Freeport Winter Athletes of the Year
2008-09 Winter Male Athlete of the Year:
JON KLAGES, Senior-Basketball
* Bob Butler Award winner
* All-Western Maine Conference, first team
* WMC Senior All-Star
* Maine McDonald's Senior All-Star
A year after a stirring run to the regional final, the Freeport boys' basketball team won just four games and fell short of the postseason.
But if you watched the play of Jon Klages you wouldn't have known it was a challenging campaign. Despite playing with an abundance of inexperienced teammates and being the focal point of opposing defenses, Klages was the quintessential senior captain, playing hard night after night, while serving as the team leader.
While the playoffs weren't in the cards for him this winter, his performance was worthy of praise and The Forecaster is happy to oblige, naming Jon Klages Freeport's 2008-09 Winter Male Athlete of the Year.
Klages was previously named Freeport's 2007 Fall Male Athlete of the Year for football.
Klages grew up in Freeport and started playing basketball in the third grade. He started playing AAU ball in the seventh grade with Maine Hoops and joined the Falcons varsity team as a freshman.
He was a key contributor by his sophomore season and as a junior played a major role in leading Freeport to its first regional final in 38 years.
Most of that team graduated, however, and many expected Freeport to struggle this winter. Indeed, the Falcons had a difficult go, but never failed to play hard.
Klages had his moments, scoring 19 points in a close loss to Gray-New Gloucester, 17 in a win over Wells, 20 against Poland, 16 in a win over Fryeburg, 19 against NYA, a season-high 30 in a victory over York and 17 in a win over Poland.
Klages was the team's leading scorer this season, finished his career with 893 points, 431 rebounds and graduates as the program's leader in 3-pointers (63).
His performance, effort and leadership didn't go unnoticed. Klages was named the winner of the Bob Butler Award and played in the Western Maine Conference and Maine McDonald's Senior All-Star Games.
Klages will play baseball for the Falcons this spring, then will matriculate at Husson College in the fall, where he hopes to step right in and make a contribution on the basketball court.
Whatever happens, the Husson program will be stronger by virtue of his addition. Jon Klages, Freeport's 2008-09 Winter Male Athlete of the Year, never fails to impress.
Coach Craig Sickels' Comment: "Jon has been the heart and soul of
Freeport basketball for a couple of years. He played every game like
it's his last. His inner drive fuels his competitiveness. He's probably
harder on himself than any coach could ever be. He is one of, if not
the most versatile players I've ever coached."
2007-08 winner: Reid Christian (Basketball)
2006-07 winner: Danny Mehler (Basketball)
2005-06 winner: Nate Fuller (Skiing)
2004-05 winner: Dan Sandberg (Skiing)
2003-04 winner: Kegan Pettit (Hockey)
2002-03 winner: Frank Roy (Skiing)
2001-02 winner: Griff Leach (Skiing)
2008-09 Winter Female Athlete of the Year:
MOLLY SUSLA, Senior-Skiing
* WMC All-Conference, Nordic first team
* All-Academic team
* Most Valuable Skier
Freeport ski program has been among the best in the state for several
years and never fails to produce some of the elite talent around.
The 2008-09 season was no different as Molly Susla bowed out with a pair of runner-up showings at the state meet.
did much more than just shine on the trails, however. On the heels of
winning Freeport's Fall Winter Athlete of the Year award for her
running acumen (an award she also won in 2006), she set the tone for a
successful team with a positive attitude and an interest in helping her
teammates reach their goals.
When the powder settled, she was on the
short list of top skiers and teammates and that convinced The
Forecaster to name Molly Susla Freeport's 2008-09 Winter Female Athlete
of the Year.
Susla, a native of Massachusetts, started skiing in the
sixth grade and got serious about the sport in high school. After
finishing eighth in the freestyle and 10th in the classic at the Class
C state meet as a sophomore, Susla came in sixth in the freestyle and
eighth in the classic as a junior.
This season, Susla spent time
competing in Junior Olympic qualifying races, but also made the most of
her opportunities with the Falcons. She was second in both races at
states, leading Freeport to a second place team finish. She also took part on a championship New England JO team. Susla spends plenty of time training and has shared her knowledge with teammates, elevating their skills as well.
Susla has also enjoyed plenty of academic and other extracurricular success. She'll attend Colby College in the fall. She plans to run and ski and is undecided on a major.
Her high school skiing career has come to a close, but she leaves quite a legacy. Molly Susla, Freeport's 2008-09 Winter Female Athlete of the Year, is the type of talent that doesn't come around very often.
Coach Emily Poole's comment: "Molly was a huge asset to our team. She came to practice every day with a smile and a can-do attitude that every coach dreams of. She was always willing to help skiers who were just learning, while making sure she was getting in the training she needed in order to succeed. She'll definitely be missed next year, but I know she'll do great things at Colby."
2007-08 winner: Adrian Baker (Indoor track)
2006-07 winner: Abby Fuller (Swimming)
2005-06 winner: Lucy Garrec (Skiing)
2004-05 winner: Logan Crane (Indoor track)
2003-04 winner: Logan Crane (Indoor track)
2002-03 winner: Jessica Harold (Skiing)
2001-02 winner: Molly Pierce (Skiing)