Sometimes the greatest lessons drawn from athletic competition have little to do with who wins and loses.
Marcus Eaton Jr.’s selflessness enabled an opponent to experience the thrill of sporting success during a wrestling meet last winter. For that, the Brewer High School sophomore re-cently was awarded a Maine Principals’ Association sportsmanship award.
Eaton and the rest of the Brewer wrestling team were competing Jan. 16 in a multiple-team meet at Mount Ararat School of Topsham.
Mount Ararat’s roster included first-year wrestler Travis Shane, who deals with several health-related challenges, including being visually impaired.
Those issues and the fact he was bigger than most competitors made it difficult to find matches for him throughout the winter, said 10th-year Mount Ararat coach Erick Jensen.
But when Jensen approached Eaton’s coach — who is also is father — about having him wrestle against Shane, they agreed to the match.
“They had a wrestler who was blind, and he hadn’t had anybody to wrestle, so their coach came up and asked me if I wanted to wrestle him,” said Eaton. “That was fine by me.”
So the two took to the mat, with Eaton understanding that he would have to adjust to his opponent.
“I just had to maintain physical contact with him at all times so he could tell where I was,” he said.
The first period soon became the second, and the second became the third. Ultimately, Ea-ton enabled his opponent to earn the points needed to win the match by decision.
“There wasn’t a dry eye in the gym after the match,” said Jensen. “It’s the only time Travis has won, and he still talks about it today.”
In the aftermath of the meet, Brewer High athletic administrator Dennis Kiah nominated Eaton for the MPA recognition.
Since 2007, the MPA has presented up to four sportsmanship awards annually to individu-als or groups of students for acts of sportsmanship that are student-initiated, selfless and reflect a concern for opponents and exemplify the highest ideals of interscholastic competition.
In his nominating letter, Kiah noted, “[Eaton] did not make a travesty of the match but provided an atmosphere that was truly a competitive one.
“His genuine concern for the safety of his opponent and for providing a positive experience for him was a true act of sportsmanship to its highest degree,” added Kiah.
Eaton was presented a plaque symbolic of the award by Dusty Nelson, principal of Dexter Primary School and a member of the five-person MPA sportsmanship committee.
“It really took me by surprise,” said Eaton, who compiled a 31-6 regular-season record at 215 pounds last winter and qualified for the Class A state championship meet.
“I didn’t expect it, but it’s a good feeling to be able to help somebody else out.”
Simpson to guide Indians
David Simpson, a veteran coach in Mt. Blue High School of Farmington basketball system, has been named the new boys varsity basketball coach at Skowhegan Area High School, accord-ing to Indians athletic administrator Terry Michaud.
Simpson replaces Troy Scott, who stepped down this spring after seven seasons.
Simpson has coached the Mt. Blue boys junior varsity squad for the last decade, as well as serving as an assistant to Mt. Blue varsity coach Jim Bessey and helping the Cougars advance deep into the Eastern Maine Class A tournament several times in recent years.
Scott guided Skowhegan to its first berth in the Eastern A quarterfinals since 2002 last winter. The Indians finished 9-9 during the regular season before losing to Brewer in their tournament opener.
Libby resigns Morse grid post
Morse High School of Bath with have a new football coach this fall with the recent decision of Jason Libby to resign from the post after five years.
Libby, a graduate of Skowhegan High, is the K-5 math curriculum coordinator in Bath. He cited professional reasons for his decision, as he is taking classes in pursuit of a career in edu-cational administration.
Libby coached the Shipbuilders to four Class B playoff berths, including an Eastern Maine championship in 2008. He compiled a 28-20 record at Morse, including a 7-3 record last fall.