Keep track of these runners, jumpers and throwers Indoor season promises to be memorable
Falmouth, Freeport, Greely, North Yarmouth Academy and Yarmouth all figure to steal indoor track and field headlines this season as each school features standout athletes.
The Greely boys' won the Class B championship a year ago and should be very good this winter. Senior Mark McCauley won the Class B 800 crown a year ago and joined senior Logan Price (Greely's Fall Male Athlete of the Year) on a first-place relay squad. Those two will lead a strong distance contingent. Junior Sam Mason finished seventh in the 400 a year ago. He's one of the top sprinters in the conference and is joined in those events by seniors Matti Ingraham and Ted Russell. Junior Austin Spencer is the top hurdler. In the field events, juniors Mike Burgess and Jack Fellows will compete in the shot put and new senior Jacob Whiting-Kooy, a transfer from Yarmouth, will contend in the long jump. This team will be very strong all the way through the state meet.
"McCauley and Price will be solid in the distance races," said coach John Folan, now in his 17th year. "Spencer and Mason step up after winning the junior division last year. Falmouth may have too much sprint and hurdle power for the rest of us."
The Greely girls won the Western Maine Conference a meet a year ago, then came in fifth at states. This year, look for a run back toward the top spot, which is what this program feels is a birthright. Top returners for the Rangers include senior Abby Diehl (third in the 55 hurdles and fifth in the 200), senior Hannah Werneth (third in the shot put), junior Emily Christensen (relays) and sophomore Melissa Jacques (relays). Diehl is joined in the sprints by Junior Katelyn Boynton, Christensen, senior Taylor Hicks, juniors Elizabeth Morrone and Anna Whitaker. Junior Stella Keck is another top hurdler. In the distance races, Jacques, Junior Dee Little and freshman Sarah Fitch lead the way. Junior Meaghan Crowley and senior Bethany Powers hope to score in the jumps. Sophomore Abby Bonnevie is a pole vaulter. Junior Katherine Harrington joins Werneth in the throws. While Greely is young, it has the pieces in place to be a force in the league and in February.
"With 45 girls and only five seniors, this is a really young team," Folan said. "We graduated an abundance of talent last year so we're looking for a lot of growth at the least. A number of these girls have scored at the conference and state levels, so we'd like to build on that.
Falmouth should also be very good. The Yachtsmen boys were second in both the conference and state a year ago. Falmouth returns state scorers in senior Kellen MacDonald (55 hurdles), senior Alec Dunn (55 hurdles), junior Will Wegener (400) and senior Mike Serunian (relays). That foursome is joined by sophomore Henry Briggs (distance), senior Michael Gardner (sprints), sophomore Jimmy Polewaczyk (sprints), sophomore Reid Pryzant (hurdles) and senior Charlie Swerdlow (distance). Three newcomers could also be in contention. Junior Justin Hovey (hurdles and pole vault), sophomore Sean Hodgdon (middle distance) and freshman Azad Jalali (middle distance) show great potential. Falmouth will have its work cut out to equal last year's performance, but you can never write the Yachtsmen off.
"The boys' team isn't quite as deep as past seasons, but should challenge again for league and state titles," said 11th-year coach Jorma Kurry. "We need to develop more field event athletes in order to achieve our team goals. We should cover all the events well. We continue to set high goals and are taking up the challenge of achieving them."
The girls were second in the conference and sixth at the state meet last winter. This year, Falmouth hopes to compete behind junior Adrienne Michalakis, who finished fourth in the 55 last year, senior Rachel Brown, fifth in the 800 last winter and senior Francesca D'Alfonso, who finished sixth in the 800 last February. Senior Erin Morris is another distance threat. Joining that group is senior Corey Morganstern (pole vault), junior Kate Sparks (shot put), junior Amy Webster (pole vault) and sophomore Emily Rand (sprints). The Yachtsmen will be in the hunt in league competition and should produce several state meet scorers as they display steady growth in the weeks to come.
"It will be a bit of a struggle to reach the marks of the past two seasons, but the girls have shown early on they're willing to work for it," Kurry said. "If we can develop depth to cover the jumps and junior sprints, well be very competitive in the league meets again. We'll shoot for a top-10 finish at states.."
Yarmouth has a new coach this season in Hank Richards, the brother-in-law of longtime boys' soccer coach Mike Hagerty. Richards competed at Deering High and is a substitute teacher at the high school. He inherits a program that could be primed to make a move. The boys were 10th at the conference meet and tied for 25th at states last season. Senior Ebrahim Fazeli (55) is the lone returning scorer. Several players from the regional final football team have come out for track and should make an impact. Freshman Thomas Robischaud is a top distance threat. Several other kids will fill the events and look to make a mark. Yarmouth should be able to hold its own against most Western Maine Conference foes and will be in position to move up the ladder at the state meet.
"We have a really strong core of athletes," Richards said. "We hope our team of 25 can compete against teams of 80. The sprint core is our boys' strength."
The girls didn't score in either February meet a year ago. This season, a very small team figures to be more about quality than quantity. Leading the way are seniors Annie Clabby (sprints and jumps) and Lizzie Fischman (sprints and hurdles). Freshman Joss Richards-Daniels is a distance runner to watch. She'll also compete in field events. This group will only get stronger going forward.
"We'd like to get a handful of our girls to qualify for states," Richards said. "We'd make an impact."
Freeport's boys were 11th in conference and tied for 18th at states last season. Junior Orion Sickels, who was fourth in the junior 200 and fifth in the junior 55 at last year's conference meet, returns. Several new athletes will look to make their mark.
The girls' squad placed 10th in the conference and 12th at states last year. Senior Adrian 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.
"The team has gone from 18 kids to 29," said second-year coach Brian Berkemeyer. "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."
North Yarmouth Academy is eager to compete. The Panthers boys' squad was fifth in the conference and fourth at states last winter, thanks largely to the dominance of then-senior Sam Fear and returning senior Henry Sterling (the Class B champion in the mile and two-mile). This year, sophomores Alex Coffin and Brian Trelegan will look to make noise in the longer races. Senior Jay Garnett and junior Nick Kolkin are top sprinters. Garnett and senior Sam Hutchinson hope to score in the jumps. New sophomore Cam Rayder is the top thrower. The Panthers should hold their own in league competition.
On the girls' side, seniors Maeve Stier and Hannah Bewsey are top returners. Stier won the outdoor championship in the high jump and looks to duplicate her feat indoors, but she'll get a push from Bewsey, who was a member of a seventh-place 800 relay team last winter, then was runner-up in the high jump in the spring. Senior Ali O'Reilly will be formidable in the throws. Sophomores Sarah Jordan and Hannah Twombley are the top track threats.
"We're back to normal numbers this year, a perfect size for our school and facilities," said coach Chris Mazzurco, now in his 12th season. "We'll have trouble filling out events, but we'll have some high-placing individuals. I think we'll be competitive at the conference level."
This year, the WMC meet is Saturday, Feb. 6 at the University of Southern Maine. The Class B state meet is Monday, Feb. 15 at Bates College in Lewiston.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com