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Waynflete Winter Athletes of the Year

Sports

Waynflete Winter Athletes of the Year

2008-09 Winter Male Athlete of the Year:
HASSAN JEYLANI, Senior-Basketball
* Western Maine Conference all-star, second team
* WMC Senior All-Star

Hassan Jeylani is a talent on the basketball court, but he's also much, much more.

The native of Somalia also works with kids, is a budding filmmaker, created a racial awareness group and has the kind of personality that easily ingratiates him into any crowd.

On the hardwood, Jeylani led a young Waynflete team from the depths of a 2-9 start to an unexpected run to Augusta. His penchant for clutch shots and unique style of leadership paid major dividends.

In light of his complete package, The Forecaster has selected Hassan Jeylani as Waynflete's 2008-09 Winter Male Athlete of the Year.

Jeylani came to America at a young age, settled in Portland and quickly made himself at home at Waynflete. He was a point guard his freshman and sophomore years for the Flyers and played the two-guard as a junior and this season.

Jeylani had the rare distinction of being the only senior on the roster. He and his team went through some growing pains, but they overcame.

Jeylani's started the year on the ultimate high note when his 3-pointer with one second left in overtime beat St. Dom's by a point and brought the partisan home crowd to its feet. Waynflete would win just once in its next 10 outings, but Jeylani managed to score 22 points against Fryeburg Academy and 13 against Traip. In the lone win in that span, he had 11.

The Flyers then came to life and won four of their final seven regular season games. Jeylani had 20 points in a surprise win at St. Dom's and eight against Hyde on Senior Night, where he deservingly had all the attention to himself.

Waynflete had to go to Boothbay in the preliminary round and few expected the Flyers to win, but Jeylani had 21 points, including several clutch foul shots down the stretch, and Waynflete sprung the upset to improbably make it to Augusta. The run ended with a loss to eventual regional champion Dirigo in the quarterfinals. Jeylani had 17 points in his swan song.

Jeylani also played for a regional champion soccer team and and has played lacrosse, tennis and run track in previous springs. He doesn't plan to do a spring sport this year.

That's because he has a lot of other things on his plate. He's helping out with the powerhouse defending state champion girls' lacrosse team, mentors a buddy at Reiche School and is working on a movie on race for his senior project. He founded RAW (Racial Awareness at Waynflete) and hopes the group will continue even after he departs.

Jeylani hasn't solidified his college plans. He doesn't expect to take part in varsity sports and may study sports medicine.

In truth, the sky's the limit for this young man. Hassan Jeylani, Waynflete's 2008-09 Winter Male Athlete of the Year, was a wonderful senior leader on and off the court.

Coach Rich Henry's comment: "Hassan has been a distinct pleasure to coach. Hassan was in the unique position of being the only senior this year. He came to shape his captaincy in his own way. He led by example and through words. He grew into his role this year. He's very adept socially and has a great sense of humor."

2007-08 winner: Tom Reagan (Nordic skiing)
2006-07 winner: Lucas Milliken (Nordic skiing)
2005-06 winner: Lucas Milliken (Nordic skiing)
2004-05 winner: David Wells (Swimming)
2003-04 winner: Jeff Bates (Nordic skiing)
2008-09 Winter Female Athlete of the Year:

Winter 2008-09 Female Athlete of the Year

ANNIE CUTLER, Senior-Basketball
* Western Maine Conference all-star, second team
* WMC Senior All-Star
* Maine McDonald's Senior All-Star

In the wake of the departure of one of the premier players in program history, not much was expected of the Waynflete girls' basketball team this winter.

When all was said and done, the Flyers not only matched the previous season's win total, but went a step further, reaching the regional final before falling a bucket short of playing for their first-ever Class C crown.

While a trio of special seniors and a dominant junior all elevated their game, the biggest difference between last winter and this was the return of Annie Cutler, who spent her junior year studying abroad.

Cutler didn't skip a beat upon her return and in fact elevated her game to unexpected heights and sparked her team to a memorable campaign.

Such an effort is worthy of praise and we're happy to oblige, naming Annie Cutler as Waynflete's 2008-09 Winter Female Athlete of the Year.

Cutler played guard on the varsity team for coach Jan Veinot as a freshman and sophomore and had her moments, but didn't suggest that she was on the brink of stardom. This winter, however, after moving to forward, she made an immediate splash with 22 points in an Opening Night romp over St. Dom's. That was just the beginning.

Cutler also had 20 points in an upset win at Falmouth, 20 against Hyde, 17 against St. Dom's, 16 versus Old Orchard Beach and 15 in a second meeting against Hyde.

She averaged over 11 points and five rebounds per game in the regular season and stood out in Waynflete's two playoff wins, scoring 17 apiece against St. Dom's in the quarterfinals and Mt. Abram in the semis. She finished with six in the Flyers devastating loss to Jay in the regional final.

Through it all, Cutler provided another scoring option, featured a deadly outside shot, played solid defense and helped will her team to victory.

Cutler also played for the Class C state soccer champion in the fall and plans to play junior varsity lacrosse this spring. Cutler is undecided about where she'll go to college, but is weighing her options.

Talk about going out in style! Annie Cutler, Waynflete's 2008-09 Winter Female Athlete of the Year, saved her very best for last.

Coach Brandon Salway's comment: "Annie seems to really understand the game. She's a very tough matchup. I was surprised at how versatile she is. She fit in with the other kids with her competitiveness. She doesn't like to lose. She was a great kid to coach."

2007-08 winner: Margaret Veroneau (Basketball)
2006-07 winner: Margaret Veroneau (Basketball)
2005-06 winner: Margaret Veroneau (Basketball)
2004-05 winner: Holly Whitney (Nordic skiing)
2003-04 winner: Betsy Critchfield (Nordic skiing)

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Photo:
Hassan Jeylani

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Photo:
Annie Cutler