Friday, April 10, 2009

Local Students Shine in Odyssey
of the Mind Competition

By Jim Kanak
Staff Columnist
Students from school districts serving Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Wells, Ogunquit, and York had great success at the Odyssey of the Mind State Tournament in Sanford on Saturday, Mar. 28. Together, the three districts qualified 10 teams to participate in the World Finals in Ames, Iowa in late May. In all, 29 teams from the school districts participated in the event.
“We had nine teams altogether that competed,” said Susan Onion, one of the Wells-Ogunquit coaches. “Five teams qualified for the Worlds, four placed first and one second.”
Students participate in five different divisions and in different problem areas in the Odyssey of the Mind competition. Divisions include primary (Kindergarten through grade two), division one (grades three through five), division two (grades six through eight), division three (high school) and division four (college).
The primary division teams do not compete but rather use the tournament to get oriented to the Odyssey of the Mind program. The other four divisions compete in categories of pre-assigned projects where they must create something and also must complete a spontaneous project given the day of the event. The former is worth 250 points, the latter worth 100. Despite having coaches, the students must come up with the completed projects themselves. Only first and second place finishers move on to the next phase.
For example, the team Onion coaches, a division two group of seven eighth graders, competed in a category called Shock Waves. “Using balsa wood, they created a structure that weighed less than 18 grams and was eight inches high,” Onion said. “The goal is to have it hold as much weight as possible. Theirs held 840 pounds. Then they had to create a skit about it.”
That team finished first. Other first place finishers in Wells-Ogunquit included division two teams coached by Matt McDonnell and Shannon Emerton (Earth Trek), Colleen Forde and Patti Brann (Teach Yer Creature), and Gail Moulton (Superstition). Mark Kafkas’ division one team finished second with its problem of the Lost Labor of Heracles.
“They created a skit eight minutes long to explain one of his labors and then created a new (labor) of their own,” Onion explained.
MSAD 71 (Kennebunk, Kennebunkport) District Coordinator Stacy Schatzabel said two teams had qualified. “We had 12 teams participate,” she said. “The Middle School of the Kennebunk’s took second place for its Superstition team (coached by Iris Sherman) and the high school took second for its Earth Trek team (coached by Carrie Tracy). We had more teams this year participate. We had five primary teams. They’re not judged but are here for the experience.”
York has the distinction of having three teams qualify, including the only division four team competing. That team included District Coordinator Michele Freitag, a Masters candidate at the University of Southern Maine, two of her sons, students at York County Community College, and two other college students. They competed under the name of the community college.
“In order for us to use YCCC’s name, my son had to start a club to organize the team,” Freitag said. “Division four teams automatically go to the Worlds because there aren’t many of them. Maybe there are 20 in total.”
The York Middle School Superstition team, coached by Julie Eneman and Dani Stevenson, garnered a first place finish. The Coastal Ridge Elementary School Shockwaves team, also coached by Eneman, grabbed a second place. In total eight teams from York participated at Sanford.
Qualifying is just one hurdle, however. Teams now have to find a way to cover the expenses of getting to Iowa and staying there for four or five days.
“The coaches are discussing that with the parents and families of the kids,” said Onion. Onion noted that last year, her team engaged groups like the Wells Rotary Club to help raise money.
Schatzabel identified the same issue in Kennebunk. “The Middle School team is going for sure,” she said. “I don’t know about the high school team.”
Regardless, York’s Freitag said the program was an invaluable one for the students. “The kids would tell you the best part is that adults can’t tell you what to do,” she said. ‘The (problem solving) totally belongs to them. Other benefits are that it gives the creative kids a chance to shine. It’s a great place for kids who think differently and outside the box. OM cherishes that.”
Team Rosters for Odyssey on the Mind World Finals
MSAD71 Qualifiers
Second Place Teams
Middle School of the Kennebunk’s - division 2 - Superstition: Matthew Sherman, Matthew Rimmer, Noah Ciminean, Tyler Dumas, Caleb Voisine-Addis, Katherine Richard, Victoria Cabral, Coach: Iris Sherman.
Kennebunk High School - division 3 - Earth Trek: Caitlin Dalrymple, Jessica Langlais, Dylan Corrao, Evan Clough, Ashley Haroldson, Coach: Carrie Tracy.
York Qualifiers
First Place Teams
York Middle School - division 1 - Superstition Team: Abigail Eneman, Emily Knoettner, Rachel Stevenson, Christine Ellis, Tressa Ellis, Marina McCarthy, Sadie Arsenault, Coaches: Julie Eneman and Dani Stevenson.
YCCC - division 4 - Heracles Team: Michele Freitag, Michael Freitag, Thomas Freitag, Allison Novak, Nicholas Trent.
Second Place Team
Coastal Ridge Elementary - division 1 - Shockwaves Team: Brooks Kennedy, Mairead Murphy, Emma DiMuzio, Benjamin Eneman, Elliott Gear, Jesse Bettencourt, Coach: Julie Eneman.
Wells-Ogunquit Qualifiers
First Place Teams
Division 2 - Earth Trek: Ben Wright, Hunter McDonnell, Zachary Pierce, Tyler Bartlett, Cody Cousins, Nick Cousins, Coaches: Matt McDonnell and Shannon Emerton.
Division 2 - Teach Yer Creature: Mike Stivaletta, Joey DeFelice, Connor Heyland, Robert Brann, Justin Villemaire, Zachary Villemaire, Dylan Cody, Coaches: Colleen Forde/Patti Brann.
Division 2 - Superstition: Abigail Moulton, Emily Borkowski, Lexy Haye, Hannah Bragdon, Maddie Taylor, Jenna Ingalls, Ashley Szcsapas, Coach: Gail Moulton.
Division 2 - Shock Waves: Maddie Andrews, Madison Moore, Sean Roche, Paul Michaud, Zoe Onion, Kaitlin Devlin, Ashley Hussey, Coach: Susan Onion.
Second Place Team
Division 1 - Lost Labor of Heracles: Charlie Bell, Kent Kellar, Sam Onion, Kate Macolini, Ian Hussey, Melodie Godin, Taryn Lambert, Coach: Mark Kafkas.

Kennebunk’s Marty Ryan to Retire
After 40-year Career in Education

By Jim Kanak
Staff Columnist

Kennebunk High School’s Marty Ryan, a local sports icon, is retiring after eight years as the Athletic Director with the Rams. His career as an educator spanned 40 years, 21 of it as a coach, teacher, and athletic director at Wells High School. The last eight have allowed Ryan to fulfill a career dream: that of being a full time athletics only athletic director.
“I had a goal to work as an athletic director in just athletics,” Ryan said. “That’s the case at Kennebunk High. It has just worked out nicely. I’ve had a very good and supportive administration and a very good, hard working staff.”
Ryan started his career as a coach and business teacher at Narragansett High School in his native Massachusetts. He coached basketball, baseball, and football there – a time consuming endeavor.
“I remember the days in coaching where there was no such thing as a microwave,” Ryan said. “When I got home at 7:30 after practice, sometimes dinners were very well done or cold. I was smart enough not to complain.”
Indeed, Ryan credits his family for offering consistent and strong support as he pursued his career. He lives in Wells with his wife, Judy. Daughter Amy lives in Nashville, where she teaches English as a second language to Somali children. Son Tim is the assistant athletic director at Bowdoin, from whence he graduated.
“I deeply appreciate the support from my family, especially my wife Judy,” Ryan said. “They’ve been very good to me.”
The Ryan’s departed Massachusetts in 1980 after a tax cap law took effect, severely impacting school budgets there. “There was a coach and business teacher opening in Wells,” said Ryan. “The following year, the athletic director position opened up and I got the job.”
Ryan combined his teaching and athletic department functions until 1987, when the AD position morphed into the Director of Student Activities. That change broadened the position’s responsibilities beyond athletics into areas like facilities and scholarship programs. With those additional responsibilities, Ryan no longer had time for teaching.
Over the course of his tenure at the Maine schools, Ryan has had a number of notable achievements. “It’s hard to pick out just one or two,” he said. “I’m proud of the state champions we had in Wells in basketball and football. We installed bleachers at the football field and the synthetic track at Forbes Field. The crown jewel was the fitness center. The community supported those and that was important. “
Of course, there are also great memories in Kennebunk. “I’m quite proud of our successes here, in lacrosse and tennis,” said Ryan. “The move to the SMAA from the Western Maine Conference was a big one. Now the kids just take it for granted but at first there was an intimidation factor. They weren’t used to playing at Biddeford or at Fitzpatrick Stadium or in Sanford. We’ve come a long way. We also had significant facility improvements. Again, the community supported them.”
Ryan noted also that the Rams have won four straight sportsmanship awards, selected by the teams KHS competes against. “No one else has won more than two,” Ryan said.
Over the course of four decades, high school sports have changed, not surprisingly. Ryan made note of some of the important things he’s seen, though he didn’t make any value judgments about them.
“The amount of involvement by parents is much greater,” he said. “They have more of a handle on the child’s development than my parents did, so they’re more involved. That becomes the greatest change. Also, there’s the influence of outside programs. The AAU and others are now quite prevalent.”
Ryan has been active in broader areas of athletic administration and has gained acknowledgement for his work. He was named the National Athletic Director of the Year in 2005 by the National Council of Secondary School Athletic Directors, the only director from New England to win the award. He was inducted in 2007 to the Narragansett High School Hall of Fame as a coach and also to the Wells High Hall of Fame as an athletic administrator. He served as the President of the National Athletic Director’s group in 2001.
“I’ve been fortunate to be able to do things outside my own environment,” said Ryan. “That makes me a better athletic director.”
In retirement, Ryan said he plans to play golf and pursue his passion of fly-fishing. He doesn’t rule out part time work, possibly even some coaching.
He said he’s leaving a good situation for his successor. “This is a good school system, with a balance of academics, athletics, and citizenship,” said Ryan. “The coaches work very hard.”
Photo caption: Marty Ryan retires after lengthy career in education. (Weekly Sentinel photo)

Wells’ Tomaszewski Wins National
Junior Adaptive Alpine Championship

By Jim Kanak
Staff Columnist
Alex Tomaszewski, 15, is the 2009 Junior Adaptive Alpine Champion in the United States.
Tomaszewski earned the title by sweeping five events at the International Paralympic Committee’s national meet last week in Winter Park, Colo.
“It felt nice,” Tomaszewski said. “I was relieved after every run and would look at my times and the place I was in.”
In his class, that was first in each of the downhill, Super G, slalom, grand slalom, and combined (super G and slalom) events, earning him five gold medals. In addition, Tomaszewski said he placed in the top 10 in every overall event, racing against the nation’s top adaptive skiers.
Tomaszewski also competed in a NORAM downhill race in Winter Park and won that race also, earning a sixth gold medal.
The son of John and Chris Tomaszewski of Wells, Alex was born in Russia without the lower part of his right leg and with only one and a half fingers on his left hand. The Tomaszewski’s adopted Alex when he was 15 months old and brought him to Wells. He skis for Maine Handicap Skiing under coaches Diane Barras and John Freeman.
This is a follow-up to last week’s front page article on Tomaszewski.