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Kennett celebrates a banner winter sports season



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THE MAJOR AWARD WINNERS at the annual Kennett High School winter sports awards pose with their awards. Front row (l to r), Ricky Gaudreau (hockey), Taylor Cyr (hockey), Bryan Lamontagne (hockey), Griffin Meador (hockey) and Nik Gagnon (girls’ basketball). Back row (l to r), Caitlyn Mulligan (spirit), Liza Townsend (indoor track), Taylor Gardella (alpine skiing), Riley Lambert (alpine skiing), Kasey Cavanaugh (girls’ basketball), Moriah Heath (girls’ basketball), Michael Larson (Nordic skiing) and Zach Switaj (indoor track). Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
March 29, 2010
NORTH CONWAY — There was plenty to celebrate at the annual Kennett High School winter sports awards on Wednesday, March 24.

The Eagles brought home four team state championships (boys' alpine skiing, ski jumping, hockey and girls' basketball) and a runner-up trophy (girls' alpine skiing) and a pair of Eagles picked up individual state championships (Sean Doherty and Hannah Benson) in cross-country skiing.

"We had a pretty memorable season," athletic director Kerry Brady noted. "We have a lot to celebrate this evening."

Brady opened the evening by thanking all of the coaches for their hard work over the course of the season, including the JV, freshmen, assistant and volunteer coaches.

The first award on the docket was the Jim Terry Hockey Award, which last year was named in honor of Terry, who was the longtime coach of the Eagle hockey team in its early years. Terry was on hand to present the award with coach Mike Lane.

"It was a difficult decision this year," Lane stated. "The seniors all brought something so special to our program. They all contributed to our team and made the last four years very successful."

Lane pointed out that over the last four years, the team compiled a record of 68-12-1. They also won back-to-back Division III titles. He and Terry then presented the Jim Terry Hockey Award to Taylor Cyr, Bryan Lamontagne, Ricky Gaudreau and Griffin Meador.

Next up was the Indoor Track Award, which was presented by coach Bernie Livingston. The veteran Eagle coach noted that the award is given to students, who on the field and in the classroom, show qualities of loyalty to Kennett, citizenship and sportsmanship as both a follower and a leader. Livingston presented the awards to Zach Switaj and Liza Townsend.

Chuck Broomhall took the podium next for the Charles Broomhall Nordic Award.

Broomhall, who is retiring after 30 years at the helm of the Kennett ski program, noted that the award is given to someone who demonstrates leadership, sportsmanship and loyalty and works for the advancement of Nordic skiing at Kennett High School. The longtime coach presented the award, named for his father, to senior Michael Larson, who won the state ski jumping championship and had showed "all of those traits through four years of skiing at Kennett."

Broomhall also noted that the Damon O'Neal Award, traditionally given to a member of members of the alpine ski team, would not be handed out anymore, but instead would be given as a scholarship at graduation time in June. In it's place, he said that the Schneider Alpine Award would be handed out.

Alpine coach Laurel Zengilowski noted that of her three years at the helm of the Eagle alpine team, she thought this year's group was the most dedicated, competitive and loyal group of Kennett skiers. She said that the awards were given to two skiers who showed the most dedication to Kennett alpine racing, consistency and who could be counted on throughout the season. She then presented the awards to Taylor Gardella and Riley Lambert.

Spirit coach Monica Belkin took the podium and noted that she was proud of the hard work and dedication her team put in throughout the season during practices and during their performances at games. She then presented the Spirit Award to Caitlyn Mulligan, noting her enthusiasm and her willingness to step up and teach other members of the team.

Girls' basketball mentor Peter Ames took the podium next to present the Russ Award, named in honor of longtime coach (and current Valley Vision commentator) Bob Russell. He noted that it is given for pride, dedication, leadership, enthusiasm and behavior and presented the award to seniors Moriah Heath and Kasey Cavanaugh.

Ames also made a presentation of a special ball to junior Allie Wagner, who netter her 1,000th-career point in the Eagles' semifinal win over Portsmouth, becoming the fifth Kennett girl to reach the milestone.

Ames also presented Brady with the Class I championship plaque, the school's first girls' hoop title since 1989, and earned a standing ovation from the crowd of athletes, parents and fans in Loynd Auditorium.

The final major award on the docket was the Karl Seidenstuecker Boys' Basketball Award, which coach Steve Coté noted was given for coachability, competitiveness, leadership and excellent sportsmanship. Coté presented the award to senior Nik Gagnon.

With the awards finished, Brady noted that it was Broomhall's final season as head of the ski program and the crowd offered a standing ovation to the fixture of the Kennett ski team for the past 30 years.

"It has been a pleasure working with you for the last six years," Brady said.

She also thanked all of the community members, parents and fans who made the treks to follow the Eagles, be it on the road or at home, throughout the season.

"It was really nice going to other venues and seeing all of our fans," she pointed out.

Before the individual team awards were presented, a slide show featuring photos and video from the winter sports season was shown on the big screen.

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