Yarmouth ski dominance highlights exciting week
In a week that saw the basketball regular season come to an end, the girls' hockey playoffs heat up and indoor track hold its conference championship meet (please see stories), there were also a series of key boys' hockey games, some postseason swimming action for North Yarmouth Academy and Yarmouth, and the continuation of the Yarmouth ski dynasty.
Yarmouth's Alpine and Nordic ski teams have been so good for so long that the Clippers are competing as much against their legacy as the opposition. While this year's team hasn't secured any trophies yet, Yarmouth did prove to have the best Alpine and Nordic teams last week.
After sweeping the Alpine titles, the Clippers set their sights on the Nordic crown at Starks Hill.
In the boys' freestyle, Yarmouth won with 39 points. Falmouth (54) was second, Freeport (66) third, Greely (72) placed fifth and NYA (91) came in seventh. Clippers standout Cam Woodworth took the individual title, finishing the 4.91-kilometer course in 11 minutes, 48 seconds.
Three days later, at the classic, Yarmouth (led by another first-place finish from Woodworth, 13:09) was second to Falmouth as a team (32-41), but the Clippers managed to win the overall crown, 80 points to 86 for the Yachtsmen. Freeport was fourth in the classic with 73 points and also came in fourth overall (139). NYA moved up to fifth with 85 points and wound up fifth as a team (176), which was one better than Greely, which placed seventh in the classic (105).
In the skimeister competition, Falmouth's Ben Weigel was first with 101 points. Yarmouth's Ben Johnson (111) and Ben Woodbury (113), Greely's Luke Booth (124) and Freeport's Evan LaMarre (232) rounded out the top five.
On the girls' side, in the freestyle, Yarmouth had 23 points to easily outdistance Cape Elizabeth (43) and Falmouth (62). Freeport (90) was fifth, Greely (117) sixth and NYA (151) came in ninth. Individually, Falmouth's Sarah Abramson had the best local time, finishing second to Cape Elizabeth's Emily Attwood in 13:43. Yarmouth's Becca Bell was next (14:01).
In the classic, the Clippers rolled again (behind a first-place finish from Bell, 15:49), this time scoring 19 points. The Yachtsmen (led by Abramson, second, 16:12), were second with 51, the Falcons were fifth with 94, the Rangers came in sixth with 113 and the Panthers placed ninth with 153. Yarmouth's total of 42 points easily gave it the top spot. Falmouth (113) came in third, Freeport (184) was fifth, Greely (230) place sixth and NYA (304) finished ninth.
Bell (21 points) easily took the skimeister title. Greely's Kelsey Ouellette (109) came in second.
The Class A (Mt. Abram and Black Mountain), B (Saddleback, Rangeley) and C (Lonesome Pines, 10th Mountain Ski Center) state meets are Feb. 16-18.
Yarmouth and NYA's swim teams competed at the south division Southwesterns last weekend in Cape Elizabeth.
The Clippers girls had 176 points and came in third behind Sanford (208) and Thornton Academy (180). The Panthers (146) placed fifth. Yarmouth's 200 medley relay team (freshman Haley Estabrook, senior Melissa Agro, sophomore Cathy Agro and senior Caitlyn Planer) came in first (2 minutes, 1.88 seconds). NYA won the 200 free relay (junior Alison Znamierowski, senior Christine Reighley, freshman Emily McKinnon and senior Rachel Clegg; 1:48.64). McKinnon won the 200 free (2:01.87) and was runner-up in the 500 free (5:26.42). Clegg was first in the 100 breaststroke (1:11.17).
In the boys' competition, won by Kennebunk with 286 points, NYA placed ninth with 56 points, while Yarmouth (23) came in 10th. The top Panther finisher was Nico Kaminow (third in the 50 free, 24.37 seconds). The Clippers were led by Conner Lajoie (fourth in the 200 free, 2:02.95; and fifth in the 100 free, 56.01).
NYA and Yarmouth will join Falmouth and Greely at the Class B state championships next week. The boys compete Saturday at the University of Maine in Orono. The girls' meet is Monday at the same location.
The boys' hockey regular season ends Monday and all three local teams are either looking to fight their way into the playoffs, or finish with the highest possible seed.
The latter example is Falmouth, which improved to 9-4-2 (third behind Thornton Academy and Biddeford in the latest Western A Heal Points standings) with home wins over Kennebunk (5-1) and St. Dom's (6-2). Seniors Dan Hanley and Gabe Hoffman-Johnson both had a goal and multiple assists in the win over the Rams. The Yachtsmen then avenged a recent loss against the Saints, thanks to a hat trick from sophomore Brandon Tuttle. Falmouth was at Gorham Wednesday, faces red-hot South Portland Saturday in Portland, then closes the regular year Monday at home versus defending Class B state champion Greely.
The Rangers have solidified their playoff hopes in recent days, but still have work to do to guarantee a 10th straight postseason trip. After falling 5-1 at Camden Wednesday, Greely tied visiting Gardiner 2-2 Saturday (behind 30 saves from junior Matt Labbe) and is 7-6-2 on the year (third behind York and Camden in the Western B Heals). The Rangers host York Thursday (a victory would lock up a playoff spot), welcome Westbrook Saturday and close at Falmouth Monday.
If the regular season ended at press time, Yarmouth would have the fourth and final Western B spot, but the Clippers still need a win or two to punch their ticket for the first time since 2007. Yarmouth had a great opportunity to get a big win last Thursday at Cape Elizabeth, but the Capers erupted for four third period goals to win 5-3.
"It's a tough one," said Yarmouth coach Marc Halsted. "Cape earned it, but our kids really worked hard. They gave us the passion and the effort. As crazy as the Heal Points are, this doesn't kill us. We're playing teams worth points. We can make the playoffs with seven or eight wins. I'd love to finish the year with two or three more wins."
Saturday night, the Clippers fell to 5-9 after a 7-1 loss at Edward Little. After hosting Westbrook Wednesday, Yarmouth is at Leavitt Saturday and closes at home against Gardiner Monday.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org