Cheverus Stags Spring Sports Preview

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Coach: Mac McKew (seventh year, 71-38 overall record, one state championship)

2014 record: 9-9 (Lost, 1-0, in 8 innings, to South Portland in Western A quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Derek Hammond (Senior), Alex Jacobs (Junior), Jensen LaPoint (Junior), Logan McCarthy (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 24 WESTBROOK, May 9 @ South Portland, May 14 TA, May 16 @ Biddeford, May 21 DEERING, May 26 @ Portland, June 3 @ Marshwood

Coach’s comment: “This is easily the youngest and least experienced varsity squad in my seven years. Nevertheless, we have some solid young players who will need to settle into their roles. In order of importance, the holes to fill are the pitching staff behind Alex Jacobs, both middle infield positions and two of the three outfield positions, which should create some great competition for playing time. Based on last year’s performance and what they have for returning players, I’d say that Marshwood, South Portland and Biddeford are the upper echelon, but we know every year there are surprise teams.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: A year ago, Cheverus made it six straight trips to the postseason and this season, despite many question marks, the Stags figure to be a top contender in Western Class A once again.

Jacobs will be the ace. He went 3-2 with a 1.50 earned run average in 2014. Hammond, LaPoint, seniors Matt Gedaro and Alex Libby and sophomore Jack Casale round out what has the potential to be a very good staff. Offensively, LaPoint (who hit a league-leading .500, had 11 runs batted in and was a second-team SMAA all-star last season), McCarthy, the catcher (who hit .383 and made the SMAA all-star second-team in 2014), and sophomore first baseman Jared Brooks (who had a strong summer with the Cheverus Senior Legion team) will set the tone. Hammond helps anchor the offense and will also pitch in relief. LaPoint will see time behind the plate and at third base when not pitching. Jacobs will play on the infield when not on the hill. Seniors Chris Billings (infield/outfield) and Matt Drouin (pitcher/outfield) and junior Matt LaPoint (infield) also have varsity experience. Unproven talent includes senior outfielder Joe Pirone and juniors Jon Bernier (infield), Derek Dumond (junior), Pat Sullivan (infield), Chris Vallee (outfield), Josh Veroneau (infield) and Jack Whaley (pitcher/outfield).

The Stags aren’t viewed as a favorite, but that’s largely because they’re unproven. If this group develops as hoped, can throw strikes and score runs consistently, they’ll improve upon last year’s win-loss mark and be in a better position come playoff time. If you’re looking for a darkhorse which could make a memorable run in June, look no farther than this squad.


Coach: Cynthia Wescott (first year)

2014 record: 14-4 (Lost, 10-3, to Thornton Academy in Western A semifinals)

Top returning players: Josie Bradshaw (Senior), Olivia Mull (Senior), Margaret Rigney (Senior), Casey Simpson (Senior), Sophia Giancotti (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 27 @ McAuley, May 8 BIDDEFORD, May 9 MCAULEY, May 11 @ Portland, May 13 SOUTH PORTLAND, May 20 @ Scarborough, May 22 TA

Coach’s comment: “Hopefully the girls who all had great seasons last year can spark our offense this year and be run producers for our program. We hope to get into the playoffs and make a run for it.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus is coming off the best season in program history, a 14-win campaign which didn’t end until the Western A semifinals. The Stags’ deepest-ever playoff run resulted in ace Brittany Bell being named SMAA Pitcher of the Year and Cheverus’ Spring Female Athlete of the Year and Maureen Curran earning Coach of the Year honors. Both Bell and Curran have departed, but the Stags are looking for another strong season. Cynthia Wescott takes over as coach. She played at Westbrook High School and St. Joseph’s College and was Cheverus’ catching coach last spring. She inherits a squad that has some holes to fill, but shows a lot of promise.

The biggest question mark is on the mound, but freshman Sydney Levesque is primed to replace Bell. The lineup has several key returners and the Stags figure to be solid on defense. Rigney (an honorable mention all-star last season) is back at catcher. Giancotti (second base), Mull (shortstop) and Bradshaw (centerfield) make this group solid up the middle. Bradshaw had 12 runs batted in and scored 13 runs a year ago. Simpson (third base) is also seasoned.

Like last year, Cheverus isn’t a preseason favorite. Like 2014, this team believes it can make some noise as the season progresses. Matching last year’s win total might be difficult, but by June, the Stags will once again be in position to make a run. This program has come a long way and should once again be a force to be reckoned with.


Coach: Bill Bodwell (third year, 23-8 overall record)

2014 record: 10-5 (Lost, 9-8, to Brunswick in Eastern A Final)

Top returning players: James Kane (Senior), Tom Lawson (Senior), Nick Schleh (Senior), Keegan Thomas (Senior), Alex Nason (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 28 SOUTH PORTLAND, May 7 @ Falmouth, May 13 @ Scarborough, May 16 KENNEBUNK, May 22 WESTBROOK, May 27 @ Portland, June 3 TA

Coach’s comment: “It will be a very interesting year. We’ll have highs and lows with our youth. We have a whole new defense and a new goalie. I probably have more freshmen on varsity than any team in the state. We’ll have to work hard on defense. We’ll develop during the season. We have the ability to improve. I hope we can host a playoff game. We have a lot of work to do.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus started 1-2 and 4-4 a year ago, but still managed to get within a goal of a third straight state final. While the Stags lost some key players to graduation, they’re once again primed to be among the best teams in Class A.

Leading the way will be Lawson, a first-team SMAA all-star, SMAA Player of the Year and All-American a year ago. He was Cheverus’ leading scorer and figures to pace the offense again before taking his show to Stevens Technical Institute in New Jersey. Kane and Schleh will be top scoring threats as well and an infusion of freshmen, Finn Cawley, Max Coffin, Mike Hatch and Jesse Pierce, will also be tough to match up against. Nason (a second-team all-star in 2014) will take faceoffs and should allow the Stags to have plenty of possession. Defensively, Thomas is the top returner. He’s joined by sophomores Kieran Conley and George Conzleman and freshman Kevin Ly. Replacing graduated goalie Jamie Biegel will be challenging, but sophomore Sean Walsh and freshman Colby Benway are vying to step into his shoes.

There are a lot of moving pieces, but by June, Cheverus figures to be a top challenger to preseason favorite Brunswick. If Lawson gets consistent support, this offense will be tough to stop. Another deep playoff run is likely and a return to the state game isn’t out of the question.


Coach: Jennifer Wescott (first year)

2014 record: 12-4 (Lost, 9-8, in 5 OTs, to Massabesic in Class A state final)

Top returning players: Madison Aldrich (Senior), Abby Biegel (Senior), Hope Correia (Senior), Laura Holman (Senior), Nicole Pineau (Senior), MaryKate Walsh (Senior), Anne Veroneau (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 28 @ Waynflete, May 5 MESSALONSKEE, May 7 WINDHAM, May 12 @ Portland, May 14 MASSABESIC, May 18 @ TA, May 26 @ Scarborough

Coach’s comment: “I’m excited for the season. We have some big shoes to fill, but we have a lot of great girls back and I’m excited about our freshman class. The core of our defense is back and looks great. We have girls who have known success and what it feels like. They want to keep that feeling. That feeling is contagious. We’re aiming high again. We want to play deep into June.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: If it seems like the 2014 Class A state game just ended, it’s understandable. That marathon will likely remain the longest on record and it’s safe to say the Stags are still lamenting the repeat title that got away. Not only did Cheverus fail to win the state game last year, but following the game, it had to say goodbye to six seniors, including three of most important players in program history, Elyse Caiazzo (now excelling at St. Joseph’s College), Alex Logan (now playing at Bowdoin) and Meredith Willard. Georgia Ford, Sadie Lyons and MaryKate Slattery also departed. That combined with the Stags welcoming their third coach in as many years suggests the team might be in for a difficult year, but don’t despair. For starters, Wescott expresses tremendous enthusiasm and optimism. She played at New England College, coached for a year at Curry College in Massachusetts and served as Mallory Pelkey’s assistant last year and knows full well that the cupboard is far from bare.

This year’s offense returns Biegel and Veroneau. Walsh is recovering from injury and should be back in form by May. Pineau moves from defense to midfield. Juniors Emily Duff and Allie Scott will also be in the mix. Aldrich and Holman anchor the defense, along with juniors Caroline Ray and Colleen Slattery in front of Correia, who has seen no shortage of key spots in her career. The Stags wouldn’t have enjoyed the success of the past two years without Correia’s ability to come up huge in the clutch.

Nothing will come easily this season, but anyone writing Cheverus off will come to regret it. Winning programs perpetuate their success and after falling one goal shy in 2014, these Stags won’t need much motivating. Another memorable campaign is in store.


Coach: Steve Virgilio (fifth year w/boys’ team; third year w/girls’ team, one state championship)

2014 results:

(Boys) Class A state champions
(Girls) 8th @ Class A state meet

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Jake Dixon (Senior), James Hannigan (Senior), Jake Schott (Senior), Gerry Wagner (Senior), Nick White (Senior), Luke Trickey (Junior)
(Girls) Georgia Caso (Senior), Kaitlyn Dostie (Senior), Milena Opielowski (Senior), Emily Grinnell (Junior), Sarah Mount (Junior), Katelyn Gendron (Sophomore), Liz Jerome (Sophomore), Emily Turner (Sophomore)

Top foes: Noble, Scarborough, Thornton Academy boys; Bonny Eagle, Scarborough, Thornton Academy girls

Coach’s comment: “We’re hoping to finish in the top three or four at states, get personal records for every athlete and to have fun and learn.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus will once again be a top program both in the league and in the postseason.

The boys’ squad finally climbed the mountaintop last season, winning its first championship since 1998, which earned Virgilio Coach of the Year honors. The Stags only lost two scorers to graduation, but one was Spring Athlete of the Year Isaac Yeboah, the 110 and 300 hurdles champion, and the other was his twin brother, Elijah, who was second in both events. Top returning scorers include Dixon (the Class A champion in the 400) and White (the discus champion). Joining Dixon in the sprints will be Hannigan (part of a state champion relay team last season), Trickey (a member of a state champion relay in 2014) and Wagner. Senior Quintin Farr and junior Kenny Drelich add depth. Schott will contend in the hurdles and should excel in the jumps (he was third in the high jump last season). Drelich also jumps. White returns as an elite thrower. Senior Zordan Holman, best known for his football and basketball prowess, is doing track for the first time and will also throw. While Cheverus will miss the Yeboahs’ points, there are plenty of points in reserve. This squad will be among the very best throughout the regular season and by the time the big meets roll around, should have enough firepower to make another run at the top spot.

On the girls’ side, Grinnell (sixth in the javelin) and Opielowski (seventh in the long jump) both scored last season. Grinnell will look to move up in the javelin and hopes to score in the discus as well. Opielowski will be a top jumper and sprinter. Caso, Dostie, Mount and Turner all scored in the relays at last year’s state meet. Mount and Turner will be sprinters to watch, along with Gendron and freshman Caroline Ford. Caso and Dostie will look to score in the middle distance. Gendron and Turner will be heard from in the jumps. Mount also competes in the hurdles and jumps. Jerome could make noise in the throws. Freshman Julia Pomerleau is a jumper and thrower to watch. The Stags hope to move up at the big meets and could be a top five team at states if all goes well.


Coach: Wayne St. Peter (11th year)

2014 record: 7-7 (Lost, 5-0, to Deering in Western Class A quarterfinals)

Top returning players: George Budri (Senior), Malcolm Smith (Junior), Matt McCormick (Sophomore), James Nguyen (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: May 6 TA, May 13 @ Portland, May 15 SCARBOROUGH, May 20 @ Deering

Coach’s comment: “The playoffs are our goal once again.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The playoffs have been a regular destination for the Stags since the start of the century. Last year, Cheverus made it 14 straight trips to the postseason and a 15th is quite likely. This spring, the Stags will have Budri and McCormick in the top singles spots. Nguyen and Smith return at doubles. Freshmen Connor Buckley and Avery Caterine will be in the mix for key spots as well. Cheverus’ roster has some nice depth after them and other players will get their opportunity to see varsity time. The Stags should be able to hold their own against most foes and will have the ability to make some noise in the playoffs if things fall into place.


Coach: Jason Barriault (first year)

2014 record: 11-3 (Lost, 3-2, to Thornton Academy in Western Class A quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Kendall Jackson (Junior), Ally Smith (Junior), Natalia Mavor (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: May 6 @ McAuley, May 13 PORTLAND, May 15 @ Scarborough, May 20 DEERING

Coach’s comment: “We’re hoping to make the playoffs this year.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus has a lot of new faces this spring, starting at the top with Barriault. Seven of last year’s 10 varsity players have graduated, but the Stags should once again be a contender in Western A. Jackson, Mavor and Smith all have experience and will look to fill key spots. Senior Hayley Roche and freshman Elianna Budri are new players to watch. This group should hold its own in league play and a sixth straight winning record and playoff berth are likely.

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

Alex Jacobs will be Cheverus’ ace this spring as the Stags hope to be among the best teams in Western Class A.

Chris Billings looks to play a key role for the Stags this season.

Josie Bradshaw is a top offensive threat for a Stags softball team which is coming off the best season in program history.

Sophia Giancotti is steady in the field and at the plate.

Margaret Rigney was an all-star a year ago and is back behind the plate.

James Kane is a key returner for a boys’ lacrosse team looking to make another deep playoff run.

Tom Lawson is a returning All-American and will be one of the state’s elite players this spring.

Abby Biegel scored 21 goals in 2014 and will be one of the Stags’ top scoring threats this season.

Hope Correia returns in goal for one final season.

Nicole Pineau moves from defense to the midfield this spring.

Anne Veroneau scored some key goals a year ago and will help fill the void created by graduation departures of some of the finest players in program history.

MaryKate Walsh is fighting her way back from injury and will help the Stags make another deep playoff run.

Kaitlyn Dostie will look to be among the top middle distance runners in the league this season.

Natalia Mavor had a strong freshman season and will play a key role for the Stags again this spring.

Sidebar Elements

Throwing standout Nick White returns to a Cheverus boys’ outdoor track squad seeking to repeat as Class A state champions.

File photos.

More photos below.

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