Athletes of the Year: Cheverus Stags

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PETER GWILYM, Junior-Football

A thrower who’s just as happy running the ball and delivering punishing hits helped the Cheverus football team enjoy its finest season in two decades this fall.

Peter Gwilym, in just his second season at quarterback, found himself in the middle of exciting victory after victory, made key plays on both sides of the ball, saved his best for the biggest games and displayed leadership well beyond his years.

In light of his accomplishments as a player and leader, The Forecaster is naming Peter Gwilym as Cheverus’ 2009 Fall Male Athlete of the Year.

Gwilym grew up in Freeport and started playing football in the sixth grade. He was a receiver at Cheverus as a freshman, then replaced Vinnie Ciampi at quarterback in 2008. This fall, equally adept running the ball, throwing it, or handing off to the Stags’ many threats, Gwilym (and his teammates) had many thrills.

The biggest in the regular season came in Week 2, a 27-13 home win over preseason favorite Windham. In that game, Gwilym threw for three scores. A week later, in a 21-0 home victory over South Portland, Gwilym threw for another. He ran and threw for a TD in a 30-7 home win over Kennebunk, threw for a score in a victory over Westbrook, ran for one in an overtime loss at Bonny Eagle and scored the clinching TD in a regular season-ending win over Deering.

The fun continued in the playoffs.

In a 21-0 victory over Biddeford in the Western A quarterfinals, Gwilym scored the game’s first TD. The next week, at top-ranked, undefeated and heavily favored Thornton Academy, Gwilym inadvertently changed the course of the game on his team’s second offensive series, barreling into Golden Trojans senior standout Steve Trask and knocking him out of the game with a concussion. Cheverus went on to a shockingly easy 36-7 win as Gwilym had 69 yards rushing, threw for a TD and clinched the victory with an interception return for a score. Then, in the slop at Windham in the regional final, Gwilym gave his team an early lead with a first quarter TD run, but the Eagles rallied and ended Cheverus’ season with a 7-6 decision.

Gwilym is also a fixture on the always-dangerous Stags basketball team in the winter. He is considering running track or playing baseball this spring.

Next autumn, he’ll return to the gridiron hoping to finish the job. Based on his accomplishments to date, Peter Gwilym, Cheverus’ 2009 Fall Male Athlete of the Year, has every reason to feel confident. 

Coach John Wolfgram’s Comment: “Peter is a consummate competitor. He plays smart and hard and understands the game. He helps us in so many ways. Offensively, defensively and on kick teams. He really enjoys football.”

2008 winner: Jack Terwilliger (Cross country)

2007 winner: Galen Munroe (Soccer)

2006 winner: Andrew Pochebit (Football)

2005 winner: Anthony Ardito (Golf)

2004 winner: Max Molleo (Soccer)


EMILY DURGIN, Sophomore-Cross country

* SMAA All-Star, first team

* Regional individual champion

* Foot Locker qualifier

Looking ahead to the 2009 season, the Cheverus girls’ cross country team felt it was championship-worthy, then, a dynamic addition made the Stags simply unbeatable.

Emily Durgin, who turned heads in 2008 as a freshman at Bonny Eagle, came to Cheverus this year and not only dominated individually, but helped her team make history as the school’s first-ever girls’ varsity state champion.

Durgin was superb all year, from the regular season right through the regional and state meets and has gone on to make a mark at the national level. For being so committed to her craft and for being a championship performer, Emily Durgin is The Forecaster’s selection as Cheverus’ 2009 Fall Female Athlete of the Year.

Durgin started running in the fifth grade. He mother competed in New Englands and her father runs as well. She is devoted to the sport for much of the year, running upwards of 40 miles per week, while also doing strength workouts with a physical therapist. As a freshman at Bonny Eagle, Durgin came in second at both the state and New England meets, finishing behind rival Abbey Leonardi of Kennebunk.

After what Durgin called an “easy transition” to Cheverus, she made her mark again this fall. The Stags had no peer this fall in any race and Durgin was more often than not leading the way, leaving the competition far in her wake. She edged Maranacook standout Abby Mace by 2 seconds at the Belfast Festival of Champions, then turned it up another notch for the postseason.

In the Western A regional meet Oct. 31 in Cumberland, Durgin got the better of Leonardi by six seconds to come in first. Leonardi returned the favor at states, holding off Durgin by 13 seconds, but Cheverus was able to take the team title. Then, at New Englands, with Leonardi not present, Durgin came in first with a time of 18 minutes, 35 seconds, which was 7 seconds better than the runner-up. Durgin continued her fairy tale season Saturday by coming in seventh (Leonardi was second) at the Foot Locker Northeast championships in New York state. With that finish, she qualified for the Foot Locker Nationals Dec. 12 in San Diego.

Durgin takes the winter off from running and will swim (sprint freestyle). She runs distance in the spring and will look to add to her burgeoning legend. Best of all, she still has her junior and senior years of high school still to look forward to.

That means will likely see many more triumphant scenes. Emily Durgin, Cheverus’ 2009 Fall Female Athlete of the Year, did it all this season, in style, and led her team to historic heights.

Coach Valerie Guillet’s comment: “Emily has developed a lot of confidence over the season that culminated in her first place at New Englands. She was truly impressive that day and because she knows what it took to come on top on that day, she has further advanced her confidence level. She has very strong work ethics, doesn’t cut corners, sets very clear goals for herself and is focused on achieving the results she wants. My hopes for her this season was that she would learn how to race better and I think she has done a good job at it. She helped us achieve our first state title and that will remain in the archives of the school for ever. We are lucky to have her.”

2008 winner: Bethany Schleh (Field hockey)

2007 winner: Elizabeth Somma (Soccer)

2006 winner: Elise Roux (Soccer)

2005 winner: Meaghan Mingo (Soccer)

2004 winner: Lauren Metevier (Soccer)

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