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Greely swimming looking to win it all Falmouth girls still very strong

Sports

Greely swimming looking to win it all Falmouth girls still very strong

Simply put, Greely's sick and tired of being a swimming bridesmaid and has Falmouth and Mt. Desert Island firmly in its sights this winter.

The boys (champs at Southwesterns, then second at Class B states) could be ready to leapfrog MDI, the six-time reigning Class B champion. Senior John Madeira leads the list of returners. He was runner-up in both the backstroke and the IM at last year's state meet. Senior Patrick Bowden was third in the IM and fourth in the breaststroke last season. He'll also swim the freestyle. Senior Kyle Wilson scored in the 200 free and backstroke last winter and looks to move up. Sophomore Dan Spencer came in sixth in the 100 free and ninth in the 200 free a year ago. This squad has all the earmarks of one ready to reach the pinnacle.

"The boys' graduation loss was minimal, so we'll still be strong," said longtime Rangers coach Rob Hale. "Depth has been our strength and we'll need that again. We hope to give MDI a battle at states this year. We have terrific senior leadership. Our number one goal is to be swimming our best at the end and see what happens. I know the seniors are tired of being in MDI's rear view mirror."

The girls' team was third at Southwesterns, then runner-up at states. Their recent close calls with Falmouth and McAuley are ready to be avenged. Sophomore Sara Schad, who was named Greely Winter Female Athlete of the Year in 2008-09 after placing runner-up in both the 100 and 200 free at the Class B meet, is the top returner. Senior Lizziy Perry was third in the backstroke and sixth in the IM last season. Senior Taylor Roach (fifth in the 100 free and sixth in the 50 free) is another top sprinter. Junior Megan Stroud (sixth in the 200 free and eighth in the 100 free last year) will be heard from as well. Seniors Emily Norton (IM, breaststroke), Franny Martelle (breaststroke and IM) and Claire Sawyer (freestyle, breaststroke) will all be in the hunt. The Rangers always have fun and always seem to be at their best in February. If Greely stays hungry and healthy, this could be a powerhouse team that indeed brings home the hardware.

"This is potentially one of the strongest girls' teams to go through Greely," Hale said. "We have depth and a front line. We need to put in the work, not that I'm worried about attitude and work ethic. We hope to be in the hunt for a conference championship. The same goes at the state level. It would be nice to send the seniors off with some hardware."

The biggest obstacle to the Greely girls is none other Falmouth, which has won five of the past six state titles. These Yachtsmen could do it again, even after graduating standout Kristen Jackson. Falmouth has plenty of reasons to think it will threaten the Rangers. Senior Adrienne Madden and Eve Perry are top returners. Madden won the 50 free and was third in the 100 free at last year's state meet. She was also on a first-place medley relay team. Perry was the best diver in Class B. Senior Hayley Couper was on a champion relay team and placed fourth in the backstroke and seventh in the 200 free last season. Senior Sarah Uminski finished fourth in the 200 free and sixth in the 100 free last year. She'll also swim the butterfly and IM. Junior Courtney Greenwood was sixth in the 500 free and 12th in the IM. Sophomores Brianna Esposito and Nicola Mancini add diving depth. Falmouth might not have the front-end talent it's used to and won't be the favorite, but if all goes well, the Yachtsmen will be making headlines in February once again.

"The girls will have to do a lot of swimming this year to catch Greely," said eighth-year coach John Keyes. "We'll be good and competitive. Our diving strength helps. We'll have good relays again. This may be the best boys' group to start out with."

The boys' squad could be more competitive. Lone state meet scorer Cameron Greenwood graduated, but the program boasts several swimmers who are on the brink of turning heads. Three seniors lead the way. Josh Grassman swims the butterfly and freestyle. Bryce Leary is a sprint freestyler. Carter Milliken competes in the 200 and 500 free. Sophomores Sam Bruni (200 free and backstroke) and Jack Kilbride (backstroke) will also be heard from, as will sophomore diver Ryan Conley, who was hurt as a freshman. Falmouth will be an exciting team to watch and could move up the ladder in February.

"This may be the best boys' group to start out with," Keyes said. "The boys from last year are better. We won't do much on the state level, but we'll have fun."

Yarmouth has a new coach this season. Brian Townsend, who served with Libby McConnell last year, takes over as head coach this season. He's from Bath and has coached in high school and with the YMCA in Massachusetts. He takes over a program with small numbers.
The boys only have three. Junior Dan Grover specializes in the breaststroke and will look to hold his own.

On the girls' side, sophomore Cathy Agro was fourth in the butterfly and eighth in the 50 free at last year's state meet. She'll contend again. Senior Melissa Agro looks to build on her finish from last season (eighth in the IM, 11th in the breaststroke). Other younger swimmers have a chance to make a mark as well. Yarmouth should be able to score at Southwesterns and at states.

"It's a relatively young squad," Townsend said. "A lot of freshmen and sophomores. We only have three boys. It's a rebuilding year. We're growing the team. We're not focusing on wins as much as the team."

North Yarmouth Academy has a new coach as well. Dan Edwards, who was on the staff a year ago, takes over. He's assisted by Dave Cox and Steve Cox.

The boys' squad graduated standout Ian Nichols, but brings back junior Nico Kaminow (ninth in the IM, 10th in the backstroke last year) and senior Trey Milam (10th in the 200 free). Sophomore Matt Tasarz will look to compete in the sprint freestyle. Freshman Ted Elliott (freestyle, backstroke) could be a future star. NYA doesn't quite have the firepower it did a year ago with Nichols, but should remain competitive and capable of finishing in the top 10 at states.

On the girls' side, the Panthers return state meet scorers senior Rachel Clegg (third in both the 200 and 500 freestyle last winter), junior Allison Znamierowski (11th in the 50 free) and senior Christine Reighley (13th in 50 free). Senior Katie Paige (all disciplines), Senior Kalley Hansel (sprint freestyle) and junior Alicia Hoffman (backstroke and IM) will also be heard from, as will promising freshman Emily McKinnon (in the freestyle and IM). NYA has the pieces in place to be a strong team in the regular season and at the big February meets.

"We're a small squad, so our focus is on improving individual performance and having a lot of fun," Edwards said. "This is a tremendous group."

Freeoprt doesn't have a swim team.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net