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Honors pour in during Blood's final spring at MA

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

Newly retired MA athletic director Harry Blood has been humbled by the accolades he has received since winding down his final school year last month. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
July 09, 2012
MOULTONBORO – Harry Blood has been overwhelmed with well-wishes since he officially retired from his post as athletic director at Moultonboro Academy last month. There was the surprise party thrown for him at his house, the news that the softball field was being dedicated to him during awards night, and the fact that he'll be inducted into the NHIAA Hall of Fame in November. Not bad for the long-time Panther, who has been enjoying the ride since school finished out for the spring.

"The outpouring of support and recognition has been amazing," said Blood. "I just go to work every day and do my job and it's overwhelming to see the reaction people have had from me just doing that every single day."

The spring season saw the Panthers put together some impressive marks. The softball team got over the hump by winning its first postseason game in nearly a decade, as eighth-grader Maddy Greene pitched the team into the Division IV quarterfinals.

"When you've potentially got a big-time pitcher coming along in softball and talented kids along with her, you hope that will carry things for a few years now," said Blood of Greene and company. "I think softball's turned the corner."

The baseball team finished 8-8 in the regular season but lost in the first round of the playoffs. While the Panthers graduate a huge senior class, the team did show its ability to knock off some of the top teams in the division throughout the course of the season.

"Baseball all came down to pitching. If you don't have a stable of pitchers, it's hard to get it done," said Blood. "I think we fell apart a little bit defensively late though. You can't win when you're making errors at critical times. But there's a good culture in baseball right now, good people around the programs and the younger programs coming up through the ranks as well."

Both tennis teams saw improvements, as the girls' team qualified for the playoffs for the first time in program history under coach Jere Burrows, while boys' coach Mio Kerr led her team to more wins than the season before.

"Girls' tennis is headed in right direction. I think Jere's gotten the kids to believe in his system," Blood said. "They were competitive in pretty much all their matches. Boys' tennis, I think it can happen. Mio is kind of a disciple of Jere. The kids like her, that's a hurdle cleared in that regard."

Track and field was another solid sport, as the team saw a group of eighth-graders burst onto the scene and hopefully show what the program will be capable of down the road.

"And I think some good things will continue on in the fall," said Blood, as he hands off the baton to new athletic director and current boys' basketball coach Matt Swedberg. "I'm excited for Matt to take it over. He's pretty straight forward and we're in good shape there. For the most part of his life, he's been involved with this school. He grew up and graduated, left and came back. It's a great legacy to win a state title as a player, come back and coach the team to a state title then become the athletic director. That's good stuff."

As a former coach on the softball staff at MA, Blood was honored to find out that the softball field at the school will be dedicated to him, as the news was delivered at the spring sports banquet last month.

"What it means to me is there's a group of people in the community that saw what I did," he began. "Once I stopped as a full-time coach, I've worked behind the scenes with some pitchers. To me, they saw that I put a lot of time into the sport and I've taken pride in our fields and tried to keep them up as best as possible."

A member of the NHIAA council for 10 years as a representative for D-IV, Blood will be a member of the Hall of Fame Class of 2012 when he gets inducted in November. A fitting tribute to someone who has been at the forefront of the organization for many years.

"People trusted me to do the job behind the scenes for the class, to keep Division IV in the forefront, make sure our issues were heard," he explained. "On a Tuesday, when the ball goes up, it's still a varsity sport whether you're in a D-I or D-IV gym. It's still as important to us as it is in a place like Salem. Hopefully we'll keep everything going in the future. To be recognized for it is kind of cool."

Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
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