Seacoast Media Group’s Mike Whaley has been named the recipient of the 2018 New Hampshire Sportswriter of the Year award, the National Sports Media Association announced on Monday.
Whaley, an assistant or head sports editor at Foster’s Daily Democrat since 2002, won the award for the second time in eight years (2011). He will be invited to attend the 60th NSMA Awards Weekend on June 24 in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Mike Zhe, a staff sportswriter for the Portsmouth Herald, and Tris Wykes of the Valley News in Lebanon, were other finalists for the award.
SMG’s main sportswriter and photographer for the greater Dover and Rochester areas, Whaley covered a variety of stories in 2018, from high school state championship runs to the “Sports Clips” column he’s penned since 1988. Among the highlights:
Marshwood wrestling coach Matt Rix retires after leading the Hawks to their sixth Class A title in seven years and 10th overall. Rix led the team for 35 years, the last 33 has the head coach;
Two-part series on the decline of youth baseball and softball in the Seacoast;
Feature on the late Tommy Krawczyk, 36, who’s team, the Kraw Sox, won a record five championships at the annual Courier Cup Wiffleball Classic. Whaley started the Courier Cup in Farmington in 1990, was director until 2012 and still remains involved with scheduling, publicity and rules interpretation for the event. This September will be the 30th year;
Featured “The colorful baseball wit and wisdom of Wiz,’ an up-close look a James F. Wisowaty, who stepped away from the Rochester Post 7 American Legion program after 31 years. Speaking of Post 7, Whaley extensively covered the baseball team’s run to its fourth consecutive state title last summer;
On the hardwood last winter, he covered Oyster River’s jaw-dropping comeback win over Pembroke in the Division II boys basketball semifinals. He was also there for the Somersworth boys’ run to the D-III state title, and the 11th-seeded Dover boys’ emotional ride to the D-I final. Whaley’s column on Dover senior Devin Cady, who lost his father to a long illness just before the Green Wave tipped off against Londonderry in the D-I playoffs, tugged at the heartstrings;
There was also a column on the history and challenges of the cross country trail at Derryfield Park; a 40th anniversary story of the Mike Lee Holiday Basketball Bash; a feature on Noble track and field star Nina Tasker realizing her potential to win the 55-meter indoor hurdles state title; and a column on Noble softball coach Rick Melanson’s 40th year on the bench.
Whaley was a 1977 graduate of Oyster River High School, where he was the first editor of the school newspaper, titled The Mouth of the River. He played varsity basketball, baseball and track and field as a Bobcat.
He went on to attend Lyndon State College in Vermont (Class of 1984), where he scored over 1,000 points and was a two-time MVP on the men’s basketball team; he was all-conference and all-district as a senior.
Whaley’s first full-time newspaper job was in 1987 with the old weekly Rochester Courier. After the Courier closed down in 1993, The Rochester Times, a weekly publication, started up that year and he worked as its sports editor until it was closed in 2017.
Whaley, a Farmington resident with his partner, Jill Rosenblum, was inducted into the Lyndon State College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005 (basketball) and the Farmington Sports Hall of Fame in 2016 (contributor).