Varsity Maine Awards to celebrate 'best in high school athletics' Tuesday

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Edward Little’s Wol Maiwen, center, leads a cheer with both his team and members of the girls’ team after they both won gold balls in March. Both teams are finalists in the Varsity Maine Awards’ “Winter Team of the Year” category. The winner be unveiled Tuesday night at the Varsity Maine Awards show. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal File Photo)

More than 500 people are expected Tuesday evening for the sold-out Varsity Maine Awards at Hannaford Hall on the University of Southern Maine’s campus in Portland. Red carpet arrivals begin at 6 p.m. and the awards show starts at 7 p.m.

The Varsity Maine Awards, now in their third year, celebrate the best in high school athletics from across the state, honoring student-athletes and coaches. The finalists in 12 award categories represent 33 high schools ranging from South Berwick to Houlton and from Rumford to Ellsworth.

The event is hosted by the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal, Morning Sentinel, Sun Journal, Journal Tribune, The Times Record and The Forecaster, and it is presented by the University of Southern Maine.

Award finalists were chosen by sports editors at several of these newspapers and the winners selected by a panel of judges featuring esteemed coaches/educators Gary Fifield, Rick Clark and Katie Thompson.

“We’re really proud of this event because we make it all about the kids, not just the winners but the finalists, too,” said Lisa DeSisto, the CEO of MaineToday Media.

Award presenters will include Maine Olympians Clare Egan and Julia Clukey, and Casco’s Kate Hall, a two-time NCAA long jump champion.

There are sure to be new winners this year in the Athlete of the Year categories. York High’s Lily Posternak won the Female Athlete of the Year award as a junior and senior at the first two Varsity Maine Awards. Previous Male Athlete of the Year winners were seniors Joe Esposito of Portland High (2016) and Austin Lufkin of Brewer (2017).

This year’s finalists for Female Athlete of the Year are Kolleen Bouchard of Houlton, Anna DeWolfe of Greely, Emma Gallant of Cheverus, Juliana Selser of South Portland and Ally Turner of Messalonskee.

Finalists for Male Athlete of the Year are Jarett Flaker of Scarborough, Ryan Fredette of Winslow, Terion Moss of Portland, Grant Hartley of Edward Little and Cayden Spencer-Thompson of Mattanawcook Academy.

Here are finalists for the other award categories:

COACH OF THE YEAR (BOYS’ TEAM)

Mike Adams, Edward Little; Jamie Belleau, Lewiston; Garrett Martin, Lincoln Academy; Matt Rix, Marshwood; Mike Rutherford, Portland.

COACH OF THE YEAR (GIRLS’ TEAM)

Annie Barker, Kennebunk; Chris Cifelli, Edward Little; Paula Doughty, Skowhegan; Tom Griffin, Scarborough; Bob Morse, Yarmouth.

PLAY OF THE YEAR (video clip)

Biddeford boys’ basketball playoff buzzer-beater; Madison Post’s anchor leg for Gray-New Gloucester at WMC indoor track meet; MCI scores touchdown from wildcat formation at state title game; Westbrook field hockey wins in overtime; Windham’s Mike Gilman hits go-ahead basket in playoff upset of Portland.

THE FAB FRESHMAN

Emily Archibald, Kennebunk; Camille Clement, Greely; Ryan Friend, MCI; Sofie Matson, Falmouth; Rylee Sevigny, Mountain Valley.

FEMALE ACADEMIC ACE

Jess Brown, Portland; Morgan Fenderson, Lisbon; Michaela Jordan, Cheverus; Hallie Schwartzman, Kennebunk; Erin Venard, Mt. Ararat.

MALE ACADEMIC ACE

Austin Baron, Ellsworth; Jack Bryant, Falmouth; William Carrolton, Morse; Joshua Roberts, Thornton Academy; Cole Smith, Messalonskee.

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE

Kolton Brochu, Gardiner; Jerome Criado, Biddeford; Cam King, Portland; Mackenzie Johnston, Cheverus; Jake Warn, Winslow.

FALL TEAM OF THE YEAR

Camden Hills girls’ soccer, Cape Elizabeth volleyball, Scarborough football, St. Dom’s field hockey, Yarmouth girls’ soccer.

WINTER TEAM OF THE YEAR

Cony girls’ swimming, Edward Little boys’ basketball, Edward Little girls’ basketball, Greely girls’ hockey, Marshwood wrestling.

SPRING TEAM OF THE YEAR

Bangor baseball, Falmouth girls’ tennis, Madison softball, Scarborough softball, Thornton Academy boys’ lacrosse.

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