Another winter of triumph and drama

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(Ed. Note: The basketball season was recapped in last week’s edition)

Winter isn’t quite a thing of the past, but the winter sports season has come and gone.

The 2014-15 campaign will long be remembered for producing memorable thrills from start to finish.

On the ice, Cheverus’ boys’ hockey team enjoyed its best season in nine years, making it to the regional final for the first time since 2006. Portland/Deering also qualified for the postseason. Both local girls’ teams fell short.

Indoor track produced some head-turning and record-breaking results.

In the pool, Cheverus’ boys won another state title.

There were also performances to hail on the slopes and trails and on the wrestling mat as well.

Before we transition to spring, here’s one last look at the winter that was:

Winter 2014-15 champions

Team state champion
Cheverus Stags boys’ swimming, Class A

Team regional champion
Portland Bulldogs boys’ basketball, Western A

Individual state champions
Indoor track
Hany Ramadan, Deering, Class A boys’ 200
Hany Ramadan, Deering, Class A boys’ 400
Jacob Griffin, Cheverus, Class A boys’ 50 freestyle
Kevin Kane, Cheverus, Class A boys’ 200 individual medley
Ana Neff-Jendrasko, McAuley, Class B girls’ 200 individual medley
Ana Neff-Jendrasko, McAuley, Class B girls’ 100 backstroke

Michael’s top five stories

1) A three-peat for Cheverus

Prior to 2013, Cheverus’ boys’ swim program couldn’t quite get over the hump. Since then, all the Stags do is win championships. Last month, Cheverus won its third title in succession, beating runner-up Brunswick by a whopping 100 points. The Stags got individual wins from Jacob Griffin (50 freestyle) and Kevin Kane (200 individual medley) and also won the 200 freestyle and the 400 freestyle relays. Like all great swim programs, coach Kevin Haley’s team has terrific participation and depth, features which should help Cheverus make a run at a fourth successive championship next winter. Don’t bet against the Stags.

2) Record-setting Ramadan

Deering’s Hany Ramadan didn’t just win a pair of individual Class A state titles this winter, he set a new record in the process. Ramadan won the 200 in 22.7 seconds, holding off rival Jake Dixon of Cheverus. That paled in comparison to what he accomplished in the 400, as his time of 49.78 seconds set a new state record. Ramadan tallied 20 points all be himself, was part of a fifth-place 4×200 relay team and helped the Rams come in third as a team.

3) Stags boys’ hockey returns to greatness

For years, Cheverus’ boys’ hockey team was among the top teams in the state, capped by back-to-back Class A championships in 2005 and 2006. Then, the Stags slipped from prominence for many seasons. Dan Lucas has brought Cheverus back to the upper echelon and this winter, the Stags returned to glory. Cheverus had a strong 11-5-2 regular season, capped by a palpitating 1-0 win over eventual state champion Scarborough. The Stags then easily handled Lake Region/Fryeburg/Oxford Hills in the quarterfinals and avenged last year’s playoff ouster with a five-goal triumph over Noble/Wells in the semifinals. Cheverus then took part in the Western A Final for the first time since 2006, but couldn’t solve the Red Storm, losing, 5-2. The Stags will be back.

4) Lion swims to two titles

Excellence in the pool wasn’t limited to Cheverus this winter. McAuley’s Ana Neff-Jendrasko had quite a season as well and she absolutely dazzled on the biggest stages. At Southwesterns, Neff-Jendrasko won the 200 individual medley and she was only getting warmed up. At the Class B state meet, Neff-Jendrasko won the IM and topped that off by winning the 100 backstroke. The best news for the program is that Neff-Jendrako still has two years to excel in high school. More titles likely await.

5) Strong wrestling performances

Cheverus, Deering and Portland’s wrestlers all turned heads this winter. Each school scored as a team at the state meet and each produced top individuals. Portland’s Greg Cassella got to the final of the championship round at 170 pounds before finally meeting his match. Teammate Josh Hunnewell won the consolation round final at 182 pounds, downing Deering’s Matt Krusiec to do so. Portland’s Jeremiah Israel-Copeland (220) and Cheverus’ Aiden Whitis (132) also made it to the consolation finals.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at Follow him on Twitter:@foresports.

Sidebar Elements

Cheverus’ boys’ swim team celebrated a Southwesterns championship and a third straight Class A state title last month.

Deering’s Hany Ramadan had no peer this winter, setting a new state record in the 400 at the Class A state meet. Cheverus’ Jake Dixon wasn’t far behind.

Cheverus’ boys’ hockey team had a lot to celebrate this winter, as the Stags got to their first Western A Final in nine seasons.

Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.