Falmouth Yachtsmen Fall Athletes of the Year

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MALE:

BRYCE MURDICK, Senior-Cross country

  • All-state, first-team

  • WMC all-star, first-team

Murdick had an excellent campaign on the trails, from start to finish, and capped his high school career as one of the state’s finest cross country runners.

Murdick started running with his Dad as a youngster and by the time he came to Falmouth as a sophomore, he was on the brink of stardom.

As a sophomore, Murdick placed 10th at the state meet and 51st at New Englands, top finishes for his team in both races. As a junior, Murdick was fifth at the regional championships, but didn’t run at states or New Englands.

He more than made up for that this fall.

Murdick began the season with a first-place showing in a race against Gray-New Gloucester and Greely, beating teammate and runner-up Soctt Lambert by 16 seconds. He also won meets at Kennebunk, Poland and Traip, placed 18th at the Festival of Champions and was the Division I and the combined boys’ champion at the Western Maine Conference championship meet.

Falmouth edged Scarborough for the Western A title, thanks in large part to Murdick’s third-place individual finish. At states, where the Yachtsmen were second to the Red Storm, Murdick was the individual runner-up, finishing a mere half-second behind Mt. Blue’s Aaron Willingham.

Murdick then capped his high school cross country career by placing 19th (11th for scoring purposes) at New Englands.

“I was very happy with my season,” Murdick said. “I accomplished everything I wanted to and more.”

Murdick said that his inner drive and love for the sport has led to his success.

“You know (running) will be painful, but you forget about the pain and attack that race, that day,” he said. “It’s cathartic. It’s the best feeling after you finish a race. Cross country is the purist sport. It’s all about what you bring that day. It’s the purist display of physical prowess.”

Murdick, who is also a top distance runner in indoor and outdoor track (he was seventh last spring in the two-mile) trains by running 50 miles a week. He plans to run in college and is weighing his options at the next level.

There are several schools interested in his talents. Bryce Murdick, Falmouth’s Fall Male Athlete of the Year, truly bowed out on a high note.

Coach Jorma Kurry’s comment: “Bryce was driven to show what he was capable of. Every setback was just an additional motivation that pushed him in the big races. He was a key low number in the scoring for us at big meets and his performances were exciting for the whole team. Bryce has really pushed himself to reach a new level this year and become one of the best runners in all of New England.”

Prior winners:

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)

FEMALE:

ELLE FITZGERALD, Senior-Field hockey

  • All-State

  • WMC all-star, Division I first-team

  • Captain

Fitzgerald was the engine that made the talented Yachtsmen go this fall, scoring in prolific fashion while proving that hard work pays big dividends.

Fitzgerald grew up in Falmouth. She played soccer as a youngster, but came to field hockey in middle school and soon became a natural. She made the varsity team as a freshman and was mentored by standout Megan Fortier.

“Megan was my idol,” Fitzgerald said. “To this day, I want to be like her.”

By her junior season, Fitzgerald was on the verge of stardom and after working hard in the offseason, she was unstoppable as a senior, scoring 19 of her team’s 35 goals, while setting up seven others.

Highlights included two goals in a season-opening win over Fryeburg, the only goal in a win over Greely, both scores in a victory over Kennebunk, two goals in a win over Lake Region, a hat trick against Freeport, the overtime winner (her second goal of the game) in a second win over Fryeburg, two more goals in a second win over Greely and two goals in a regular season-ending win over Gray-New Gloucester.

In the playoffs, Fitzgerald, who credits sophomore Sydney Bell for much of her success, scored a goal and had an assist in a preliminary round win over South Portland, but the Yachtsmen’s season ended with a quarterfinal round loss at Thornton Academy.

Despite her production, Fitzgerald wasn’t satisfied with her season.

“I feel like I could have done more,” she said.

Fitzgerald grew to love field hockey and that was evident every time she stepped on to the field.

“It’s a difficult and intricate game,” she said. “There’s no better feeling than chasing down the ball or going 1-on-1 with a goalie.”

Fitzgerald, who also plays attack in girls’ lacrosse and plays travel field hockey and lacrosse, hopes to play field hockey in college.

She clearly has what it takes to excel at the next level. Elle Fitzgerald, Falmouth’s Fall Female Athlete of the Year, sparkled as a senior and left an indelible mark on the Yachtsmen program.

Coach Robin Haley’s comment: “Elle was our leading scorer and our go-to person on corners. She has tremendous power and speed on the field, which often led to breakaways. She has great stick control and is able to finish it off with one of the strongest shots we’ve seen. It was amazing to see her evolve into the player she is today. What’s made her successful is the work she put in during the offseason. She would be the first person on the field before practice even started, working on various aspects of her game. She was an inspiration to the team as they wanted to rise to the level of her abilities.”

Prior winners:

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)

2002r: Ali Hollowell (Field hockey)

2001: Whitney Huse (Soccer)

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.