Pace High School got the final game of the season against Pensacola Catholic by honoring seven former Patriot Athletes.
The seven former Patriots who made up the Bennett C. Russell Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2012 were Angela Buterbaugh Fletcher, Charles Clarke, Dottie Culp, Brian Davis, Ashley Griffin, Josh Owens, and Michelle Sullivan Smith.
Making up this yearís class are several former state champions as well as former coaches at Pace who have left an indelible mark on Pace High School and the community, all of which were qualities the late Russell demonstrated and promoted during his lifetime, according to Pace High Athletic Director Robert Freeman.
Fletcher, who now resides in Americus, Ga., is a 1998 graduate of Pace who played volleyball. During her career at Pace, she was a member of two district championships and a member of the 1997 Florida State Championship team. Fletcher went on to attend Southwestern State University on a scholarship and was a four time All-Conference players.
Clarke was a three-sport star at Pace who graduated in 1999 and was a member of the football, track, and weightlifting teams.
Not only did Clarke have a huge senior year by winning a weightlifting state championship and finish fourth in the state throwing the discus. He went on to play at Georgia Southern University where he was a member of two NCAA Division 1-AA National Championship teams.
Culp is another 1999 graduate of Pace who was a member of the volleyball and softball teams. Culp, a member of the 1997 State Champion Volleyball team, was also the Florida 4A Player of the Year in Softball. She went on to play at Gulf Coast College and then the University of Central Florida. Culp started the Weatherford College softball program in 2010 where she is currently the head coach.
Davis, a 1985 Pace grad, was a two-way player in football and a member of the baseball team. The former Pace quarterback and defensive back was the Pace Athlete of the Year in 1985 and went on to play football at Troy University. He was also a member of the 1985 State Championship baseball team at Pace.
Griffin is a 2002 graduate from Pace who excelled in softball, volleyball, and basketball at Pace. Griffin was a three-time All-State softball honoree and earned all-star honors in volleyball for three years. She continued her playing career at Auburn University where she was a four-year starter and is only one of four players in the schools softball history to have over 200 hits in her career. Griffinís name can be found at the top or near the top of every offensive category for Auburn softball.
Owens, a 1998 graduate of Pace, is a two time state weightlifting champion as well as a member of three State Championship Weightlifting teams at Pace (1996-98). The three-sport star in football, weightlifting, and track joined the military where he has served two tours with Operation Iraqi Freedom and medically retired in 2006.
Smith, a 1991 graduate of Pace, was not only a standout athlete in basketball and volleyball at Pace, but was a State Championship winning coach as well. The former Pensacola Sports Associationís Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 1990 returned to Pace where she coached the 1997 State Championship team to a 32-2 record and in 1998 guided the team back to the final four.