HIGH SCHOOLS

Oxford Hills junior quarterback Eli Soehren has been named the 2021 Gatorade Maine Football Player of the Year.

Soehren, who also started at free safety, punted and kicked, led the Vikings (8-2) to the Class A state championship game. In 10 games, the 6-foot-2, 201-pounder passed for 1,904 yards and 25 touchdowns and also led his team in rushing with 903 yards and eight touchdowns.

Soehren, who has maintained a weighted 4.0 GPA, had previously been named the Class A Player of the Year.

Recent winners of the Gatorade award from Maine include Wyatt Hathaway of Leavitt (2020), Zach Maturo of Bonny Eagle (2019), Anthony Bracamonte of Thornton Academy (2018) and Owen Garrard of Scarborough (2017).

OLYMPICS

MEN’S HOCKEY: China will take part in the men’s hockey tournament at the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing after initial concerns that the team would be embarrassed on home ice against NHL-level competition.

The International Ice Hockey Federation confirmed China’s participation, avoiding what would have been an unprecedented removal of a host country’s team for performance reasons. The IIHF spent recent weeks reviewing players’ eligibility to represent China.

Players making up the Chinese national team played two recent test games against Russian opponents with international officials watching closely. The team, playing as Kontinental Hockey League club Kunlun Red Star, lost 4-1 to Avangard Omsk and 5-4 in overtime to Amur Khabarovsk, getting outshot 77-43 in the two games combined.

Kunlun Coach Ivano Zanatta said the games were evidence his team meets Olympic standards.

TENNIS

FRENCH OPEN: Director Guy Forget, whose contract was to expire at the end of the year, has resigned, citing communication issues with the new head of the French tennis federation.

The FFT said Forget’s replacement at the helm of the clay-court Grand Slam tournament will be announced soon. Forget also stepped down as director of the Paris Masters.

After L’Equipe newspaper first reported the news, the federation did not give any reason for Forget’s sudden departure. It thanked him for “his commitment and exemplary work, which have contributed to the influence of these two major tournaments on the international scene.”

BOXING

HALL OF FAME: Roy Jones Jr., Miguel Cotto and James Toney have been elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame along with three-division female champions Regina Halmich and Holly Holm.

Also selected for induction were publicist Bill Caplan in the Non-Participant category and journalist Ron Borges and historian-producer Bob Yalen in the Observer category. Posthumous inductees announced Tuesday include junior lightweight champion Tod Morgan in the Old Timer category and ring announcer Chuck Hull in the Non-Participant category.

Inductees were voted in by members of the Boxing Writers Association and a panel of international boxing historians.

BASEBALL

HALL OF FAME: Tim Kurkjian of ESPN has been voted the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s Career Excellence Award and will be presented with the honor during the Hall of Fame induction weekend in July.

Kurkjian received 211 votes among 375 ballots cast by BBWAA members with 10 consecutive years of service to win the honor, which was known as the J.G. Taylor Spink Award until his name was removed by the BBWAA in February due to research into racism by the former publisher of The Sporting News.

Kurkjian, who turns 65 on Friday, is a graduate of Walter Johnson High – the school was named for the baseball Hall of Famer – in Bethesda, Maryland, and the University of Maryland. He was hired by The Washington Star in 1979, covered the Texas Rangers for the Dallas Morning News and the Baltimore Orioles for The Sun for four years each.

He moved to Sports Illustrated as senior baseball writer for seven years, then joined ESPN in 1998. He has been a columnist for ESPN.com and a reporter, analyst and host for “Baseball Tonight,” earning a pair of Emmy Awards.

AUTO RACING

NASCAR: The GMS Racing majority purchase of Richard Petty Motorsports will be called Petty GMS Motorsports going into next season and NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty will be chairman of the new two-car Cup Series team.

Petty GMS Motorsports revealed its plans for 2022 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, less than a week after Maury Gallagher announced he’d bought out Andrew Murstein at RPM.

SOCCER

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi both scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain punished Brugge 4-1 in their final Champions League group game.

PSG had already qualified for the knockout phase of Europe’s elite club tournament but did not sit back at the Parc des Princes.


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