Mar 9, 2015 11:00 AM
NH1 Top 5: The best athletes raised in NH
The Granite State excels at most things, and athletics is one of them. Whether they're winning Olympic gold medals or world championships, these NH natives have represented the 603 on major stages and shone.
Before beginning the list, I would like to note that I acknowledge that there are many more prominent athletes who grew up in, were born in, or live in NH that are not listed. That does not necessarily mean that they are inferior to the five I have chosen to recognize in this list.
Although professional wrestling is not nearly as popular today as it once was, Nashua's own Paul Michael Levesque, better known by his identity "Triple-H," certainly deserves some recognition for his accomplishments as a five-time World Heavyweight Wrestling champion. Sure, professional wrestling is "fake," but being a five-time world champion at anything is pretty cool. Even if it is fake, I don't think I'd want to meet Levesque in a dark alley and risk catching a punishing knee drop.
4) Matt Bonner
In the foyer of the Concord High School gymnasium stands a shrine to Matt Bonner, a 6-foot 10-inch 3-point sharpshooter for the San Antonio Spurs, and for good reason. Bonner led the Concord High School basketball team to three state championships, was a two-time NCAA Division 1 All-American with the Florida Gators and went on to win two NBA championships with the Spurs in 2007 and 2014. Bonner also led the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage during the 2010-2011 season dropping 45.7 percent from beyond the arc. . .not too shabby. Bonner resigned with the Spurs in July 2014.
3) Bode Miller
2010 Olympic gold medalist and four-time world champion skier Bode Miller put NH skiing on the map. Miller grew up in Franconia before winning his first Olympic medals in the 2002 Salt Lake City games, where he claimed two silver medals. Although Miller garnered criticism in 2006 for not taking home any gold medals despite being heavily favored, he was able to make a comeback and claim gold in the 2010 Vancouver games. Any time you're the best in the world at something, credit is due. Even at age 34, Miller was able to take home a bronze medal in the 2014 Sochi games. Miller is without question one of the best athletes to come out of the 603.
2) Carlton Fisk
Every Red Sox fan has seen it, and if you haven't, you're not a Red Sox fan. Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. Bottom of the 12th inning. Game tied 6-6. Enter Charlestown, NH native and University of New Hampshire baseball alumnus Carlton Fisk. Fisk took Cincinnati Reds pitcher Pat Darcy deep over the Green Monster wrapping the ball just inside the foul pole. At first contact, it appeared as though the ball was going to bend foul, but Fisk can be seen "pushing" the ball fair with by waving his arms towards the right side of the pole. Even though the Red Sox would drop game seven to the Reds and be forced to wait another 29 years before the Curse of the Bambino would be broken, Fisk was one of the best catcher's in his era. Fisk was an 11-time Major League Baseball All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger with the Chicago White Sox in the 1980's. Fisk would be inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 2000.
1) Tara Mounsey
Her jersey hangs distinctly at the Douglass N. Everett Arena in Concord, and there's a certain level of respect when the name Tara Mounsey is dropped in conversation. Maybe it was the fact that Mounsey was the first female to be named the NHIAA Class L "Best Player" while leading the Concord High School Crimson Tide to a state championship in 1996. Maybe it was the fact Mounsey won a gold medal with the United States women's hockey team in 1998. Either way Mounsey was not only an inspiration to female hockey players across the Granite State, but across the country. Playing in a league with all boys is a daunting enough task, but being named the best player in an all-boys league in one of the nation's top hockey states is an accolade worthy of anyone's respect. Oh, and the Olympic gold medal. . . . that's pretty great, too. After skating for Concord High, Mounsey earned her degree from Brown University where she was a two-time Patty Kazmaier (best female college hockey player) finalist as a defenseman. Mounsey can even be spotted playing in local tournaments like the Black Ice pond hockey tournament in Concord from time to time. It is without a doubt that Tara Mounsey deserves the number one slot for top five athletes from NH.