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Guilford High School Class of 2020 valedictorian Ben Crair recently received 2020 John J. Fontana Scholarship from the Connecticut High School Coaches Association based on his achievements in both athletics and academics. (Photo courtesy of David Crair )
Ben Crair earned All-SCC First Team honors with the Guilford boys’ cross country team last fall and then put together another successful season with the indoor track squad in the winter. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
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Ben Crair capped off his senior year at Guilford High School on a high note, both academically and on the track. Crair enjoyed a successful career as a member of the boys’ cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track teams throughout his tenure with the Indians. While that was happening, Crair was also achieving big things in the classroom. As a result of his excellence in both arenas, Crair was recently presented with the 2020 John J. Fontana Scholarship from the Connecticut High School Coaches Association (CHSCA).
Crair is graduating from Guilford High School as the Class of 2020 valedictorian. Later this year, he will attend Yale University to study physics. Crair said that he appreciates being recognized for his accomplishments as both a student and an athlete by receiving his scholarship from the CHSCA.
“To qualify for the scholarship, one had to be named a [CHSCA] Scholar Athlete. Of those scholar athletes, four scholarship winners in the state were selected through a process which took into account academic performance, athletic performance, citizenship, and leadership,” Crair said. “In terms of academic accomplishments, I was also a finalist for the Presidential Scholars Program and a National Merit Scholar.”
Crair started running track when he was a student at Adams Middle School. Crair throughly enjoyed that experience and knew that he wanted to continue with the sport when he started high school.
“After running track in Adams, I decided to join the high school’s indoor track team during my freshman year,” said Crair. “I liked a lot about the sport—the opportunity to test myself, the ability to easily see my progress, and the excitement of racing—but the factor that got me invested in the team long term was the people. I loved the tight-knit, encouraging community of the track team who always pushed each other to be both better runners and people.”
Crair competed alongside many of those people on both the track and the trails at Guilford. As a member of the boys’ cross country team, Crair led the Indians to 9-0 record and an SCC Hammonasset Division title last fall. He made the All-SCC First Team by taking fifth place with a time of 17 minutes and 24 seconds at the SCC Championship, helping Guilford earn runner-up honors at the meet. Crair went on to finish in ninth place by notching a mark of 17:01 at the Class MM State Championship, where the Indians claimed third place overall.
On the heels of a great cross country season and continued success in indoor track, Crair was excited to go on one last run with the outdoor team this spring. Unfortunately, the 2020 season was canceled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I was certainly disappointed that the season was canceled. Seniors on the track team have historically had incredible last seasons, and my fellow graduating seniors and I were anticipating similar results,” Crair said. “While I understand the necessity to cancel the season given the global health conditions, you can’t help but be disappointed to miss your last chance to compete as a high school athlete.”
Crair led the cross country and indoor track teams as a captain and was set to reprise that role with the outdoor team in his senior year. During his junior outdoor season, Crair qualified to compete in the 3,200-meter at the Class MM State Championship.
“I was looking forward to captaining the track team this season,” said Crair. “I had a variety of training and structural ideas, which I wanted to implement to help make the team better.”
Boys’ outdoor track Head Coach George Cooksey feels bad about the fact that Crair and his fellow seniors didn’t get to compete this spring. However, Cooksey also feels proud of Crair for everything that he achieved as a student-athlete at Guilford High School, along with the great attitude that he displayed while doing so.
“Ben has embodied the student-athlete ideal from the moment he began his legendary career at Guilford. In fact, his absolute commitment to excellence in academics and athletics has earned him, among a host of other awards, a student-athlete award from the [CHSCA] and the distinction of being the Guilford valedictorian for the Class of 2020,” Cooksey said. “Ben has won tremendous respect from his teammates and coaches.”
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