Evan St. Amand, a member of West Hartford’s Hall High School golf team, has been chosen as the 2023 Michael H. Savage Spirit of Sport Award honoree.
By Ronni Newton
The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) announced Friday that Evan St. Amand, a senior at West Hartford’s Hall High School and a member of the boys golf team, has been named the 2023 Michael H. Savage Spirit of Sport Award honoree.
The distinguished award is given annually, the CIAC said, and St. Amand is the 14th recipient. Honorees from each state automatically are nominated for the National Federation of State High School Associations’ (NFHS) Section and National Spirit of Sport Awards.
“The Michael H. Savage Spirit of Sport Award seeks to recognize individuals who exemplify the ideals of the positive spirit of sport that represent the core mission of education-based athletics,” CIAC spokesperson John Holt said in an announcement. “The award may be given in recognition of a specific act or an activity of longer duration.”
When St. Amand joined Hall’s golf team this fall, it was the first time he was able to participate on a high school sports team. He has mitochondrial disease, which prevents his mitochondria from efficiently turning sugar and oxygen into enough energy for his body to function for everyday activity, let alone sports, and hot weather is particularly challenging.
He is unable to eat solid food, and receives nutrition from an IV, to which he is hooked up for 17 hours a day, including overnight. After golf practice he receives hydration from an IV.
“The thing about sports I think that really sets it apart from anything else is the amount of camaraderie and brotherhood that there is,” St. Amand said. “Sports in my high school is huge. So, I felt like if I can tap into that just a little bit, I felt that I could be a part of that brotherhood and a part of that experience.”
“I’ve known since middle school that he has had some challenges, but he hasn’t really let it affect him or let it affect how other people view him,” said Kevin Brown, captain of Hall’s golf team. He said St. Amand is a positive presence on the team in many ways, including always cracking jokes.
Chuck Claffey, head coach of the Hall boys golf team, said it’s been great having St. Amand as part of the team, and said he doesn’t get upset, except for maybe when he misses a ball. “For someone that understands what his limitations are, he’s so outgoing. No inhibitions at all, he just has fun. … He’s been a joy to have. He’s the type of kid golf is for.” He’s even taken on the manager role, Claffey said.
St. Amand said he was very excited when he learned he was going to be able to join the golf team. “It’s been fantastic – a very very positive experience,” he said.
St. Amand will be formally honored at the CIAC’s Annual Scholar-Athlete Banquet in May.
The CIAC created a video profile of St. Amand, which can be viewed in its entirety via YouTube below.
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