slides: Greatest Athletes In Central Mass History: Ashburnham-Charlton
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
It also includes an old-school Happy Gilmore (he's from Bolton), a Walter Payton award winner, and several legendary high school athletes.
From Ashburnham to Charlton, Central Mass has produced plenty of great all-time athletes. Take a look at this list as we count down all 72 Central Mass communities in alphabetical order.
#1: Erika Lawler, women's ice hockey.
What Erika Lawler lacks in height, she makes up for in incredible hockey talent.
The 4-11 forward starred at Cushing Academy before helping lead the University of Wisconsin to three NCAA championships in four years (2006, 07, and 09).
She also helped Team USA win a silver medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Kelly O'Leary, women's hockey.
O'Leary was a terrific defenseman at Providence College and one of the best players on the U.S. Women's hockey team from 1990-97.
She was a big part of teams that won four silver medals in the World Ice Hockey Championships (1990, 92, 94, 97).
#1: Jamie Morris, NFL.
How's this for a kid from Ayer?
Morris is the all-time leader in University of Michigan football history in all-purpose yards, with 6,201.
He also held the school record for career rushing yards (4,392) for 13 years before it was broken by Anthony Thomas in 2000.
He spent three seasons in the NFL from 1988-90 with the Redskins and Patriots before retiring due to injury.
#1: Ricky Santos, football.
Santos was an unbelievable athlete at Bellingham High, having lettered in four sports. He was a two-time Tri-Valley MVP and once threw seven touchdowns on a Thanksgiving Day game, all to his cousin Steve Wood.
Santos led Bellingham to back-to-back state football titles in 2000 and '01.
He attended the University of New Hampshire and led the Wildcats to a 37-14 record and two Atlantic 10 championships. He also won the Walter Payton Award as the best offensive player in Division 1-AA, and finished third all-time on the NCAA all-time passing list in both yardage and touchdowns, with 13,212 yards.
Santos currently plays in the Canadian Football League.
#1: Hannah Andrew, rowing, water polo.
A two-sport collegiate athlete, Andrew helped lead the Northeastern women's rowing team to an undefeated season and a bronze medal at the Eastern Sprints as a freshman.
She swam for US Swimming for 11 years, medaling in various regional and national competitions.
#1: Bill Ezinicki, NHL, PGA.
Ezenicki is like an old-school version of Happy Gilmore, only more successful.
The forward won three straight Stanley Cups with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1947-49 and played 12 seasons with Toronto, Boston, and New York.
After retiring from hockey, Ezinicki went on to become a New England PGA Hall of Fame golfer, winning several tournaments in the region and four state opens in 1960.
Hal Gill, NHL.
Gill was a terriffic hockey and football player at Nashoba Regional High School. He also started at quarterback for the school.
The defenseman has played 16 seasons with five teams and won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2009.
He's put up 184 points in his career.
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- Greatest Athletes in Central Mass History: Hudson-Oakham
- Greatest Athletes in Central Mass History: Orange-Sturbridge