Boston High School: Cape Elizabeth

Maine statewide football preview

September, 4, 2013
9/04/13
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The football landscape has changed with the addition of a fourth class and reorganization everywhere. Here's a look at the top contenders in each class in 2013:

Class A East
MaineAsk anyone outside of Lawrence Bulldog territory, and that person would probably tell you the two best teams in Maine high school football last year were Thornton and Cheverus. This year, under the new alignment, they have the chance to meet in the Class A state final.

Cheverus was undefeated last fall until losing to Thornton, 20-13, in the regional final. The Stags graduated Fitzpatrick Trophy-winning running back Donald Goodrich and quarterback Liam Fitzpatrick, but should keep rolling. The top returning runner is Cody O'Brien (76 carries, 400 yards, 5 TD), and he's backed by Joe Fitzpatrick and Will Hilton, and new quarterback Ethan Jordan. Kicker Patrick Mourmouras booted 48 extra points as a sophomore a year ago.

Offense will be a key for Portland, which scored a total of 13 points in four losses last fall. The Bulldogs may be able to solve that problem themselves, as they bring back Justin Zukowski (180 carries, 991 yards, 11 TD), Jayvon Pitts-Young (79 carries, 472 yards, 3 TD) and quarterback Ryan Ruhlin. Another one to watch is Ronald Hargrove, a transfer from Concord-Carlisle Regional in Massachusetts.

Bangor will be an interesting case this season. The Rams had the burden of high expectations every year – partly because of their history, and partly because of a school size that theoretically gave Bangor a much deeper pool of players than its opponents.

Those expectations were blasted away last year by a 30-point loss to Lawrence and a 34-point loss to Cony. Football is still a big deal in Bangor – the Bangor Daily News wrote a preview story on the Lawrence-Bangor preseason meeting, then covered the game (a 13-6 Lawrence win) as well – but how will the Rams fare against the bigger southern Maine schools?

In an interesting subplot, Xavier Lewis is back at Bangor. Lewis played for Bangor before helping Lawrence to the state final in football and the regional final in basketball during the past academic year.

Windham and Deering look to bounce back from graduation losses, while Edward Little, Lewiston, and Oxford Hills look to improve.

Class A West
Thornton went with a 1-2 punch last fall of Andrew Libby (151 carries, 1,008 yards) and Nick Kenney (164 carries, 940 yards). With Kenney graduated, Libby could easily get in the neighborhood of 25-30 carries per game, and none of Thornton's opponents are excited about that. On the down side, quarterback Eric Christense (973 yards passing, 402 rushing) has graduated, and the Golden Trojans didn't have shutdown defense even last year, when all but two of their opponents scored at least two touchdowns. Still, Libby and Cody Lynn are stalwarts on defense, and if Thornton averages 38.7 points per game again, a couple touchdowns the other way won't matter.

Scarborough didn't play Cheverus last year, but looked pretty good against every other team on its schedule save Thornton. The Red Storm lost 35-7 to Thornton in the regular season and 49-14 in the playoffs. Scarborough brings back Dan LeClair (69 carries, 353 yards, 5 TD) and running/receiving threat Charlie Raybine.

Bonny Eagle could make a leap from last year's 2-6 record. The Scots opponents had a combined record of 43-21, but they still never lost a game by more than 17 points. Now they've added running back Jon Woods as a transfer from Gorham, along with some experienced talent like Zach Dubiel and Joe Bissonette. You can make an argument that Bonny Eagle's season might have turned out much differently if the Scots hadn't been plagued by bad snaps and turnovers in an early-season loss to Thornton last year. This season might show what Bonny Eagle is capable of.

Sanford had one of the best backs in the state last season in Alex Shain (201 carries, 1,426 yards, 27 TD), but the Redskins still scored a total of 32 points in their four losses, including a 42-16 first-round playoff setback to Scarborough. If Josh Schroder (86 carries, 457 yards, 6 TD) and new quarterback Chase Eldredge can't find a way to score against the top teams, a defense led by linebacker Colby Perigo may spend too much time on the field.

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Tags:

Football, Maine, Longmeadow, Cony, Bangor, Cape Elizabeth, Foxcroft, Bonny Eagle, Cheverus, Lawrence (Maine), Mountain Valley, Brunswick, York, Skowhegan, Alex Rotsko, Camden Hills, Nokomis, Madison, Gorham, Concord-Carlisle, Westbrook, Oak Hill, Mt. Blue, Belfast, Waterville, Thornton, Lewiston, Yarmouth, Messalonskee, Edward Little, Hampden, John Bapst, Brady Neujahr, Scarborough, Fitzpatrick Trophy, Marshwood, Wells, Traip, Livermore Falls, Oxford Hills, Spruce Mountain, Kyle Heath, Winslow, Maranacook, Jordan Whitney, Dick Mynahan, Ben Lucas, Freeport, Dylan Hapworth, Alex Shain, Corey McKenzie, Josh Gray, Mike Clark, Dexter (Maine), Matt Martin, Jared Jensen, Donald Goodrich, Andrew Libby, Nic Bishop, Ryan Rebar, Christian Mowrer, Alex Mace, Kyle Flaherty, Cameron Roll, Donnie Boyer, Justin Zukowski, Jayvon Pitts-Young, Xavier Lewis, Nicco DeLorenzo, Liam Fitzpatrick, Cody O'Brien, Will Hilton, Ethan Jordan, Patrick Mourmouras, Ryan Ruhlin, Ronald Hargrove, Nick Kenney, Eric Christense, Cody Lynn, Dan LeClair, Charlie Raybine, Jon Woods, Zach Dubiel, Josh Schroder, Chase Eldredge, Colby Perigo, Lukas McCue, Jacob Duffy, Alex Bandouveres, Andrew Pratt, Cam Abbott, John Hersom, Ethan Powers, Beau Grenier, Tayler Carrier, Reid Shostak, Austin Spencer, Matt Friedman, Adam Clukey, Brad Bishop, Bretty Gerry, Nick Emmons, Larson Coppinger, Tyler Elkington, Sean Kelly, Zach Guptill, Bobby Chenard, C.J. Kelley, Hunter Law, Alex Stevens, Peter Boyer, Aidan Fitzgerald, Brian Bellows, Mike Hathaway, Jake Moody, Matthew Stewart, Cameron Mowrer, Chad Orn, Parker Asselin, Stacen Doucette, Old Orchard Beach, Dean Plante, Joe Gildard, Libon, Quincy Thompson, Kyle Bourget, Spencer Trenoweth, Wintrhop-Monmouth, Cole Arsenault, Ethan Squires

New England Roundup: Maine

May, 31, 2013
5/31/13
3:31
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On May 16, a Foxcroft batter was hit by a pitch in a game against Hermon. Within a couple weeks, Hermon had a new baseball coach.

MaineNumerous media outlets have suggested that those two events are related. According to the Bangor Daily News, Foxcroft led 7-1 in the fifth inning and needed four runs to end the game by the 10-run mercy rule.

With one out, Brooks Law put down a suicide squeeze to score Foxcroft's ninth run. Law reached first on the play, then stole second and third. The batter was hit by the next pitch.

"It did seem suspicious because they were clearly getting very frustrated and it felt like the pitcher really reared back and put something extra on that pitch," Foxcroft coach Mark Chevalier told the BDN.

Aaron Brideau is no longer Hermon's coach. Junior varsity coach Justin Perry coached the hawks in their final regular season game. In his article about the incident, BDN writer Ernie Clark wrote, "The coaching change is believed to be related to the circumstances involving a batter hit by a pitch" in the game in question.

NEW DEFINITION OF PITCHER'S PARK
Madison High completed an undefeated softball season Wednesday with a 7-2 victory over Oak Hill. The Bulldogs are 16-0, and will go in as the No. 1 seed in Western C.

One of Madison's stars is junior pitcher Emily McKenney. With McKenney leading the way, the Bulldogs allowed only 27 runs during the regular season.

But other than the undefeated record, the highlight of Madison's season was a recent home game against Oak Hill. In the top of the first inning, Oak Hill batter Jamie Prue noticed McKenney seemed unusually close. When somebody brought out a tape measure before the fourth inning, it was discovered that the pitcher's plate was 40 feet away, not the regulation 43 feet.

"I got up there," Prue told the Kennebec Journal, "and I remember I squared up to the plate, and I was like, 'She's on top of me.' Three feet is a big difference in softball, and obviously, it was very noticeable. I could tell just by how she was leaping out of the circle. It was unbelievable how close she was."

McKenney, who is a strong candidate for the Moluntain Valley Conference's Player of the Year award, said she believed the pitcher's plate had been at 40 feet all season.

"I definitely told my stepdad at other away games, 'I feel really far away when I pitch,'" McKenney told the KJ. "But I never thought anything of it."

It should be noted that McKenney has pitched -- and hit -- well in both home and road games this spring.

FRIEDLAND, LEAVITT WIN TENNIS SINGLES TITLES
Lincoln's Jordan Friedland defended his state singles title, but Falmouth's Olivia Leavitt upset No. 1 seed and defending champion Maisie Silverman of Brunswick in the state tennis singles tournaments.

Friedland, the No. 1 seed, lost a total of 14 games in his five matches during the tournament. He defeated No. 2 seed Brendan McCarthy of Falmouth, 6-3, 6-0, in the finals.

Silverman rolled through her first four matches, as she lost only six games combined. But in the finals, Leavitt posted a 6-1, 6-1 victory.

That matched appeared to turn in the third game of the first set. Silverman was trailing and appeared to hit a winner and yelled a short burst of encouragement to herself. But Leavitt returned the ball, and then complained that Silverman broke the rules by shouting during play. Silverman was given a warning, and Leavitt went on to win the next eight games.

"After that I feel like I wasn't as focused as I was in the beginning," Silverman told the BDN. "But she played really well. She really didn't miss a shot at all."

A happier moment came on the first day of the Round of 48. In a second-round match, Johnny Xue of George Stevens Academy was looking a match point for a straight-sets win. Xue retired at that point because he would have been unavailable for his third-round match two days later. That enabled York's Andrew LaMonica to advance to the next round, where he lost to McCarthy, 6-3, 6-3.

The lightest moment of the tournament came when North Yarmouth Academy's Burke Paxton outlasted Cape Elizabeth's Peter Higgins, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (3), 6-4 in a three-hour match.

After reporting the score, Paxton said to the tournament directors, in reference to his next match later that afternoon, "How long do I have? An hour? Let's push it to the last second possible."

New England Roundup: Maine

May, 8, 2013
5/08/13
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Waterville senior Bethanie Brown is coming off a winter season where she posted new state records in the mile and 2-mile. She was also state champion in the 800, 1,600, and 3,200 last spring. She also found time to be a state finalist in the Poetry Out Loud competition and blog for a high school running website, and she recently won the 2013 Maine Principals' Association Award, which takes into account a student's academic excellence, outstanding school citizenship, and leadership.

MaineBrown will be running for the University of Connecticut this fall. She recently took time to answer some questions about UConn and her high school career.

Q: What made you decide on the University of Connecticut?

A: "It was a number of things. Overall, out of all of the colleges that I looked at, it seemed to be the best fit for me. Recruiting junior year and especially last summer and fall was a crazy, once-in-a-lifetime experience. I got multiple calls every week last summer, and got to talk to a lot of coaches about their college, the team, and their coaching style. I finally narrowed it down to my top five, and those were the ones I took official visits to. After visiting each one and thinking about all the pros and cons of each school, I felt like UConn was the best fit. The University is big, so I’ll have lots of options open for majors, which is important since I’m sort of undecided. I really like the coach, and I feel like her coaching style will work well with my personality. I met the team and really liked them, and I also know some people in Connecticut so it won’t be as nerve-wracking to live there without my parents."

Q: You mentioned in one of your blogs about running laps and seeing the same neighbors walking their dogs five times. Obviously, there's some drudgery in running. What kinds of things do you do to stay motivated?

A: "Yes, I tend to joke about that. Since one loop of my neighborhood is 0.9 miles, it’s kind of like a giant track! It’s fun to see all my neighbors when I’m out running. We’ll say hello and even chat sometimes when I finish my run. It’s nice to have neighborhood support. Obviously, running loops can get boring at times, so when I feel bored I switch it up and run other routes. But, as a track person, I like running in circles! During the track season I usually run near the high school instead of in my neighborhood, so that gives my running a little bit of variety.

"In terms of staying motivated, it’s not that hard because I like to run. There are days when I’m tired, and maybe not as anxious for my run as on other days, but I know the importance of continuity in training, and so I just do it. But I usually look forward to racing and going to practice, because running is something that I genuinely enjoy."

Q: You and the Waterville girls have had such an incredible run during your high school years. Do you find yourself thinking a lot about how your high school career is almost over?

A: "I don’t think it’s really hit me yet that this is actually my last high school track season. It feels so normal to be a part of the Waterville track team! It has been an incredibly exciting experience to go into each year aiming for a state title as a team. It creates a supportive, focused atmosphere, because each person knows that they need their teammates to do their best in order to win. As a freshman, I was intimidated by the team of older kids who were so good at their events, and so knowledgeable and serious about track. I remember being nervous to compete, but really enjoying being a part of such a successful team. Now, I guess I’m the older, serious track athlete. It feels strange to think I won’t be there next year to help out the team. I will miss it so much, even though I’m excited for next year too. It’s been so fun."

Q: Ian Wilson is regarded as one of the best coaches in the state. What makes him so good at what he does?

A: "He’s really serious about track, and he devotes a lot of time to the team. He studies and continually learns more about the sport, so even though he never ran track, he is really good at helping his athletes to have good mechanics. He can look at someone who has never run track before, and know what they will be good at. He has made a lot of individual state champions, and, well, the team championships speak for themselves. It might seem like Waterville has a lot of talent, but really, it’s that kids who have just as much talent as any other kids in any other school are spending 6 days a week at track practice, running and doing strength work, and working really hard to improve.

"Every meet, he emphasizes the importance of getting better each week. He plans tough, demanding workouts for his team, and the team toughs it out because they respect him and are motivated by him and his goals for the team. Not only is he good at the training side of track, he is also really good at the psychology of it too. He tells motivating stories, puts motivational quotes on the practice plan every day, and knows how to make his team feel confident in their abilities. He has a good sense of what motivates certain individuals, and what helps them specifically to do well.

"As a freshman, I was a little scared of him, I will admit. Scared because he seems very intimidating. In reality, he knows what he’s doing, and isn’t actually as scary as I thought he wasthat is, as long as you stay clean from drugs and alcohol, wear practice uniforms, never miss practice without permission, and give 110% effort in practice and at meets. He’s the coach you’ll hear bellowing from the sidelines at track meets. Trust me, it’s like magic. When he yells, you do go faster. Even if you feel like you’re giving your all, you just find another gear. It’s sort of like a lion’s chasing youbut instead it’s Wilson yelling at you. Overall, he’s just a really experienced, knowledgeable, motivating coach. I feel very lucky to have been able to work with him."

Q: Bill Stewart wrote a column in the Morning Sentinel, urging people to go watch you run so they could see greatness. What were some of the reactions you had when you read that column? Did your teammates kid you about it?

"My parents told me about it and read me some quotes from the article, because they really liked it, but they didn’t have me read it. They are saving it for me to read at the end of the season. They don’t want to put too much pressure on me. I’ve gotten a lot of comments from members of the community who saw the article and thought it was very nice, so I’m excited to read it. A parent of one of my friends told me that he liked seeing that article because he had been telling people at work for a while that they should come and watch me run."

Q: Alex Jenson is such a key part of your team, and she's out for the season with an injury. What's it like to watch a teammate go through that?

A: "It’s really hard because I know it must be so frustrating for her to watch other people compete, and not be able to. It’s her senior year, and she has loved being coached by Wilson, and has been such a key part of our team even since freshman year. I live near her, and so we have been friends since she moved to Waterville in fourth grade and we rode the bus together. I’ve always been impressed with her talent and work ethic, and I know that she’ll find a way to stay positive through this disappointment because she’s really tough."

Q: What kind of goals do you have for this season?

A: "My goal is to improve! It sounds so simple, but it can be difficult to keep finding ways to improve yourself. And when you finally get a PR, it feels so good! It’s a feeling of accomplishment to know that you just ran faster than you have ever run before. This season, I started off with a lifetime PR in the 3200 (two-mile) of 10:22, and so I’d be thrilled to improve that time. In my races I have to run at the front a lot, which is different than running with a pack of girls, and can be hard to do sometimes. So, another goal is to just be really focused and tough even when I’m just racing the clock."

NEW INDUCTEES FOR MAINE SPORTS HALL OF FAME

The Maine Sports Hall of Fame inducted 10 new members at its annual banquet May 5 at the Augusta Civic Center. Included on that list are four people who are inducted based on their contributions to Maine high school sports:

- Skowhegan field hockey coach Paula Doughty, who has won 438 career games and 14 Class A state championships. Doughty has twice won the National Coach of the Year award, and her teams have won 11 of the last 12 Class A state titles.

-Cony girls basketball coach Paul Vachon. Now the athletic director at Cony, Vachon compiled a 451-40 record while coaching the Rams. He won 11 regional and seven Class A state championships.

-Football coach John Wolfgram, who has won a total of 10 state championships at four different high schools. Wolfgram's Cheverus team won 34 consecutive games from 2010 to 2012. That broke the previous state record of 31, set by Wolfgram's South Portland team from 1995 to 1997.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

With spring season under way, here are eight athletes you should know about. This isn’t meant to be a list of the best athletes in their sports, but it is clear that all of them can be expected to be at the top of their game this season:

Ryan Rebar, Foxcroft baseball: An outstanding three-sport athlete, baseball is Rebar’s best sport. He’s a pitcher and shortstop. “A sign of a top notch pitcher is the ability to put up great numbers even when he does not have his best stuff,” says Marc Calnan of Examiner.com. “Ryan Rebar does that. I have covered many games that Rebar has pitched between high school and American Legion in the last four years. I have not seen any situation overwhelm him. As a shortstop, he is as smooth as anyone in any class.”

Sonja Morse, Cony softball: Softball is still a game dominated by talented pitchers, and Morse carried Cony to the state title last year and could do so again this spring. Morse went 13-0 with 0.50 ERA last season, with 146 strikeouts in 87 innings. At the plate, she hit .479 and drove in 30 runs in 22 games. In the state final against South Portland, Morse retired the first 20 batters before losing her perfect game on a two-out single in the seventh of Cony’s 2-0 victory.

Patrick Ordway, Waynflete tennis: Ordway won the state singles title as a sophomore, and seemed poised to do it again last spring. He was the No. 1 seed and breezed into the semifinals, losing a total of five games in his first three matches. But in the semis, Ordway was stunned by fifth-seeded Jordan Friedland of Lincoln Academy, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4. Friedland went on to win the state title, and is back as a senior to defend his title. Their teams don’t meet in the regular season and can’t meet in the playoffs, but if Ordway and Friedland meet in the state singles tournament, it will be a fun match to watch.

Maisie Silverman, Brunswick tennis: Silverman was the state singles runner-up as a freshman in 2011, and took the title last year as a sophomore, defeating Falmouth senior Annie Criscione, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Silverman was also tested in the tournament by Waterville’s Colleen O’Donnell and Falmouth’s Olivia Leavitt, both of whom are back this year. Brunswick is also out to defend its team Class A state title.

Nicco DeLorenzo, Kennebunk lacrosse: The name rolls off the tongue, but he’s more than just a name. According to a preseason feature article in the Portland Press Herald, DeLorenzo, a junior at Kennebunk, has already verbally committed to play at Colgate. DeLorenzo had 120 ground balls last season, and is a presence as a long-stick midfielder.

Lauren Steidl, Cape Elizabeth lacrosse: Steidl is coming off a season in which she scored 58 goals and dished out 26 assists as the Capers reached the Western B championship game. Steidl will play for Princeton next year. She’s actually one of two 50-goal scorers on the Cape Elizabeth roster. Talley Perkins, who will play at Boston University next season, had 50 goals last year.

Alex Shain, Sanford track and field: Shain was a Fitzpatrick Trophy finalist after rushing for 1,400 yards and scoring 28 touchdowns for the Sanford football team this fall. He does the running thing pretty well in the spring, too. Shain is the defending Class A state champion in the 100 (11.33 seconds) and the triple jump (42 feet, 6.75 inches). He was also part of the school’s state champion 4x100 relay team, and placed fifth in the long jump (20 feet, 0.25 inches).

Bethanie Brown, Waterville track and field: Brown has one of the best résumés of any runner around. Last spring, she won the Class A state title in the 1,600 (4 minutes, 55.23 seconds) and 3,200 (10:34.79) then went out and won both of those events at the New England championships. She also helped Waterville’s 4x400 relay team win the state title. The winter, she set Class B state indoor record in the mile and 2-mile. Brown is headed to the University of Connecticut this fall. In a preseason column, the Morning Sentinel’s Bill Stewart wrote, “As you fill the calendars with what you hope to see this spring, particularly when the weather pleasantly warms, do yourself a favor and go see Waterville senior Bethanie Brown run. Do it. You won’t be disappointed.”

New England Roundup: Maine

January, 25, 2013
1/25/13
9:00
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Max McHugh, a standout soccer and girls' basketball player at Central High School, suffered a broken leg recently as the result of a head-on auto accident. Shortly after, the school had a “white-out” night at a home game, where fans were asked to wear white in support of McHugh and her family.

MaineMcHugh was a key figure in Central’s Class C state championship last season. She played solid defense on Hall-Dale’s Carylanne Wolfington (now a freshman at Colby College) and hit two free throws with 11.4 seconds left for the final points in Central’s 40-39 victory.

The driver of the other car was Tanya Clement, of Corinth. The Bangor Daily News reported that Clement’s 6-year-old daughter was still hospitalized eight days later from her injuries as a result of the accident.

Bangor television station WABI reported that according to the police report, “McHugh admitted she was changing a song on her I-pod and not paying attention.”

GOODRICH WINS FITZPATRICK TROPHY
Cheverus star Donald Goodrich won the James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy, given annually to the top senior football player in the state. Goodrich, who ranks 58th in a class of 122 students, played two years at Cheverus after transferring from York following his sophomore year.

Goodrich rushed for 8.65 yards per carry, 1,722 yards, and 22 touchdowns this season. On defense, he had seven sacks. Cheverus had won 34 consecutive games before losing to eventual Class A state champion Thornton in the state final.

The other finalists for the award were Sanford’s Alex Shain and Cony’s Chandler Shostak. Shain rushed for over 1,400 yards and scored 28 touchdowns, while Shostak had 58 receptions for 853 yards and 12 touchdowns, while also intercepting 11 passes on defense.

TRACK AND FIELD ONLINE
Track and cross country coach Derek Veilleux has created an outstanding website for Maine high school track and field at http://me.milesplit.com. Veilleux coaches the Scarborough boys in indoor and outdoor track, and Cape Elizabeth in cross country.

Veilleux told the Morning Sentinel he spends about 30 to 40 hours per week putting information on the site. He also frequently updates his Twitter account (@MaineTrackXC).

“I’ve got a regular full-time job, and then I coach in the afternoon,” Veilleux told the Sentinel. “This is done late at night and early in the morning.”

The site has regular updates, as well as lists of the top times and performances across the state in each event. Several athletes also contribute blogs. One of those is written by Waterville’s Bethanie Brown, who was recently named Gatorade Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year for Maine and will be heading to the University of Connecticut in the fall. Brown was the first Maine high school girl to run a mile in undr 5 minutes in a competition.

Brunswick’s Alex Nichols, the defending Class A indoor boys champion in the 400 meters, also blogs for the site. Here’s an excerpt from his latest blog:

“Oh but wait, that sounds like a boring meet doesn’t it? You’re right, it was. That is until our bus, cruising at 50 mph down the highway, was assaulted by a large turkey. ... A turkey had crashed directly into the bus windshield, shattering it, and hitting the bus so hard that the rear-view mirror INSIDE the bus had been shattered. We slowed down and pulled off to the side of the highway to wait for another bus, which took approximately an hour. While we were waiting, an SUV came flying down the highway towards us. I don’t understand how it is even possible not to see a school bus on the highway, but he jerked out of the way at the last second, spun a full 360 degrees, and ended up in the snow bank 200 meters in front of us. For those of you who don’t know how far 200 meters is, you’re on the wrong website. Anyways, we finally got home in one piece and went out to eat. I obviously got a turkey sandwich.”

LOAN MEASURE AT NOKOMIS FAILS
Regional School Unit 19, which includes Nokomis Regional High School, recently asked voters in its eight communities to approve a $2.9 million loan. The communities denied a $3.6 million loan on Election Day. After making approximately $750,000 in cuts, RSU 19 asked for the reduced loan.

Among the cuts originally slated were all sub-varsity sports at the high school in winter and spring sports, and travel to away games for winter and spring varsity teams. The teams and travel were all restored for this school year by private fundraising.

EASTERN A GIRLS' BASKETBALL UP FOR GRABS
Whoever wins the Eastern A tournament will be a huge underdog against Catherine McAuley High School. The Lions are the defending state champions, and have three talented six-footers, as well as one of the state’s best point guards in Allie Clement.

But the team that comes out of the East will have the advantage in number of close games. There are at least six and as many as nine teams that are more or less even, depending on the day. Every team in the league has at least three losses.

Mt. Blue is one of the league’s favorites. Within the span of a week, the Cougars defeated previously unbeaten Mt. Ararat by making all 18 of their foul shots over the final three minutes, then lost in double overtime to a .500 Skowhegan team, then edged Brewer, another .500 team, in overtime. And Skowhegan? Three days after knocking off Mt. Blue to earn a leg up on one of the final playoff spots, the Indians lost 56-51 to Hampden, which was 0-11 entering the game.

Cony is holding on to the final playoff spot at 7-6. The Rams got that high by defeating Edward Little, a team that was 10-2 at that point. Cony also lost to Lawrence, 51-50, on a 23-foot 3-point heave by freshman Dominqiue Lewis with two seconds left. Cony has no one taller in its regular rotation than 5-foot-8 Josie Lee, but the Rams take about to 25 to 30 3-pointers per game, and the tournament is played a few miles from their school at the Augusta Civic Center.

No. 1 seed Edward Little is 10-3, with those three losses by a total of eight points. In contrast, Presque Isle is the top-ranked team in Eastern B. The Wildcats are 13-0, and exactly one of those wins has been by less than 25 points.

New England Roundup: Maine

December, 3, 2012
12/03/12
6:20
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Nick Janes remembers how it used to feel to be a Marshwood football player, and he remembers when that changed.

MaineAt one time, the Hawks had one of the best football programs in the state. But Marshwood hadn’t been to a state title game since 1989, and finished 2-6 and out of the playoffs in 2011.

“You felt secluded,” said Janes, a senior running back and defensive back on this year’s Marshwood team. “Like, everybody knew you were, but no one really cared.”

Marshwood hired coach Alex Rotsko before this season. In addition to coaching at American International College and Ithaca, Rotsko had won 11 Super Bowls in 19 years as coach of Longmeadow High School in Massachusetts.

“The first practice, you looked at him, he just looked confident,” Janes said. “You didn’t want to lose for him.”

For Janes, the moment he realized things were different came in a preseason scrimmage against Portsmouth (N.H.) High. Marshwood struggled to move the ball, and Rotsko told his players what was wrong and how to fix it.

“The next play, we ran for like a 20-yard gain,” Janes said. “I’ve never seen anything like that before.”

Marshwood eventually made it to the Class B state championship game, losing 44-42 to Mt. Blue. It was clear Marshwood is back.

“You could feel the whole community coming around you,” Janes said.

Rotsko, who was also athletic director at Longmeadow, was friends with former Marshwood coach John Caverly, so he was aware when the Marshwood job became open.

“My wife and I own a home at York Beach, and we were coming up here anyway after I retired,” Rotsko said.

As usual, Rotsko installed the Wing-T offense, a run-based system built of multiple weapons.

“We ran it at Longmeadow,” he said. “The 19 years that I was there, we ran it 18 years and had 18 winning seasons. You can guess what happened that one year.”

“We used to run the spread offense,” said Dan Lizotte, a senior fullback/linebacker. “I thought we had the size to run a tighter offense. We just powered it up the middle. I liked it.”

With his favorite offense in place, Rotsko said there were two clear differences for him between Maine and Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, you have to play three games in 12 days at playoff time, including the annual Thanksgiving rivalry, while Maine simply has a game each week. The other notable difference is the size of the rosters.

“The school that I came from was not a real big school,” Rotsko said. “We probably had 500 boys, and 100 played football. I was used to dealing with 105, 110 kids. I came here, we had about 60 kids at the first practice. Out of those 60, 40 or so were freshmen and sophomores.”

Marshwood’s first two games in the regular season were against York and Mountain Valley. York was returning 18 starters from a playoff team, and Mountain Valley is a perennial powerhouse. Rotsko said he was told those were the two teams that Marshwood had no chance to beat, but the Hawks won both games, defeating York 28-12 and Mountain Valley, 19-12.

“It was unbelievable,” Janes said. “Everybody was really excited. It felt surreal.”

Less than a month after its second win, Marshwood lost a former teammate. Troy Pappas, the quarterback in 2011 and a freshman at Bates College, died Oct. 5, six days after falling down a stairwell.

“I’ve thought of him every day,” Janes said. “It’s tough to go through something like that, so he’s always on my mind. Playing with him for three years, you get used to him being there.”

The Hawks took the field just a couple hours after Pappas’ death, and defeated Cape Elizabeth, 20-0, to run their record to 5-1. They did not lose again in the regular season, and after beating Cape Elizabeth again in the quarterfinals, knocked off Wells, 15-13, and York, 21-20 to win the Western B title.

“I feel like Troy was there watching over us, making sure we won by the skin of our teeth,” Lizotte said. “Everyone felt that was it.”

A lot of key players are back for Marshwood next season, like quarterback Cameron Roll, running back Brett Gerry, and linemen Tyler Gagnon and Beau Blanchette.

“I thought it was a great season,” Rotsko said. “It couldn’t have gone any better. I think everybody’s already excited for next year.”

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Maine

June, 25, 2012
6/25/12
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Longtime Bangor High School boys' basketball coach Roger Reed reluctantly resigned recently after being informed by the administration to make a choice between coaching and serving in the legislature.

MaineLeonardi Reed, 73, submitted his resignation a day before winning the Republican primary to represent House District 23 in the Maine Legislature. Reed will face Democrat Richard Thomas in the Nov. 6 general election for the right to fill the seat formerly held by Rep. David E. Richardson, who is also a Republican.

Reed, who retired this spring after a 47-year career as a teacher, hoped to continue coaching the Rams. In 27 seasons he led them to eight Class A state championships. In a career than began at Bangor Christian Academy, Reed has a career record of 571-201, a .740 winning percentage. After going 7-11 in his first year at Bangor, Reed’s teams posted 26 straight winning season including a 14-6 mark last winter. The Rams won their eighth state title under Reed in 2011.

Reed wanted to continue coaching next season but was told Bangor principal Paul Butler that demands of time and travel to Augusta would be too great to do both jobs. The Legislature is in regular session during the winter months.

“Somewhere and sometime ago, it was decided that I wouldn’t be allowed to do both,” Red told the Bangor Daily News. “I really don’t think that it has anything to do with logistics. I was assured by all who encouraged me to run that I would have no reason to give up coaching.”

Butler, who played for Reed in the late 1980s, said he asked several people if someone could serve in both capacities and do justice to both jobs. He determined than it wasn’t “It was an honest, good-faith decision. I think Bangor High School athletes and our program deserve 100 percent of a person’s attention, and I just felt that it was untenable for somebody to do both,” he told the BDN.

“Once I made the decision, I waited until after the season and asked Roger to choose us,” Butler said. “I wanted, and offered, to have Roger back as coach and gave him until June to make that decision. I told him the only time I ever rooted against him was going into the primary.”

WESSEL WINS JOHN WILKIN AWARD
Scarborough High School senior Ben Wessel won the Dr. John Winkin Award, presented annually to the state’s top baseball player at the senior all-star game. Wessel sustained a torn ulnar collateral ligament which prevented him from pitching the Red Storm in the second half of the season but he returned to the lineup as a designated hitter and helped the team to the Western Maine Class A title.

Wessel led the Southern Maine Activities Association in batting average (.486), slugging (.943), on-base percentage (.600), RBI (21), triples (4) and home runs (2). As a pitcher the right-hander went 6-0 with a 0.62 earned run average and struck out 45 batters in 34 innings.

He expects to undergo Tommy John surgery in July and will attend the University of Rhode Island this fall.

GEAUMONT NAMES MISS MAINE SOFTBALL
Thornton Academy senior Julia Geaumont could have won the Miss Maine Softball Award as a pitcher or a hitter. She excelled at both. Geaumont got the good news at last week’s senior all-star games. The award is presented annually by the Maine High School Softball Coaches Association.

This season Geaumont went 14-2 on the mound with an 0.84 earned run average and 136 strikeouts. At the plate, she batted .679 with 10 home runs and 38 RBI. Geaumont, who will attend Bowdoin College next fall, was also named Gatorade and Southern Maine Activities Association player of the year.

SANFORD NAMES NEW MASCOT
Soon after its boys track and field team won the Class A state championship, Sanford High School announced its new mascot.

Superintendent David Theoharides reported the new mascot will be the Spartans. Students in grades seven through 12 voted on four new nicknames — Spartans, Pride, Stampede and Cardinals. The Spartans claimed 587 votes to 423 for Pride, 202 for Stampede and 113 for Cardinals. The new mascot will go into effect starting with the 2012-2013 school year.

Sanford’s school committee voted 4-1 last month to retire the Redskins mascot, the last high school in the state with such a nickname.

STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Baseball and softball championships in four classes were decided on June 16 at venues in Bangor and Windham. Eastern Maine teams swept the softball championships while East and West split for the baseball titles.

Class A Baseball
Messalonskee 6, Scarborough 3: The Eagles took advantage of seven errors by the Red Storm to win their first Class A title. All six of Messalonskee’s runs were unearned. The Eagles turned two double plays including a memorable one in the bottom of the fifth when shortstop Sam Dexter dove for a ball in the hole, relayed it to second to younger brother Jake who threw to first. Messalonskee finished at 15-5, winning its last 10 games.

Class B Baseball
Falmouth 2, Foxcroft 0: Ninth-place hitter Ryan Conley ripped a two-run double in the second inning to lead the Yachtsmen to their first state title since 1998 and their first in Class B. Starter Thomas Fortier pitched a complete game, holding the Ponies to two hits while striking out six. Falmouth finished at 17-3.

Class C Baseball
Dirigo 6, Calais 1: The Cougars took an early lead and senior Ben Holmes preserved it to give the Cougars their second title in three years. Dirigo took a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the second, the big hit a two-run double from Caleb Turner. Holmes finished with eight strikeouts in running his season record to 12-1. Dirigo finished at 19-1 overall while three-time reigning Eastern champion Calais closed at 18-2.

Class D Baseball
Bangor Christian 7, Buckfield 3: Sophomore Cody Collins drove in four runs on a pair of singles and a double to lead the Patriots to their first baseball title. The Eastern Maine champs scored five runs in the first inning en route to the win. They finished at 19-2 while Buckfield closed at 17-2.

Class A Softball
Cony 2, South Portland 0: Junior Sonja Morse pitched a one hitter and struck out 10 to lead the Rams to their first state title since 1983. Morse lost her no-hitter with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. She also issued a walk but both runners were picked off as she faced the minimum number of batters. Cecelia Fuller singled home both Cony runs in the fifth inning.

Erin Bogdanovich allowed three hits and struck out 13 for South Portland (17-3). Cony finished at 20-0.

Class B Softball
Old Town 4, Fryeburg 1: Junior Kendra Hayward struck out 15 and contributed a two-run double to lead the Coyotes to their first state championship. Hayward allowed three runs in four Eastern Maine games while striking out 38 batters in 28 innings for fifth-seeded Old Town. The Coyotes finished at 17-4 while defending Class B champion Fryeburg closed at 18-2.

Class C Softball
Bucksport 2, Dirigo 0: Cassidy Adams pitched a two-hitter to lead the Golden Bucks to their first Class C title. The Bucks, who dropped down a class this season, reached the Class B title game last year before losing to Fryeburg. They last won a Class B title in 2006 and have gone five for eight in championship games. The win completed a perfect season at 20-0.

Class D Softball
Penobscot Valley 4, Richmond 2: Jenna Hope’s two-run single in the third inning capped a three-run rally to lead the Howlers to their first state championship. Winning pitcher Kayla Dube allowed four hits, including three bunt singles, while striking out 14. Penobscot Valley finished at 19-1, while Richmond, playing in its third straight state title game, finished at 16-2.

LACROSSE
Class A Boys
Scarborough 9, Cheverus 4: Ryan Pallotta scored five goals as the Red Storm rolled to its third straight state championship. Scarborough finished at 14-1.

Class B Boys
Falmouth 7, North Yarmouth 4: Charlie Fay scored three goals to lead the yachtsmen to their second straight state championship. It was Falmouth’s third win this season against North Yarmouth and also the second straight time the Yachtsmen have beaten the Panthers in the state final.

Class A Girls
Scarborough 11, Brunswick 9: Mary Scott scored four goals to lead the Red Storm to their third consecutive state championship. Scarborough (15-1) also defeated Brunswick (14-2) in last year’s state final by a score of 13-11.

Waynflete 16, Freeport 5: Martha Veroneau had four goals and five assists to lead the Flyers, who were playing in their fourth straight championship game. Sadie Cole added five goals and Walker Foehl scored four for Waynflete (14-1) which rallied for wins against Falmouth and Cape Elizabeth in the regional tournament.

New England Roundup: Maine

February, 10, 2012
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That Travis and Karen Magnusson would become high school basketball coaches, given their backgrounds as point guards and students of the game, seemed inevitable. So does the success that the husband and wife coaches are having this season at their respective schools.

MaineTravis, who coaches the Dirigo High School boys team, came within a whisker of a perfect season before falling to Spruce Mountain, 39-34 Wednesday night. Still, his Cougars finished the regular season at 17-1 and enter the upcoming Western Maine Class C tournament as the top seed. Karen, who coaches the Cony High School girls team, finished at 18-0 Thursday and her Rams will enter the Eastern Maine Class A tournament as the top-seeded team.

There wasn’t much talk between Karen and Travis about going unbeaten this season — both recognize winning a state title as a larger goal — but it’s still hard to avoid.

“Honestly we try not to do it,” Karen said. “But it’s something that comes up with other people.”

The couple rarely get to see one another’s teams play since they usually play on the same night. Fans at both schools, however, recognize what’s going on.

[+] EnlargeWedding
Courtesy of Karen Magnusson Travis and Karen Magnusson are having success coaching high school hoops in Maine.


“It’s almost like we share our programs with each other,” Karen said. “His fans ask how I’m doing and my fans ask how Trav’s doing.”

The Magnussons are both basketball junkies, a passion that began long before they met at the University of Maine at Farmington a few years ago. Karen Sirois starred at Cony in Augusta while Travis played for Georges Valley in Thomaston. Both played point guard at UMF and each of them totaled over 1,000 points and 500 assists in their careers.

Farmington women’s coach Jamie Beaudoin and men’s coach Dick Meader saw coaches in the two long before their playing careers ended.

"I knew from the first moment I watched her play that she was going to be a coach," Beaudoin said. "She was able to see things on the floor that many times an experienced coach wouldn't pick up on. She's just a student of the game."

Meader echoed those thoughts about Travis, who served as a varsity assistant at UMF the year after he graduated. Travis was hired as boys coach at Livermore Falls a year before Karen go the job at Cony so she helped him out and gave him an unbiased look at the players and the team.

"There was nobody I listened to more, especially with my team that first year," Travis said.

Travis turned the Livermore program around, reaching a tournament prelim game his first year in 2009 and the tournament itself the next two. He lost his job when Livermore and Jay high schools combined this year to form Spruce Mountain, but when the Dirigo job opened up he applied. The Cougars reached the state final last year and return many of those players.

The Magnussons talk basketball most of the time, often while breaking down film at home another or swapping drills.

"I get some of my plays and sets from him," Karen said. "I know his personnel, we definitely help each other out. Sometimes we sit up until 11:30 or 12 talking about it. We watch game film together. It's like having an assistant coach at home."

They also share a similar philosophy, borne from the way they played the game.

"We both like to run and gun, play pressure defense and give our players freedom to take shots." Travis said. "As I've gotten older I've realized the importance of quality shots."

The Magnussons are competitive by nature and haven’t played a serious game of 1 on since Travis came away with a bloody nose when the got together on the court in college.

"He's competitive and I'm competitive so we never really have the fun 1-on-1," Karen said.

Well, they did have a little fun on the court on the day they were married, playing a friendly game, she in her wedding dress and he in his tuxedo.

They’ll get a chance to watch the other’s team play in about 10 days when their teams will be favored to win regional championships at the Augusta Civic Center.

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Maine

January, 12, 2012
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Paul Vachon established himself as one of the top basketball coaches in Maine, winning seven girls Class A state championships in 23 years at Cony High School in Augusta. Prior to that he coached at Waterville and Messalonskee and won over 400 games in his career at Cony alone. He stepped down five years ago to take the athletic director’s position at Cony and recently answered a few questions about his job.

Q: You were a basketball coach for nearly 30 years. What misconceptions did you have about an athletic director’s job during that time?

MaineA: "I didn't realize all the time and responsibility that came with this position. Being in charge of 23 varsity sports, 25 sub-varsity, 55 coaches, supervising events, and attending meetings, certainly puts a lot on your plate. I had tunnel vision when I was coaching. Basketball was all I saw. Wow, was I ever wrong."

Q: How many hours do you work during an average week during the school year? And what are those hours devoted to?

A: "I average between 50-70 hours a week. Bus scheduling, referee assignments, daily updates on events, committee meetings, cancellations, MPA information updates and paperwork, parent concerns, player concerns, student eligibility, drug and alcohol concerns, field and game preparations, special events, booster meetings, evaluations, and making sure there is enough pizza for tonight's game — just to name a few."

Q: What is the most important aspect of your job?

A: "The most important aspect of my job is to be a good listener. I may not agree with everything, but I must understand that everyone has their own opinion. I must listen, research, and evaluate all dilemmas. I then must come up with a solution that hopefully everyone will understand and agree upon."

Q: Augusta has a number of centrally located and well developed facilities which make it an attractive site for regional and state championship events. How much of an extra burden is this on your job?

A: "I don't know if I would call it a burden. This is what I envisioned the AD position would be like. I love watching athletics and I would do anything to promote events for our school and community. Yes, we are centrally located, but our administration, community and city have built some nice facilities that many people want to use. I feel it is one of my responsibilities that I help promote these outstanding facilities."

Q: How have athletes changed since you began coaching?

A: "School teams were always our No. 1 priority. I'm not sure that this is truly the case anymore. I've seen athletes miss practices and even games to attend other sporting events. Year round practices and games for elite groups are now being offered for all sports. Many athletes and parents have already chosen their career sport by middle school. Instead of developing athletes, it seems that we are focusing on a specific area and hoping for scholarships. The best teams I ever coached was when I had three sport athletes on our teams."

Q: What is the most difficult part of your job?

A: "The most difficult part of my job is my inability to have the time to spend with the student athlete. They need to know that we care about them and more than just being an athlete. It is a difficult world out there. Expectations for our student/ athletes is as pressurized as ever. We must remember that this is high school. Our job is to make sure that they feel good about who they are and that athletics is only one part of their high school education. We are teachers first and coaches second. Technology has made it very difficult to focus on certain areas."

Q: What is the most rewarding part of you job?

A: "The most rewarding part of my job is our support system. Our administration and school board have a great understanding that athletics play a huge role in a student's high school education. You must understand that Cony offers as many sports as any school in this state."

Q: Do you miss coaching and do you think you’ll ever return?

A: "I do miss coaching. I still run camps and attend clinics. I am positive that I will be coaching again."

Q: Is the turnover of coaches greater today than is was 15 or 20 years ago? If so, why?

A: "The turnover is much greater. I think if you check the coaches who have longevity, I think that you will find out that they are involved in the school system as an employee. Mike McGee, Dianne Fornier, Al Veneziano, Paula Doughty, Moe McNally, Scott Graffam, Mt. Blue football coach etc."

Q: Being a teacher in the system gives you a greater understanding of the student athlete and vice versa. How do you walk the fine line between parental involvement and parental interference in high school athletics?

A: "We need parent volunteers. Our All Sports Boosters raise a huge part of our athletic budget and it is all because of their great dedication and love that our parents have for their children. Cony High School is very fortunate to have such caring parents. With that said, I must admit that we do have dilemmas with parents voicing their personal opinions. I must also admit that I have been on both sides of the fence. I must again go back to my original statement; I must become a great listener. I hope what I have learned as a parent, teacher, coach, and administrator has provided me with the wisdom that I can share that provides comfort for the parent's concern."

Q: Cony continues to offer a number of sports that many schools do not. With a declining enrollment and budget considerations, how long can this be sustained?

A: "The athletic budget is less than two percent of the entire school budget. I am in hopes that the school board and community believe that athletics plays at least two percent of a role in a high school student's education."

Q: What changes, if any, would you like to see in high school athletics in Maine?

A: "I would like to see students receive credits for playing sports. A lot of lessons are learned in participating in athletics. We give chorus credit and band credit. Why not athletics?"

Q: Is today’s high school athlete as dedicated to their sport as he or she was 20 or 30 years ago?

A: "I believe that athletes are as dedicated today as they were 20-30 years ago. We just don't have as many. Kids have many more distractions today than they had 20 years ago."

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Maine

January, 2, 2012
1/02/12
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Three players who have won state championships were recently selected as finalists for the Fitzpatrick Trophy, awarded annually to the top high school football player in the state.

MaineSpencer Cooke of Cheverus, Louis DiTomasso of Wells and Jordan Hersom of Leavitt were the leading vote-getters among the 12 semifinalists who were nominated last month. The winners will be awarded the trophy Jan. 15 at a banquet at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland.

Cooke is the second straight Cheverus player to be a finalist. Last year, quarterback Peter Gwilym won the Fitzpatrick Trophy after leading
the Stags to their first Class A state championship in 25 years. Cooke played a big part in the state final, scoring four touchdowns.

A running back/defensive back, Cooke rushed for 1,117 yards and scored 19 touchdowns this year. In the eighth game of the regular season
against Deering he broke a bone in his lower leg that kept him from the regional playoffs.

He made a brief appearance in this year’s state title game, which the Stags won going away, 49-7.

DiTomasso, a fullback/linebacker, led Wells to the Class B state championship in which the Warriors stopped Leavitt and Hersom, 21-13. He rushed for 116 yards in that game, finishing with 1,350 yards and 19 touchdowns for the season. He also recorded 133 tackles on defense.

Hersom was a four-year starter for the Hornets, moving to quarterback his junior year. He started both ways when the Hornets won the Class B state title his sophomore year and led them to state title appearances the last two seasons. Over that span, he’s 22-2. The quarterback/safety rushed for 10 touchdowns and competed 72 percent of his passes for an additional 16 touchdowns. Also had 56 tackles and two interceptions. Hersom’s cousin Jack Hersom won the Fitzpatrick Trophy as a quarterback for Lawrence High School in 2007.

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Maine

November, 10, 2011
11/10/11
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Madison Memorial High School senior Matt McClintock recently won his third Class C cross country title while posting the fastest time in the state in any class. McClintock also won the mid-season Festival of Champions which featured over 600 runners from 60 schools in and out of state. Last spring, he won the 1,600 and 3,200 meter runs at the state track and field meet. He’s competing this weekend in the New England meet in North Scituate, R.I. He recently answered questions about his season and running career.

Q: How did you get started running?

MaineA: "I started running in 5th grade on the Madison Junior High XC team. I went to Athens Elementary so what would happen is Athens would practice on it's own and then we would just join the Madison team at meets. Fifth grade was the first year that I could compete in any "real" school sports, and I don't really know what drew me to it, but I decided to try it, and I guess my first race went well. I finished 13th. All my coaches were really happy with it and I guess I've been running ever since."

Q: Who have been your greatest influences?

A: "First and foremost would definitely be my coaches. Mrs. Moulton and Mr. Harper in junior high and Bob and Brandon Hagopian in high school. The person that really inspired me and drove me to get better was definitely coach Bob Hagopian. He's been with me since freshman year, through my wins and losses, and has always found a way to make me better."

Q: At what point did you feel you made a breakthrough in your high school career?

[+] EnlargeMatt McClintock
Gary Matt McClintock
A: "Without a doubt it was after I lost the conference championship last year. I got to cocky and that race showed me that I wasn't invincible, that I wasn’t going to win just because my name was Matt McClintock, but because I wanted it more than the guy in front, beside, or behind me. That race made me love running, because I then had something to prove and something to work for. It re-instilled that love for competition in me. I will remember that race for the rest of my life, and I'm definitely a better runner because of it."

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievements in track and cross country?

A: "Wow, I guess in cross country it would be my three state championships. Since fifth grade my dream was to win a state championship in high school. To have three cross country titles and two titles on the track is just unbelievable to me. In track, my greatest achievement was definitely breaking the Madison High School records for 1,600 and 3,200 meters, probably more so the 3,200 because I was the first Madison kid in history to go under 10 minutes in that event."

Q: Which sport do you prefer?

A: "It really depends on the season. During cross country my favorite sport is cross country. During track it's track. I just love to run and race whether it's on the road, a track, or a trail."

Q: What goals did you set this season and did you reach them?

A: "My first goal for the season was to go undefeated in Maine and three-peat the Class C State Championship. I'm proud to say I met this goal. My next goal was to go under 15 minutes for the 5k I haven't met this goal yet as we've never really had a good day for a championship race, but Saturday at the New England Championships looks to be a good day, and it's a very fast course so we'll see what I can do there.

Q: What is your goal for this week’s New England meet?

A: "My goal here is to win the title, and to go under 15 minutes for the 5K. As I said, before, it's a fast course, and there will be some incredibly strong competition to push me there."

Q: You won several races handily this season. Is it tough competing when you’re not pushed?

A: "I guess that would depend on your definition of competing. A lot of people look at competing as winning. I prefer to look at it in the manner of Steve Prefontaine. If I’m going to win, I want to know that I've done my best. So yes, it's difficult to push myself to fast times, but I always just try to stay focused and not worry about the pain or where my competition is and just get to the finish line as fast as possible."

Q: What do you enjoy most about running?

A: "I love the people that we meet. The type of people you meet at cross country or track events is totally different then you will see in any other sport. At the state meet, I was getting encouraged to reach my sub 16 goal by the coaches and family and teammates of people that I was directly competing against. I'm confident to say that you will not find nicer and more supportive fans at any other high school sports competition."

Q: Do you have any running role models?

A: "I have several running idols, the most prominent would be Steve Prefontaine. I try to live up to the guts and determination that he always showed as a runner. His quote “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift" are the words I live by. Another two are Haile Gebrselassie, and Kenenisa Bekele. Both are Ethiopian runners. Gebrselassie is a two-time gold medalist and world record holder. Bekele is the two-time defending Olympic 10,000 meter champion and holds World Records now."

Q: Where will you attend college and why did you choose that particular school?

A: "I will be running for Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania next year. I felt very comfortable around the campus and really connected well with Coach Aaron Russell and the entire team at Lock Haven."

Q: What other sports or activities do you enjoy?

A: "I enjoy all sports, but running is my one and only true passion."

Q: What is your training regimen in and out of the season?

A: "Sorry, but I don't like to discuss what my training is, at least not until after the outdoor track season."

Q: Where do you need to improve?

A: "I definitely need to improve on my kicking speed. In order to really be competitive in college I need to be able to win a race in the last 200 Meters if necessary. I feel that as my speed continues to develop in conjunction with my continued endurance training all of my events will improve drastically."

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Maine

October, 26, 2011
10/26/11
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Madison Memorial High School senior Seth Sweet has established himself as the top high school golfer in the state.

MaineSweet recently won his second straight Class C state individudal title, shooting a 2-under par 70, the lowest in any class. Last summer he was one of two Maine golfers to qualify for the U.S. Junior Amateur. He also finished fourth in the Maine Amateur last year and, when he was 12, he was the youngest qualifier ever for that tournament. He recently answered questions about himself and the game he loves.

Q: How did you get started in golf?

A: "My dad introduced me into the game when I was 2 years old. He brought me out to a little par three course with a plastic set of Little Tikes golf clubs. I didn’t play that often but he brought me to the golf course just enough so I could really get a liking for this game. After a while I knew there was something about this game that was special and I knew it would be able to take me places."

Q: When did you first get hooked on the game?

SWEET
SWEET
A: "I first became serious around the age of 10. I played my first tournament when I was 7 but did not realize what it took to really become an elite golfer. I started playing several tournaments when I turned 10, and began to practice a lot harder. I tried to take my game to the next level and set different levels of goals that I needed to achieve."

Q: Who have been your greatest influences in the game?

A: "My dad has definitely been the biggest influence in my game. He taught me everything I needed to know to become who I am today. He made it so I could play in every tournament I wanted to play in, and would do everything for me. My mother has also been there supporting me and always telling me that if I want it I can get it. She is always there to watch me play tournaments, and I couldn’t do it without them. My brother Zack also has been there to push me as he is a good golfer and always taught me how to act, as well as made me the best I could ever be. My swing coach has also been able to bring me to the tip top in my game and has taught me how to play this game like the pros.

Q: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment to date?

A: "I believe my greatest accomplishment has been making the U.S. Junior Amateur in Bremerton, Washington where I played two great days to make a playoff to make the cut for match play. Unfortunately, I missed the playoff, but was the proudest to place 55th best junior in the nation. I may not have met my goal, but was very pleased with how I played."

Q: How often do you play and practice?

A: "I play every day and practice every day. In order to be the best you have to have the club in your hand acting like it is your lifeline."

Q: What do you work on?

A: "Lately I work on the short game because I am able to hit the ball on the green, but where I am going to save strokes is making the putts for birdies. I will also work on hitting the ball in different shapes, I usually hit a draw but I understand that I need to be able to hit the cut to be one of the best as well. I believe that short game is where the pros make it look easy and win the tournaments."

Q: Where will you attend school next year?

A: "I have recently just verbally committed to Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia."

Q: How did this come about?

A: "I had a friend from Rhode Island who is a freshman there and had told the coach about me. He must have put in a good word for me because the next week I got a call from the coach and it eventually led to an official visit offer. I visited the campus and fell in love with it and
fell in love with the golf facilities this school has to offer."

Q: What are your short and long-term goals in the game?

A: "My short term goal for golf is to really become a better player and win my state amateur, and qualify for the U.S. Junior Amateur again. My long term goals are to become a golf professional and play on the PGA tour, I do realize this will be a tough task but I am ready to make a run for it. I also want to be in a scoring spot all four years in college and be a key asset in our successful team.

Q: What are your strengths and weaknesses?

A: "My strengths are definitely being able to drive the ball, chip the ball and putt the ball. I hit the ball about 290 yards down the middle and my short game has grown incredibly and improved greatly. I also am able to keep a great state of mind while playing golf which is to my advantage. I believe my weakness is paying too much attention to other people, I shouldn’t watch my competitors, but I do and get caught up in their game a little too much."

Q: Who is your favorite pro golfer and why?

A: "My favorite player used to be Tiger Woods because I idolized his work ethic, he won his tournaments by out-working his competitors and there was no question that he did every week. I also loved watching how he worked on the golf course he made himself expect the best of the competitors so he would not be surprised when they hit a good shot. My new favorite player is Bubba Watson, I enjoy how he hits the ball so long and is changing the game with his stride in great length. I also like how he has fun while he is playing and is very personable while he is playing. It is truly an awesome thing for him to be able to enjoy the game the way he does."

Q: What other activities or sports do you enjoy?

A: "I enjoy playing basketball with a passion; it is a very fun game for me and keeps me in shape during my long winter up in Maine. I enjoy running, and weight lifting as it keeps me in shape and I enjoy doing that every day."

Q: What are your plans for the summer before college?

A: "I plan on playing in 5-10 golf tournaments and practice my short game and the little details golf demands you to do. I am going to play in the big tournaments in the state and going to qualify for some USGA events. I just want to keep my competitive edge and make my game in fine tune for the fall college season."

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Maine

October, 11, 2011
10/11/11
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Paula Doughty is in her 31st year as field hockey coach at Skowhegan Area High School. She’s posted a career record of 414 wins, 80 losses and 17 ties and her teams have captured 12 Class A state championships, including last year’s. Prior to losing in the state final in 2009, the Indians had reeled off eight state titles in a row.

MaineDoughty was named National Field Hockey High School Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2008 and more than 80 of her players have gone on to play in college. One of her players has been a first-team national All-American while two have made second team All-American and 22 have been regional All Americans.

Q: How did you get into coaching?

A: "I was in college from ‘70-74 and I officiated. I graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington and student taught in Skowhegan. In August they called me and said there was a job opening and they also needed a field hockey coach. I played in high school and I officiated so I had quite a lot of experience and I knew the game."

Q: What attracts you to the sport?

A: "It’s evolved into a really fast, fabulous sport. It’s just become better and better. First we lost the offsides, advancing became incidental and the obstruction rule is lenient today. In field hockey it takes years to develop the stickwork to be able to play. I also like it, and this sounds sexist, because it’s a women’s sport in the United States."

Q: When did Skowhegan turn the corner?

A: "Probably in the late ‘80’s. We were really good in the ‘70s, then soccer came in. I was really hurting for athletes. All the athletes went to soccer but then it balanced out."

Q: How has the program stayed so strong?

A: "I work very hard. I have three of our four coaches who have worked with me forever. I would say a shared coaching philosophy and consistency. We do the same thing K through 12 and I work with everybody K to 12."

Q: How big is the youth program?

A: "It’s growing, but it’s growing statewide, it’s not just us. Today we had a tournament for fourth, fifth and sixth graders and there were 12 teams here and every town brought 30 kids. One thing about field hockey in Maine, there’s a lot of opportunities and we can compete. It’s hard for Maine kids to compete in a lot of things but in field hockey we’re doing really well. A lot of kids feel entitled but Maine kids aren’t like that. They work really hard."

Q: How many of your players have played in college?

A: "We’ve had about 80 kids play in college. My first player was Kim Jewell Bodwell in ‘78 and she played at the University of Maine. Our first Division I player was Wendy Obert in 1989 and she played at Northeastern. Right now, we have nine (playing in college) and we have three seniors who are going D-1 next year."

Q: How has the game changed?

A: "It’s changed in every way. It’s faster, it’s more skilled. The amount of penalties are nothing what they used to be. You’ve got to be very, very skilled. It’s fun to watch. Today the game is a turf game. We play on turf as much as we can. It’s no longer a grass game. We practice in the gym a lot. Our field is as close to turf as you can get, but it’s still grass."

Q: How is this year’s team?

A: "It’s a great team. The last 14 years have been great teams. The kids I have now are much more versatile. Even five or 10 years ago, they were one-dimensional ... Most of my kids I can put in any position. Messalonskee is very good. They’re going to be our biggest competition in the state. It’s too bad we’re both in Eastern Maine. But in sports you can’t take anybody for granted."

Q: How long do you want to coach?

A: "I’ll coach as long as I think I can. I’ll retire from teaching in a while but I’ll keep coaching. I’m smart enough to know if I’m not as good as I was."

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Maine

October, 5, 2011
10/05/11
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Dave Halligan has coached soccer for 33 years, the last 25 at Falmouth High School where he has won nine state championships. This winter he’ll begin his 25th season as head basketball coach with the Yachtsmen, having won four state titles.

MaineDozens of his former players have gone on to succeed in college soccer, including Roger Levesque, who was named Pac-10 Player of the Year at Stanford and currently plays for the Major League Soccer Seattle Sounders.

Halligan recently answered questions about his soccer program for a Q-and-A:

Q: What makes Falmouth soccer so successful?

A: "We have a good program and we have a lot of good people running it, right from Saturday morning soccer to travel teams to guys that work in premier programs."

Q: How involved are you outside the high school team?

A: "When my kids went through I was involved in everything. I started youth, travel, premier and instructional programs. The first year we had 38 kids in the program. Now we have over 600. I think the key is numbers playing. (At the high school) we have 62 boys and 42-plus girls playing."

Q: How did you get into coaching?

A: "I played soccer in college but I went to school to be a basketball coach. I coached JV soccer at Greely for a couple of years then I went
to Cape Elizabeth and worked with Leroy Rand. After that I came to Falmouth. Back then there were no state championships, just a few teams
playing in (the) Triple C (Conference).

Q: How does Maine high school soccer stack up against other states?

A: "We have some excellent programs and players. The state is so spread out, but we have some kids playing pretty well. We have a lot of kids playing at the NESCAC schools. That’s pretty good soccer. Just because you’re from Maine it doesn’t mean you can’t aspire to the highest levels. If they want to play hard and work hard they can accomplish a lot."

Q: What do you do in the offseason?

A: "What’s an offseason? The offseason is the two weekends I spend with my wife."

Q: What’s the biggest difference between coaching soccer and basketball?

A: "Basketball is more like chess where you can adjust every time down the floor. Soccer is more like checkers. Once the game starts there’s not a lot you can do."

Q: How have premier teams changed the game?

A: "I think it’s broken down some of the (high school) rivalries. They’re friendly rivalries now but I think they play harder. They don’t want to
lose to their buddies."

Q: Why do players need high school soccer?

A: "Because of some of the other values we try to teach. The goals in high school are a lot different than in premier. In high school, 90 percent of the players aren’t going to go on. Last year when we didn’t win (the state title) the kids said what they liked most was going to practice."

Q: How is this season playing out?

A: "We lost 2-1 to Yarmouth and beat Cape, 2-1. Cape beat Yarmouth 2-1 so it’s pretty even. We lost a lot of kids from last year’s team. We’re
basically a young team but we have high expectations. We’re probably doing better than we hoped for. .I’ve been real pleased with my kids."

Q: Do you employ a specific style at Falmouth?

A: "Obviously we like to control the ball. We like to play with speed and skill. We don’t want to slug it out with you. We want to be more skilled
if we can. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t."

Q: How long do you anticipate coaching?

A: "As long as I’m having fun, as long as I enjoy practice and enjoy the kids. I still do."

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Maine

September, 14, 2011
9/14/11
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The first two weeks of the Maine high school football season produced a number of surprises.

MaineHere’s a rundown of some of the highlights in each of the three classes:

Class A
Cheverus keeps rolling along despite the loss of several players from last year’s state championship team. Senior Cam Olson stepped in at quarterback after playing behind Fitzpatrick Trophy winner Peter Gwilym for two years and last week threw three touchdown passes. Spencer Cooke, who scored four TDs in the state game last fall, has emerged as one of the state’s top running backs. The Stags are 2-0 and have outscored opponents 94-21.

Lawrence keeps rolling along in Class A’s Pine Tree Conference. The Bulldogs traveled to Bangor and knocked off the Rams 32-25 last Saturday night to go to 2-0. Shaun Carroll led the way with 224 rushing yards and four touchdowns, Lawrence has won its last 11 regular season games, dating back to a 2009 loss to Bangor. Prior to that, the Bulldogs had won 36 regular season games in a row. They are 8-1 against Bangor since 2005.

Many high school handicappers picked Bonny Eagle and Windham among the teams to beat in North Division of the Southern Maine Activities Association (SMAA), but both teams are winless after two weeks. Windham fell 28-20 to a strong Deering team last week while Bonny Eagle fell, 31-28, to upstart Massabesic. Lewiston, one of the PTC favorites, dropped to 1-1, losing 48-27 to Messalonskee, another team that has emerged as a contender. Along with Massabesic, Sanford is the surprise of the SMAA South. Last week, the Redskins knocked off a good Scarborough team 23-12 for one of its biggest wins in years.

Class B
This class is the most competitive in the state at least at the top where four teams in each of the two divisions are unbeaten. Included in those ranks are the two teams who met in the state final last fall, Mountain Valley and Leavitt. Mountain Valley has outscored opponents 81-23 so far while Leavitt, led by quarterback and linebacker Jordan Hersom, holds an 83-12 advantage over opponents.

Mt. Blue may be the most dangerous contender in the class. The Cougars dropped down from several years in Class A this season and in two games have outscored the opposition 87-6. Falmouth, Wells and Fryeburg are also 2-0 as are Waterville and Gardiner. The latter two teams meet Friday night in Gardiner. Waterville must find a way to stop running back Alonzo Connor who is looking to eclipse his total of 31 touchdowns form last year. In two games so far, Connor has scored 10 touchdowns.

Falmouth, which has outscored opponents 98-7 plays this week against Marshwood.

Class C
Foxcroft Academy and Yarmouth are the talk of Class C so far. They play in different divisions and don’t meet in the regular season, but could well square off for a state championship in November. Yarmouth is the defending state champ and so far the Clippers have scored 92 points and allowed seven. Foxcroft has been equally impressive outscoring opponents 108-8. There are contenders in each division. Bucksport, Orono and John Bapst are all 2-0 in the Little Ten Conference headed by Foxcroft while Freeport and Lisbon are unbeaten the Campbell Conference South along with Yarmouth.

Maranacook and Winslow are 2-0 in the Campbell’s North division and play this week in Winslow. The Black Raiders dropped down to Class C this season and are cruising so far, but they’ll face a big test in Maranacook and 6-foot-4, 210-pound running back Luke Emery.

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Maine

June, 2, 2011
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Waterville High School track and field coach Ian Wilson deflects credit when it comes to the championships his teams have enjoyed during both the indoor and outdoor seasons. But he’s been the driving force behind the Purple Panthers’ success since taking over in the late 1990s.

MaineThe Waterville girls are a solid favorite at this weekend’s Class B state championships at Cony High School in Augusta. A win would give the team its fourth straight state championship. Under Wilson, the Waterville girls won a state Class A championship in 2002 as well as indoor titles 2000-02 and 2011.

[+] EnlargeIan Wilson
Gary HawkinsWaterville High School track and field coach Ian Wilson.
“The girls look to be in a strong position,” Wilson said. “The guys have a good chance [although] I would say Falmouth in probably the favorite.”

Wilson has built the program through hard work and enthusiasm for his sport. Since he began, Waterville’s enrollment has dropped from 850 students to about 600 and the team dropped to Class B in 2006 in outdoor track after petitioning up to Class A for several years.

“We were so far below the cutoff [for Class A],” Wilson explained.

The number of participants remains high, however, particularly at the junior high level where there are between 70 and 90 kids out for track.

“I really try to beat the bushes and try to encourage kids to give it a shot,” Wilson said. “Once they see the benefits, they’ll stick it out. If they start to experience success, you get them back for another year.”

Wilson said he had no master plan when he started, but he did build gradually, first focusing on winning regular season meets, followed by conference championships.

“Then you can focus on state championships,” he said.

These days, state championships are the goal, although the Panthers haven’t lost a regular season meet in some time. Wilson has no problem resting his athletes for the big meets, however.

“Once kids have faith in the program, you can rest,” he said.

Once Wilson gets the athletes, he and his staff knows how to train and motivate them. In a place deep inside the school known as “The Cage,” Wilson often has his athletes lay on a cement floor and pretend they’re at the beach while visualizing their events and their performance.

Skepticism soon turned into enthusiasm once they saw the results.

“Track is a sport you don’t have to work at from age 5,” Wilson said. “It’s a combination of personality and physical skills.”

Certain personality traits favor particular events Wilson said.

“If you want to find distance runners go into the AP classes and get the skinny kid,” he said. (They) tend to be cerebral kids.”

Wilson, who also coached the girls soccer team to State Class A title in 2009, borrows kids from other sports for his track team. All of the throwers on the boys team come from the football team, he said, while sprinters and hurdlers often have soccer and basketball backgrounds.

Wilson and one of his assistants work with the sprints, jumps and throws while another works with distance runners and another with throwers.

“That really seems to work well,” he said. “Sometimes too many cooks spoil the stew.”

Although all events are covered evenly, Waterville has always produced excellent results in the hurdles, an event where improved technique can earn valuable tenths and hundredths of seconds. Wilson is continually trying to improve himself as a coach, too, attending clinics and seminars each summer

“The best thing I ever did was get involved in the USATF coaching courses,” he said. “I began going and realized I knew very little. Those people are incredible. They’ll share anything with you.”

Waterville success in track and field hasn’t precluded championships in other sports. The baseball team won a state title last spring and is favored to repeat this year and the girls basketball team won three state titles while the indoor track teams continued to thrive.

BASEBALL WRAPUP
The regular season ended this week with conference titles scheduled for the weekend and tournament play to begin next week.

In Class A, Cheverus is the top-seeded team in the West, thanks to Tuesday’s 6-2 win against Westbrook. Both teams are 14-2. In the East, Lewiston, at 15-1, is seeded No. 1. Foxcroft Academy (15-0), which competes in Class C East, was the only baseball team inthe state to finish the regualr seaosn unbeaten.

Top 10
1. Cheverus
2. Westbrook
3. Lewiston
4. Deering
5. Bangor
6. Scarborough
7. Waterville
8. Cape Elizabeth
9. Greely
10. St. Dominic

BATTLE OF THE UNBEATENS
Four teams finished the regular season unbeaten including defending Class A champion South Portland and defending Class D champ Richmond. Georges Valley, in Class C West, and Fryeburg, in Class B, also went undefeated.

Top 10
1. South Portland
2. Scarborough
3. Fryeburg
4. Brewer
5. Messalonskee
6. Thornton
7. Cony
8. McAuley
9. Medomak
10. Yarmouth

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