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Fall Athletes of the Year: South Portland Red Riots

Sports

Fall Athletes of the Year: South Portland Red Riots

2009 FALL MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR:

RYAN CURIT, Senior-Football

* Fitzpatrick Trophy semifinalist

* SMAA all-star

While the South Portland football team ultimately fell agonizingly short of the playoffs, you could argue that they were the most exciting team around this fall.

The Red Riots played in a series of captivating contests and were never out of a game, thanks largely to the brilliance of senior running back Ryan Curit.

Curit capped his high school career as one of the Red Riots' finest players in recent memory. He scored from anywhere, got the ball in the clutch and was the quintessential team leader.

For his excellence, flair for the dramatic and role in returning his team to the brink of the postseason, Ryan Curit is The Forecaster's choice for South Portland's 2009 Fall Male Athlete of the Year.

Curit started playing football in the second grade in a Westbrook league, since South Portland didn't have a youth league at the time. He's always been a running back and linebacker and made an immediate impact when he joined the Red Riots' varsity as a sophomore.

This season, South Portland played in some memorable games with Curit leading the way. He rushed for 1,201 yards and had 20 TDs. He also threw for 50 yards and a score and had 184 return yards with a touchdown.

Highlights included the game-winning TD pass in a win over Westbrook, 147 yards and three TDs rushing (including the winner as time expired) in an epic back-and-forth 48-45 triumph over two-time defending state champ Bonny Eagle, three rushing TDs and another on a punt return in a win at Noble, five TD runs, including one from 80-yards out to ice it in a victory over Deering, three TD runs against Gorham and 258 yards and four TDs in a season-ending loss to Portland, which left the Red Riots on the outside of the playoffs looking in.

Curit, a Fitzpatrick Trophy semifinalist with a 95 grade point average, also plays basketball and baseball for South Portland. He's looking to play in college and is entertaining his options.

Unfortunately, we never got to see him strut his stuff in the postseason, but this was one of the most exciting players around. Ryan Curit, South Portland's 2009 Fall Male Athlete of the Year, had too many highlights to count.

Coach Steve Stinson's Comment: "Ryan is an extremely gifted athlete who combined his God-given abilities with a strong work ethic and great leadership skills. His passion and confidence was infectious, he was always there on either side of the ball to deliver us a big play when we needed one. It's has been a pleasure to coach Ryan, he is a tremendous representative of South Portland football. I have no doubt that whatever Ryan chooses to do in his life he will be successful."

2008 winner: Ryan Chapin (Soccer)

2007 winner: Nick Gaddar (Football)

2006 winner: David Knowland (Cross country)

2005 winner: Endy Carrera (Soccer)

2004 winner: Nolan Moon (Cross country)

2003 winner: Eric Giddings (Cross country)

2002 winner: Eric Giddings (Cross country)

2001 winner: Devin Shaw (Cross country)

2009 FALL FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR:

KARLEIGH BRADBURY, Senior-Soccer

* Western A regional all-star

* SMAA all-star, first team

* SMAA All-Academic team

* Team captain

* Leading scorer

From trial by fire as a freshman to glory as a senior, Karleigh Bradbury has seen it all as a girls' soccer player at South Portland.

This fall, the Red Riots were competitive throughout and upset the eventual top seed. The biggest reason for the team's success was the play of Bradbury, who had several clutch goals and proved to be the biggest concern of the opposition.

For coming up big time and again and for evolving into one of the finest players in the region, Karleigh Bradbury is The Forecaster's choice as South Portland's 2009 Fall Female Athlete of the Year.

Bradbury grew up in South Portland and started playing soccer at age 5. Immersing herself in the sport year-round, it wasn't long until she became a star.

Bradbury joined the varsity team as a freshman and was thrust into playing defensive center midfield, trying to counter some of the state's top talents. She handled that position with aplomb, then turned her attention to scoring goals. Despite being double- and triple-teamed this autumn, Bradbury frequently came through.

She had two goals in a win over Noble, a goal and an assist versus Massabesic, the second goal in a 3-1 upset victory over Scarborough (the Red Storm's lone regular season loss), two goals against eventual regional champion Thornton Academy and the last goal of the season in a win over Marshwood.

Bradbury, an SMAA and regional all-star, as well as a top student, finished with nine goals and three assists and had 19 goals and 17 assists for her career.

Bradbury also plays with the Maine Coast United U-18 premier team and runs track in the spring. She's a member of National Honor Society and is an officer in the school's Spanish club. She's currently looking at several colleges and wants to play at the next level while possibly studying biology.

The 2009 season was one of close calls and much frustration for the Red Riots, but Karleigh Bradbury, South Portland's 2009 Fall Female Athlete of the Year, excelled from start to finish.

Coach Andy Pappas' Comment: "Karleigh deserves recognition as much as anyone I've ever coached She works as hard as any player I've seen. She eats, sleeps and breathes soccer. It's in her blood. Ask any opposing coach this year and they'd tell you their game plan was to stop her. She really emerged as a go-to player, scoring just about every big goal we needed. Coaching her has truly been a pleasure and an honor."

2008 winner: Annelise Donahue (Cross country)

2007 winner: Annelise Donahue (Cross country)

2006 winner: Kristina Aceto (Field hockey)

2005 winner: Emily Haeuser (Cross country)

2004 winner: Courtney Albin (Soccer)

2003 winner: Christina Aceto (Soccer)

2002 winner: Andrea Giddings (Cross country)

2001 winner: Andrea Giddings (Cross country)