PORTLAND, Maine — The young men hail from the United States, Germany, Somalia, Congo, Turkey and Kenya.
Some fled refugee camps.
Together, they formed a team — the Lewiston High School boys soccer squad. Each day they chanted, “Pamoja ndugu,” meaning “Together brothers.” And last fall, the Blue Devils finished a perfect 18-0, outscored challengers 114-7 and captured the Class A state championship.
Coach Mike McGraw’s team, which was ranked in the top 25 of the USA Today/National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll, earned the respect and admiration of challengers, the community and people around the state and country.
The Maine Sports Hall of Fame will honor the Lewiston squad for its teamwork, leadership and excellence at the 41st annual induction ceremony on Sunday, May 1, at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
“The Maine Sports Hall of Fame has as part of its mission, ‘A Better Maine Through Sport,’” said Dick Whitmore, chairman of the hall of fame board and a 1998 inductee. “The Lewiston team exemplifies this at the highest level.”
The Maine Sports Hall of Fame also will award $5,000 scholarships to five high school scholar-athletes. The following winners were selected from more than 200 entrants: Walter Conrad of Yarmouth High School, Talor Hamilton of Ellsworth High School, Madeline Hasson of South Portland High School, Anna Lastra of Fryeburg Academy and Riley Robinson of Dirigo High School in Dixfield.
Conrad has a grade point average of 99.35 and starred in soccer, ice hockey and lacrosse for Yarmouth. The son of Carolyne and Scott Conrad mentored elementary students. He’s considering Bowdoin, Bates, Colby, the University of Maine, Middlebury, Tufts and Boston College and plans to play soccer and hockey.
Hamilton ranks fifth in his class with a GPA of 96.1 and excelled in cross-country, track and field and swimming for Ellsworth. The son of Susan and Benjamin Hamilton assisted at middle school track meets and volunteered with organizations that serve homeless people. He will attend and swim at Florida Southern College.
Hasson is fifth in her class with a 95.8 GPA and shined at field hockey, basketball and lacrosse for South Portland. The daughter of Lynne and Chris Hasson participated in the Spanish, history and interact clubs. She plans to attend Bowdoin College and play basketball.
Lastra earned a GPA of 4.19 and starred in cross-country and track at Fryeburg. The daughter of Susan and Bruce Lastra attended Dirigo Girls State and is a member of the CAKE (Caring Acts of Kindness Everywhere) Club. She plans to attend Carnegie Mellon, Stonehill or the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Robinson is fourth in his class with a GPA of 96.85 and excelled at football and basketball for Dirigo. The son of Marcy and James Robinson volunteers at blood drives and at senior citizen dinners. He is considering UMaine-Farmington, UMaine and the University of Southern Maine and plans to play basketball and major in business.
The MSHoF also invites the public to meet the 2016 Hall of Fame class. The social hour starts at 11 a.m. and the luncheon begins at noon. Tickets are $55 each or $500 for a reserved table for 10, and may be purchased online at www.mshof.com and by mailing a check to MSHOF, P.O. Box 222, Oakland, ME 04963.
This year’s inductees include: Runners Kristin Barry of South Portland and Sheri Piers of Westbrook, downhill skier Kirsten Clark-Rickenbach of Raymond, the Cross family of Bangor, which has advanced sport through its naming rights at the Cross Insurance Center and Cross Insurance Arena;
Golfer Pennie Page Cummings of Lewiston, hockey player Doug Friedman of Cape Elizabeth, powerlifter Dan Hamblett of Portland, hockey coach John “Jack” Kelley, football player Ralph Payne of Brewer, pitcher Ed Phillips of Portland, hockey player Travis Roy of Yarmouth and basketball player Amy Vachon of Augusta.