All In The Campaign for Blair Academy 2018-2025
Announcing the Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2022
Adele Starrs

The Blair Athletic Hall of Fame Committee is pleased to announce the athletes chosen for the Athletic Hall of Fame class of 2022: John H. Dumont ’59, David Waddell ’76Major Ray Mendoza ’87, the 1996-1997 Blair girls’ tennis team, Michael Kerrigan ’03 and Temi Fagbenle ’11

“We have an outstanding group of individuals to induct into the Blair Athletic Hall of Fame,” notes Director of Athletics Paul Clavel ’88. “Their respective accomplishments are very impressive, and I am so excited to honor and recognize these former Blair student-athletes. The legacy that they have left on the Blair athletic program continues to resonate throughout our athletic teams."  

In keeping with the School’s tradition of athletic excellence, Blair established the Hall of Fame in 2016 to honor the accomplishments of its alumni and coaches. To be considered, nominees must have exhibited the highest caliber of athletic accomplishment during their time at Blair and have been outstanding members of the School community in the areas of scholastic achievement, citizenship, integrity and moral character. Selection is based primarily on athletic accomplishments while a Blair student or coach, although subsequent achievement in athletics may be considered. Finally, alumni nominees become Hall-of-Fame eligible in the 10th year following their graduation, while coaches become eligible after their retirement from Blair.

Joining the ranks of Blair’s greatest Buccaneers, these former players will be celebrated during an Alumni Weekend induction ceremony on Saturday, June 11, 2022.


John H. Dumont ’59

A resident of Fredon Township, just seven miles from the hilltop, John arrived at the gates of Blair Academy in the fall of 1955. Needing to participate in a winter sport, he joined Blair’s swim team and, over the course of the next four years, was 24-5 in dual meets. By his senior year, John was named co-captain and a Prep School All-American swimmer. He held the national prep school record for the 200 freestyle in a 20-yard pool. Undefeated during his senior year, John held Blair Academy swimming records in eight different events, including the 100, 200 and 400 freestyle. John continued to stand out in the pool at the University of Michigan, where his team in 1961 won the NCAA national championship.  Two years later, John was elected captain of the Wolverine swim team when they finished third in the NCAA championships. He competed in the 1960 Olympic trials. In addition to his swimming prowess, John stood out at Blair as a halfback on the 1958 undefeated soccer team and was an outstanding track team member. 

John recently retired from his law practice in Princeton, New Jersey, after 53 years. John and his wife, Beth, live in Hopewell, New Jersey. 


David Waddell ’76

Winner of nine varsity letters during his Blair athletic career, David played football, basketball and baseball as a Buccaneer. As a junior, he won the Brooks Football Prize and, as a senior, he won the Robert Dalling Prize for the student who best represented Blair Academy in athletic competition. A two-time New Jersey Class A football champion, “Moochie,” as he is known to his family and Blair classmates, was twice named to the First All-State Team as a running back and twice named to the First All-Area Team as a running back. Exceling on the football field at Ohio Wesleyan, David led the Ohio Athletic Conference in kickoff returns as a junior, led the team in rushing as a senior and lettered for three years. He served on Blair’s Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2001. David is part of the trio of brothers who graduated from Blair, including Milton “Skip” Waddell ’73 and Joe Waddell ’78.


Major Ray Mendoza ’87

Ray came to Blair for a postgraduate year, during which he captained the varsity football team and stood out on the wrestling team, winning second place at the 1987 National Prep Wrestling Championship. At 6 feet, 2 inches and 225 pounds, Ray went on to become a star wrestler at Ohio State, earning his place in 1991 as a Big Ten finalist and becoming the USA University freestyle champion. Two years later, he clinched heavyweight runner-up at the Big Ten championships. His overtime victory over a reigning champ in the 1993 Big Ten tournament remains one of the Buckeye program’s most thrilling moments.

Following his graduation, Ray joined the U.S. Marine Corps where, as an infantry officer, he continued to wrestle for the All-Marine Wrestling team, clinching the 1996 Central Region Olympic Trial Greco-Roman Champion title at 100kg. He subsequently served as an alternate on the 1996 Olympic team in Athens, Georgia. 

Tragically, Ray was killed in action in Iraq on November 14, 2005, at the age of 37. While on a joint U.S.-Iraqi mission near the village of Ubaydi, he was walking up a hill when a hidden roadside bomb detonated. Ray is survived by his wife, Karen, and two children, Kiana ’11 and Alek. 

A number of scholarships and awards commemorate Ray’s life and legacy, notably including the exclusive Ray Mendoza Award, presented to an individual wrestler who scores the most team points at the annual Ironman, Beast of the East or national prep tournament.


1996-1997 Girls’ Tennis Team

In the fall of 1996, Associate Dean of Admission and coach Todd Smith ’90 commented that he wanted to prove that the girls’ tennis team was a squad to look out for in New Jersey, and he certainly got his wish. The 1996-1997 girls’ tennis team broke School records with an impressive 19-2 finish, recording losses only to the two other top-ranked schools in the nation, Newark Academy and Lawrenceville. They finished the season winning the Prep State Championship, and, the following year, the Star Ledger awarded the Blair girls’ tennis team a first-place ranking, while the NJ Herald named it the 1997 Team of the Year for the first time in program history. 

Many players turned out outstanding performances during the season. Among them were singles players Vanessa Guinet ’98, Jenny Slayton-Green ’98 and Theo Paul ’99; doubles partners Laura Inkeles ’97 and Sarah Apgar ’98, as well as Carolyn Troy ’99 and Victoria (Cummings) Bailey ’97, and partners Joanna Schwartz ’97 and Amy Hayden ’97. From that group, Jenny and Theo were ranked, respectively, as New Jersey’s second- and third-best singles players, while doubles teammates Sarah and Laura and Victoria and Carolyn were named the first and second doubles players in the state. In September 1996's Blair Bulletin, Coach Smith noted that there was no doubt in his mind that the athletes on the 1996-1997 girls’ tennis team were champions. “From the number-one singles player to the number-two doubles team, they gave all they had to prove they were worthy,” he said. 


Michael Kerrigan ’03

A distance-running standout at Blair, Michael captained the winter track team, twice winning the School’s Winter Track Award, Pender Track Award for Spring Track and Pierce Cross Country Trophy for his accomplishments. With a 4:15.5 mile time (a still-standing School record), he was a seven-time NJ Prep State champion and 10-time MAPL champion across all three sports. He also qualified for the Nationals in the mile during his junior and senior years, and was named the NJ Herald’s 2002-2003 Warren County Athlete of the Year. 

Later, as a member of Villanova University’s legendary track program, Michael became the 291st American to break the four-minute mile, qualifying for an NCAA championship berth. He also ran lead-off for Villanova’s distance medley relay, earning NCAA all-American honors and podium finishes in the Penn Relays Championship of America. 

Michael lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Noelle, and one-year-old son. He works in strategic finance for a healthcare company. 


Temi Fagbenle ’11

On the court, Temi is one of the best female basketball players to ever wear the Buccaneer uniform. During her senior year at Blair, Temi was ranked by ESPN Hoopgurlz as the nation’s 13th female basketball prospect. Leading her Blair varsity basketball teammates to resounding victories in both the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) and state championships in 2011, the team beat Peddie and Hill for the first time in Blair history. In addition to leading Blair to a state championship in basketball, Temi also played tennis and starred on the Blair track-and-field team, winning state track-and-field titles in discus, shot put, javelin and high jump.

As the female athlete who best represented Blair Academy in competition, Temi won the Brooks Basketball Prize during her senior year, as well as the William Zester Memorial Award. The year that she graduated from Blair, the graceful forward was named Gatorade’s NJ Player of the Year and a McDonald’s All-American for her outstanding performance on the court. 

The hardwood sensation attended Harvard University, where Temi was named the 2012-2013 Ivy League Rookie of the Year and an All-Ivy League First Team selection the following year. Transferring to the University of Southern California (USC) for her final season of NCAA basketball, Temi was named captain of the USC Trojan team and secured a spot on the prestigious All-Pac-12 Team. 

On the international stage, Temi has found tremendous success. In 2011, she was named MVP of the BlueStar Europe Tournament, and, as a 2012 Olympian for Great Britain, Temi played in all five London games. She has competed in the FIBA Europe U20 Championship, as well as for England U16 and U18, where she was named 2010’s U18 Player of the Year. In 2019, she led Great Britain to their highest-ever finish in the European Championship Tournament, fourth place, and was named on the all-star team.

Drafted in the third round of the 2016 WNBA, Temi forwent the 2016 season in order to finish her master’s degree before joining the Minnesota Lynx in 2017, where her team won the WNBA championship. 

Temi has played in EuroLeague and Eurocup in Poland, Spain, Italy and Turkey, winning championships in all but one. She is now the forward-center for the Turkish Super League’s Çukurova Basketbol team and is vying for her sixth championship.
 

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