South Portland Red Riots Fall Athletes of the Year

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FALL 2011 MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR:

LOGAN GADDAR, Senior-Football

* SMAA All-Star, first-team defense

* SMAA All-Star, second-team offense

* SMAA All-Academic team

It’s fair to say that Logan Gaddar did a little of everything for one of the best football teams in Western Maine this fall.

He was a top receiving threat on offense, shut down the opposition’s passing game on defense and even got involved on special teams as the Red Riots got to the semifinals and posted their best record since 2000.

While he boasts height and athleticism, he’s also a hard worker and great team leader and all of that convinced The Forecaster to select Logan Gaddar as South Portland’s Fall 2011 Male Athlete of the Year.

He continues a family tradition as Logan’s older brother, Nick, was South Portland’s Fall 2007 Male Athlete of the Year.

Gaddar grew up in South Portland and started playing football in the third grade. In addition to playing football in high school, he’s also a forward on the always competitive boys’ basketball team and has played longstick middie (but will move to defense this spring) in lacrosse.

This fall, South Portland returned to prominence, but it didn’t come easily as the Red Riots opened with a 59-21 loss at defending Class A champion Cheverus.

South Portland then took six of its next seven and Gaddar played a huge role.

Gaddar caught touchdown passes in pivotal wins over Sanford and Massabesic and snared a pair against Kennebunk. He finished with 500 receiving yards and six touchdowns, but his work on defense was even more impressive.

The Red Riots were lit up for 109 points in their first three games, but allowed only seven points in regulation in each of their final five as Gaddar roamed the secondary, picking off 11 passes.

His biggest play might have come in the season finale, the “Battle of the Bridge” at Portland. With South Portland trailing 7-0 in the second half and doing nothing on offense, the Bulldogs drove for what could have been a backbreaking score. Instead, Gaddar intercepted a pass, returned it 96 yards for a touchdown and sparked a 20-0 run that served as a perfect coda to the regular season.

He caught two more TD passes in a quarterfinal round playoff win over Sanford, the Red Riots’ first in 11 seasons. The following week, however, South Portland fell a yard shy in a 20-15 loss to Thornton Academy in the semifinals.

Gaddar also paced the special teams with his long snapping and punt returns.

Gaddar isn’t just a top athlete. He also is the secretary of the Interact Club, treasurer of the Spanish Club, belongs to National Honor Society, works for the city refereeing basketball games, coaches elementary school aged kids and works at Wainwright Farms.

Next year, Gaddar will matriculate at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, where he plans to study to be a civil engineer. He hopes to play football as well for the Division III school.

It’s safe to say that whatever he does, he’ll do very, very well. Logan Gaddar, South Portland’s Fall 2011 Male Athlete of the Year, has been a student-athlete worthy of emulation.

Coach Steve Stinson’s comment: “Logan has an amazing work ethic. He’s hard working, conscientious. He leads by example and does the right things. He can jump and has great ball skills. He’s been a super kid for us. He was an eraser at safety. He’s a great kid.”

2010 winner: Nem Kaurin (Soccer)

2009 winner: Ryan Curit (Football)

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)

FALL 2011 FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR:

NYAJOCK PAN, Junior—Cross country

* All-State, honorable mention

* SMAA All-Star, first-team

* New England qualifier

Watching Nyajock Pan race down the trails it’s amazing to think that she didn’t even start running until the eighth grade.

She certainly picked it up quickly.

Pan added to her burgeoning legend this fall with strong performances from start to finish and made it to the New England championships as an individual.

For being such a natural talent who really shines at the big meets and for being a great teammate and school citizen, Nyajock Pan gets The Forecaster’s nod as South Portland’s Fall 2011 Female Athlete of the Year.

Pan came to South Portland from Portland in the seventh grade and the following year took up running because her friends did it. That twist of fate would bode well for both Pan and the Red Riots once she got to high school.

Although she doesn’t seriously train until school starts, Pan finished 14th at the Class A state meet as a freshman and moved up to sixth as a sophomore. Her excellence continued this fall as Pan was second in the first race of the regular season and never looked back. At regionals, she placed fifth as the Red Riots came in fourth and qualified for states. Then, at the state meet, Pan finished seventh (fifth for scoring purposes) and qualified for the New England meet.

She hoped to finish in the top 25 there, but settled for the 41st-best time.

Pan is running distance in indoor track for the first time this winter after playing basketball previously. She hopes to make it to New Englands. She also runs distance races in outdoor track, mentors and is involved with French Club. She hopes to run in college.

First, she figures to make a run at being one of the finest in the state her senior year. Nyajock Pan, South Portland’s Fall 2011 Female Athlete of the Year, has much greatness to come.

Coach Karen Reardon’s comment: “Nyajock has a good personality and gets along well with all the girls to start with, but it is more than that. She works hard at practice, takes an interest in others, pushes herself to do her best thereby setting a good example and is humble in her manner. One thing that makes her good as a runner is her competitiveness, she hates to lose. The other girls know that she is going to give it her all, so that helps them do the same. She is a lot of fun to work with and a pleasure to see run.”

2010 winner: Rebecca Roberts (Field hockey)

2009 winner; Karleigh Bradbury (Soccer)

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)

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.