St. John Valley Times 2020 year in sports (Part 1)

Editor’s Note: The following is the first of two articles highlighting some of 2020’s most important and interesting sports stories. This article highlights events from January through June.


The Long Lake Ice Fishing Derby drew more than 1,200 anglers and spectators to Long Lake to raise money for the Edgar J. Paradis Cancer Fund.

Madawaska basketball player Dezarae Ackley scored her first basket during a live game, winning the hearts of spectators. Coach Tom Gerard taught Ackley, the only intellectually disabled player on the team, the skills she needed to succeed on the court. 

Dezarae Ackley, 14, sits with her teammates during the game Dec. 7. (Courtesy of Vanessa Gagnon)

Four champion Fort Kent Community High School athletes were recruited to play for the University of Maine at Fort Kent Lady Bengals soccer team in the fall.

An annual basketball fundraiser honored two local community members fighting cancer. The Coaches vs. Cancer games helped bring awareness to the fight against cancer while raising money for the Edgar J. Paradis Cancer Fund.

Valley skiers dominated Alpine ski races held downstate in Greenville. Pierre Hickey of Madawaska and Lyndsay Ouellette of Fort Kent raced to the top of the male and female giant slalom leaderboards.


Five boys and girls basketball squads from the St. John Valley made it to the playoffs. The Fort Kent boys and girls, Madawaska boys and Van Buren boys and Wisdom girls all earned a spot in the postseason.

Quebec musher Denis Tremblay of Quebec is congratulated by Can-Am President Denis Cyr on Monday morning just after Tremblay crossed the finish line at Lonesome Pine Trails in Fort Kent to become the Can-Am 250 champion. (Jessica Potila)

The 28th annual Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog Races got underway in Fort Kent, with thousands of spectators present. 

Fan favorite and frequent Can-Am winner Rico Portalatin took home another 30-mile victory. 

Young children got a jump start on physical fitness at Too Far North Fitness in Fort Kent, proving it is never too early to learn good exercise habits.

St. John Valley high school boys and girls ski teams took home both state titles at the Maine Class C Nordic Championships in Farmington. Miguel Sanclemente of Fort Kent and Dolcie Tanguay of Maine School of Science and Mathematics were the Maine State Class C individual champions for boys and girls, respectively.

A Fort Kent dad deployed overseas with the Maine Army National Guard attended his daughter’s basketball game when he returned to the United States. 

Fort Kent Community High School Warrior boy’s basketball team manager Aidan Sirois (center) received the 2020 Joshua Titus Spirit of the Game Award at the Maine McDonald’s All Star Basketball Banquet in Bangor. From left, are, Eden Paradis, Aidan Sirois and Jace Rocheleau. (Courtesy of Savannah Paradis)


A Fort Kent Community High School senior unable to play basketball on the court, proved a valuable asset to the team. Aidan Sirois was awarded the Joshua Titus Spirit of the Game Award at the 40th annual Maine McDonald’s All Star Basketball Banquet in Bangor. 

Quebec musher Denis Tremblay raced to the top of the pack taking first place in the Irving Woodlands Can-Am Crown 250. 

The Aroostook League recognized talented St. John Valley basketball players and skiers for their athletic abilities. 


A Fort Kent eighth-grader who qualified for the 2020 U14 U.S Ski and Snowboard Association Eastern Championship alpine races in Vermont learned on his way to the championships that the event was canceled due to coronavirus concerns. Kaden Theriault attends  Carrabassett Valley Academy, a private middle/high boarding school at Sugarloaf Mountain that provides academic and competitive ski and snowboard training to gifted athletes.

Jacob Roy of Wisdom Middle/High School and Carson Theriault of Fort Kent Community High School both signed with the University of Maine at Farmington Men’s Alpine Ski Team. 

Wisdom Middle/High School seniors Alyssa Pelletier and Jacob Roy were selected as Wisdom’s Aroostook League Scholar-Athletes for 2020.  


The lights at Fort Kent Community High School shined for 2020 graduation seniors each Friday night as students were unable to complete their senior year at school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Wild turkey hunting season was underway giving local hunters an opportunity to bag a bird.


Four college graduates traveled the Northern Forest Canoe Trail in June landing in Fort Kent. The four friends camped out for two nights at a public site behind the Fort Kent Blockhouse and said they will never forget their northern Maine adventure. 

SAD 33 named Scott Pelletier as its new athletic director. Pelletier is a health and physical education teacher for grades K-12 students in the district.

Coach Shane Durost (far back) teaches a CrossFit Kids lesson to young children on Thursday, Jan. 30 at Too Far North Fitness in Fort Kent. Front, from left, Scarlett Granatowski, Scarlett Freston, Paisley Devoe and Demi Soucy. Back, Madelyn Daigle and Greyson Pelletier. (Jessica Potila | SJVT)

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