Sports

The top sports stories of 2022 in the St. John Valley: Part 1

Editor’s Note: The following is the first of two articles highlighting some of the top sports stories from 2021. This article highlights events from January through June. The second installment will appear in the Jan. 3 issue.

It was a good year for St. John Valley athletes. Individuals and teams shined on the slopes, courts and fields. One man even achieved success in the Boston Marathon. 

January

High School Nordic skiers from across The County gathered at the Four Seasons Trail Association in Madawaska for the first classic meet of the year. Both the boys and girls teams from Fort Kent took first place in the competition. 

The Deprey Classic returned to Madawaska’s Four Seasons Trail after a three-year hiatus. The Nordic ski race is named after 92-year-old Reno Deprey, one of the founding fathers of Madawaska’s Nordic trail system.

Robert (left) and Sonya (right) Poiesz of Madawaska approach the finish line of the Deprey Classic in Madawaska on Jan. 16, 2022. (Courtesy of Gina Jendreau)

February

The Madawaska Snowmobile Association held a Neon Glow Run and Spaghetti Feed fundraiser Feb. 20 to raise money for the club’s trail fund, which covers expenses such as groomer repair and operation, trail maintenance and fuel. The club made roughly $2,000.

Maine Association of Basketball Coaches selected Fort Kent’s Chad Cyr as Class C North Boys Coach of the Year. Cyr said he was humbled by the honor and did not consider it an individual award.

Fort Kent coach Kelly O’Leary was named Class C North Girls 2022 Coach of the Year by the Maine Association of Basketball Coaches. O’Leary said he appreciated the respect of his peers, but the true reward was watching his athletes grow into successful adults. 

March

The Aroostook League announced the winter sports athletes selected as all stars. Student athletes from all four St. John Valley high schools made the list. 

The second-seeded Wisdom High School girls basketball team earned a trip to Bangor to compete in the Class D North final. The Pioneers defeated Machias in a semifinal game to advance in the playoffs. 

Wisdom’s Abbie Lerman (#1) takes the ball down court past Krisin Grant, Machias, during first half action of the girls Class D North semifinal game Thursday at the Cross Insurance Center. (Linda Coan O’Kresik | BDN)

High school seniors had one last time to shine on the basketball court as the Aroostook League Senior All-Star Games were played at Caribou High School. All-Stars were selected based on nominations from coaches as well as feedback from local media representatives.

Mushers in the Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog Races set off from Main Street in Fort Kent. The longstanding event draws thousands of visitors to the area each winter. 

Musher Gregg Vitello’s sled dogs cannot contain their excitement at the starting gate on Main Street in Fort Kent as they prepare to run in the Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog Races. (Jessica Potila | St. John Valley Times)

April

Dennis Lavoie, 59, was among dozens of Mainers and was one of three Aroostook County runners, along with Sarah Mulcahy of Fort Kent and Craig Reese of Presque Isle, to complete this year’s Boston Marathon. Lavoie, who has visual and hearing impairments, finished the race with a personal best record time of 3:34:49.

May

The Wisdom Middle/High School softball team took on Madawaska girls to form a cooperative softball team when the Owls did not have enough players to field a team of their own. Such good will between the two schools, both members of the Valley Unified Education Service Center, is not uncommon. 

The University of Maine at Fort Kent Bengals won the 2022 USCAA Track & Field National Championships on both the men’s and the women’s side at the national competition that took place Saturday, April 30, in Albany, New York. The Bengals team was only five years in the making at the time of the wins.

Nearly three dozen people plunged into the freezing Long Lake water during the 2022 Polar Dip for Aroostook Special Olympics. All funds raised were donated to the Aroostook organization, which supports athletes in The County.

Supporters of Special Olympics plunged into an icy cold Long Lake on May 1 during a Polar Dip fundraiser. (Jessica Potila | St. John Valley Times)

June

The top-ranked Wisdom Pioneer baseball team managed a 12-11 victory over No. 9 Southern Aroostook in a Class D North quarterfinal game. With the victory, No. 1 Wisdom (11-3) advanced to the Class D North semifinals. 

A Class C North quarterfinal baseball game between the Fort Kent Warriors and Central Red Devils worked out well for the Warriors. Fort Kent (14-4 overall) defeated No. 7 Central of East Corinth, 9-8 to advance to the Class C North semifinals. 

Warriors (from left) Austin Delisle, Ethan Daigle and Griffin Sibley celebrate a Class C North quarterfinal win over Central High School Thursday in Fort Kent. (Jessica Potila | St. John Valley Times)

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