EAST NOTTINGHAM -- Oxford High School came alive with sports stories from the past on Monday night. That’s when six more alums were inducted into the school’s Sports Wall of Fame.
The Wall, begun in 2001, is the destination for lists of former athletes who performed very well while at school and often beyond. Each year the school selects five or six individuals, calls them back for a ceremony and dubs them with the honor.
This year the six former students who received the recognition were Alma Doyle Barton, Jamie Canaday, Kim Vaughn Stout, Meghan Tait, Janine Collins Pavese and the late Kathryn “Kitty” Jamison Aylsworth.
Barton, 57, graduated in the class of 1974, having played field hockey, tennis and skiing. She also ran track and was a cheerleader in ninth grade.
She recalled the skiing experience saying there was a small group that competed in the sport at Chadds Peak in Chadds Ford. “It was so small, the called it Chadds Bump,” she said, adding that they had to shovel snow from the adjacent fields onto the run to make it skiable.
Whenshe was looking for a college in her senior year of high school, she scanned through “Lovejoy’s College Guide” and stopped when she got to the University of Hawaii. She told her family that’s where she wanted to go to get a degree in dentistry or nursing, and they agreed to that. There she became enamored of soccer, a sport that is widespread in the state. The following year she returned to the mainland to get a degree from Widener University in 1978. There she played on the men’s soccer team, earning three varsity letters.
After that, she returned to Hawaii, where she has played for years on women’s soccer teams, including a 50-55 year old team that won the national championship for that age group.
“After 40, it’s actually relaxing with women in their 60s and 70s playing. We have pot lucks and talk about other things afterwards,” she said.
Canaday, 37, and a father of four, is the current assistant principal of Oxford’s Penn’s Grove Middle School. He excelled in wrestling under Coach Scott Gold from 1990 to 1994, and his career record was 130-11, a county record at the time of his graduation.
He wrestled in the state tournament in his sophomore and senior years. In his sophomore year he finished in the top eight, and in his senior year he lost in the semifinals, finishing sixth. He has also coached at Oxford from 1999 to 2008, when they won their AAA District team title. He credits his father, a wrestler in his own right, for getting him interested in the sport when he was 6 years old.
Stout, a graduate of the class of 1996, played hockey, basketball, track & field and softball while she was at Oxford. She especially excelled at track and field, and in 1996 was she state champion for shot put.
Today she is a home health nurse with two daughters who coaches her children’s soccer and cheerleading.
She said she kept a hectic winter sports schedule while she was a student, playing basketball, indoor field hockey and indoor track, with consecutive practices that ran from 3 to 5 p.m., 5 to 7 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. “Then I went home an did my homework,” she said.
She also recalled practicing with an indoor shot. “We weren’t allowed to throw it so it hit the gym floor, so we had to throw it at the wall,” she said.
Tait graduated from Oxford in 2008 and played basketball, field hockey and softball. Throughout her high school career she excelled in all three sports, having been named MVP and second team All Ches-Mont in field hockey and second team Ches-Mont for softball. She also gained numerous honors in basketball here she was named First Team All- Area and All Ches-Mont and MVP for her team.
She went on to play varsity basketball at Washington College, where she was the captain of her team from 2009 to 2012. Being so good in so many sports, she was asked which she liked best in high school. She said she liked field hockey and softball because it was an outdoor relief from the indoor intensity of basketball during the winter.
Pavese, who graduated in 1983, excelled in many sports, but especially field hockey. She played JV in her freshman year, but soon moved up to varsity in her sophomore through senior years. She played third base on the softball team, batting .443 in her junior year. In 1980 when she played JV basketball, she scored 121 points and went on to play all star basketball the following years.
In addition to the traditional girls’ sports that were available to her, Pavese in her youth also played Wildcat football and Little Leaguer baseball.
James Aylsworth spoke on behalf of his late mother, Kathryn Jamison Aylsworth, who graduated from Oxford in 1935 and died in 1998. During high school she played the only sports available for women: field hockey and basketball. She was also active in class teams at school.
She attended West Chester State Teachers College, where she played hockey and basketball all four years and graduated with a teaching certificate in physical education and social studies.
She joined the U.S. Army and served as a physiotherapist at Walter Reed Hospital during World War II, where she met her husband. After the war she substitute taught at Oxford and raised her family there.
James Aylsworth said his mother was the only girl in a family of five boys. It was said of her, “Kitty could throw a ball harder than three of the five of them.”
James Aylsworth went on to teach in the Oxford School District and is on the Wall of Fame for his excellence in track and field.