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Freeport Falcons Winter Sports Preview

Sports

Freeport Falcons Winter Sports Preview

This stands to be an exciting winter sports season at Freeport. The boys' basketball team welcomes home a one-time hero as its new coach. The girls' squad should be in the hunt for a playoff spot. The track program has some athletes to keep an eye on. Skiing is always a strong point and this year should be no different, on the Alpine and Nordic sides.

BOYS BASKETBALL

COACH: Nick Jewett (first year)

2008-09 Record: 4-14 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Jackson Dodge (Senior), Tom Dorsey (Senior), Sean Enking (Senior), Josh Weirich (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 12 (H) YORK, Dec. 15 @ Gray-NG, Dec. 22 (H) LAKE REGION, Jan. 14 @ Yarmouth, Jan. 16 (H) GRAY-NG, Jan. 22 (H) NYA, Jan. 23 @ Lake Region, Jan. 26 (H) YARMOUTH

COACH'S COMMENT: "It looks like a rebuilding year. We're focusing on the future. I think we'll spread the scoring around quite a bit. We have a lot of guys who have seen bench time. A lot of guys with the same skill level. I'd like to see us build up our fundamentals and reduce turnovers. We hope to pick up some wins, but Class B is tough this year."

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Longtime coach (and still-athletic director) Craig Sickels has stepped down, but the Freeport program appears to be in good shape as a familiar face takes over. Jewett (Class of 2000) was a 1,000-point standout for the Falcons. He played at Colby-Sawyer and was an assistant in the program before inheriting the varsity job this winter. While the Falcons have a long way to go, Jewett is comfortable with the challenge and is dedicated to teaching the basics and going from there. Not a whole lot of game experience returns. Dorsey could be a top scorer after missing most of the 2008-09 season with injury. Dodge is underappreciated and looks to make a mark. Jake Gore (who was hurt last winter) and Weirich (who was on varsity as a freshman) could also be scoring threats. Enking is one of the better players on the roster. New juniors Josh Ackley and Kyle Strozewski provide some size and depth. The Falcons opened with a promising 41-38 home win over Fryeburg Saturday (Dodge had 15 points and Dorsey pitched in with nine). As the season goes on, they'll have a tough time with the top teams in Western Class B, but Freeport will have an opportunity to earn its share of victories. After the transition period, the Falcons figure to put it together later in the season. While the playoffs might be a year or two off, this team won't be easy to contend with as the season progresses.

FUN FACT: Prior to last winter, the last time Freeport had a four-win season was 1981-82.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

COACH: Jay Harper (seventh year)

2008-09 Record: 4-14 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Emily Drummond (Senior), Rachel Foster (Senior), Lucy Whitacre (Senior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 11 @ York, Dec. 17 (H) GREELY, Dec. 22 @ Lake Region, Jan. 14 @ Yarmouth, Jan. 23 (H) LAKE REGION, Jan. 26 (H) YARMOUTH

COACH'S COMMENT: "With our senior experience, we have a better team than the past three or four years, but the conference is so tough so there's no guarantee of doing better. We have lots of depth at the guard position, but not in the post. The good news is that we can put more pressure on teams defensively. I can plug guards in and we're quick. We hope to double last year's win total and make the playoffs."

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: After winning just 13 games over the past four seasons, the Falcons could be much more formidable this winter. Freeport fell 44-34 at Fryeburg in its first game Friday (Foster had 14 points in a losing cause). She and Whitacre could be dangerous in the post. They're joined by Drummond as four-year varsity team members. Drummond will play on the wing and be the point guard when the offense isn't being run by promising freshman Leigh Wyman, the sister of former Falmouth standout Paige. Senior Stephanie Pottle is another player who could be a force on the inside. Junior Katee Poulin plays guard, as will new sophomore Jess Hench and freshman Aubrey Melhorn. The Falcons have a series of tough games upcoming, but if they can survive and take advantage of the schedule when it gets more favorable, they'll be in the hunt in the second half of the season. This program simply needs to taste some success and if it does, look out. There is talent on the roster and the potential is there for a successful season. Freeport could be very difficult to face in January and February.

FUN FACT: Freeport is still seeking its first quarterfinal appearance in Class B. The last time the Falcons reached that round came in 2004 when they were still in Class C.


INDOOR TRACK

COACH: Brian Berkemeyer (second year)

2008-09 Results:

(BOYS) 11th @ WMC meet (Tie-18th @ Class B state meet)

(GIRLS) 10th @ WMC meet (12th @ Class B state meet)

ATHLETES TO WATCH:

(BOYS) Orion Sickles (Junior)

(GIRLS) Adrian Baker (Senior)

COACH'S COMMENT: "The team has gone from 18 kids to 29. The goal is to get kids physically fit and get as many kids as possible to qualify for states. This is a growing year. The team is very young. We should have some stars in areas, but that is to be seen."

FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Freeport has enjoyed some success in its young indoor track history. This year's team will feature some promising athletes.

The boys' squad returns Sickels, who was fourth in the junior 200 and fifth in the junior 55 at last year's conference meet. Several new athletes will look to make their mark. The Falcons will score their share of points in the regular season and could improve upon their standing at the conference and state meets.

On the girls' side, Baker is the top returner. She was part of a runner-up 3,200 relay team at states last winter. She'll be a force in the 400. Other newcomers will also get their chance to shine. Freeport is hopeful that it will surprise in the weeks to come.

ALPINE SKIING

COACH: Eric Wallace (fourth year)

2008-09 Results:

(BOYS) 7th @ Class C state meet

(GIRLS) 3rd @ Class C state meet

TOP RETURNING SKIERS:

(BOYS) Christo Milholland (Senior), Ian Morency (Senior), Ryan Collet (Junior), Owen Petheridge (Junior)

(GIRLS) Mia Taggert (Senior), Sarah Pier (Sophomore), Sadie Russell (Sophomore), Mia Thomas (Sophomore)

COACH'S COMMENT: "This is the biggest team we've had in many years. I'm looking forward to having last year's top middle schoolers. I think both teams will be pretty solid. We have a lot of skimeisters this year."

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Freeport has some first-rate talent this winter.

The boys' squad features Collet (a reigning league all-star), who was runner-up in the slalom at last year's Class C meet and Morency, who came in 26th in the giant slalom. Milholland (all-conference last year), Petheridge and Wold will also be factors. The Falcons will be one of the better teams in the Western Maine Conference and in Class C.

On the girls' side, Taggert and Thomas have experience. Pier (an all-star a year ago) and Russell also return. They make up a solid nucleus and should be competitive from start to finish.

NORDIC SKIING

COACH: Emily Poole (second year)

2008-09 Results:

(BOYS) 3rd @ Class C state meet

(GIRLS) 2nd @ Class C state meet

TOP RETURNING SKIERS:

(BOYS) Chris Anthony (Senior), Henry Loughlin (Senior), Spencer Egan (Junior), Scott Ross (Junior), Bennett Wade (Junior)

(GIRLS) Kiera Berkemeyer (Senior), Lindsey Merrill (Senior), Emily Martin (Sophomore)

COACH'S COMMENT: "My skiers have worked hard in the offseason. They seem really excited and motivated. Our boys didn't graduate any seniors, so we'll only be stronger. It's going to be a competitive team. The girls lost three of our top skiers. They'll definitely have to work hard, but I think overall that we're going to surprise some teams."

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Freeport will have a hard time surprising anyone with the talent evident on its roster.

The boys' squad is led by Ross (fifth in the freestyle and 11th in the classic at last year's state meet), Anthony, Egan and Wade. Senior Henry Loughlin and junior Max Jennings return to the program and are joined by newcomers Griffin Breer and Sam Hall. If all goes well, the Falcons will hold their own against league foes and will be in position to make another run at the top spot at states.

On the girls' side, while standout Molly Susla has graduated, Freeport returns an all-star in Merrill. Berkemeyer and Martin expect to be in the hunt, giving the Falcons enough scorers to be formidable. New skiers Kayley Johnson and Jo Moore are also on board. As usual, Freeport has to be taken seriously when state championships are decided.

Photo:
Senior Rachel Foster hopes to close out her Freeport career by leading the Falcons to the tournament.

Photo:
Senior Emily Drummond is a potential top scorer for the Falcons this winter.

Photo:
Senior Adrian Baker will make noise in the 400 this year.