Cheverus Stags Winter Athletes of the Year

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ZEB LEAVITT, Junior-Wrestling

Leavitt turned adversity into opportunity and by the end of the winter, was able to call himself a state champion.

Leavitt, a Gorham native and football lineman, took up wrestling at Cheverus his freshman year. As a freshman, he won just 12 times, half of those victories by forfeit, but in the spring of his freshman year, he began working with the Casco Bay Elite freestyle Greco program and began to look at the sport differently.

“It made me engaged with the idea of wrestling,” said Leavitt. “I saw immediate results as a sophomore.”

Leavitt won 27 matches and was second in the heavyweight division at the regional meet as a sophomore, but at states, he struggled.

As a junior, Leavitt saved his best for last and he was pretty impressive all the way through.

Despite having to overcome a knee injury suffered during football season, Leavitt dominated early, then lost in the final of the Southern Maine Classic to Westbrook’s Stephen Foster while suffering a concussion in the process. He missed some time, but got back to top form in time for the postseason.

After losing to Scarborough’s Lincoln Andrews in the regional final, Leavitt won his first match at states, then, in the semifinals, despite taking an elbow to the face, he held off Foster and in the final, he avenged his regional final loss to Andrews with a late takedown to come from behind and win the championship.

“I was happy with the season,” Leavitt said. “I got a lot of support (at Cheverus). The resources I have here made the difference. I wanted to perform the best that I could. I knew I had a shot at a title. The state final was so arduous, but I didn’t give up. My whole team was there to support me.”

Leavitt ended up with 29 victories, made the SMAA all-star team, won the Nokomis Warrior Clash, was an All-State finalist and qualified for New Englands.

Next up, Leavitt hopes to do well as a senior and perform well at New Englands. He doesn’t plan on wrestling in college, although he does plan to use the lessons from the sport throughout his life, as he wants to work with his hands and perhaps coach.

Zeb Leavitt, Cheverus’ Winter Male Athlete of the Year, has come a long way in a short time on the mat and his hard work has been rewarded.

Coach Jason Barriault’s comment: “The biggest factor in Zeb’s success this season was his toughness and ability to overcome adversity. He used last year’s disappointment as a motivator and immediately set his goal to win a state championship. It was not an easy path, but his determination and work ethic helped him to make this goal a reality. Along with his ability on the mat, Zeb was a tremendous leader and mentor for a young program.”

Previous winners:

2015-16 Michael O’Donovan (swimming)

2014-15 James Hannigan (hockey)

2013-14 Jake Dixon (track)

2012-13 Trebor Lawton (swimming)

2011-12 Trebor Lawton (swimming)

2010-11 Jack Terwilliger (track)

2009-10 Indiana Faithfull (basketball)

2008-09 Zander Markellos (skiing)

2007-08 Matt Libby (swimming)

2006-07 Matt Libby (swimming)

2005-06 Alex Arthur (hockey)

2004-05 Adam Horgan (hockey)

2003-04 Kevin Marchesi (hockey)


ANNESLEY BLACK, Sophomore-Alpine skiing

Black’s first season as a Stag ended with much fanfare and decoration, as she captured the Class A state title in both the slalom and giant slalom.

Black, a Cape Elizabeth resident, has skied from a young age and after spending her freshman year with a ski academy in Vermont, she made an immediate impact at Cheverus.

This winter, Black qualified for the SMAA all-star team, won the league title in both the slalom and GS, then, on the biggest stage, she won both the slalom (with a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 24.40 seconds) and the GS in 1:46.20.

Black didn’t lose a high school race in Maine all winter and after qualifying for the Eastern High School Championships, she came in seventh in the slalom and 13th in the GS.

“I really had no goals,” Black said. “I just wanted to have fun. It was a bonus to win so much. I knew I’d have a lot of competition. There are a lot of great racers.”

Black, who also plays soccer and lacrosse and belongs to the school’s math team and Homefront and Spanish Clubs, trains at Sunday River and says that she’s motivated by her brother, Schuyler Black (a standout for the Cheverus boys’ team).

“Schuyler and I push each other,” Black said. “I love the challenge of skiing. So much goes into it. There’s the thrill of going fast and you have to be mentally strong.”

Black hopes to ski in college, but she still has heads to turn at the high school level.

That’s bad news for the rest of the state, as Annesley Black, Cheverus’ Winter Female Athlete of the Year, only projects to get faster and better.

Coach Peter Black‘s comment: “The key to Annesley’s success was her determination. I remember watching her train in the rain at Sunday River in December. She could not finish a run, she was soaking wet and she had just crashed pretty hard. She picked herself up and got right back in the course. After weeks of frustrating practices, she eventually had a breakthrough and started finishing her runs. She ended up showing amazing consistency this year. She could have easily given up during that frustrating part of the early season, but she kept fighting.”

Previous winners:

2015-16 Emily Turner (track)

2014-15 Abby Longstaff (swimming)

2013-14 Sarah Nappo (swimming)

2012-13 Brooke Flaherty (basketball)

2011-12 Fiona Hendry (track)

2010-11 Caroline Summa (track)

2009-10 Saundrine Lanouette (hockey)

2008-09 Caroline Summa (track)

2007-08 Jessica Groth (track)

2006-07 Jessica Groth (track)

2005-06 Caitlin Barber (Alpine skiing)

2004-05 Jill Horan (swimming)

2003-04 Alana Van Loenen (track)

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

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