Deering Rams Winter Athletes of the Year

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PAOLO DEMARCO, Senior-Indoor track

  • Class A state champion, 400

  • School record holder, 300

  • All-New England, 300

  • All-State

  • SMAA meet MVP, Senior Division

  • SMAA meet champion, 200

  • SMAA meet champion, 400

  • Jim Daly Award winner

  • SMAA All-Conference, first-team, 200

  • SMAA All-Conference, first-team, 400

  • SMAA All-Conference, first-team, 4×200 relay

  • SMAA All-Conference, first-team, 4×400 relay

  • Nationals qualifier

DeMarco had a season to remember, one which etched his name in program lore and one which garnered praise from peers and coaches across the state and region.

DeMarco grew up in Portland and started running track in fourth grade. He took to it immediately. As a freshman, his interest grew to a new level.

“Coach (Gerry) Myatt made me fall in love with the sport,” DeMarco said. “He showed me freshman year that I could be good with effort.”

As a sophomore, DeMarco came in sixth in the 55 hurdles at states and as a junior, he placed third in both the 55 hurdles and the 400. 

DeMarco said he learned from 2015 Winter Male Athlete of the Year Hany Ramadan and realized he hadn’t reached his potential.

“I thought I was good enough, but Hany made me realize I had so much more,” DeMarco said. “He pushed me in practice every day. That motivated me to follow in his footsteps.”

This winter, DeMarco did just that, setting the school record in the 300 (his time of 35.52 seconds is tied for second all-time in state annals), going undefeated in the 400 and winning the Jim Daly Award as the outstanding regular season performer.

DeMarco, who also plays soccer and competes in outdoor track, continued his dominance in the postseason.

DeMarco won the Hank LaVallee Trophy for capturing the 200 and the Daniel J. Murphy Trophy for winning the 400 at Southwesterns. He was named the Senior Division MVP and won the Gordon Williams Trophy as a result. At the Class A state meet, DeMarco won the 400 with a time of 50.62 seconds and placed second in the 200. He was also part of a third-place 4×200 relay team. 

“I was surprised to accomplish so much,” DeMarco said. “I wanted to win states in the 200 also. I like the individuality of track. You get out what you put in.”

DeMarco went on to place sixth in the 300 at New Englands (35.52 seconds) and was part of an 18th-place 4×200 relay team. He also qualified for the New Balance Indoor Nationals in the 200 and put a bow on his season by producing a personal best time of 23.15 seconds.

DeMarco wants to win the 100, 200, 300 hurdles and 4×400 relay outdoors and qualify for nationals as well. He plans to run at the University of Maine next year.

He’s still getting better and that’s a scary proposition for the opposition. Paolo DeMarco, Deering’s Winter Male Athlete of the Year, learned that hard work pays big dividends and as a result, his accomplishments will go down in program history.

Coach Gerry Myatt’s comment: “Paolo has paid his dues and rose to the top. He’s very dedicated and worked hard to improve himself. He leads by example and became a student of the sport by watching, critiquing and learning from his teammates and his opponents.”

Previous winners:

2014-15 Hany Ramadan (track)

2013-14 Eric Delmonte (swimming)

2012-13 Jared Bell (track)

2011-12 Jon Amabile (basketball)

2010-11 Jon Amabile (basketball)

2009-10 Eddie Tirabassi (basketball)

2008-09 E.J. Googins (swimming)

2007-08 Chris Smith (wrestling)

2006-07 Brandon Carbone (basketball)

2005-06 Allen Stein (wrestling)

2004-05 Kyle Johnson (swimming)

2003-04 Brian Vail (track)


ABI RAMIREZ, Junior-Basketball

  • SMAA All-Conference, second-team

  • SMAA All-Defensive team

  • Coach’s Award winner

Ramirez’s effort and energy have to be seen to be believed and her ability to serve as an unmatched sparkplug helped the Rams to another successful season.

Ramirez came to Portland from Massachusetts when she was five and started playing basketball soon after.

“My Mom forced me (to play),” Ramirez said. “I thank her to this day because I fell in love with (basketball) at the first practice.”

Despite usually being the most diminutive player on the floor, Ramirez has always stood out, thanks to go-for-broke style. She spent her freshman year at Portland High and swung up to the varsity team late in the season. She came to Deering as a sophomore, but said she didn’t feel fully comfortable.

This winter, everything changed.

“Coach (Mike Murphy) said we needed a point guard this year and I saw it as my chance to show him that he could count on me,” Ramirez said. “I was much more comfortable and my confidence went way up.”

Ramirez helped spark a season-opening win over Portland and she would post solid numbers from start to finish. Ramirez averaged 25.4 minutes a game, led the Rams in assists (3.2 per game) and steals (2.0) and even came in third in rebounds (3.75). She also averaged 6.3 points and made both the SMAA second-team and the All-Defensive team.

Highlights included 15 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two steals against Portland in the opener, 13 points in a win at Sanford, 10 points in a victory at Bangor and 17 points, seven rebounds, five steals, two blocked shots and a pair of assists in a home win over Cheverus.

Ramirez was also solid in the postseason.

In the quarterfinals, she helped the Rams rally past Cheverus by scoring 10 points, grabbing four rebounds and also collecting two steals and two blocked shots. In a semifinal round loss to top-ranked Oxford Hills, Ramirez was limited with foul trouble and finished with five points.

Ramirez wound up tying for third in the league in assists (3.7 per game) and was 10th in steals (2.0). She was given Deering’s Coach’s Award for effort/attitude/production on both sides of the ball.

Ramirez says she’s happiest on the court and likes to put on a show.

“Basketball is my sanctuary,” Ramirez said. “I’m very competitive and I don’t like losing. I love the fast pace. It’s so fun to dive on the floor. I want to make the game fun for those who come and watch.”

Mission accomplished.

Ramirez, who also plays AAU basketball with the Blue Wave program, has one more season to frustrate the opposition, then she’d love to play in college.

Don’t ever bet against her. Abi Ramirez, Deering’s Winter Female Athlete of the Year, has an undeniable will and plays like she’s seven feet tall. That all adds up to a special player who is a lot of fun to watch.

Coach Mike Murphy’s comment: “Abi was tremendous for us. She’s so tough. She’s such a good player. She brings energy, she’s positive, she goes 1,000 miles per hour. She gets to spots most kids don’t get to. She’s just a great kid. She’s really learning the game. She’s fearless and competitive. She’s fun to coach. She is a terrific player and an outstanding individual on and off the court. We are blessed to have her at Deering ”

Previous winners:

2014-15 Amanda Brett (basketball)

2013-14 Emma Pontius (swimming)

2012-13 Genevieve Worthley (swimming)

2011-12 Genevieve Worthley (swimming)

2010-11 Kayla Burchill (basketball)

2009-10 Claire Ramonas (basketball)

2008-09 Diana Manduca (basketball)

2007-08 Diana Manduca (basketball)

2006-07 Nicole Garland (basketball)

2005-06 Emily Sweatt (swimming)

2004-05 Rebecca Schack (track)

2003-04 Megan Urban (basketball)

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

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