During the 1990’s, Rodney Gendron and Peter Landry were doing things in the sport of gymnastics that no other locals had ever achieved. Katie Lachapelle was skating new paths for future female hockey players, while Kristi Royer Ouellette was setting a new standard of excellence in Lewiston basketball.

None of them set out to do great things or break new ground, but they each did in their own way, just by participating in a sport they loved.

All four of them went to Lewiston in the same decade, and all four — along with former St. Dom’s hockey standout Gerry Forgues — were inducted into the Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame on Sunday at Lost Valley Ski Area.

“I always get asked what was it like back then,” said Lachapelle, who played hockey with the Lewiston boys’ hockey team back in high school. “I didn’t know any different. So I didn’t know that a girl playing on a guys team was a big deal. These were all my friends growing up. I played with them at different levels. To get to high school, it was just the same thing. As my peers, they were always accepting of me as a player. If they weren’t and if the town wasn’t, it would have been hard to keep playing. I just wanted to play hockey.”

Ouellette wanted to play basketball. She dedicated her focus on the sport and played on boys’ teams as a youth. She eventually became Lewiston’s all-time leading scorer and was among the great players in Bowdoin College history.

“It seems like a long time ago for me but you want to take pride in what you do and always remember where you came from,” Ouellette said Sunday during her induction speech.

A common thread for all those former Lewiston athletes was the fact that they were products of their own environment. Because they were given opportunity and support, they were allowed to not only do what they loved but also learn to thrive at it.

“All the credit, I think for me, is the sport of gymnastics under Don White,” Landry said of his former coach, who introduced both Landry and Gendron Sunday. “Great leaders breed great athletes. Without him growing up in Lewiston, Maine and without us and my parents supporting us with and financially, getting into that sport then wouldn’t have happened.”

Gendron said something similar. The lessons he learned back then not only helped him as an athlete but now also as a coach in the sport.

“(White) gave me the passion for the sport of gymnastics,” Gendron said. “I still have it today as a coach. I try to give it to the next generation of gymnasts and try to carry on what Don started all these years ago.”

Forgues was a multi-sport athlete at St. Dom’s and was selected to the school’s Hall of Fame. He later became the first athlete from Maine to play for Boston College.

“Gerry Forgues used to give me BC hockey stickers,” Lachapelle said during her speech. “It’s ironic that I coach at BU now.”

White, who was integral in the development of Andy Valley Gymnastics, introduced both Gendron and Landry. His comments excited Gendron so much that he stepped to the floor and did a backflip before approaching the podium.

“I’m not as nimble as I used to be,” he said.

Gendron said one thing he learned from White and his own family was the amount of work and commitment it takes to succeed. It is something he now lives as the owner and coach at Andy Valley Gymnastics.

“They were always there supporting me,” Gendron said. “My family sacrificed a lot for me to be able to do gymnastics.”

In addition to being an outstanding gymnast while in high school, he went on to excel at Ohio State. He was a seven-time state champion, three-time New England champion and six time National Championship qualifier.

His younger teammate was Landry, who also succeeded in the sport and followed to Ohio State. He also won multiple Maine and New England titles.

“He was someone that I followed and tried to get to his level,” Landry said of Gendron. “I think I pushed him athletically and he pushed me athletically. What a benefit for me to have someone like Rodney that had that talent and had that ability. That obviously helped me climb the ladder in the sport.”

Lachapelle was a classmate of Landry’s at Lewiston. She played on the boys’ varsity hockey team because there was no girls’ program. After being a three-sport standout at Lewiston, she had a successful college career and then went into coaching. She’s now an assistant at Boston University.

“I think any of us would say that it molded our upbringing because everybody was so supportive,” Lachapelle said. “I know my parents were and all of their parents were integral in their lives and in growing up here. A lot of their parents were from Lewiston-Auburn, and I think it speaks volumes of the kind of town we grew up in.”

Ouellette graduated a few years after Lachapelle and Landry and made her own mark on the basketball court. After her stellar playing career at Lewiston and Bowdoin, she did some coaching and is now teaching first grade in South Portland. Former Bowdoin coach Stefanie Pemper, now at Navy, introduced Ouellette and said she was the first Maine player she recruited when she came to Maine.

“Her coach took her out late in a game,” Pemper said of a scouting trip she took to Lewiston to watch Ouellette play. “She went all the way down the bench and slapped everybody five. The smile on her face and teammates faces, this was a three-time first-team all-star player. For those kids at the end of the bench, you could tell just how much they admired her. That’s when I knew that I really wanted her at Bowdoin.”

Ouellette joined her father, Fred Royer, who was inducted in 2009. They are the first father-and-daughter tandem inducted.

“There’s no way to thank them for all that they’ve done,” Ouellette said of her parents.

The ceremony not only recognized this year’s inductees but also some local athletes and coaches.

Chamber President’s Awards went to Lewiston coaches Ron Dumont and Lynnette Morency. College athletes Jessica Bowen (Lewiston), Sean Enos (Bates), Mekae Hyde (Bates, Lewiston), Scott Ouellette (Lewiston), Graham Safford (Hampden, Bates) and Shelby Turcotte (Lewiston) were also honored. Local high school athletes that were recognized included Brad Berube (St. Dom’s), Faith Grady (St. Dom’s), Olivia Grimmer (Hebron), Isaiah Harris (Lewiston), Lew Jensen (Edward Little),  Heather Kendall (Lewiston), Erica Lemieux (Lewiston), Ian Mileikis (Edward Little), Hassan Mohamed (Lewiston), Olivia Paione (Edward Little) and Kerri St. Denis (Auburn).

The Flashback to Fame Team Award was presented to members of the 1960 St. Dom’s state championship team. The Pioneer Award recognized William Clifford Sr., who was a former present of the L-A Chamber of Commerce and a founding member and president of Martindale Country Club.

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