Portland Winter Athletes of the Year
2008-09 Winter Male Athlete of the Year:
SAM GUIMOND, Senior-Hockey
* Travis Roy Award semifinalist
* All-State West, first team
* Senior All-Star
Sam Guimond scored his share of goals and set up many others this season and throughout his time in a Portland Bulldogs hockey sweater.
But that was only the start of why he was considered one of the finest players in the state.
Mix in sportsmanship, leadership and solid contributions in the classroom and it's understandable why he was considered for the Travis Roy Award as Maine's top senior Class A high school hockey player.
While he ultimately fell short of that award, his consideration validated a season worthy of praise. In that light, The Forecaster is happy to bring some additional attention his way, naming Sam Guimond as Portland High's 2008-09 Winter Male Athlete of the Year.
Guimond grew up in Portland and started playing hockey with Casco Bay at the age of five. He joined the Bulldogs varsity team as a freshman and immediately produced. After missing the playoffs his freshman year, Guimond helped Portland make it to the quarterfinals his sophomore and junior seasons and had a solid senior campaign.
Highlights included a goal and two assists in a win over previously unbeaten Gorham, a hat trick with two assists in a victory over Gray-New Gloucester, three assists versus Brunswick, two goals and two assists in a win against Fryeburg, and two goals and an assist in a victory over Cheverus.
Those performances helped the Bulldogs overcome a 2-5 start and ultimately led to a 9-8-1 record. In the preliminary round of the playoffs against Kennebunk, Guimond scored the final two goals of his high school career, but Portland was eliminated, 6-3. He wound up with 27 goals and 21 assists this winter and finished with 158 points for his career, good for second on the team's all-time list.
Guimond, who is also a formidable golf and lacrosse player, served as captain on the ice for two years, is a volunteer with the "Play It Smart" program and is an honor roll student.
His Seacoast Spartans U-18 team also qualified for the regional tournament.
Guimond wants to play in college and hopes to do so at the University of Southern Maine. He's undecided on a major.
While he might have fallen short of the biggest prize, his list of accomplishments was staggering. Sam Guimond, Portland's 2008-09 Winter Male Athlete of the Year, was a standout on and off the ice.
Coach Andy Gildart's comment: "Sam is very well respected in the local hockey community. He has represented the Bulldogs very well. He has a strong work ethic, leads by example and is a very respectful young man. It's been great to see him accomplish his goals."
2007-08 winner: Imadhi Zagon (Indoor track)
2006-07 winner: Ryan Carmichael (Basketball)
2005-06 winner: Andrew Duncanson (Basketball)
2004-05 winner: Connor Cushman (Nordic Skiing)
2003-04 winner: Eric Shone (Basketball)
2008-09 Winter Female Athlete of the Year:
NYACHUOL BILIEW, Senior-Basketball
* SMAA All-Conference, first team
* SMAA Senior All-Star
* Maine McDonald's Senior All-Star
The Portland girls' basketball program is slowly making its way back to prominence. While a large chunk of the credit for the Bulldogs' resurgence has to go to coach Jan Veinot, a special player has also been front and center the past two seasons and won't soon be forgotten for her contributions.
Nyachuol Biliew has only lived in the United States for four years, but quickly mastered the sport Mainers are most passionate about in the winter. Best of all, she's only getting better.
For stepping up time and time again, for hitting key shots and for helping her team return to the postseason after a three-year absence, Nyachuol Biliew is The Forecaster's choice for Portland's 2008-09 Winter Female Athlete of the Year, making her a repeat winner.
After living in the Sudan, Ethiopia and Tennessee, Biliew came to Portland for high school and gradually made more and more of an impression on the basketball court. After playing for the junior varsity team as a freshman, she moved up to varsity as a sophomore.
Veinot took over her junior season and the two quickly clicked. Biliew emerged as the Bulldogs top scoring threat and the team improved from one win to six, but fell just short of the playoffs.
This winter, Portland completed the reclamation process and Biliew had many highlights.
She had 18 points in a season-opening win over Thornton Academy, 24 against Massabesic, 13 points and 12 rebounds against Sanford, 23 points against South Portland, 14 in a one-point win over Cheverus, and 25 against McAuley.
The Bulldogs managed to win seven times this winter and earned the No. 10 seed for the playoffs. While the run quickly ended with a loss at South Portland, Biliew bowed out with 22 points, despite battling foul trouble.
After being snubbed last year, Biliew was named to the SMAA All-Star team and also took part in the league's and Maine McDonald's Senior All-Star games.
Biliew continues to play basketball with the MBNation AAU squad. She wants to play basketball and study nursing in college. She even has an urge to coach down the road.
Don't be surprised if she reaches all of her goals. Nyachuol Biliew has shown she's a quick study, one that is always at her best.
Coach Jan Veinot's comment: "Nyachuol's an incredible talent, an incredible player and an incredible young woman. She's worked so hard on her game. I'm not ready to have her leave. It's been a pleasure to coach her and watch her play."
2007-08 winner: Nyachuol Biliew (Basketball)
2006-07 winner: Alex Perdomo (Hockey)
2005-06 winner: Regina Roberts (Indoor track)
2004-05 winner: Ashley Anderson (Basketball)
2003-04 winner: Ashley Brownlee (Basketball)