Falmouth’s spring sports teams are used to having their way with Class B competition, but this spring, the Yachtsmen (with the exception of lacrosse) will ultimately measure themselves against the best of Class A, due to the school moving up for the postseason due to increased enrollment figures. Baseball will hold its own regardless of class. The Yachtsmen knocked on the championship door last season, fell just short, but boast a lot of talent once more. The softball team could be a darkhorse. There is plenty of underappreciated talent waiting to make a mark. Boys’ lacrosse saw its two-year title run come to a close with an agonizing overtime loss in the regional final last season, but this year’s team has the necessary ingredients to get back to the top. A new era begins in girls’ lacrosse as Falmouth seeks to finally get to the pinnacle. Boys’ and girls’ track, as always, is is good shape thanks to a bevy of standout runners, jumpers and throwers. Boys’ tennis hopes regain the hardware after falling short a year ago and the girls’ team once more appears to have no peer, as it seeks to win a seventh successive title and stretch its match win streak into triple digits.
Coach: Kevin Winship (fifth year, 54-20 overall record, one state championship)
2013 record: 16-3 (Lost, 5-1, to York, in Western B Final)
Top returning players:Will D’Agostino (Senior), Addison Foltmer (Senior), Patrick Lydon (Senior), Cal Inlow (Junior), Caleb Lydick (Junior), Connor MacDowell (Junior), Ryan Mucci (Junior), Noah Nelson (Junior), Luke Velas (Junior), Connor Aube (Sophomore)
Pivotal games: April 28 YORK, April 30 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 7 @ Gray-NG, May 9 GREELY, May 12 @ Kennebunk, May 17 KENNEBUNK, May 21 YARMOUTH, May 23 @ Greely, May 28 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 30 @ Yarmouth, June 3 @ Poland
Coach’s comment: “We lost five starters, so we do have some holes to fill, but we have a good nucleus coming back. We’re seeing which young kids can fill roles. It should be a competitive season. We’ll play tough competition and we need to be ready every day. It’s all about getting wins because we need to get (Heal Points). I just want to get into the (Class A) tournament. If we do, anything can happen. I’m excited about this group.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Winship has established the Yachtsmen as an annual contender, but he’ll have his work cut out this spring. For starters, Falmouth needs to earn enough Heal Points to simply qualify for the Western A tournament, where it would then face a potential series of unfamiliar foes. Compounding matters, the Yachtsmen were affected by graduation, as key contributors Andrew Emple, Connor Murphy, Seamus Powers, Drew Proctor and two-time Falmouth Spring Male Athlete of the Year and reigning Western Maine Conference Class B Player of the Year Thomas Fortier, he of the three no-hitters last spring, all departed. That’s not to say there isn’t reason for optimism. This year’s staff will be anchored by Foltmer and Mucci. Nelson (the football quarterback), new sophomore Jess Melchiskey and freshman southpaw Reece Armitage are also expected to make a mark (Armitage already has during a preseason trip to Florida). MacDowell returns behind the plate, giving his pitchers a stable, veteran presence. He, along with Aube (.372 average, 15 runs scored in 2013), an outfielder and first-team all-star last year as a freshman, and the College of the Holy Cross-bound D’Agostino (.339, 21 hits, 10 RBI) last year), the shortstop and reigning all-star, will pace the offense. Foltmer and Nelson will also see time on the infield when they’re not pitching. Lydick and Velas are key cogs on the infield as well. Inlow and Lydon help anchor the outfield. Garnering enough regular season wins to qualify for the Class A tournament won’t come easily. Falmouth will be tested by several teams on its regular season slate. This squad knows how to win, however, and will demonstrate its balance and skill in the weeks to come. The Yachtsmen won’t be a high seed for the Western A playoffs, but once there, they will certainly make their presence felt. In a season devoid of a powerhouse team from the Southwestern Maine Activities Association, it might just be the newcomer who has the last laugh.
Coach: Ray Fox (second year, 9-8 overall record)
2013 record: 9-8 (Lost, 10-7, to Poland in Western Class B prelim)
Top returning players: Amanda Carver (Senior), Elizabeth Walker (Junior), Jessica Collins (Sophomore), Krysia Lesniak (Sophomore), Julia Treadwell (Sophomore)
Pivotal games: April 30 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 5 FRYEBURG, May 7 @ Gray-NG, May 9 GREELY, May 15 WELLS, May 19 @ Wells, May 23 @ Greely, May 28 CAPE ELIZABETH, June 3 @ Poland
Coach’s comment: “Defense was our Achilles’ heel last year. We need to enhance our overall team defense if we hope to improve on last year’s record. The pitching staff is solid.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth could be one of the feel-good stories of the 2014 season. This team can hit and pitch. Treadwell was a second-team all-star and an Underclass All-Star as a freshman. She went 5-4 on the mound and swung a potent bat as well (hitting .327 with two home runs and 13 RBI). She’s just one pitching option, as Carver (4-3) is quite effective as well. Carver is another top hitter, tying for second on the team in 2013 with a dozen RBI. Collins, last year’s leading hitter (.426), and freshman Maddie Rouhanna will see time behind the plate. Walker, who plays first base and the outfield, can crush the ball, leading the team with three home runs last spring, while driving in 12 runs. She might see some time on the hill as well. Lesniak, the centerfielder, led Falmouth in stolen bases and will help the offense play small ball when needed. For this team, it’s a simple game: Catch the ball and it will excel. Unearned runs spelled doom in 2013. Focusing on tightening up the defense should pay dividends. The Yachtsmen can pitch and several girls have demonstrated their ability to hit. If it all comes together, Falmouth should be able to hold its own against a challenging league schedule and get into the Class A tournament. If the Yachtsmen get there, even the traditional powers of the SMAA won’t want to see them with their season on the line.
Coach: Mike LeBel (eighth year, 69-29 overall record, two state championships)
2013 record: 9-5 (Lost, 9-8, in OT, to eventual champion Cape Elizabeth in Western B Final)
Top returning players: Brad Gilbert (Senior), Tyler Jordan (Senior), I.V. Stucker (Senior), Bryce Kuhn (Junior), C.J. Leighton (Junior), George Gilbert (Sophomore)
Pivotal games: April 29 KENNEBUNK, May 2 @ NYA, May 10 @ Cheverus, May 13 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 17 SCARBOROUGH, May 20 @ Yarmouth, May 28 GREELY, May 31 @ Kennebunk, June 6 CAPE ELIZABETH
Coach’s comment: “I have good, hard working kids. I don’t know if losing (in the regional final) last year has anything to do with it, but they’re doing what I’m asking them to do. We have experience now. Looking back, I’m surprised we played so well against Cape last year with just one returning starter. Losing Charlie (Fay) is big, but this year, we have a lot of depth and a lot of talent back. We have a lot of depth on defense. Tyler’s dominant on faceoffs. He’ll give us an extra 10 or 15 possessions per game. We’ll have some really, really good games this year, which is what I like. It’s always going to be close with us and Cape. We should be in the hunt. I like what we’re doing.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth’s record last spring was misleading, as it could have won every game it lost (four setbacks came in overtime). Had a few bounces gone their way, the Yachtsmen would be preparing to defend a third straight title. Alas, fate wasn’t on Falmouth’s side in 2013, but this spring could be different. For starters, rival Cape Elizabeth graduated a ton and while the Capers will always be formidable, the Yachtsmen believe they match up well. The addition of Kennebunk to Western Class B and the likely improvement of Greely spells a very challenging region, but by June, Falmouth will be primed to compete with all of those teams. One of this group’s biggest strengths is Jordan, a first-team league all-star a year ago who, in the tradition of Abyn Reabe-Gerwig, is almost unbeatable on faceoffs, meaning a high-powered offense is going to get the ball many more times during the course of a game than the opposition. That offense will be driven by Stucker, who made an immediate splash last year as a junior (he was first-team all-conference) and hopes to produce an All-American-type season this spring before taking his act to Roanoke (Va.) College. Brad Gilbert (second-team all-star), George Gilbert, Jordan, Kuhn and Leighton will also be very difficult to stop when the ball is on their stick. The Yachtsmen lack big names on defense, but LeBel is comfortable with that unit getting the job done. They’ll need to, as Falmouth breaks in a new goalie. Senior Nick Beaulieu is expected to start the season, but goalie-of-the-future, freshman Liam Tucker, should see key minutes as well. This isn’t the most hyped Yachtsmen team of recent years and it will be a process, but Falmouth can never be overlooked. If it can navigate a brutal schedule and stay healthy and confident, playoff glory will await. A sixth straight Falmouth-Cape Elizabeth regional final is a likelihood. Don’t be surprised if the Yachtsmen return to form this time around.
Coach: Kait Johnson (first year)
2013 record: 7-6 (Lost, 12-11, to York in Western Class B quarterfinals)
Top returning players: Caroline McKeon (Senior), Mikey Richards (Senior), Sabrina Smithwick (Senior), Julia Spugnardi (Senior), Angie Diphilippo (Junior), Elle Fitzgerald (Junior), London Bernier (Sophomore)
Pivotal games: April 30 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 2 @ Waynflete, May 14 GREELY, May 20 KENNEBUNK, May 28 @ Yarmouth, May 31 CAPE ELIZABETH, June 3 @ Greely, June 4 YORK
Coach’s comment: “I’m so excited to be part of the Falmouth lacrosse culture. The team has been working very hard in the offseason and preseason and is ready to go. I couldn’t be happier with the energy, excitement and dedication the girls have shown. We’re definitely a young team, but we have strong leadership from our upperclassmen. I expect to see great things from this team as well as breakout seasons from some unexpected youngsters.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: After 11 seasons as coach, Robin Haley, who led this program from infancy to the highest level of competitiveness, was replaced prior to this season. The new coach is Johnson, who played at the University of Massachusetts and the University of Vermont, coached at the University of Southern Maine and spent the past two seasons as the Portland girls’ coach. She inherits a squad that is hungry and should be right in the thick of things come June. Falmouth did lose five league all-stars, including All-American Molly Ryan and All-American honorable mention Alex Bernier, to graduation, but a strong core returns. Junior Leigh Bernardy will take draws. Captains Richards, Smithwick and Spugnardi will pace the offense, with help from London Bernier, Fitzgerald and freshmen Sydney Bell and Devon Sarazin. On defense, Diphilippo and McKeon, a captain, hold down the fort in front of sophomore Sarah Hutcheon in goal. Falmouth is in a brutally tough region, which not only includes two-time defending champion and state standard bearer Waynflete, but also powerhouse Cape Elizabeth, improved Greely, last year’s playoff nemesis, York, and this season, Kennebunk, a longtime contender. The Yachtsmen will be tested multiple times during the year, but this group should steadily improve and will be in position to once again make it to the postseason and be capable of doing some damage.
Coach: Danny Paul (13th year, four state championships)
(Boys) 2nd @ Class B state meet
(Girls) 6th @ Class B state meet
Top returning athletes:
(Boys) Spencer Brown (Junior), Andy Clement (Junior), Matt Edmonds (Junior), Scott Lambert (Junior), Gabe Mahoney (Junior), Bryce Murdick (Junior), Josh Simensky (Sophomore), Sean Soucy (Sophomore), Tony St. Angelo (Sophomore)
(Girls) Charlotte Cutshall (Senior), Jane Pryzant (Senior), Madeline Roberts (Senior), Jillian Rothweiler (Senior), Maggie Seitz (Senior), Olivia Baranowski (Junior), Lizzie Cattell (Junior), Keirsten Dyhrberg (Junior), Alta Farrell (Junior), Emma Van Wickler (Junior), Alexa Hoffman (Sophomore), Vishva Nalamalapu (Sophomore), Kaliegh Wimert (Sophomore)
Top foes: Cape Elizabeth, Greely, Lake Region, York
Coach’s comment: “We’ll be counting on what appears to be a potentially strong freshmen group, especially on the girls’ side. There are many returners from last spring and the winter and fall. Overall, our numbers are stable.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth has plenty of firepower once again, which means it should be very strong throughout the season and will be able to compete when it moves up for the Class A meet.
The boys return several scorers from a year ago. Leading the way is Clement, who was part of a second-place 400 relay team. He also came in fourth in the 300 hurdles. St. Angelo is a top jumper. He was third in last year’s high jump. Murdick (fourth in the two-mile last June) and Lambert (fifth in the two-mile) lead the distance charge. They’ll be joined by Brown, Simensky and Soucy. Edmonds and Mahoney bring experience as well. Senior Nick Burton, the soccer and basketball standout, is a key newcomer. This group will produce many thrills from several sources.
On the girls’ side, top returners include Cutshall, a standout jumper (she was second last year in the long jump) and sprinter (seventh in the 100 in 2013), and Roberts, a top distance threat (she was third in the two-mile last season). Nalamalapu (sixth in the two-mile in 2013), Farrell (seventh in the mile last season) and Hoffman are other distance runners of note. Wimert could move up in the racewalk (she placed fifth last season). Seitz will be a jumper and sprinter to watch (she was seventh in the triple jump last year). Other sprinters who will be in the thick of things include Rothweiler and Van Wickler. Baranowski, Cattell, Dyhrberg and Pryzant will also be in the mix for points as the Yachtsmen turn heads from April right into June.
Coach: Bob McCully (43rd year, 481-153 overall record, seven state championships)
2013 record: 12-2 (Lost, 5-0, to eventual champion Cape Elizabeth in Western B semifinals)
Top returning players: Brendan McCarthy (Senior), Aidan McGrory (Junior)
Pivotal matches: May 2 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 13 @ Cape Elizabeth May 20 NYA, May 22 @ Waynflete
Coach’s comment: “We are hopeful of doing well in the conference and in the Class A tournament. I’m hopeful that all three of my singles players will go very deep into the singles tournament.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: Ultimately last season, there was just one team that Falmouth couldn’t solve, Cape Elizabeth. The Capers and Yachtsmen seem to always jockey for titles, but this year will be different. There will be no playoff encounter between the ancient rivals, as Falmouth, which not too long ago competed in Class C, is now in the biggest class in the state. The Yachtsmen are ready to make Class A their own. McCarthy (a first-team league all-star last season) and McGrory (a second-team all-star) return in singles spots and after a year away, senior Justin Brogan is back as well. The two-time state singles runner-up, bound for Tufts University, gives this group a huge boost. All three stars will make a run at the singles title and it’s quite possible a pair might square off in the semifinal or final match. They’ll also do very well against the league. Doubles teams were up in the air at press time, but look for McCully to figure that out in the weeks to come. Players being considered included seniors Ben Aicher, Russell Barnard, Matt Hutcheon, Joe Lesniak, Tyler Robinson and Alex Teufel, sophomore Jamie Adelman and freshmen Trey Fallon and Peter Stegemann. This group has a great chance to not just be the best team in the Western Maine Conference, but to be the one raising the plaque as Class A state champion when all is said and done.
Coach: Sandra Stone (12th year, 155-14 overall record, eight state championships)
2013 record: 16-0 (Defeated Waterville, 3-2, to win sixth straight Class B state championship)
Top returning players: Katie Ryan (Senior), Olivia Leavitt (Junior), Julia Brogan (Sophomore), Caroline Ray (Sophomore)
Pivotal matches: April 30 KENNEBUNK, May 2 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 13 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 15 @ Kennebunk, May 20 @ NYA, May 22 WAYNFLETE
Coach’s comment: “We look to be a strong contender once again with 10 seniors eager to play, giving us good depth. I’m looking forward to a great season and to the challenge of possibly playing deep in the Class A playoffs.”
The Forecaster’s forecast: The surest thing in Maine high school sports this side of Skowhegan field hockey has now won six consecutive championships and 93 successive matches and there’s no end in sight, even though Falmouth will be facing a new set of foes this postseason. Stone is joined this spring by a new assistant, Cindy Churchill, a doubles player from Cumberland. Churchill replaces Barb Neff. What a reservoir of talent these coaches have to work with. For starters, Falmouth’s reigning Spring Female Athlete of the Year, Leavitt, also a first-team league all-star, returns as the number one singles player. She’s joined by sophomore standouts Brogan (a first-team all-star) and Ray (who made last year’s all-star team as a doubles player). At press time, the doubles teams projected to be Ryan (another reigning all-star) and freshman Kate Kelley and freshmen Mary Hyland and Amanda Watson, a bevy of youth suggesting that the Yachtsmen’s dominance is in no danger of ending anytime soon. Mix in seniors Lexis Anderson and Riley Burfeind, junior Meg Pierce and sophomore Annie Gott and Falmouth’s “swing” unit is stronger than many school’s ladder. Rest assured that Falmouth’s conference foes will be content suffering their regular season losses then wishing the Yachtsmen well in the Class A playoffs. Falmouth’s inclusion at the new level isn’t exactly being greeted with excitement as this program’s reputation (understandably) precedes itself. Barring injuries, it’s hard to see the Yachtsmen doing anything other than what they’ve done every season since 2008. Dominating and celebrating. The beat goes on.
Senior Will D’Agostino hopes to lead Falmouth to another state title before taking his show to Holy Cross.
Senior Addison Foltmer projects to be the Yachtsmen’s ace this spring.
Junior Connor MacDowell is one of the league’s best catchers and can hit the ball as well.
Junior Ryan Mucci will play a bigger role on the mound for the Yachtsmen this season.
Junior Luke Velas will be in the middle of the action all season.
Senior Amanda Carver hopes to lead the Falmouth softball team to great things with her arm and bat this spring.
Junior Elizabeth Walker will wield one of the more formidable bats in the league this season.
Senior I.V. Stucker is coming off an all-star campaign and before he takes his act to Roanoke (Va.) College, he hopes to lead Falmouth back to the Class B mountaintop.
Senior Brad Gilbert is another reigning all-star who will score his share of goals.
Senior Tyler Jordan will be one of the state’s premier faceoff men.
Senior captain Sabrina Smithwick and her Falmouth teammates welcome a new coach this spring and look to go deep in the tournament.
Junior Angie DiPhilippo is another key returner for the Yachtsmen.
Sophomore Sarah Hutcheon is back in goal for the Yachtsmen.
Junior Andy Clement is a top sprinter and hurdler for a Falmouth boys’ outdoor track team which should be among the best in the conference again.
Junior Bryce Murdick looks to finish near the front of distance races this spring.
Sophomore Tony St. Angelo was third in the high jump last year and hopes to finish even higher this spring.
Senior Maggie Seitz is a top returning sprinter and jumper.
Junior Olivia Leavitt is one of many standout players on a Falmouth’s girls’ tennis team riding a 93-match win streak. The Yachtsmen move up to Class A for the playoffs this spring, but have the necessary ammunition to win a seventh straight championship.
More photos below.