CHESHIRE, Conn. – Haley Lespier, a junior three-sport athlete from Maloney High School, has been chosen as the 2020 Michael H. Savage Spirit of Sport Award. She becomes the 11th recipient of this distinguished yearly award, and as Connecticut’s selection she will go forward as a nominee for the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Section and National Spirit of Sport Award.
Lespier is a significant contributor for the girls soccer, girls basketball and girls tennis teams (along with her twin sister Abby) for Maloney. That level of success seemed very far off in 2010 when as a seven-year old, Haley was diagnosed with Cerebellar Pilocytic Astrocytoma – a form of brain cancer. She underwent a seven-hour surgery to remove a golf ball-sized tumor from the region of the brain controlling coordination and motor function. Her recovery has been remarkable and five years later she was given a clean bill of health and has thrived as an athlete and a student.
An in-depth video featuring interviews with Haley, Abby and her tennis coach is available here: https://casci.ac/5186
Haley has also committed to helping others; raising significant money for the neurology department at Connecticut Children’s Hospital, and working with elementary school students on athletic skill improvement through youth clinics.
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. The award may be given in recognition of a specific act or for an activity of longer duration. CIAC chooses a recipient each year that:
- has demonstrated exemplary sportsmanship and/or citizenship in playing the game as it should be played;
- has exceeded normal expectations in assisting others within the school community or;
- has overcome adversity or a challenging circumstance.
Along with her possible selection for the NFHS Spirit of Sport honors, Haley will be recognized for her selection at the 2020 CAS-CIAC Scholar Athlete Banquet in early May. The event is the largest recognition event the CIAC holds each year.