Bean's Bearings – December 2018
As we celebrated the holiday season and prepare for the challenges of 2019, the Huskies can look back fondly on the first half of the 2018-2019 academic year with great reasons for pride and gratitude. Perhaps the biggest news for the athletic program was the installation of Musco LED lighting on all three fields, Hannaford Field, Flaherty Field and the Huskies fantastic softball stadium. This project was a longtime coming for the Huskies but what a beautiful sight and a truly great addition for the USM programs as well as a benefit for the greater community that utilizes our facilities. Lights open the door for championships, tournaments and greater utilization of our physical resources. Many thanks to our donors and University leadership for making this project a reality this past August.
Just prior to the start of the fall preseason, USM Athletics hosted the 30thannual Husky Golf Classic at Falmouth Country Club. This event continues to grow and brings together strong supporters of the University while raising important dollars for the Huskies. This past year, 156 players took to the links at Falmouth on a beautiful August day. In addition to our golfers, Pepsi stepped up as our presenting sponsor for the event. Sodexo, Custom Coach, Cross Insurance, Yankee Ford, Harriman Associates, Gorham House of Pizza, Musco Lighting and Southwest Greens all signed on as major sponsors of the event. Thirty-six other businesses served as hole sponsors and more than 40 companies donated prizes to the event along with USM Husky Hall of Famer and Falmouth Country Club owner Dick Harris. It was a great day, mark your calendar for August 12 for the 31st annual Husky Golf Classic.
The fall sports season saw many outstanding performances including the Huskies repeat as Little East Conference champions in men's cross country. Coach Ryan Harkleroad's teams have now swept the LEC championships in cross country, indoor and outdoor track for two straight seasons. This fall also brought the hiring and return of Seth Benjamin to USM. A former Huskies soccer player and graduate in 2000, Benjamin was hired to lead the women's soccer team this past fall. Under Benjamin's leadership, the Huskies had a phenomenal season, going 14-5-1 overall and advancing to the semi-finals of the Little East Conference Championship. In his first year at the helm with the Huskies, Benjamin was named Little East Coach of the Year.
Coach Bonny Brown Denico brought her field hockey squad back to the semifinals of the 13-team Little East Conference Championship as well. The veteran mentor earned her 200thcareer win early in the season and led a determined squad to a 13-8 overall record this past fall and challenged in every game. Women's tennis also qualified for the LEC Championship with a .500 season but got knocked off in the first round of play. There were many outstanding individual and team performances in the fall and overall it was a much improved and outstanding season for the Huskies.
The 33rd annual Husky Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremony was held on Saturday, September 29th at the Kenneth Brooks Student Center on the Gorham Campus. Four men and four women were inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame this year. Those honored were: Thomas "Tip" Fairchild – baseball (class of 2008), Sasha Ilkovich Gerardi – field hockey (class of 2003), Jess Knight Tremblay – lacrosse & hockey (class of 2011), John McCartney – baseball (class of 1989), Shannon Shuttle – volleyball (class of 2010), James Spaulding – track (class of 2010, Curtis Wheeler – cross country & track (class of 2008 and Kelly Wilson Allen – soccer (class of 1999).
In addition to the eight inductees, the highly coveted Richard A. Costello Special Achievement Award was presented to Westbrook's Kenny Knapton, a former basketball player for the Huskies who has been a superb educator and involved with coaching and youth activities for countless years in the greater community. Kenny has made a significant impact working with young people. The Clifford O. T. Wieden Award was presented to Bob Blackwood, the consummate volunteer for USM. A former banker by trade, Bob's work with the USM Foundation, Alumni Board of Directors and the Athletic Development Council has been extraordinary. He has been a key member of several significant campaigns for USM and is a highly respected by those he works with in the community. Thanks for your continued great effort on behalf of USM.
On November 4th, during the overlap between the fall and winter seasons, we celebrated the outstanding academic achievements of our student-athletes at the 31st annual William B. Wise Scholar-Athlete Awards dinner and program. A record number of 212 student-athletes qualified as Wise Scholar-Athletes this past year and the department reached one its goals by having the entire body of 450+ student-athletes surpass the 3.0 GPA mark as the group checked in at 3.08.
President Glenn Cummings and Provost Jeannine Uzzi were on hand to offer comments and help with the presentation of the Wise Scholar-Athlete awards. Special thanks to our presenting sponsor for the event, Saco Bay Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy and to University Credit Union and Moody's Collision Centers for their ongoing support of this important program.
With the books closed on the fall season and three of our major special events concluded, we have headed into the winter sports season. All seven of our winter sports teams have shown signs of excellent play but I will bring attention to just a few at this point in the early going. The women's basketball team is off to a fast start and sits at 7-2 as we break for the holidays. The Huskies have featured a balanced attack and look to be a contender in the Little East Conference.
Junior Peter Del Gallo of the Huskies wrestling team is currently ranked number one in the nation at the 125-pound weight class. A junior from Gardiner, Maine, Del Gallo is an exercise science major at USM. He is the brother of Peter Del Gallo who won the national championship at 147 pounds two years ago.
Sophomore Zach Hoyle of the men's indoor track team is also ranked number one in the nation, with his event being the one mile run. Hoyle, a sophomore from Sidney, Maine, is a history major at USM. Both Del Gallo and Hoyle participated in their respective NCAA National Championship meets a year ago.
Looking forward to the spring season, good news came from Collegiate Baseball as they recently released their annual preseason poll of NCAA Division III baseball teams. The Huskies return a strong squad from 2018 and begin the year ranked 12thnationally by Collegiate Baseball.
One final note for this edition, we are busy working on plans and raising funds for two major projects that we hope to accomplish this year. The Warren G. Hill Gymnasium was built in 1962 and has clearly stood the test of time. However, the gym floor is currently in its 56thseason and needs to be replaced. We have taken great pains to preserve the court as long as possible but a change is necessary. We hope to complete this project from mid-April to mid-June.
Flaherty Field at the USM Baseball Stadium badly needs to be renovated. The field needs to be leveled, there is a significant dip (approximately 6 feet) from the from the front edge of the outfield grass to the fence line. Along with leveling the field, drainage needs to be installed, the infield needs to be rebuilt and fences need to be replaced. This is an important project for our nationally-ranked Huskies baseball team, and with the addition of lights this past August, we hope to successfully bid for and qualify for NCAA Regional tournaments.
We will be reaching out to alumni and friends to help make these two projects a reality. I hope you will consider making a contribution if at all possible, external support is critical to our continued growth and success. Please remember, you may now give online by going to our website (southernmainehuskies.com), scroll down until you see the button that says Give and check out the menu of opportunities. You may direct your gift to whatever program or initiative you would like to support and can write a note in the box marked, other. Thank you for your consideration of this request, please feel free to call with any questions you may have.
Best wishes to you, your family and friends. Go Huskies!