April 23, 2004
The University of Maine at Fort Kent recently held its annual athletic awards ceremony at Nowland Hall on the University campus.
Eighty-five student athletes, their family members, coaches, faculty, and staff attended the event.
Following the meal, emcee Eric Werntgen welcomed the athletes and guests and introduced UMFK President Richard Cost, chair of the President's Council for the Sunrise Conference.
Cost extended greetings on behalf of the university and welcomed the group to the first springtime kickoff event at UMFK.
"Athletics provide an important setting for students to learn teamwork, trust, personal responsibility, and leadership," stated Cost in his opening remarks. "This has been an extraordinary year for athletics at UMFK."
The university president complimented the teams, coaches, administrators, and acting athletic director John Murphy, all of whom made it possible to have such a successful athletic season.
Cost also thanked the parents who supported the athletes, both in their sports activities and in their academic careers.
Next fall, through an arrangement with NAIA Region Nine, the teams will have the opportunity to participate in the national tournament should they win conference titles.
Cost thanked the athletes for their successes, on and off the field, on the campus and in the classroom.
Dr. R. John Naranja, orthopedic surgeon at Northern Maine Medical Center and the official team doctor for UMFK athletics, was the guest speaker for the sports banquet.
Naranja spoke about his help and experiences as the UMFK team physician during the 2003-2004 sports season at UMFK, and looks forward to working with the Bengals again next season. "Team sports require a lot of exercise," said Naranja.
Werntgen, head coach for the women's soccer and men's basketball teams; Melik Khoury, head coach for the men's soccer team; Lucas Levesque, head coach for the women's basketball team; and Mike Lavertu, alpine ski coach, each honored their athletes.
Werntgen was recognized as the Sunrise Conference "Coach of the Year", while the men's soccer and women's basketball teams were both recognized for winning their respective championships in the Sunrise Athletic Conference this past season.
Most valuable player awards were presented to Jess Gagnon and Megan Foreman (co-most valuable players) both of Fort Kent for women's soccer; and to Bartas Samaitis of Vilnius, Lithuania, for men's basketball.
Most improved player selections were made as follows: Sara Quint of Hodgdon for women's soccer; Allison Lutz of Ellsworth for women's basketball; and Alekhine Veloso of Oporto, Portugal for men's basketball.
Rookie of the year awards went to Meghan Goff of Southwest Harbor for women's soccer; Dana Lemon of Richmond, Virginia for women's basketball; and to Roy Goldstein of Beer-Sheva, Israel for men's basketball.
Coaches awards were presented to Amy Lagasse of Van Buren for women's soccer; Julie Clattenburg of Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia for women's basketball; Shane Durost of Mars Hill for men's basketball; and to Jesse Jalbert of Fort Kent for Alpine ski.
Receiving Scholar Athlete awards were Sara Quint of Hodgdon for women's soccer; Donatas Sumyla of Vilnius, Lithuania for men's soccer; Melissa Hare of Mirimichi, New Brunswick for women's basketball, Roy Goldstein of Beer-Sheva, Israel for men's basketball; and Chad Marquis of Fort Kent for Alpine ski. Marquis was also honored as "skier of the year" for 2004.
The men's soccer team was honored by coach Melik Khoury on their outstanding season in the Sunrise Conference as the 2003 champions with a record of 11-3-1.
The UMFK women's soccer team, under coach Werntgen, won runner-up honors in the Sunrise Conference in the fall of 2003.
The Lady Bengals, under coach Lucas Levesque, won their first Sunrise Conference basketball championship and competed in the National Tournament. The Sunrise Conference championship banner was presented to Dr. Cost, coach Levesque and to the Lady Bengals following the awards presentations.
Awards and special prizes were also given out to the seniors on the UMFK teams, and several individual athletes earned conference recognition.