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Deering Winter Athletes of the Year

Sports

Deering Winter Athletes of the Year

2008-09 Winter Male Athlete of the Year:
E.J. GOOGINS, Senior-Swimming
* Class A state champion, 50 freestyle
* All-State, first team, 200 free relay
* All-State, second team, 50 free
* All-State, second team, 400 free relay
* Skip Charles Memorial Scholarship winner
* SMSOA Scholarship winner
* All-Conference, first team, 200 free relay
* All-Conference, first team, 400 free relay
* All-Conference, second team, 50 free
* All-Conference, third team, 10 freestyle

All athletes are familiar with the refrain, "hard work pays off." E.J. Googins is one of the best and brightest examples of just how much hard work can pay off.

A promising swimmer when he got to Deering, Googins will graduate as one of the finest in recent memory. His senior season included a school record and a state championship.

Out of the water, he's just an impressive. An honor roll student, Eagle Scout, member of Student Senate and choir, Googins is a natural leader for whom success seems to come naturally.

For closing his high school swimming career with such a flourish and for being such a highly respected school citizen, E.J. Googins is The Forecaster's selection as Deering's 2008-09 Winter Male Athlete of the Year.

Googins grew up in Portland and began swimming in sixth grade, competing for his school team and with the Portland Porpoises. He entered high school as a distance specialist and was 15th in the 500 freestyle as a freshman and 16th in the same event the following season.

It seemed improbable that Googins would become a star two years later. But after turning his attention to shorter races, Googins, who credits the support of his family for much of his success, re-dedicated himself in practice, often being first in the water and last out. He practiced with the same intensity he brought to meets and his times quickly improved.

After placing third in the 50 free and eighth in the 100 free at Southwesterns his junior season, he placed seventh in the 50 free and ninth in the 100 free at the Class A state meet.

This winter, Googins moved all the way up the ladder. He capped his campaign by winning the 50 free at states, setting a new school record. He also placed third in the 100 free. Talk about finishing in style!

Googins plans to study engineering and swim in college. He's still in the process of selecting a school, but several top-notch institutions are on his radar.

Whichever school is fortunate to land him will be adding a top-notch individual, one who is constantly improving in the water. E.J. Googins, Deering's 2008-09 Winter Male Athlete of the Year, certainly personified a coach's dream.

Coach Al Carp's comment: "E.J. has been a pleasure to coach. Although talented, his success has been a direct result of hard work. He's the perfect example of dedication, hard work and practice paying off with results. He went from a good middle-distance swimmer three years ago to the best sprinter in the state this year. He has a desire to push past the pain and get to the next level. He worked hard because that's just who he is. He is just an all-round standup athlete and student."

2007-08 winner: Chris Smith (Wrestling)
2006-07 winner: Brandon Carbone (Basketball)
2005-06 winner: Allen Stein (Wrestling)
2004-05 winner: Kyle Johnson (Swimming)
2003-04 winner: Brian Vail (Indoor track)

2008-09 Winter Female Athlete of the Year:
DIANA MANDUCA, Senior-Basketball
* Miss Maine Basketball finalist
* Red McMann Award winner
* SMAA All-Conference, first team
* SMAA All-Defensive team
* SMAA All-Academic team
* SMAA Senior All-Star
* Maine McDonald's Senior All-Star

The Deering girls' basketball team wasn't going to settle for anything short of another state championship this winter.

Diana Manduca wouldn't let it.

The irrepressible standout capped her stellar career by utilizing her offensive and defensive brilliance to lead the Rams to another title, this time in undefeated fashion. In the process, she earned a repeat mention as Deering's 2008-09 Winter Female Athlete of the Year.

Manduca won the award last year after being named the MVP of the Western Class A tournament and helping the Rams beat Oxford Hills for the championship.

Prior to this season, Manduca and her teammates were rocked when coach Mike D'Andrea stepped down. Deering had to welcome new coach Mike Murphy, get used to him and at the same time contend with every opponent's 'A' game.

The Rams never missed a beat and Manduca stepped up time and time again.

She had 22 points against Windham, 18 against Gorham, 20 versus Biddeford, a season-high 25 in a critical win at Scarborough, 20 against Massabesic and 15 in a relatively narrow victory over South Portland.

Even when she wasn't lighting up the scoreboard, Manduca was simply smothering on defense. Her will and skill inspired her teammates and Deering was rarely tested and never beaten.

The fun continued in the tournament. After the Rams survived a scare from McAuley in the quarterfinals, Manduca had a team-high 13 points in a semifinal round win over Noble and added 18 in a regional final romp over Biddeford, clinching the "Red" McMann Award as the regional MVP for a second straight year.

In the state game, Deering overcame a brutal start and pulled away to down Messalonskee by 15 points. Manduca closed her career with 14 points.

Manduca also ran cross country at Deering, plays for the Maine Hoops AAU team, and plays the xylophone in her father's marching band. Her next stop is Colby College. She hopes to make an immediate impact on a rebuilding team. She's undecided on a major.

The Rams had enormous pressure this winter, but rose to the occasion. One of the great championship teams of recent vintage featured a player for the ages. Diana Manduca, Deering's 2008-09 Winter Female Athlete of the Year, was the type of leader a coach dreams of.

Coach Mike Murphy's Comment: "Diana was our driving force. She's very driven. She wants to be successful, but she's so humble about it. She's so tough mentally and physically. She doesn't back down from a challenge. She has a great basketball IQ."

2007-08 winner: Diana Manduca (Basketball)
2006-07 winner: Nicole Garland (Basketball)
2005-06 winner: Emily Sweatt (Swimming)
2004-05 winner: Rebecca Schack (Indoor Track)
2003-04 winner: Megan Urban (Basketball)

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Photo:
E.J. Googins

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Photo:
Diana Manduca