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Three individuals, five teams inducted in Massena Hall of Fame

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MASSENA - When Pierre (P.J.) Rochefort transferred from St. Lawrence Central to Massena Central his freshman year, he wasn’t sure what to expect when he hit the athletic field given the long-time rivalry between the two schools.

But Mr. Rochefort said Friday night, he was welcomed by the coach the minute he stepped foot on the field to play junior varsity football.

“He just welcomed me with open arms. I started to feel the tradition of Massena right then and there,” he said.

Mr. Rochefort was one of three individuals and five teams inducted into Massena’s Central’s Hall of Fame during the school’s 23rd annual ceremony. Other individual inductees were Ike Bogosian Jr. and Mike Bressard, while the teams that were inducted included the 1970-71 wrestling team, 1974-75 boys swim team, 1981-82 wrestling team, 1980-81 girls swim team and 1999 varsity lacrosse team.

A three-sport athlete, Mr. Rochefort was the quarterback for the 1994 football team that sported an 11-1 record; was a defenseman and co-captain of a hockey tam that won league and sectional championships and went on to win the state Division 1 championship; and was co-captain and goalie on the lacrosse team in the spring, winning the Section 10 championship and competing in the state championship tournament.

“Stepping on the field every day was probably one of the biggest thrills of my life, knowing no one could beat us,” Mr. Rochefort said.

Sports was his life, Mr. Rochefort said.

“If there was a week between sports, I didn’t know what to do with myself. That’s the only thing that kept me out of trouble,” he said.

Mr. Bogosian played basketball, ran track and was running back and safety on the football team. Those who also his positions in Syracuse University, where he served as co-captain of the team. Mr. Bogosian was also captain in all three of his main sports.

His father, Ike and brother, Steve, are also members of the Massena Central Hall of Fame.

“I was a very lucky kid growing up . I had a great set of parents that supported me on the field and off the field,” Mr. Bogosian said, noting he also had three brothers who mentored him when it was time to begin playing sports.

“It was probably the most competitive environment for a kid to be in,” he said.

Mr. Bogosian also applauded the coaches he had over the year for making an impact on his life.

“I’m very honored to accept this,” he said. “My nature is I don’t like this. I’d much rather be here with my teammates.”

Mr. Bressard was recognized as a four-year football player, as well as a lacrosse player beginning his junior year. In football, he was a starter at defensive tackle, where he was selected All Northern. In lacrosse, Mr. Bressard was named to the All Northern team.

“I never touched a lacrosse stick in my life. I couldn’t throw, I couldn’t catch. The one thing I was very good at was contact. I would hit anything that moved,” he recalled, thanking coach Jeff Slack “for giving me that opportunity with lacrosse.”

Mr. Bressard recalled varsity football practices under coach Diagostino, with two-and-a-half hours on the field in the morning and another two-and-a-half hours in the afternoon.

“Your friends are home sleeping right now and you’re here,” he recalled Mr. Diagostino telling them.

As they ran sprints, Mr. Bressard said their coached asked them if anyone was tired. They said yes. His reply was, “You’re not in shape. You’re going to run some more.”

A while later, Mr. Diagostino wold ask them again if they were tired. This time they said no. So he kept them running.

“I thought I was going to die,” he recalled.

On the field, Mr. Bressard said, “We were Red Raiders and we wanted everybody to know. We worked as a team every day, day in and day out.”

The 1970-71 wrestling team under coach Albert Nicola was recognized for its overall 13-1 record on its way to a Section 10 championship. The team had two sectional champions, five second place sectional finishers and two third place finishers.

The 1974-75 boys swim team under coach Jeff Slack sported a 9-0 record and were Northern League and sectional champions. That team produce eight All-Northerns.

The 1981-82 wrestling team under Mr. Nicola and assistant coaches Darrel Paquin and Nick Zappia finished the season with a 17-4 record on their way to a sectional championships.

The 1980-81 girls swim team compiled an 8-2 record and were co-Northern League champions with Salmon River and Malone and sectional champions over Malone with four new sectional records set during that meet.

Under the coaching of Mr. Slack and assistant coached Ed Letham and Charlie Durant, the 1999 varsity lacrosse team compiled a 15-4 record and were the league and sectional champions. Ten players from that team went on to play college lacrosse.

No matter where they went after finishing high school, they would always be remembered for their achievements in Massena, according to master of ceremonies Tim Long, a member of the Hall of Fame Committee.

“We’re proud to acknowledge the past and proud to acknowledge the present. Remember, once a Red Raider, always a Red Raider,” he said. Athletic Director Timothy Hayes said today’s athletes had someone to emulate - those who were recognized Friday night.

“Kids have something to look up to and you set a bar and a standard that was high,” he said.

“You are the pride and tradition of Massena Red Raider athletics,” Martha Slack, a member of the Hall of Fame Committee said. “Once you’re a Red Raider, you’re always a Red Raider.”


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