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UMFK honors twenty-nine student athletes

May 12, 2006

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The University of Maine at Fort Kent held its annual athletic awards ceremony Saturday, May 6, in Nowland Hall cafeteria. During the afternoon program, 29 athletes from eight different sports teams were honored.

Eric Werntgen, assistant athletic director and mens' coach, made opening remarks and welcomed the audience of over 150 parents, friends, UMFK staff and student athletes.

Werntgen personally thanked President Richard Cost and his wife Ellen for their support of Bengal athletics and their continuous support. Werntgen also thanked staff members who helped make sports so successful at UMFK.

Werntgen announced that beginning next fall; UMFK will sponsor new varsity teams in women's volleyball, golf, country and Nordic skiing.

President Cost opened his remarks by say this has been another great year for athletics at UMFK."Three teams, ladies basketball, mens' and ladies' soccer went to the final championship games in the Sunrise Conference and ladies basketball went all the way to win the Championship and went on to Sioux City, Iowa where you lost to Cedarville," stated the president.

"UMFK truly believes that athletics provides an important venue for students to develop leadership abilities, teamwork and trust, personal responsibility and accountability, said Cost. President Cost introduced Terence Kelly, UMFK's new director of university relations and alumni affairs and Dr. Rachel Albert, UMFK's new vice-president of academic affairs."

Cost also thanked John Murphy who once again has done an extraordinary job as athletic director, all of our coaches and to our parents who support every sport.

Eric Werntgen introduced the coaches who handed out the awards to the respective team members.

Most valuable player awards were presented to Rytis Kriunas from Vilnius, Lithuania for mens' basketball, Jason Martin of Madawaska for mens' golf, Heather Hickey from Swanville, Maine for womens' cross country and Luke Sawyer from Lovell, Maine for Nordic ski team.

Offensive player of the year awards were presented to Maria Williams of Bath, Maine for womens? soccer, Noe Aparicio from Madrid, Spain and Rob Rochester of Kittery, Maine for mens' soccer.

Offensive player of the year award was presented to Nicole Corbin of Van Buren for womens' basketball.

Defensive player of the year awards for soccer were presented to Megan Watson from Hermon, Maine, Donatas Sumyla from Vilnius, Lithuania Nick Thibodeau of St. Francis.

Defensive player of the year award for womens' basketball was presented to Dana Lemon from Richmond, Virginia.

Most improved player awards were presented to Heather Hartman of Fort Kent for women's soccer, Dustin Nadeau of St. Francis for mens' soccer, Traci Weatherhead of Limestone for womens' basketball, Tom Bard of Fort Kent for mens' basketball, Eamonn Harding from Ellsworth, Maine for Nordic ski team and Sean Platt from Keene Valley, New York for alpine ski team.

"Rookie of the Year" awards were presented to Megan Watson for womens' soccer, Andrew Martin of Van Buren for mens' soccer, Arcilla Jeffers of St. Kitts for womens' basketball and Hamill Bassue of St. Kitts for mens' basketball. Top Newcomer award for Nordic ski team was presented to Lisa Naugle from Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia.

Coaches' awards were presented to Polly Pelletier of Belgrade, Maine for womens' soccer; Sean Platt for mens' soccer; Luke Sawyer for mens' cross country; April Allen of Milo, Maine for womens' basketball; Arthur 'Jays' Myers from Houlton and Andrew Donovan of Argyle, Maine for mens' basketball; Heather Hickey for Nordic ski team and Eamonn Harding for alpine ski team.

The scholar athlete awards for athletes with a 3.5 grade point average or above went to Megan Watson for womens' soccer; Krista Brown of Woodstock, New Brunswick for womens' volleyball; Nick Thibodeau for mens' soccer; Heather Hickey for womens' cross country and Nordic ski team; Patrick Deane of Middleboro, Massachusetts for mens' golf team; Nicole Corbin for womens? basketball; Arthur 'Jay' Myers of Houlton, Maine and Jaime Rodriquez-Marco from Madrid, Spain for alpine ski team.

Aside from student awards, Larry Murphy of Fort Kent was also honored for his service as coach for the Bengals. Murphy represented UMFK first as a player from 1971-1974, then as a coach from 1975 until 1991. During his first tenure, the Bengals won three conference championships in soccer and enjoyed frequent trips to the post season in both soccer and basketball. He returned to UMFK in 2000 with a strong focus on rebuilding women's sports in both soccer and basketball.

Murphy's drive and dedication as a Bengal is a major reason we have been able to grow and become a regular power in Maine small college sports, said Werntgen.

Coach Murphy also was honored with a presentation of photos from a few years ago in both soccer and basketball by a couple of former student athletes, Guy Cousins, formerly from Caribou and Danford Plourde, formerly of Fort Kent.

In addition to awards given, a clock was presented to the following seniors Nick Thibodeau for mens' soccer; Kristine Cyr from St. David, Amy Lagasse from Van Buren, Polly Pelletier, Whitney Zettergen from Bridgwater and Amber Nadeau of Fort Kent for womens' soccer and Megan Dow for athletic trainer's assistant.

Coaches who gave re-caps, recognitions, and awards were Eric Werntgen for mens' basketball, Roy Michaud for Nordic and alpine skiing, Lucas Levesque for womens' soccer, Larry Murphy for mens' soccer, Caro Williams for womens' volleyball, Joe Zubrick for golf.