 1998, and qualified for the New England championships 10 times between 1990 and 2008. His girls' teams were Division I runners-up in 1992 and qualified for the New England championships. Both won multiple SVL/Marble Valley League girls' and boys' championships during his tenure.

Some of the standouts that Dimick's program produced Jason Dunklee, Ben Copans, Sarah Lange, Jordan Peeples, Amy Springer, Jon Kulas and Isaac Freitas-Eagan. Dimick's expertise has come through personal experience as a distance runner. He won the 1979 USATF National Marathon Championship at the Mardi Gras Marathon in 1979 in 2:11:53. He ran in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 1976, 1980 and qualified in 1983. He was inducted into the University of Vermont Athletic Hall of Fame in 1984 for cross country, track and field, and Nordic skiing.

• Jeff Dixon was a three-sport standout, pitching BUHS to Division I state baseball championships in 1997 and 1999. He was also a three-year starter on basketball teams, which went to three straight Vermont Division I Final Fours. He was selected to participate in the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl football game but opted not to play so he could play for the Post 5 American Legion baseball team, leading them to the state championship in 1999 and on to the Regional Tournament, where he pitched Brattleboro to a first-round win over Manchester, New Hampshire.

Dixon continued his success with the UVM baseball team, where he was a second team an All-New England selection in 2003, a season in which he led the league with a 9-0 record and a 1.93 ERA. He helped UVM to its first-ever America East regular season title. He garnered several America East awards, and finished his college career with an 18-8 record. He played two seasons with the Keene Swamp Bats and one with the Thread City Tides of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. He was signed by the Montreal Expos as an undrafted free agent in 2003 and was invited to spring training in 2004.

• Kyle Henry was a dominant player in two sports. He helped lead Brattleboro's basketball team to the Division I finals in 2002 and was a leader on baseball teams that won the state championship in 2001 and were semi-finalists in 2002 and 2003. A 1,000-point scorer for the basketball team, Henry was team captain and MVP in 2003 and won scores of other basketball honors. On the baseball diamond, he was a force with his bat and on the mound. He was selected to the Twin-State Baseball game in 2003 and was named Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year in 2003. He signed to attend University of Connecticut on a baseball scholarship and transferred to UVM in 2006 where he had a solid career as a pitcher and first baseman. He played for the Keene Swamp Bats in 2007.

• Beth Juscen was a pioneer in women's sports in the 1970s after the passage of Title IX. She lettered in four sports at Brattleboro Union High School and, in 1978, became the first female athlete to win the Stolte Cup. A four-year letter winner in basketball, she won the Rookie of the Year award as a freshman guard, was the leading scorer as a junior, and co-captain as a senior, when she won the Coach's Award. In field hockey, she was co-captain as a senior, selflessly switching positions to become the team's goalie. She earned a varsity letter on softball as a freshman, but switched to track and field in her sophomore year, where she found her greatest success.

As a sophomore, she set school records in the 100, javelin, and long jump. As a junior, she won the 100 and 220 at the Southern Districts and was second in the 100, third in the 220, and ran a leg on the school record 4x100 relay team at the state meet. In her senior year, she was first at the Southern District in the 100 (a school record 11.1 seconds) and in the 200. At the state meet, she was second in the 100 and third in the 200, setting school records in both. She took fourth in the 100 at the New England meet.

She carried on her athletic success at the University of Vermont, where she played two seasons of varsity basketball. Since then, she has played women's slow-pitch and fast-pitch softball, coached the girls soccer and track & field teams at Vermont Academy, varsity girls' basketball and softball at Colchester High School and middle school girls' basketball in Williston.

• Scott Nadeau was regarded as an elite player in both football and baseball. He played right guard on the offensive line and linebacker on defense. During his career, 70% of the Colonels' plays were run to Nadeau's side. On defense, he led the team in tackles his junior year when the Colonels went to the state championship game and repeated that feat during his senior season. He was selected to play for Vermont in the 1983 Shrine game.

In baseball, he was the No. 1 pitcher his senior year and, at the plate, Nadeau led the team in average, home runs, and runs batted in. He received the Stolte Cup and the Wally Carlson Award for athletic achievement prior to graduation in 1983. Also that year, he led Post 5 to its first state Legion baseball title since 1965. Nadeau took his natural leadership ability to the Marine Corps, serving from 1985-1991. He then spent 36 years in public service as subject matter expert in the development, creation and production of Digital Nautical Charts, which are used for safe navigation of the U.S. Navy.

• Phil Natowich was the quarterback for the undefeated 1965 state football champions that finished the season averaging 55 points a game, the highest in the entire country, while giving up only 32 points in eight games. He was a unanimous All-State selection in his only season as quarterback at BUHS. He completed over 60% of his passes, threw for 15 touchdowns, and scored 72 points. His statistics are even more impressive when one realizes that he played only about half of every game due to the team's scoring efficiency.

Natowich was equally outstanding as a defensive cornerback. In four years, 32 games of varsity football, he never gave up a passing touchdown. In his junior year at BUHS, he was an All-State second team running back. He went to Vermont Academy for a postgraduate year and led VA to one of its most impressive football seasons ever.

He was a four-year starter for the BUHS baseball team. In his senior year during the state baseball tournament, he hit .778 with two home runs, two triples, three singles, and three stolen bases. In 1965, he, along with fellow Hall of Fame inductees Denny and Don Robinson, led Post 5 to its first-ever state Legion baseball championship. He went on to play three years of college baseball at UVM, where he captained the team during his senior year while joining with Denny and Don Robinson in an all-Brattleboro outfield. Natowich later coached the BUHS boys' tennis team, guiding them to three appearances in the state championship finals.

• Pamela Marie Packard Loney was the epitome of a student-athlete as she was an integral member of the BUHS softball and ski teams, a fall cheerleader, and an inductee to the National Honor Society. After graduating in 1974, she continued her exceptional athletic and academic success in college at UVM. At a time when many student-athletes were beginning to concentrate on one sport or two at the most, Pamela excelled in three sports at UVM - field hockey, skiing and softball - while earning a degree, cum laude, in 1978.

For all her accomplishments at UVM, Pam received the Semans Trophy, awarded to male and female senior athletes for outstanding leadership, loyalty and service to the university. She also served on the University's Athletic Council and found time to play intramural basketball and ice hockey. She was elected to the UVM Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988 for her accomplishments in all three sports.

In field hockey, she participated in the National Sectional Field Hockey Tournament in 1976-77 and was at the Olympic Developmental Camp for two years. After graduating, she served as head coach of UVM's Summer Field Hockey Camp from 1981-85. That launched a career in coaching that included state championships with the Monadnock High School field hockey team in 1993 and 1996. She continues to coach field hockey to this day.

• Don and Denny Robinson, twin brothers who grew up in Dummerston, were key members of some of the most successful Brattleboro teams of their era.

As an exceptional three-sport athlete at BUHS, Vermont Academy, and University of Vermont, Don's athletic power and skill stood out, just as his personal qualities of humility, industriousness, and positivity embodied the values that make Brattleboro great. Don played football, basketball, and baseball, earning spots on these Brattleboro teams, including the 1965 undefeated state championship football team. He was an All-Southern Conference All-Star, Vermont All-State second team, All-New England Division I Team, 1970 All-Yankee Conference, and a Cape Cod Collegiate Baseball League All-Star. He played in the Cape League All-Star game at Yankee Stadium.

Denny had a season to remember on the 1965 state football champions. He scored 163 points (25 TDs and 13 PATs) , a single-season record that remains unmatched in Vermont. He was a 1966 first team All-State Co-Captain and a captain of the 1966 Shrine team. Robinson also excelled at basketball and was a baseball superstar. After graduating from BUHS, Denny led the Vermont Academy football Team to a 6-2 record while leading the team in both rushing and scoring. A knee injury at VA ended his football career, but became UVM's starting center fielder. His team-leading .372 batting average placed him second in the Yankee Conference and his five triples set a single season record. He was voted by his teammates as Most Valuable Player.

After graduating from UVM, Denny joined the Peace Corps. While serving in Nicaragua he was selected to the All-Nicaragua Baseball Team to compete in the Pan-American Games, though he could not play as a non-Nicaraguan citizen. Denny finished out his baseball career playing with the Brattleboro Maples.

• Diedrich Stolte is among the greatest coaches in school history. His name was bestowed on the Stolte Cup, given each year at graduation to the outstanding graduating senior athlete, and on the playing fields that surround today's BUHS campus, the Stolte Athletic Complex. Stolte coached Brattleboro to six state championships in track (1913, 1914, 1919, 1920, 1921, and 1922) and one state football championship (1917). He was the school's first physical education instructor and was described as inspiring students "to live and play clean, to fight fairly without regard to the results of the contests, and his quiet encouragement to his boys and girls in the stress of closely contested events helped add many points to his teams' totals."

Randolph T. Holhut, deputy editor of this newspaper, has written this column since 2010 and has covered sports in Windham County since the 1980s. Readers can send him sports information at [email protected].

This Sports column by Randolph T. Holhut was written for The Commons.