A former big-league shortstop and NASCAR driver, as well as the school’s basketball career scoring leader, are among the first inductees to the Hampden Academy Athletic Hall of Fame.
Gene Arsenault, Dick Balentine, Jeff Barrows, Mike Bordick, Ricky Craven, Danny Lafayette, Marie Messer Webb, Jon Perry, Cindy Rand Stephenson, Morna Rawcliffe (posthumous) and Tom Stephenson comprise the inaugural 11-member class announced by HA athletic administrator Fred Lower.
Arsenault (Class of 1954) was a four-year starter in football, basketball and baseball. The three-time, first-team football all-star in 1952 set a school record with six touchdowns in a game and in 1953 helped the Broncos go undefeated in the Little Ten Conference. Arsenault attended the University of Maine in 1955, participating in football before being drafted into the Army. He later was pivotal in the re-establishment of the Bronco Boosters Club during the early 1980s.
Balentine taught in RSU 22 for 41 years and was Hampden Academy’s varsity girls and boys cross country coach from 1979 to 2016. His girl teams won seven conference titles, five regional crowns and one state championship while his boys teams captured five conference titles and three regional banners. Balentine was named the 2003 Maine Class B Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year, KVAC Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year three times and KVAC Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year four times. He also coached indoor track and boys varsity basketball.
From left: Ricky Craven; Dick Balentine; Morna Rawcliffe.
Barrows (1982) quarterbacked the Broncos football team to an LTC Coastal Division championship while leading the conference in touchdown passes and helped lead HA to the 1982 Eastern Maine Class B basketball title. He was one of the region’s top pitchers, going 5-0 as a senior and leading the Penobscot Valley Conference in strikeouts. Barrows went on to teach and coach baseball at the Air Force Academy before retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 2007 after 20 years of service.
Bordick (1983) had a 14-year major league career with the Oakland A’s, Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets. At HA, he was an All-PVC shortstop and at UMaine he started at shortstop for three years and made three College World Series appearances. Bordick also starred at the American Legion level and played in the Cape Cod League.
Craven (1985) began driving stock cars at age 15 at Unity Raceway, where he was rookie of the year in 1982 and won the track championship a year later while still at HA. He earned NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year honors in 1995. Craven won two Cup races and his 2003 victory over Kurt Busch at Darlington Raceway by .002 seconds is still tied for the closest recorded finish in NASCAR history. Craven retired after 446 NASCAR national series starts (278 Cup Series, 142 Xfinity and 26 Truck Series), then spent the last 14 years as a NASCAR analyst for ESPN, Yahoo! Sports, and Fox Sports.
From left (counterclockwise): Jon Perry; Cindy (Rand) Stephenson; Danny Lafayette.
Lafayette (1973) has been at the forefront of change and improvements as a businessman, philanthropist, coach and volunteer over four decades of service to the Hampden community, RSU 22 and HA athletics. Spearheading renovations and improvements to sports facilities and advocacy of youth sports and youth involvement have been hallmarks of Lafayette’s work, generosity and leadership.
Messer Webb (1982) was a four-sport athlete who was an All-Maine soccer goaltender and basketball player as a senior. She starred in basketball at the University of Southern Maine and was inducted into the USM Husky Hall of Fame after setting career records for field goals, field-goal percentage, free throws, free-throw percentage, total points, rebounds and assists. Messer went on to play professional basketball in Ireland.
Perry (1977) was a two-time all-conference baseball player and an all-tournament basketball player for the Broncos. He played four years of baseball at UMaine and was named an All-Yankee Conference second-team first baseman in 1980. He started for the Black Bears’ 1981 College World Series squad. Perry was an assistant coach at Connecticut and Husson and was a head coach at Old Town and Hermon high schools. He has been active as a sports official, served as a high school athletic administrator for 11 years, and is HA’s head baseball coach.
Rand Stephenson (1978) is HA’s career basketball scoring leader — for boys and girls — with 1,580 points as a four-year starter. She was selected to the Eastern Maine Class A All-Tournament Team in 1974 and 1975 and to the All-East and BDN All-Maine teams in 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1978. As a sophomore, Rand was on the Broncos’ only girls basketball state championship team and scored 28 points in the state final. She also was a four-year starter in softball at HA.
Rawcliffe (1944) played four years of basketball — HA’s only varsity sport for girls at the time — and also was a cheerleader before attending UMaine, where she earned All-Maine honors in basketball and field hockey. She became HA’s first female physical education instructor in 1969 and helped add (and coach) gymnastics, field hockey volleyball and track and field to the school’s sports offerings for girls. Rawcliffe died in January 2017.
Stephenson (1975) competed in football, basketball, baseball and indoor and outdoor track. He captured multiple state titles in track and still holds the state and school records in the 60-yard dash. He also held the state mark in the 300 before becoming a four-year scholarship athlete at UMaine, where he earned seven varsity letters.