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Sanford High School Hosts 24th Annual SMAA Sportsmanship Summit

Student-athletes from all 17 Southwestern Maine Athletics Association schools. Each school chose 10 student-athletes to represent them.

Student-athletes from all 17 Southwestern Maine Athletics Association schools. Each school chose 10 student-athletes to represent them.

PHOTO CREDIT: SHS Athletic Director Zach Lemelin

By Sam Bonsey

“The Obstacle is the Way” was the theme of this year’s Southwestern Maine Athletics Association (SMAA) Sportsmanship Summit at Sanford High School on Tuesday, Dec. 5.

This was the fourth consecutive year SHS has hosted the summit, which brought in all 17 schools from the SMAA. The event allowed student-athletes to come together, learn and promote sportsmanship values.

Ten student-athletes were chosen to represent each school. Drew McGrath, Jony Hunter, Connor Pickering, Mackenzie Taylor, Hadley Legere, A.J. Cote, Noah Johnson, Lily Peters, Paige Sevigny, and Zoey McCann represented Sanford.

The morning began with opening remarks from SMAA President Eric Curtis, who emphasized the importance of sportsmanship in encouraging a positive athletic culture. SHS Athletic Director Zach Lemelin then provided an overview of the day’s events before students broke off into groups to attend breakout sessions.

Groups rotated between three sessions in the Performing Arts Center and the competition and practice gyms. Each session lasted 30 to 35 minutes. University of New England Basketball Coach Ed Silva led a discussion on the power of inclusive leadership, and Ben Tilton from Bishop Hendricken High School in Rhode Island talked to students about overcoming adversity through perseverance. Coaches from Southern Maine Community College, St. Joseph’s College, University of Southern Maine, and Colby College shared their experiences and insights into the collegiate sports landscape.

The summit also incorporated team-building exercises encouraging collaboration and camaraderie among the students. These activities helped students recognize the value of teamwork and mutual respect on and off the field.

“It was a really awesome event that truly shows the commitment the SMAA has to helping our student-athletes be successful in their high school and future lives,” SHS Athletic Director Zach Lemelin said. “This event takes a ton of behind the scenes work and without the efforts of the Sportsmanship Committee, the day would not be as successful as it is.”

Throughout the panels and team-building exercises, student-athletes gained valuable insights into the importance of sportsmanship and leadership. The summit concluded with a speech from keynote speaker Kaleb Joseph, who played basketball at Syracuse and Creighton.

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