The Star-Herald

Fort Fairfield High School Athletic Hall of Fame announces 2019 inductees

FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine — The Fort Fairfield High School Athletic Hall of Fame has announced its sixth Class to be inducted Thursday, July 18, at the school.

This year’s inductees are John Ala, Timothy Watt, Charlene “Chink” Cyr, Barry Gill, Robert “Bob” Osterblom, and the 1972 Regional Champion track and field squad.

Honored guests will include previous inductees, along with this year’s two student-athlete recipients of the Athletic Boosters Clubs $1,000 Scholarships. A video slideshow and introduction will highlight the evening, along with the presentation of Hall of Fame jackets and plaques to each inductee.

A short biography of each inductee is as follows:

Ala, coach, is a 1998 graduate of Caribou High School and a 2003 graduate of UMPI. He has been a successful coach of multiple sports at Fort Fairfield High School since beginning his elementary teaching position at Fort Fairfield Elementary School in 2004. Ala coached the boys varsity soccer teams from 2005-2017 where his team captured the school’s first State Class D Soccer Championship in 2015 followed by a Northern Maine Class D Runner-up in 2016. His overall soccer record is 118-90-14.

Ala has coached the boys’ varsity baseball team since 2003 with a 151-105 record, having led his teams to the 2015 and 2016 Class D Northern Runners-up before capturing the Northern Maine title in 2017. Ala is the current girls varsity soccer coach and girls junior varsity and assistant varsity basketball coach.

Cyr, athlete, is a 1977 graduate of Fort Fairfield High School and was an outstanding multi-sport player who lettered nine times in softball, field hockey and basketball, playing all four years in each sport. Cyr also played volleyball from 1974-1977 and was the captain of the team from 1975-1977.

As an athlete at Fort Fairfield High School, Cyr was awarded the MVP trophy for softball in 1975. She was designated as a High School All American in 1977 for her accomplishments that year playing varsity softball as a center fielder and pitcher. Her offensive stats included being at bat 48 times, with 26 home runs and a .504 batting average. Cyr also received the coveted Basil Mahaney Athlete of the Year award in 1977. Cyr and her brother Wilburt are the first brother/sister to be inducted into Fort Fairfield’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Gill, athlete, is a 1974 graduate of Fort Fairfield High School and was a multi-sport athlete earning seven letters competing in skiing and golf. His ski teams won the Eastern Maine Regional title his sophomore and junior years and then won the state championship his senior year. Gill was awarded two gold medals and one silver medal in the state championship. He placed first in slalom, second in giant slalom and first in ski jumping. He also placed sixth in Nordic cross country. He was awarded the 1974 State of Maine Skimeister trophy. The award is given to the skier who has the best combined scores in all four events.

Gill has been a pilot for American Airlines since 1979, flying Boeing 767’s, 757’s and 737’s and presently serves as a captain for American Airlines based out of LAX.

Osterblom, coach, is a 1965 graduate of Fort Fairfield High School and a 1969 graduate of the University of Maine at Presque Isle. During his 25 years at the Middle School, Osterblom coached boys basketball for 15 years, boys and girls cross country for 10 years and was Middle School Athletic Director for 10 years.

Osterblom’s high school coaching career started in 1975 as assistant coach of the boys track team. In 1976, Osterblom began a 31-year career as the first girls track coach and coached both boys and girls track the last few years. During this time, the girls had three individual state champions and several Eastern Regional champions. Osterblom coached girls varsity basketball from 1994-1998, reaching the playoffs in 1996. The next year they advanced to the tournament in Bangor for the first time in 10 years and in 1998 finished third in the standings, advancing to the semifinals before losing to Shead. His team won the Class C Sportsmanship Banner in 1997.

Watt, contributor and coach, is a 1981 graduate of Limestone High School. He began his teaching career in Fort Fairfield in 1985, as Middle School health and physical education teacher and coach of the varsity boys soccer team. He was also freshman boys basketball, and Middle School baseball coach.

In 2000, Watt was hired for the dual position of assistant principal and athletic administrator. Since that time, Watt has worked tirelessly in support of the athletic programs at Fort Fairfield Middle High School. He has served on the Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association executive board for four years, the Maine Principals Association Softball, Athletic Administrators Advisory, and Summer Activities Adhoc Committees. He received the Special Achievement Award in 2013 and 2018 from the Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association. Watt has also been president of the Aroostook League since 2012. In May, he received the 2019 Distinguished Educator Award from the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

A special presentation will be made to the “Team of the Year”, a team from the past selected for the honor. This year’s team will be the “1972 Regional Track Championship Team coached by the late Eugene “Sam” Babineau. All team members will be invited and honored prior to the induction of this years new members.

Tickets are now available for the banquet and induction ceremony which begins at 5 p.m. with a social hour, followed by the meal at 6 p.m. with the induction of this year’s class of six athletes and coaches. Only 125 tickets are available.

This year’s sitdown meal will have a choice of prime rib or baked stuffed haddock, along with twice baked potatoes, buttered peas, macaroni salad, dinner rolls and dessert. Ticket prices are $30 per person. Fort Fairfield student athletes will again be servers for the meal, adding a touch of class to the event.

Those interested in attending to share in this historic moment in school history can purchase tickets by contacting Larry Gardner at 551-5001 or by email at lgardner@msad20.org.

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