Deering Rams Fall Athletes of the Year

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MALE:

YAHYA NURE, Junior-Cross country

  • All-State, honorable mention

  • SMAA all-star, first-team

Nure is soft spoken, but he lets his excellence do the talking and as a quick study, he’s taken the local cross country world by storm while suggesting that even more triumphant days are still to come.

Nure was born in Ethiopia and came to Portland at a young age. He didn’t start cross country until his sophomore season and wasn’t a big fan of the sport initially.

“I wanted to challenge myself, but I wasn’t that good and I didn’t like it,” Nure said. “I stayed with it and was determined to do my best.”

Nure placed 50th at the Class A state meet that first season, but did he ever turn heads this fall. Nure opened with consecutive second-place individual finishes. After placing 13th in a strong field at the Festival of Champions, Nure produced his first victory, in a four-team home meet, which also included perennial powerhouse Scarborough. Nure was first again at the regular season-ending city meet, then embarked on a strong postseason.

At the regional meet, where Deering was second as a team to Falmouth, Nure came in third in a time of 17 minutes, 7.93 seconds. At states, where the Rams were also second to the Yachtsmen, Nure finished eighth for scoring purposes with a solid time of 16:23.80. Nure and his teammates qualified for New Englands and there, Nure finished 53rd in 16:44.42.

“We made a lot of progress this year as individuals and as a team,” Nure said.

Nure will run distance in both indoor and outdoor track, but says that cross country is now his favorite season. Nure trains six days a week and estimates he runs between 35 and 40 miles in that time. He hopes to win state titles as an individual and as a team next fall, then he’d like to compete in college.

That’s a distinct possibility. Yahya Nure, Deering’s Fall Male Athlete of the Year, is a fabulous athlete who is only going to get better.

Coach Frank Myatt’s comment: “Yahya’s progress mirrored our team’s this year. He entered the season as a solid runner, but exited it as a contender. He has the rare combination of superior talent, desire and intelligence needed to make a special runner. I’m excited to coach him, because as good as he is now, he still has a ton of room to improve.

Prior winners:

2015 Max Chabot (football)

2014 Stephen Ochan (soccer)

2013 Will Barlock (golf)

2012 Kenny Sweet (football)

2011 Joe Walp (golf)

2010 Jamie Ross (football)

2009 Charlie Dupee (soccer)

2008 Jack Heary (football)

2007 Tony Yeboah (soccer)

2006 John Misener (cross country)

2005 Sean Meehan (soccer/football)

2004 Ryan Flaherty (football)

FEMALE:

KAYLEE HELMICK, Senior-Volleyball

  • SMAA all-star, second-team

  • Captain

Helmick played a pivotal role in helping the young Rams make the playoffs much faster than a second-year varsity program was expected. Her leadership and skill on the court led to a memorable season.

Helmick grew up in Portland with softball as her top sport, but as a sophomore, she gave a new sport a try.

“I was always interested in volleyball and played recreationally,” Helmick said. “I heard Deering was getting a varsity team and I gave it a try. I love the team dynamic of volleyball. I’m very competitive and I love to win. My whole team doesn’t like to lose.”

The Rams played a junior varsity schedule that first season, then posted a .500 record in their first varsity year, which was Helmick’s junior campaign. She made the all-star second-team in 2015 as a setter, but this fall, Helmick became a hitter. She produced 115 kills and also served 80 aces.

Deering continued its progression and became a playoff team for the first time, with Helmick making big plays from start to finish. Helmick had seven kills in a season-opening loss to Bonny Eagle, eight kills in a win over Portland, nine kills in a win over Gardiner, 18 aces in a victory at Lake Region, five kills in a loss to defending Class A state champion Scarborough, nine kills in a victory against Kennebunk and 12 kills apiece in wins over Marshwood and Massabesic.

The Rams won nine matches before bowing out with a thrilling five-set loss to Bonny Eagle in the Class A preliminary round.

“I’m not surprised we did so well, I knew we had it in us,” Helmick said. 

Helmick has one final softball season to look forward to, then will attend college. She’s not sure she wants to play volleyball at the next level, but there’s little question she could pull it off.

That’s because Kaylee Helmick, Deering’s Fall Female Athlete of the Year, has shown she’s a natural on the court and her short time in a Rams uniform won’t soon be forgotten.

Coach Larry Nichols’ comment: “Kaylee was steady all season. She was easily capable of playing multiple positions. She was probably the best passer on the team, could have easily been the libero and was the main focal point for much of our offense. It was very easy to forget that her first contact with a volleyball was the spring of 2014 given her skill level at the end of this season.”

Prior winners:

2015 Simone Lauture (soccer)

2014 Rylie Turner (field hockey)

2013 Alexis Elowitch (soccer)

2012 Alexis Elowitch (soccer)

2011 Alexis Sivovlos (soccer)

2010 Amanda Masse (soccer)

2009 Jami LeRoy (field hockey)

2008 Jess Ruhlin (field hockey)

2007 Jess Ruhlin (field hockey)

2006 Chelsea Johnson (soccer)

2005 Ashley Morgan (cross country)

2004 Bronwyn Potthoff (field hockey)

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.