The middle of a recent school board meeting turned into a gripe session about the Winslow athletic director.
In early March, Travis Lazarczyk of the Morning Sentinel wrote a column about the situation of Johnny Lagasse, a sophomore wrestler at Winslow, who was seeded second in his class but did not compete at the regional or state meets. According to Lazarczyk's column, Lagasse was reported as failing an English class taught by Mark Pelletier, which would have made Lagasse ineligible to compete.
“Johnny emailed his English teacher, Mark Pelletier,” Lazarczyk wrote. “On Friday afternoon, Pelletier double-checked the grade. Pelletier said he found a calculation error that caused not just Lagasse, but the entire class, to receive a failing grade.”
When wrestling coach Kevin Fredette was not notified in time, Lagasse was ineligible for regionals, which made him ineligible for states. Lazarczyk wrote that because the school had an in-service day, Lagasse could not go directly to athletic director Carrie Larrabee to fix the mistake.
“Even so, Larrabee and Pelletier were both at Winslow High School that day,” Lazarczyk wrote. “After hearing from the Lagasse family, Larrabee could have gone to Pelletier's classroom to double check the grade.”
The last year has been tumultuous for Winslow athletics. Last spring, girls basketball coach Tom Nadeau resigned suddenly after compiling a 76-40 record over six seasons.
“Maybe, under different circumstances, I might not have stepped down,” Nadeau told the Sentinel. “Without getting into a lot of detail, I think there comes a time when one knows it's time to move on, and I think that time has come for me.”
Just two weeks later, Winslow softball coach Steve Blood resigned in preseason. Blood had won three state titles over three different coaching stints. In an interview with the Sentinel, Blood cited numerous complaints, including the administration not doing enough to field a junior varsity team that spring. Blood also said the school rarely had buses ready on time for road games, and that he felt compelled to mow the outfield himself three times the previous season.
On the other hand, Larrabee's recent hires have been well-received. She hired Lindsey Welch to replace Nadeau, and Welch was named Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B Coach of the Year. Jared Browne led Winslow to the Eastern B tournament this season, and new softball coach Steve Bodge, who stepped in just before preseason, is a well-liked coach with experience.
This winter, boys’ hockey assistant coach Andrew Cyr was removed from his job for reasons that have not been made public. Cyr's supporter's started an online petition, and the page “Save Mr. Cyr” on Facebook has nearly 800 “likes” (Winslow High School currently has less than 500 students).
A post on the page asked Cyr's supporters to come to a Winslow school board meeting in late March. More than an hour into the meeting, the board members tried to go into executive session to discuss another matter. A few dozen people who had come to support Cyr began yelling that they needed to be heard. When Superintendent Eric Haley and a board member explained that they couldn't discuss Cyr because he wasn't present and hadn't asked for a discussion, the crowd turned on Larrabee, who was at the meeting.
Residents brought up the Johnny Lagasse situation, and Haley apologized for it. As residents criticized Larrabee, saying among other things that the school should investigate whether she is pulling her weight, Haley did not show any signs of agreeing with the residents or defending Larrabee, who was in the audience.
BANGOR'S SANDERSON WINS TRAVIS ROY AWARD
Bangor forward Parker Sanderson won the Travis Roy Award, given annually to the top Class A senior player in the state. Sanderson had 25 goals and 26 assists this season, leading the Rams to the Eastern A final.
Sanderson is the first Bangor player to win the award since it was instituted in 1996. The other finalists were Scarborough's Nick Bagley, Grant Carrier of St. Dominic, and Cam McLain of Cheverus.
The best line of the day came from Carrier, a goalie at St. Dom's. The Lewiston Sun Journal reported that Carrier, in thanking his parents during his speech, said, “For those who don't know, St. Dom's tuition is not chump change, no matter who you are, and a set of new goalie equipment can be equal to the price of a used car.”
DOUBLE DUTY FOR MESSALONSKEE COACH
Tom Sheridan is preparing for another season as the Messalonskee boys' lacrosse coach. That's not unusual – he's in his 19th year. What is unusual is that he's also coaching the University of Maine at Farmington men's lacrosse team, which began its regular season two weeks before Messalonskee's first practice of the spring.
Sheridan is officially UMF's interim coach. He said there was one conflict where he would have had to be at two games at the same time, but that UMF changed that game.
“That's my life,” Sheridan joked to the Morning Sentinel. “I'm a three-season coach. Now I coach four teams.”