The Westford Academy Athletic Hall of Fame is set to induct its latest class on Nov. 1 at the Franco-American Club.
For more information on the event, contact Kevin Regan at [email protected] or 978-846-0691.
Here are some excerpts on the inductees this year, as submitted by Ed Scollan.
1928/1929 W.A. Basketball Team
The 1928-1929 Boys Basketball team was the first Westford Academy athletic team to be undefeated in league play, compiling a 10-0 record in the tough Lowell Suburban League. The team coached by W.A. teacher Dr. Clifford J. Phelps compiled a season record of 26 wins and 4 loses. The team cruised through league play out-scoring their opponents 440 points to 93 points. They won the prestigious Fitchburg “Y” Invitational Tournament, a 33 to 24 victory versus a strong Lawrence Academy team. Their four losses were a differential of 11 points, with the largest loss of six points to the Western Massachusetts power Adams High School.
1985 Football Team
It was Westford Academy’s initial Super Bowl championship. The 1985 season was also a season of redemption, having just missed qualifying for the Super Bowl the previous campaign. The championship victory over Nashoba Regional, 7-6 at Worcester Polytech that frigid December, erased the only blemish, a 6-0 loss to the very same Nashoba squad, in an otherwise perfect season
Current W.A. Principal Jim Antonelli, co-captain of this team, related that much credit goes to the foundation built by the 1984 team. The 1985 team was well-balanced on both offense and defense. It was a true team effort, producing different heroes in each contest.
Jill Connell, Class of 2002
Jill made a giant splash at Westford Academy showing her athletic versatility participating in field hockey, swimming and track & field between 1998 and 2002.
Her swimming specialty was the 100 breast stroke. At the state championship Jill was a major factor in the 200 medley relay, aiding her squad to establishing a WA school record. She was a Dual County League all-star all four years in swimming.
Jill’s track and field talents were no less significant, competing in the 800m and 800m relay. Jill successfully competed in the Class C Track & Field championship during three seasons.
Francis Courchaine, Class of 1952
If someone was a good athlete like Francis Courchaine at the time Westford was a small town, they were known as a “pretty fair country ballplayer”. In high school Francis played and starred in baseball, basketball and football. However, it may have been the Sportsmen Award that might have been his greatest accomplishment. Each year high schools across the country would award two sportsmanship awards to a male and female in the senior class. The award was known as the “Babe Ruth Award”. Francis Courchaine was the male recipient of this award at WA for the Class of 1952.
Kelly Gallo, Class of 1983
A 1983 graduate Kelly Gallo took WA athletics by storm. As a freshman, she competed on the varsity teams in field hockey, basketball and softball. As a junior she switched from softball to tennis.
Kelly excelled in basketball, becoming the first woman athlete at WA to reach the 1,000 point mark, finishing her career with 1,027 points. As a three-year captain, she demonstrated tremendous leadership skills.
Her final two seasons Kelly was selected a Wachusett League All-Star, and Lowell Sun All-Star the final three campaigns. During her senior basketball season Kelly’s team captured the Wachusett League and Division II Central MA titles. Kelly was a recipient of a basketball scholarship to Merrimack College.
John Pantanella, Class of 1985
John Pantanella was a 1985 graduate of Westford Academy and a three sport athlete. He participated in football, wrestling, and track & field throughout his high school career. However, John excelled in wrestling. He was a four-year varsity wrestler compiling a remarkable record of 73-12. John was a two-time Division II North Sectional Champion in 1984 and 1985, and a Division II State Champion his senior year. He was a Lowell Sun All-Star and Boston Globe All Star, earning a four-year wrestling scholarship at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. John currently resides in Missouri with his wife Kristin and their four children.
Paul Sullivan, Class of 1990
Paul Sullivan, Class of 1990, was an outstanding three-sport student athlete in football, basketball, and baseball, known throughout the Wachusett and Midland-Wachusett Leagues. A National Honor Society student, he was an impact player, achieving personal and team success in all three sports.
Paul played all 12 seasons during his high school career earning a varsity letter in nine seasons. Adding to his athletic resume, Paul’s leadership was evident, being selected as captain in all three sports his senior year.
Paul’s Westford Academy athletic career culminated with selection as “MIAA District E Student-Athlete of the Year” by the district Athletic Directors. He was voted “Most Athletic” by his senior classmates.
Mike Parent, Coach
Since 1982 Mike served at Westford Academy as teacher, coach and Dean of Students. His teams were ell-prepared for game day and fiercely competitive.
From 1983-2000 Mike compiled a 256-120 record as Head Coach of the WA softball program, qualifying for state tournament competition 16 of 18 seasons. Accolades included five league championships, Lowell Sun Coach of the Year three times, and league Coach of the Year twice.
Mike coached football at WA from 1982-2008 and 2012-2014 including: freshmen, Varsity Assistant Coach, and Varsity Head Coach from 1996-2008. His overall record as Varsity Head Football Coach was 70-70-1. In 2005 he registered the DCL Championship and Lowell Sun Coach of the Year honors.
Kevin Regan, Contributor
Kevin Regan is being inducted in the Westford Academy Athletic Hall of Fame as a contributor. He’s responsible for founding the WA Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000 and serving as Executive Board Chairperson.
Since the initial award ceremony Kevin has written countless inductee biographies. He has choreographed the banquet program and served as the master of ceremonies at each induction banquet. He is principal of the Norman E. Day Elementary School in Westford. Kevin was inducted into the Acton Boxborough Regional High School Hall of Fame in 1997.
Using his skills and abilities he embraced the “idea” of an Athletic Hall of Fame and turned it into a “reality”.