Falmouth Yachtsmen Winter Sports Preview

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Senior Brendan Hickey will be a top scorer for Falmouth’s boys’ hockey team, which hopes to get back to the state final and avenge last year’s loss to Lewiston.

File photos.

More photos below.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Coach: David Halligan (31st year, 497-117 overall record, six state championships)

2016-17 record: 15-6 (Lost, 47-26, to eventual state champion Greely in Class A South Final)

Top returning player: Jack Bryant (Senior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 12 SCARBOROUGH, Dec. 22 GREELY, Dec. 27 vs. Cape Elizabeth @ Portland Expo, Jan. 9 WESTBROOK, Jan. 15 @ Thornton Academy, Jan. 26 SOUTH PORTLAND, Feb. 6 @ Westbrook

Coach’s comment: “Injuries are the big story. (Michael) Simonds and (Nikko) DePatsy are out for the year. We’re basically a new team. We lack experience, so we’ll struggle at the beginning, but we’ll compete. No one will feel sorry for us. We have some good young kids. There’s a lot of parity this year, which is good for us. We hope to get better as the season goes along and make the tournament.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth appeared primed to once again be on the short list of top title contenders, but the Yachtsmen have been decimated by injuries, as junior Nikko DePatsy and sophomore Michael Simonds suffered season-ending maladies. While Falmouth’s task has gotten much more difficult and while indeed, no one will take pity on the Yachtsmen, don’t be surprised if Halligan (who enters the season three wins shy of the coveted 500 career victory mark) gets this group back to the postseason, where it could be very dangerous.

Bryant is the lone returning proven entity. The football standout and Falmouth’s Fall Male Athlete of the Year, will play guard and will look to fill the scoring void left by the graduated Colin Coyne and Sean Walsh (who combined for 34 points per game a season ago). Bryant has help in the backcourt from senior Alex Marcotte and junior Sam Manganello. Sophomore Brady Douglas has the athleticism and dexterity to play guard or forward. In the frontcourt, junior Nik Hester, who stands 6-foot-7, will be a matchup nightmare. He’s joined by junior Doug Cooke and sophomore Emmitt Hamilton, who is 6-5.

The Yachtsmen have the ability to do a lot of positive things, but there will be growing pains and a learning curve. A tough schedule won’t help either. Don’t be surprised if Falmouth isn’t boasting a great record by season’s end, but it could be in a position where it peaks at the optimal time and is capable of springing an upset or two on the big stage.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Coach: Dawn Armandi (second year)

2016-17 record: 7-12 (Lost, 49-46, to York in Class A South quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Shannon Birks (Senior), Grace Dimick (Senior), Candace Powers (Senior), Grace Soucy (Senior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 8 @ Marshwood, Dec. 12 @ Scarborough, Dec. 15 BRUNSWICK, Dec. 22 @ Greely, Dec. 30 YORK, Jan. 26 @ South Portland, Jan. 30 MARSHWOOD

Coach’s comment: “We have low numbers this year, but the girls are working hard. We have three girls who are over 6-feet and we’ll try to utilize that size. We have a tough SMAA schedule this year. We want to get back to the Expo and finish strong.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth made nice strides in Armandi’s first season and gave York a scare in the quarterfinals. This time around, the Yachtsmen are senior-laden and look to make it to the postseason again, even though their schedule is very challenging.

Soucy is the lone returning starter. She’s got great range and will score her share of points. Joining Soucy in the backcourt will be Birks and Powers, the point guard. Dimick is a returning forward to watch. She’s joined in the frontcourt by senior Katie Rogers, who is poised to play a much bigger role this season. Other girls will have a chance to make a name for themselves in the weeks to come.

Falmouth will take some time to hit its stride, but this is a group that can legitimately entertain hopes of returning to the tournament. The Yachtsmen’s steady improvement will be evident.

BOYS’ HOCKEY

Coach: Deron Barton (seventh year, 96-28-3 overall record, two state championships)

2016-17 record: 16-4-1 (Lost, 6-2, to Lewiston in Class A state final)

Top returning players: Marcus Cady (Senior), Theo Hembre (Senior), Brendan Hickey (Senior), Louis Mainella (Senior), Jack Kidder (Junior), Garrett Tracy (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 13 @ Scarborough, Dec. 20 @ St. Dom’s, Dec. 22 BANGOR, Dec. 23 @ Cheverus, Dec. 27 BIDDEFORD, Dec. 30 SCARBOROUGH, Jan. 1 @ Greely, Jan. 3 @ Lewiston, Jan. 10 @ Biddeford, Jan. 19 @ Bangor, Feb. 3 LEWISTON, Feb. 6 CHEVERUS, Feb. 10 ST. DOM’S

Coach’s comment: “We got gutted by graduation losing the Armitages, then we lost four more kids to transfers, two to Juniors and two to prep schools, but the good news is that I had 19 seniors in the program and several have been nice surprises. Our strength will be in our leadership for sure. We have experience and talent. The kids work hard. We have our eye on the prize like we always do and I’m cautiously optimistic.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth won its third regional title in five seasons a year ago, but had no answers for a Lewiston juggernaut in the state game. Several top players then departed, which could affect some programs, but the Yachtsmen have ample talent in reserve and still have to be viewed as the team to beat in Class A South.

Falmouth’s offense will likely be prolific. The first line features Hembre and Hickey, who were both second-team all-stars last winter, along with promising freshman Owen Drummy. Cady, Kidder and Mainella make up the second line. That’s going to cause opposing coaches and goalies sleepless nights. The defense is led by Tracy. The Yachtsmen will likely use two goalkeepers this winter. Junior Iyendae St. Louis returns after seeing limited time in 2016-17. He’ll be pushed by freshman Sam Kidder.

While Falmouth has to navigate a schedule which includes all of the state’s best teams, regardless of region or class, this squad has the necessary talent to do so. There will be some speed bumps along the way, but rest assured that come February and March, the Yachtsmen will be firing on all cylinders. Just getting to the state final isn’t the goal. Falmouth hopes to finish what last year’s squad started and all indications suggest that it is quite capable of doing so.

GIRLS’ HOCKEY

Coach: Rob Carrier (ninth year, 109-45-6 overall record)

2016-17 record: 16-5 (Lost, 10-2, to St. Dom’s in state final)

Top returning players: Stone Carmichael (Senior), Abi Lebel (Senior), Reade Carmichael (Junior),  Kayla Sarazin (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 23 CHEVERUS, Jan. 1 @ Greely, Jan. 10 @ St. Dom’s, Jan. 12 @ Scarborough, Jan. 15 SCARBOROUGH, Feb. 1 @ Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland

Coach’s comment: “We’re a bit of a different team than in previous years. Our emphasis can’t be on size and we don’t have the same speed. We’re going to have to be more of a grind-it-out team, we’ll have to use our speed wisely and be disciplined on defense. We face a tougher schedule this year and it will be a long period of adjustment, but we’ll be a playoff team, which is our goal every year, and hopefully, we’ll be battle-tested and ready.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth has been the best or second-best team in the West/South Region for many years, but this winter, the Yachtsmen have company as the region has gotten stronger and graduation has depleted their ranks. Falmouth dropped its first three games (6-0 to Cheverus/Kennebunk, 7-3 to Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland and 6-0 to defending state champion St. Dom’s), but this team will soon turn the corner.

Sarazin was a second-team all-star a year ago. She’s a top defender, who can also put the puck in the net (5 goals, 10 assists last winter). Lebel is another offensive-minded defender (14 goals, 10 assists in 2016-17). Up front, Reade Carmichael was an honorable mention all-star last winter after scoring 15 times and assisting on a dozen goals. Stone Carmichael (11 goals, 5 assists) is another player for opposing defenses to key on. Sophomore Sammantha Means is a top new forward, while classmate JoJo Kaserman arrives to help out on defense. Junior Julia Bonnevie replaces Ally Hurdman in goal. She’ll get help from sophomore Hannah Dubinsky.

The Yachtsmen will get their offense going and that will lead to victories. While Falmouth has to contend with all of the best teams in the state, it will figure out how to prevail and once the playoffs roll around, this squad will be where it always is, giving other teams fits and looking to go on a deep run.

INDOOR TRACK

Coach: Jorma Kurry (19th year, six state championships)

2016-17 results:

(Boys) 11th @ Class A state meet

(Girls) 5th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Charlie Henning (Senior), Alex Kinley (Senior), Conner Lydick (Senior), Conner Piers (Senior), Jared Troubh (Senior), Ethan Ali (Junior), Kyle Bouchard (Junior), John Auer (Sophomore), Josh Bradford (Sophomore), Adrian Friedman (Sophomore), Ben Potter (Sophomore)

(Girls) Danielle Casavant (Senior), Andrea Coyne (Senior), Ellie Michaud (Senior), Chelsea Zhao (Senior), Caitlyn Camelio (Junior), Sophie Marcotte (Junior), Malaika Pasch (Junior), Sydney Williams (Junior), Maddie Marks (Sophomore), Molly McDermott (Sophomore), Delaney Wimert (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment “This is a building year for our teams. Both will work on becoming competitive in the SMAA this winter. There are strong pieces in place on the girls’ side, led by Malaika and Sophie and the return from injury of Caitlyn. We need to develop a lot of depth to be competitive in our league. The girls are working hard and it will be exciting to see who emerges. The boys have more depth, but need to become more well-rounded to compete with the stronger teams. We lack field depth and will work on that.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth might not be the favorite this winter, but the Yachtsmen will again boast several strong individuals and by the end of the season, will be very formidable.

On the boys’ side, Piers is the top returner, having placed runner-up in the two-mile last season. The Yachtsmen, coming off a cross country state title, will feature additional distance depth in Auer, Henning, Kinley, Potter, Troubh and freshmen Ben Greene, Aidan Hoffman and Faran Igani. Ali, Bouchard, Friedman, junior Seamus O’Brien and freshman Alvaro Fuentes are sprinters to watch. Friedman and Lydick hope to score in the hurdles. On the field side, Bradford has experience throwing the shot put and Fuentes is a jumper. Falmouth will be chasing the likes of Deering, Scarborough and Thornton Academy, but you can never write the Yachtsmen off.

On the girls’ side, Pasch is the top returner after winning the mile and placing third in the 800 last winter. She’s joined by McDermott, Wimert and sophomore Annalise Rodrigue. In the sprints, Marcotte returns after placing sixth in the 200. Camelio, Marks, Michaud and freshmen Avi Fishman, Amabelle Klatsky and Maria Neuhauser are other sprinters to watch. Hurdlers of note include Marks and Williams. On the field side, Zhao returns after coming in sixth in the pole vault. Coyne also pole vaults. Jumpers to watch include Casavant, Marcotte and Michaud. Freshman Shruti Joshi can cover a multitude of events. Falmouth will be one of the top teams throughout the regular season and another top five state meet finish is a distinct possibility.

SWIMMING

Coach: Betsy Perron (first year)

2016-17 results:

(Boys) 8th @ Class A state meet

(Girls) 5th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Griffin Conley (Senior), Caleb Robinson (Senior), Gunter Haug-Pavlak (Junior), Jacob Seeker (Junior)

(Girls) Ada Causey (Senior), Emma Robinson (Senior), Ellie Sharp (Senior), Sarah Baumann (Junior), Madison Fairfield (Junior), Hannah Fishman (Junior), Keller Gardner (Junior), Daisy Parker (Junior), Grace Perron (Junior), Mae Causey (Sophomore), Marina Fuentes-Cantillana (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “I’m looking forward to my first season as coach. The boys will be tapping into the potential of several swimmers, who, though they’re new to high school swimming, are very athletic and should be solid contributors. The girls hope to be a formidable opponent with the combined forces of our upperclassmen, a promising new diver and 10 new freshmen, most of whom have considerable competitive experience.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth should be in store for another competitive campaign behind Perron, who served with the program previously in an assistant’s role.

The girls’ team returns six athletes who scored at states a year ago. Grace Perron leads the way. She was fourth in the 500 free and sixth in the 200 free. She hopes to do even better this time around. Gardiner was seventh in the 100 free, Mae Causey placed eighth in the 50 free (she’ll also swim the 100 fly this season), Fuentes-Cantillana was eighth in the breaststroke, Baumann scored in the 200 free relay and Fishman scored in the medley relay. Ada Causey (500 free), Fairfield (fly), Parker (200 free), Robinson (200 free) and Sharp (backstroke) are other veterans to watch. This group will be very strong all season and could make a run at another top five finish at states.

On the boys’ side, multiple state champion Connor Perron has graduated, but Conley, third in diving a year ago, will be a top scorer. Haug-Pavlak and Robinson scored in the 200 free relay last winter and provide experience. Seeker (distance sprints) and juniors Matt Hoganauer and Brendan Mittleider are other swimmers to watch. Look for the boys to also show steady improvement and be in line to make some February memories.

ALPINE SKIING

Coach: Tip Kimball (15th year)

2016-17 results:

(Boys) Class A state champions

(Girls) 5th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Owen White (Senior), Gibson Scott (Junior), Nick Shapiro (Sophomore)

(Girls) Ella Boyd (Senior), Caroline Keller (Senior), Olivia Dewolf (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “The boys’ team is looking as strong, if not stronger, than last year with the addition of some talented freshmen. They are hoping to defend their Class A title. The girls are currently working hard in dry land training. Their numbers are few, but they are committed to achieving top results.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: As always, the Falmouth/Waynflete co-op team has no shortage of downhill skiing talent as a new season dawns.

The defending state champion boys return Scott (runner-up in the giant slalom and third in the slalom), White (eighth in the slalom and 14th in the GS) and Shapiro (20th in the slalom) from last year’s state meet. Freshmen Ben Adey (a Waynflete student), Ben Keller and A.J. Noyes arrive to provide depth. The Yachtsmen will be in the hunt for February glory once again.

On the girls’ side, Audrey Morin will be missed, but Keller (eighth in the slalom and 12th in the GS a year ago), Boyd (21st in the GS) and DeWolf (49th in slalom and 56th in the GS) all return. Ella Holland is a top newcomer. Falmouth/Waynflete has the pieces in place to finish even stronger than it did a year ago.

NORDIC SKIING

Coach: Kaitlyn Bernard (third year)

2016-17 results:

(Boys) 2nd @ Class A state meet

(Girls) 5th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Graham Bernier (Senior), Simon Pratico (Senior), Ethan Livingood (Junior), Jake Mitchell (Junior), Ben Rooks (Sophomore)

(Girls) Meghan Cantlin (Senior), Kaitlyn Dowling (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We have a much larger team than we have had in previous years, so we’re excited to see how much stronger we will be. I’m also very excited to have eight girls. We’ll be able to field a full team this year. We have some really strong returners, especially our seniors who have all been skiing together since middle school. Our first few days have practice have been really fun and focused. We’re excited for a great season and hoping for lots of snow at Pineland.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth is poised for big things on the Nordic side of things as well.

The boys were the second-best team in Class A a year ago and hope to take that next step this winter. Livingood (fifth in the classic a year ago and sixth in the skate) and Pratico (fourth in the skate and eighth in the classic) are top returners. Bernier (23rd in the classic) is also back. Mitchell and Rooks provide depth and freshmen Vance Boyd and Marcus Goodbody arrive to make the team even stronger. The Yachtsmen might just be the best of the bunch by the time all is said and done.

Falmouth’s girls return Cantlin (41st in the classic and 42nd in the freestyle last winter) and Dowling (34th in the freestyle). Freshman Eva Clement is a top newcomer to watch. This year’s team has a lot more depth and will be well equipped to compete in the conference and perform well in February.

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

Senior Jack Bryant is the lone returning starter for Falmouth’s boys’ basketball team.

Look for senior Grace Soucy to score some big baskets for Falmouth’s girls’ basketball team, which hopes to return to the tournament.

Senior Theo Hembre is another strong returning player for the Falmouth boys.

Senior Conner Piers was runner-up in the mile a year ago and returns to try and move up a spot and lead Falmouth’s boys’ indoor track team to another strong season.

Malaika Pasch won the Class A mile as a sophomore and will be one of the state’s top distance runners again this winter.

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