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Boca Ciega High honors six known in field of athletics

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 4, 2002

ST. PETERSBURG -- Champion international sailor Ed Baird and five others will be honored Friday at Boca Ciega High School's Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony at 7:30 p.m. in the gymnasium.

Besides Baird, who graduated in 1976, newly named honorees are Barbara Buck Jacoby, a swimming star who graduated in 1957; William Russell "Russ" Jackson, a 1972 graduate who excelled in football and track and field; and Madelyn Roberson, former girls track and field coach.

Rodney Chatman (Class of '91) and Barry D. "Bill" Buchalter ('57), who were named in 2001 but could not be present, also will be honored Friday.

Baird, a cheerleader and tennis player at Boca Ciega, began winning sailing fame even before graduating, sailing in the Olympic trials in 1976. He went on to win several world championships and in 1995 was named the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. Previous winners include sailing legends Dennis Conner and Ted Turner. Baird is in New Zealand, where he is a television commentator for the America's Cup challenge series.

Jacoby was a member of the girl's swim team that won the regional championship during the school's first year (1953-54). The next year, Jacoby set Western Conference records in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles (30 seconds, and 1:11.4). In 1956 and 1957, Jacoby helped Boca Ciega win conference titles. She qualified for the state championships all four years of her high school career.

Jackson earned all-city, all-county, all-conference all-region and all-state honors after his senior football season, failing to score in only one game. In one game, he scored three touchdowns and ran for 187 yards in just seven plays. In track and field, Jackson had a long jump of 22 feet, 6 inches and ran a leg in the 880 relay, helping set a school record.

Roberson, named the Pinellas County track and field coach of the year in 1990, has coached numerous track standouts. She has taught physical education and personal fitness at Boca Ciega for 31 years and has chaired the physical education department.

Chatman was named most valuable basketball player after his senior year and earned all-county honors during his junior and senior years. He earned a scholarship to Eckerd College, where he became a three-year starter and team captain for two years. He was the Sunshine State Conference Tournament's most valuable player as a junior and won all-conference honors as a senior.

Buchalter is a longtime Florida sportswriter who has been inducted into several sports hall of fames and who has won several distinguished service awards, including the Jimmy Carnes Lifetime Achievement and and the community service award from the Center for Drug Free Living. He got his start with Boca Ciega's student newspaper, serving as sports editor for two years. He worked for the St. Petersburg Times and is now the senior sports reporter for the Orlando Sentinel.

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