Falmouth Yachtsmen Fall Athletes of the Year

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JEREMIAH SANDS, Senior-Cross country

  • Class A South regional champion

  • All-State, first-team

  • WMC all-star, first-team

  • New England qualifier

Sands had no peer in Class A this fall and as a result, neither did his team, as Falmouth went on to make history by winning a first-ever championship in the state’s biggest class.

Sands spent much of his athletic life in the pool, but has emerged as a standout in cross country and track. He started running outdoors as a sophomore and as a junior, took up cross country and indoor track as well. 

“I really started to take running seriously when I was a junior,” Sands said. “We had graduated some very good runners and we needed people to step up. There are many things I love about cross country, whether that’s the weather or the trees or just the atmosphere of all the individuals and the team aspect.”

As a junior, Sands was 11th at the Class A cross country state meet.

This fall, he left the field in his wake. 

Sands started the season by finishing first individually and with the exception of a second-place finish behind Yarmouth standout Luke Laverdiere in late September and a third-place showing at the Festival of Champions in early October, was first every time out. 

The postseason saw Sands and his teammates take it to another level.

Sands won the Western Maine Conference race with a time of 16 minutes, 37 seconds. He helped Falmouth to a regional title with a first-place time of 16:39.41. Sands was third (15:59.32) behind Mt. Blue’s Tucker Barber and Mt. Ararat’s Cameron Meier at states, but the Yachtsmen won the championship. Sands capped his year with a superb race at New Englands, posting the seventh-best time (sixth for scoring purposes and first for Maine runners, 15:51.76).

“Honestly, I achieved more than I expected,” Sands said. “I found myself competing and racing with kids I never thought I would be on their level. I was just happy that I could achieve one thing with my team and that was to win states.”

Sands is self-driven and his commitment to excellence has paid off.

“I know what I am capable of and I will not accept anything less than my best,” Sands said. “My coaches and team also help motivate me. I could not ask for a better team or a better coaching duo.”

Sands is running indoors this winter, then will compete in outdoor track this spring (he was third in the mile and fourth in the two-mile a year ago). Sands plans to run in college and is weighing his options.

He figures to have many. Jeremiah Sands, Falmouth’s Fall Male Athlete of the Year, has been a quick study and has relied on a combination of his natural athletic ability and hard work to reach the front of the pack.

Co-coaches’ Jorma Kurry and Danny Paul’s comment: “Jeremiah earned the respect of everyone he competed against and with this fall. He’s learning to set long-term goals and focus on on the process of achieving them. His times this season rank among the best in Maine and beyond. His efforts throughout the fall have been steady and impressive. He has also provided important leadership to our team as a senior.”

Prior winners:

2015 Connor Aube (football)

2014 Bryce Murdick (cross country)

2013 Joe Lesniak (golf)

2012 J.P. White (soccer)

2011 Andrew Murry (soccer)

2010 Tim Follo (cross country)

2009 Gabe Hoffman-Johnson (soccer)

2008 Gabe Hoffman-Johnson (soccer)

2007 Jack Wyman (golf)

2006 Nick Ford (football)

2005 Adam Packard (golf)

2004 Connor Hollowell (soccer)

2003 Jimmy Velas (soccer)

2002 Brandon Bonsey (cross country)

2001 Brian Giggey (golf)


MALAIKA PASCH, Sophomore-Cross country

  • Class A state champion

  • All-State, first-team

  • WMC all-star, first-team

  • New England qualifier

Pasch overcame a frustrating freshman campaign to become the best female runner in Class A this fall, helping Falmouth to a terrific season in the process.

Pasch became a three-season runner in middle school. She finished second in the 800 last winter indoors, then was part of a state champion 3,200 relay team and was also runner-up in the 800 last spring. This fall, Pasch was a presence from the get-go and made her mark in cross country.

Pasch came in third behind two Yarmouth standouts in the first regular season meet, then finished first at a four-team meet at Freeport the next week. Pasch was second to Tia Tardy of Mt. Desert Island at the Festival of Champions, then kicked off the postseason in style by placing first at the Western Maine Conference championship meet with a time of 19 minutes, 11 seconds. At the regional meet, which Falmouth won, Pasch took the top spot again (19:18.13). She then won the Class A championship with a time of 18:22.02, edging Kennebunk’s Louise Holway (18:22.50), as the Yachtsmen finished second as a team. Pasch capped her season by posting the 14th-best time (18:29.87) at New Englands.

“It was basically my first season of (cross country) running, so I wanted to learn the best way to race at the length and then steadily improve my times,” Pasch said. “I’m an extremely competitive person not only with others but myself. I had some big goals coming into this season with one of them being to have a good team showing at the regional and state meets. I also have to contribute a huge part of my success and who I am as an athlete to my coaches. They are the most supportive people and spend hours working to help our team improve. 

“One of the things I love most about cross country is the team. Our team is extremely supportive, hardworking and knows how to make things fun. I also love the racing aspect of cross country and taking on the different challenges that every course presents. I’ve met such fantastic, talented, and dedicated people through running.”

Pasch, who is a member of Falmouth’s Student-Athlete Leadership Council, also belongs to Service Club and Smile Society. She will look to place first in distance events in indoor and outdoor track, then will seek to build on her accomplishments in cross country.

“I was happy with how my times progressed over the season, but there is always room to improve,” Pasch said.

If she continues to improve, everyone else will have to settle for battling for second place. Malaika Pasch, Falmouth’s Fall Female Athlete of the Year, has already established herself as a star and the best is yet to come.

Co-coaches’ Jorma Kurry and Danny Paul’s comment: “Malaika is an aggressive competitor who is a dedicated worker. She demands much of herself and always strives to improve. She is a great teammate, challenging her peers to improve and supporting them in their efforts to do so. After a freshman fall spent recovering from injury, she dedicated herself to return this year ready to race. She will likely continue to improve because she has amazing focus. As she learns more about training and racing, she is going to be exciting to watch over her high school career.”

Prior winners:

2015 Sydney Bell (field hockey)

2014 Elle Fitzgerald (field hockey)

2013 Riley Burfeind (volleyball)

2012 Cassie Darrow (soccer)

2011 Caitlin Bucksbaum (soccer)

2010 Kate Sparks (volleyball)

2009 Emma Wilberg (volleyball)

2008 Nicole Foley (field hockey)

2007 Maddie Grygiel (cross country)

2006 Emily Bowden (field hockey)

2005 Riley Haddock (field hockey)

2004 Riley Haddock (field hockey)

2003 Hannah Millick (field hockey)

2002 Ali Hollowell (field hockey)

2001 Whitney Huse (soccer)

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

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