SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine - The selection committee for the 2017 Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive and Defensive Lineman Awards today announced the 13 semi-finalists for what is the largest high school scholarship of its kind in the country.
Jeff Kane, retired president of National Distributors, Inc. and Frank Gaziano's son-in-law, said the semi-finalists were chosen from 19 total nominees and consist of six senior offensive linemen and seven senior defensive linemen representing a range of high schools across the state. In the weeks ahead, the selection committee will interview each of the semi-finalists to determine the finalists.
"Each of the semi-finalists has proven to be dedicated to their sport, academics and their communities," said Kane. "The selection committee will now begin a very comprehensive evaluation process to learn more about each of these fine young men to learn more about what makes each one of them unique and most deserving of the award and scholarship. All of the semi-finalists and their families should be very proud of what they have accomplished and the future ahead for these young men."
Gaziano Lineman Award Semi-finalists:
John "Jack" Webb, Thronton Academy
Nathan Labrie, Cape Elizabeth High School
Cole Hoffman, Kennebunk High School
Nicholas Works, Sanford High School
Sean McCormack-Kuhman, Wells High School
Zachary Klein, Bonny Eagle High School
Garret Lynn, Thornton Academy
Griffin Aube, Falmouth High School
Zebulun Leavitt, Cheverus High School
Aidan Parmenter, Leavitt Area High School
Anthony Griffin, Scarborough High School
Michael Lunny, Sanford High School
Arlo Pike, Bonny Eagle High School
The scholarship and awards program for Maine high school football linemen was created in 2010 in memory of Frank J. Gaziano, founder of National Distributors in South Portland, and a former college All-American and professional football player with a lifelong passion for local sports. One offensive and one defensive lineman will each receive $5,000 and a first place trophy, and four runners-up will receive $1,000. The award winners will be announced at a luncheon ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 27, at the Augusta Civic Center.
The two keynote speakers for the event this year are Logan Mars a 2011 Gaziano Award winner and Kevin Cooper, head coach at Bonny Eagle High School. Mars, played four years at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (USGA) and was named the Athlete of the Year by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Most recently, he was involved in the Coast Guard's efforts to help victims of hurricanes Irma and Maria. He is currently assigned to the USCG Cutter Campell, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, where he is a command, control, communications and intelligence officer.
Cooper has coached the Scots for 16 seasons. Previously, he was a defensive assistant at the University of Maine for six years. He has also coached at Ohio University and Maine Maritime Academy after a playing career at Dartmouth College and Lawrence High School.
The annual Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive and Defensive Lineman Awards are presented to players who epitomize the character, leadership, and perseverance of Gaziano. The selection committee chooses award winners based on their strong leadership on the field, in the classroom, and in the community.
In 2012, National Distributors, Inc. increased the scholarship amount to $5,000 for the two winners and $1,000 for the two runners-up making it the largest high school football scholarship of its kind in the country. Funding for the $14,000 in total scholarships is provided by National Distributors, Inc. The selection committee will also be securing sponsorships ranging from $50 - $500 so players and families of the student-athletes can attend the awards luncheon ceremony free of charge. If you are interested in attending the event or contributing to the scholarship fund, contact event coordinator Charlie Gagnon at email@example.com.
For more information on the awards luncheon or the scholarship program, visit www.gazianolinemanawards.org.
Editor's Note: Semi-finalists for the 2017 Gaziano Awards and Peter DeSimon, president of the Gaziano Awards, are available for interviews by contacting Greg Glynn at Nancy Marshall Communications at 207-623-4177.
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