On June 22, The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram will honor the state’s best high school athletes at our annual banquet. A player of the year for each sport will be honored and we’ll name our male and female Athletes of the Year. What makes this year so special is that it’s the 25th year of honoring Maine’s best, so we will be catching up with all our Athletes of the Year since the first banquet in 1988. Today, we honor the winners from 1996.

AMY VACHON, CONY

IN HIGH SCHOOL: Led Cony to Class A state titles in basketball (twice) and field hockey. Thirty goals and 17 assists in field hockey as a senior, and averaged 16.6 points, 10 assists and seven steals per game in basketball.

SINCE HIGH SCHOOL:  A two-time basketball captain at Maine who played on four NCAA tournament teams, and set school and conference career record for assists (759). Coached at Cony, Waterville, Greely and McAuley High before returning to Orono as a Maine assistant.

WHAT IT MEANT TO WIN: “It was awesome, just to be spoken in the same breath as some of the other outstanding athletes. I always grew up playing multiple sports and it was unique because that year, I didn’t win (MVP) for basketball, I won it for field hockey. It was special.”

T.J. CAOUETTE, WINTHROP

IN HIGH SCHOOL: Outstanding all-around athlete who won two individual state titles in golf, and eight state titles in outdoor track and field (discus, shot put, javelin, triple jump) in addition to his prowess in basketball, where he racked up 1,980 points and 1,050 rebounds in four seasons. Also was named Athlete of the Year in 1996, joining Kennebunk’s Jamie Cook (1993 and 1994) as the only two-time winners.

SINCE HIGH SCHOOL: Played four years of Big East basketball at Villanova. Married a Villanova swimmer. They live in Florida with their son and daughter. Works for a systems engineering and integration firm dealing with intelligence and the Department of Defense.

WHAT IT MEANT TO WIN: “At the time, everything came so quickly. I don’t think I actually knew how prestigious it was. As time has gone on, the more personally valuable it has been for me.”