AUGUSTA — Long-time former Nokomis High School coach Katie Thompson, a former Maine Field Hockey Association President, could not help but get choked up when introducing former Gardiner coach Maureen “Moe” McNally.

Current Tigers coach Sharon Gallant — a former player for McNally who spent 15 years as an assistant under her tutelage — said it was a “privilege to be there at the beginning and the end.”

It may have been a chilly 20 degrees outside of the Augusta Civic Center on Sunday afternoon, but inside the reception was nothing but warm as McNally was inducted into the MFHA Hall of Fame at the organization’s annual All State Awards Banquet.

“Retirement from teaching and coaching has given me time to reflect on what I’ve taken from my profession over the last 35 seasons,” McNally told the crowd of a couple hundred in attendance. “It’s not the wins, it’s not the losses, it’s not the championships and it’s not even the honors that come to mind first.

“It’s the connections that I’ve been fortunate enough to make during that time that occupy my thoughts.”

For McNally, it may not be the accolades that come to mind first, but there certainly were plenty of them in a career that spanned from 1979 to 2013.

During her tenure at Gardiner, McNally amassed a record of 407-144-21 that included two state, four Eastern Maine and 12 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships.

She was also a founding member of the MFHA and served on the board for more than 30 years. The annual senior all-star game bears her namesake.

“Every one of the players I reached out to for quotes about Coach M commented that while she demanded more, she gave even more,” Gallant said. “Former players stay in touch and frequently mention that of all of the lessons learned during the season, field hockey skills were very low on the list. They speak of finally understanding dedication, of what it means to be a team player and what is necessary to be successful.

“They share stories of her high expectations and what they were willing to do to achieve them. They speak of her belief in education and how she guided them to the right school for their needs, and they speak of her passion for the game of field hockey.”

Also announced Sunday was the winner of the Miss Maine Field Hockey Award, which went to Scarborough’s Maddy Dobecki. A two-year captain for the Red Storm, Dobecki — who plans to play at the next level at St. Michael’s College — scored 12 goals and assisted on 15 others in leading Scarborough to the Class A championship.

“Field hockey has taught me things that cannot be taught anywhere else,” Dobecki said. “It has taught me to always persevere, no matter how many times you get beat — always keep trying. It has taught me to play every game like it’s your last because you never know when your season might end.

“Finally, it taught me to never give up — not if you’re losing a game and especially not if your team is tied with a man down and two seconds left. You never know what will happen.” Senior midfielders Rylie Blanchet, of Skowhegan, Kersey Boulay, of Mount View, and Arika Brochu, of Cony, were also nominated for the Miss Maine Field Hockey Award.

This year’s President’s Award — which recognizes a member of the Maine field hockey community who has made “significant long-term contributions” to the sport — went to Thompson.

The Steph Lunt 12th Player Award — named for former Winthrop player Steph Lunt — went to Casey Bucklin, a Sanford player who refused to let lasting side effects from concussions prevent her from playing the sport she loves.

The MFHA Media Award went to John Cochin of the Sanford News, while a number of local players were recognized as earning All State honors.

Blanchet, Boulay, Brochu, Mikayla Charters (Nokomis), Kapriece Dahms (Lawrence), Abby Dyer (Gardiner), Riley Field (Messalonskee), Katriona Hajduk (Winthrop), Brooke Haskell (Winslow), Emily Hogan (Messalonskee), Lauren LeBlanc (Skowhegan), Nickyia Lovely (Gardiner), Haley Lowell (Messalonskee), Hayley Marshall (Oak Hill), Brooke Michonski (Skowhegan), Victoria Newbill (Mt. Blue), Madeline Reny (Cony), Lilla Tilton-Flood (Lawrence), Lauren Watson (Lawrence), Mackenzie Winslow (Winslow), Alyssa Wood (Winslow) and Renee Wright (Skowhegan) each garnered All State honors.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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