AUBURN – When one soared to new heights, the other wasn’t far behind.

Peter and Paul Slovenski enjoyed similar athletic careers. The sons of legendary Bates College track coach Walt Slovenski were groomed and nurtured in an athletic environment. Both achieved great success as pole vaulters and followed similar career paths.

So it isn’t surprising that both would be inducted together into the Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame.

“Paul and I are not twins, but our athletic careers were very similar,” Peter Slovenski said Friday.

“We both had personal bests at the same 15-foot level. We both set state high school records right around the same height, the 13-10 range. He was a Division III All-American. I was an All-Ivy League vaulter in Division I. So with the similarities of our career, it’s a great result that we both make it in the same year.”

The 24th annual induction banquet will be held April 29 at Lost Valley. Joining the Slovenski brothers in the Class of 2007 are Auburn natives Mark Coutts and William Higgins. Lewiston native Richard Gilbert will be honored posthumously.

“It’s a terrific honor,” Slovenski said. “I’ve been so impressed all my life with the community of support for sports and athletes in Lewiston. The Hall is a really terrific community organization. It’s a character building side of sports. Looking at the roster of previous inductees like John Jenkins and Julie Parisien, it represents a lot of wonderful qualities that are emphasized in Lewiston-Auburn sports. It’s people achieving at high levels of sports, but it’s also keeping that real good connection between good character and success in sports.”

Their father was inducted into the A-L Hall in 1987.

Peter, the older of the two, excelled in football and track at Lewiston. He won the state championship in the pole vault in 1973 and 1974 and was second in New England.

He set school records at Phillips Exeter Academy and was All-New England and All-Ivy League while at Dartmouth. He’s had an extensive coaching career and is currently head track and cross country coach at Bowdoin.

Paul was a standout pole vaulter at Lewiston and Bates, placing fourth in the 1985 NCAA Div. III championships. A three-time New England Division III champion at Bates, he also had success in the long jump and was an all-state soccer player. After several years coaching at the collegiate level, Paul is currently the athletic director at Bayview Glen School in Toronto.

Coutts will join his brother in the Hall of Fame. Mike Coutts was inducted in 1998. “I used to hear about it, but not anymore,” Mark Coutts said.

A standout in both baseball and football, Coutts played for the Auburn Suburban Senior All-Stars who qualified for the 1987 national championships. He was an All-State football player and was a finalist for the Fitzpatrick Trophy at EL. At Maine, Coutts was an all-star in both football and baseball.

“Coming from Auburn, I’m very proud to be inducted,” said Coutts, who currently lives in New Jersey. “I still carry a lot of values that I learned in Auburn playing sports. All these gentlemen have taken the time to coach me, teach me and teach me life’s lessons that help me today and in everyday life.”

Higgins was a three-sport star at EL, where he graduated in 1951. After playing semi-pro baseball and basketball for area teams, he became a basketball official. He later served as president of Martindale Country Club.

“It’s quite a surprise, something I never planned on after all these years,” Higgins said. “I played football, basketball and baseball all through high school. I pretty much grew up playing sports.”

Gilbert is being honored posthumously. A Lewiston native and graduate of St. Dom’s in 1961, he was a renowned figure skater and a top-level coach and technician. In 1997, the Victoria Skating Club established the annual Richard Gilbert Memorial Award for Outstanding Artistry in Pairs or Dance.

Also being recognized this year are the coaches from the spring 2006 high school championships – including Lewiston tennis coaches Ron Chicoine and Anita Murphy and track coach Ray Putnam. Individual President’s Awards will be awarded to college athletes Brent Dube, Kristen Gaylord, Kathryn Moore, Zak Ray, Rob Stockwell and Amy Sarrazin, and high school athletes Troy Barnies, Matt Cyr, Brittney French, Emily Lewandowski, James Morin, Toby Poirier, Kurt Thibeault and Jared Turcotte.

The Flashback to Fame Award will recognize state championship teams from 1982, including the EL girls’ tennis team, the Lewiston boys’ tennis team and the EL gymnastics team.

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