June 25, 2018
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Hackett, Brutsaert among six to be inducted into Orono High School Athletic Hall of Fame

John Clarke Russ | BDN
John Clarke Russ | BDN
Orono High School head coach Jessica Witham, (kneeling in center) huddles with her Red Riots players during a game in 2011. Witham is among six people who will be inducted into the Orono High School Athletic Hall of Fame Friday night.
By Ernie Clark, BDN Staff

ORONO, Maine — A four-time participant in the College World Series and one of the nation’s top mountain bikers are among six people who will be inducted into the Orono High School Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday night.

The ceremony will take place during halftime of the Red Riots’ homecoming football game against Bucksport. Opening kickoff for the contest is scheduled for 7 p.m.

William Kenyon (Class of 1948), Robert Kocsmiensky (1961), Richie Pullen (1975), Ed Hackett (1980), Elke Brutsaert (1986) and Jessica Libby Witham (1999) will be honored as the hall’s Class of 2013.

Kenyon, who is being inducted posthumously, was a standout football and baseball player and also lettered in basketball and track for the Red Riot teams.

The son of former a former professional baseball and football player and baseball and football coach at the University of Maine, Kenyon was part of Orono’s 1947 football team that upset John Bapst, Old Town and Brewer en route to an undefeated season.

Kenyon lettered 16 times during his high school career at Orono High School and was a three-time All Eastern Maine Class A selection at halfback.

Kocsmiersky started all four years on offense and defense in football, a career highlighted by the 1960 season when he captained the Red Riots’ undefeated Little Eight Conference and state championship team.

In basketball, he led Orono to the 1961 Class L Eastern Maine and state championships, while Kocsmiersky also competed in track and field.

Kocsmiersky attended the University of Maine from 1962 to 1966 where he was a three-year letterwinner for the Black Bears football team. As a senior, he started at cornerback on the 1965 team that won the Yankee Conference championship and the Lambert Cup and played in the Tangerine Bowl against East Carolina.

Pullen captained the Orono football team in both his junior and senior years while also being named captain of both the basketball and baseball teams as a senior.

He was instrumental in Orono’s 1973 state championship in basketball and played in two other state title games in baseball and a fourth in basketball.

Pullen went on to play football and baseball at the University of Maine, where he was a two-year starter for the Black Bear football team.

Hackett started on three undefeated Orono football teams from 1977 to 1979 that went 27-0 and won three LTC and state championships and captained the team as a senior. In basketball, he also was a three-year starter from 1978-1980 who captained the team as a senior.

Hackett was a four-year starter in baseball, directing the Red Riots from his catcher position to the 1978 state championship. He was a three-time all-conference selection and captained the team in 1980.

Hackett went on to be the starting catcher at the University of Maine from 1981 to 1984, making four consecutive trips to the College World Series under legendary coach John Winkin. He was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008.

Brutsaert lettered 12 times in field hockey and indoor and outdoor track while at Orono, and was an all-state field hockey player in 1984 and 1985.

In track, she was the Class C state champion in the hurdles and in 1985 had the best time regardless of class in Maine. She earned a full scholarship at the University of Maine where she continued her success as a track and field athlete.

Brutsaert later developed a passion for mountain biking and went on to spend nine years on the U.S. national team before serving as the USA Downhill Cycling Coach for the 2004 World Championships and the USA Downhill Cycling Team Manager at the 2005 World Championships.

She now is the women’s cycling coach and strength and conditioning coach at Fort Lewis College in Colorado.

Witham was a 12-time letterwinner who helped the Red Riots win Class B basketball state championships in 1996 and 1998 and as a senior earned All-Maine honors and was a finalist for the state’s Miss Basketball award.

Witham later played softball and basketball at the University of Southern Maine, where she played in the 2000 NCAA Division III basketball championship game for the Huskies. Witham was a first-team All-Little East selection as a senior and ranks among the top 25 for USM women’s basketball in six different statistical categories.

Witham was an assistant coach for the 2005 USM team that returned to the Final Four, and now is the girls varsity basketball coach at Orono, where she has been named Eastern Maine Class C Coach of the Year in 2011 and 2012.

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