Falmouth Yachtsmen Winter Sports Preview

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BOYS’ BASKETBALL

COACH: David Halligan (28th year, 447-103 overall record, five state championships)

2013-14 record: 18-2 (Lost, 62-61, to Bonny Eagle in Western A semifinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Jack Simonds (Senior), Colin Coyne (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 5 YORK, Dec. 9 @ Yarmouth, Dec. 16 @ Poland, Dec. 18 @ Lake Region, Dec. 20 GREELY, Jan. 3 @ Cape Elizabeth, Jan. 6 @ York, Jan. 10 @ Greely, Jan. 13 YARMOUTH, Jan. 16 LAKE REGION, Feb. 3 CAPE ELIZABETH

COACH’S COMMENT: “We’ve been fighting the injury and sickness bugs. It’s a different challenge this year, but I’m pleased with how the young guys are doing. We have a lot of size. We have very good players who carry us until guys come back. We’re not planning on getting Thomas back, but if we do, that’s a plus. We’ll get better as the season goes along. The goal is to get back to the tournament and see what happens.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Falmouth might wind up a championship team, but it won’t come easily this winter. Thomas Coyne, the long distance sharpshooter, is out indefinitely with a broken foot (best case scenario has him back for the playoffs). Weep not for the Yachtsmen, however, as they have plenty of talent in reserve. This squad will remain a powerhouse in the Western Maine Conference regular season, then should be among the final squads standing in the Western A tournament for the second year in a row. For starters, Simonds, a star since his freshman season, is back and is hungry to bow out as a champion. Simonds was a first-team all-star last winter, averaging 15.9 points per game (ninth in the league) and 11.3 rebounds (second to graduated teammate Nick Burton). Look for Simonds to make a run at the league’s scoring title this winter. Colin Coyne saw limited time as a freshman and will now play a huge role, helping fill his brother’s shoes. He can knock down shots as well. Senior Luke Velas will be the point guard. He’s athletic and unselfish. Senior Jon Shaw, junior Nick Wisseman, sophomore Ben Simonds and freshman Jack Bryant will also factor into the backcourt mix. The frontcourt will feature juniors Sam Skop and Matt Wulbrecht and sophomore Sean Walsh, who stands 6-foot-4. Just because there are a lot of unfamiliar names on the roster, don’t think they can’t play. There are some impact players here. That will be demonstrated before Santa comes down the chimney. The Yachtsmen will be tested by several conference rivals, but still should be able to chalk up a good enough record to get them a relatively high seed for the Western A tournament. By then, Falmouth (especially if number 14 is back in action) might be the team best equipped for a run at a Gold Ball.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

COACH: Mari Warner (fifth year, 33-42 overall record)

2013-14 record: 6-13 (Lost, 50-41, in overtime, to Gorham in Western A preliminary round)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Jess Burton (Senior), Ally Hickey (Senior), Dayna Vasconcelos (Senior), Alaina Birkel (Sophomore), Adelaide Cooke (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 5 @York, Dec. 18 LAKE REGION, Dec. 20 @ Greely, Jan. 3 CAPE ELIZABETH, Jan. 6 YORK, Jan. 8 @ Fryeburg Academy, Jan. 10 GREELY, Jan. 16 @ Lake Region, Jan. 19 FRYEBURG ACADEMY, Jan. 27 @ Gray-NG, Feb. 3 @ Cape Elizabeth

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have four starters returning, six varsity players total. It’s a good nucleus. We’re trying to develop depth. We did great things in all of our scrimmages. We have good size and versatility. Staying injury- and foul-free will be important. Last year showed us what we can do, now we have to go out and gain confidence in the win column. Once we get confident, we’ll grow as a team.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: After last year’s playoff heartbreak, this could be the season the Yachtsmen take the next step, post a strong regular season record, then make a deep playoff run. Falmouth has some terrific athletes, size, skill and hunger and will pose a matchup nightmare for the opposition. Hickey was a third-team league all-star in 2013-14. She’ll play every position but point guard this winter, although she could probably play there too since she averaged 3.4 assists (sixth in the league) a year ago. Birkel will handle the point guard responsibilities and will get some help from sophomore Maddy Adams and freshman Candice Powers. The frontcourt features Burton, Cooke and Vasconcelos. Junior Jessica Collins and sophomores Abby Ryan and Hadley Wiggin will play key roles as well. The Yachtsmen will be very competitive within the league this year. Look for this squad to post a winning record and get back to the Western A tournament. This time, Falmouth shouldn’t have to travel for the preliminary round. If this squad comes together as hoped, it will be a very dangerous foe on the big stage.

BOYS’ HOCKEY

COACH: Deron Barton (fourth year, 50-13-2 overall record, two state championships)

2013-14 record: 17-5 (Beat St. Dom’s, 3-2, in overtime, to repeat as Class A state champion)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Jake Grade (Senior), Hunter Low (Senior), Connor MacDowell (Senior), Jack Mainella (Senior), Isaac Nordstrom (Senior), Brandon Peters (Senior), Reece Armitage (Sophomore), Robby Armitage (Sophomore), Chris Camelio (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 20 ST. DOM’S, Jan. 3 @ Bangor, Jan. 10 SCARBOROUGH, Jan. 14 @ Lewiston, Jan. 15 BANGOR, Jan. 19 @ Biddeford, Jan. 26 LEWISTON, Jan. 28 St. Dom’s, Feb. 5 @ Cheverus, Feb. 7 BIDDEFORD, Feb. 11 @ Scarborough

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have a bulls-eye and we know that. The bar is set. We have a long to way to go this year. We have some big holes we have to fill. We have a lot of bodies in the system. Nineteen of our 42 kids are freshmen. Our schedule is great. We’ll break the season into three parts and hope to grow through each one. If we work hard and stay injury free, we have a good shot. We have the personnel who can do it. We have a strong group of returning underclassmen with good experience.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Falmouth’s bulls-eye is bigger than ever after it repeated in such memorable fashion, on Grade’s storybook overtime goal in the state final. The Yachtsmen return an abundance of talent, have numerous future stars aching for their chance and remain hungry to finish atop the heap. That doesn’t mean it will be easy. Falmouth has to replace a big chunk of its offense after the graduation of All-Staters Andrew Clement and Tyler Jordan. This year, look for much of the goal scoring to come from All-State first-teamers Grade (25 points a year ago) and Nordstrom (44 points last winter), All-State second-teamers Peters (27 points in 2013-14), Reece Armitage and Low, as well as Robby Armitage, Camelio and Mainella. Senior Evan Bazinet, junior Josh Noyes and sophomore Henry Norris will be heard from too. Defensively, MacDowell is a top returner (Reece Armitage, Grade and Low are also listed as defensemen) in front of junior Ryan Bonnvie, who isn’t exactly new in goal. Two years ago, Bonnvie won 11 games, then watched as Dane Pauls got the glory. He’ll get his chance to lead this team to a championship. Three freshmen wings: Marcus Cady, Brendon Hickey and Louis Mainella, are potential stars of the future who might make an immediate impact. The Yachtsmen have a brutal schedule and are also scrimmaging some top teams from out of state and while that might affect the win-loss mark to a degree, it will only make this squad that much more tournament ready by late February. Falmouth once wore the stigma of not being able to win the big one. Now, the Yachtsmen own the hardware. If this group remains hungry and healthy, another bright shiny trophy could make its way back to the Falmouth High case.

GIRLS’ HOCKEY

COACH: Rob Carrier (sixth year, 62-32-4 overall record)

2013-14 record: 14-6 (Lost, 7-0, to eventual state champion Scarborough in West Region Final)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Alta Farrell (Senior), Meg Pierce (Senior), Camden Carrier (Junior), Sarah Hutcheon (Junior), Martina St. Angelo (Junior), Evie Clement (Sophomore), Ally Hurdman (Sophomore), Caroline Proctor (Sophomore), Devon Sarazin (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 6 @ Yarmouth/Freeport, Dec. 17 @ Capeflete, Dec. 31 YARMOUTH/FREEPORT, Jan. 1 GREELY, Jan. 6 @ Scarborough, Jan. 14 @ Lewiston, Jan. 28 SCARBOROUGH

COACH’S COMMENT: “There’s a nice mix of veterans and newcomers on this team and we have a nice balance on offense and defense. We return a lot, so we have a lot of experience to draw from. We’re learning some new systems and we’re introducing them slowly so it doesn’t overwhelm the team, but I expect by mid-December that we should have a good handle on it and start building off it heading toward the playoffs.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Falmouth has been knocking at the championship door for several seasons and this could be the winter the Yachtsmen kick it in. A squad that is well balanced between experience and youth has as much talent as anyone and is off to a 2-1 start, defeating Gorham/Bonny Eagle (8-0) and Capeflete (3-2) before losing Wednesday to Edward Little/Leavitt (3-1). So far, the offense has been paced by Hutcheon (four goals). She had 11 goals and six assists last winter and was an second-team all-star. Carrier (a West Region first-team all-star last winter) already has two goals and a whopping six assists. She’s coming off a 14 goal, 9 assist campaign. Other top scorers back include Clement (8 goals, 16 assists in a second-team all-star campaign), Proctor (10 goals, 10 assists), Sarazin (7 goals, 7 assists) and St. Angelo (14 goals, 6 assists during a first-team campaign). Freshmen Abi Lebel and Stone Carmichael are stars of the future, who will light the lamp at times. Farrell, Pierce, Proctor and St. Angelo are top defenders in front of Hurdman, who was an honorable mention all-star last winter and has played very well early this season. Falmouth will have to navigate a tough regular season schedule, but this team has the pieces in place to do something special. Don’t be surprised if this is the group that takes the program all the way to the top spot.

INDOOR TRACK

COACH: Jorma Kurry (16th year, five state championships)

2013-14 results:

(BOYS) 10th @ Class A state meet

(GIRLS) Tie-6th @ Class A state meet

TOP RETURNERS:

(BOYS) Spencer Brown (Senior), Andy Clement (Senior), Nigel Dunn (Junior), Noah Martin (Junior), Nick Sanzari (Junior), Josh Simensky (Junior), Sean Soucy (Junior), Tony St. Angelo (Junior), Jonah Spiegel (Sophomore), Aaron Thomas (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Olivia Baranowski (Senior), Kiersten Dyhrberg (Senior), Emma England (Junior), Lydia Farmer (Junior), Gina Pardi (Junior), Elizabeth Cyr (Sophomore), Mira Wyman (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Greely, York

COACH’S COMMENT: “It will be an exciting season. The boys return nearly everyone and have added some key pieces. Adding Bryce (Murdick) to the team gives us even more firepower in the distance events. Our relays should be very strong. We’ve added a few throwers, which should help. It should be a very strong team throughout the season and will be competitive at every meet. The girls have a good group of returning state meet competitors along with some much improved distance runners. We’ll be a strong regular season team with good relays. If the girls can build off previous performances, this could be a very competitive team at the state meet. It’s an enthusiastic group.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Both Falmouth teams have no shortage of talent. Now in their second year at the Class A level, look for the Yachtsmen to do plenty of damage.

The boys return two individuals who scored last winter. Clement was fifth in the 200 and could be even stronger this time around. He’ll also vie for top honors in the hurdles. St. Angelo was seventh in the high jump last year. He too should improve. Brown, Dunn, Martin, Simensky and Soucy all scored in the relays a year ago. Brown, Simensky and Soucy will compete in the distance races. They’re joined by Fall Male Athlete of the Year Murdick, sophomore Ben Wyman and freshmen Charlie Henning and Conner Piers. Dunn, Martin and Sanzari will be heard from in the sprints. Dunn also hurdles. Spiegel (jumps) and Thomas (pole vault) will make noise in the field events. Juniors Ted Pierson and Cole Wyse will look to score in the shot put. Falmouth will once again be a force at the conference level and this time, should return to the top five state meet status it’s so long been accustomed to.

The girls’ squad returns Cyr and England from a first-place 800 relay team. They’ll lead the sprinting contingent. Baranowski is a top hurdler. Pardi and Wyman are returning middle distance runners. They’re joined by Hannah Berzinis, Paige Chamberlain and Kaileigh Wimert. Farmer was third in the triple jump last season. She’s joined this winter by freshman Danielle Casavant and Charlotte Giordano. Dyhrberg looks to score in the shot put. If this squad improves as hoped, it will be an elite team in the conference and will be in position to really turn some heads in February.

SWIMMING

COACH: Dave Cox (fifth year)

2013-14 results:

(BOYS) 5th @ Class A state meet

(GIRLS) 9th @ Class A state meet

TOP RETURNERS:

(BOYS) Eric Anton (Senior), Jake Perron (Senior), Logan Herodes (Junior), Winslow Robinson (Junior), Nathan Ryer (Junior), Connor Perron (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Alana Braley (Senior), Kate Lannon (Senior), Madeline Winkeler (Senior) Charlotte Janelle (Junior), Keunjoo Kim (Junior), Blair Legere (Junior), Piper Alexander (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Cape Elizabeth, Greely

COACH’S COMMENT: “With our entire team returning, the boys look to improve on last year’s state finish. Jake will cap his remarkable career by leading the largest boys’ team we’ve had in years. A dedicated group of underclassmen are ready to start. The girls will rely on their depth during the dual meet season, despite losing a large group of experience to graduation. A solid senior core looks to improve on last year’s finish.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: For so many years, Falmouth’s girls had no peer, but the past couple seasons, it’s been the boys leading the way. Both teams should be strong this winter.

The boys are on the verge of doing something special behind Jake Perron, who won both the 50 and 500 freestyle last winter. Connor Perron was fifth in the 500 free last year and will be a force in all the long distance swims. Also returning are Anton (distance), Herodes (distance), Robinson (butterfly, individual medley), Ryer (fly and IM), sophomore Jeremiah Sands and veteran Dexter Desroisiers. Freshman Griffin Conley is a top diver to watch. The Yachtsmen will face a tough regular season schedule, which will pay off in February, when they go up against the best of Class A. This year, don’t be surprised if Falmouth moves up even higher when all is said and done.

The girls’ squad return two-time state diving champion Janelle, who has a great shot to make it three in a row. Alexander was seventh in the 500 free last year. She’ll be a top distance threat. Lannon (distance), Legere (IM and freestyle) and Winkeler (backstroke and distance freestyler) are captains. Braley (freestyle) and Kim (IM and backstroke) also have experience. This is a group that has the ability to not only defeat the teams on its regular season schedule, but is could make a move into the top five at states.

SKIING

2013-14 combined results:

(BOYS) 2nd @ Class A state meet

(GIRLS) Class A champion

ALPINE

COACH: Tip Kimball (12th year)

2013-14 results:

(BOYS) 6th @ Class A state meet

(GIRLS) 2nd @ Class A state meet

TOP RETURNERS:

(BOYS) Tom Lesniak (Junior), Cam Loncoski (Junior)

(GIRLS) Maggie Coster (Senior), Krysia Lesniak (Junior), Alex Shapiro (Junior), Audrey Morin (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Greely, Yarmouth

COACH’S COMMENT: “The team is the thinnest in numbers I’ve seen since I started as head coach. Our roster currently consists of only three boys and six girls. Nevertheless, the girls’ team is as enthusiastic as I’ve even seen. They’re determined to take the Alpine championship and defend last year’s Class A overall title. The boys will have to rely on a ‘ghost skier’ to have a chance at the podium, so our focus will be on individual results. I expect Tom to be a real contender.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Falmouth finds itself in an unfamiliar situation this winter, having to overcome a very small roster.

The boys’ squad will be led by Lesniak, who was runner-up in the giant slalom and third in the slalom last year. Loncoski placed 17th in the GS last year. Freshman Owen White rounds out the team. Those three are a solid core, but not enough to make an accustomed run at the title.

On the girls’ side, the opportunity exists for a championship run. That group is led by Lesniak, who placed second in the slalom and third in the GS last year, and Shapiro, who was second in the GS and third in the slalom in 2013-14. Coster was 18th in the slalom and 33rd in the GS, while Morin was 23rd in the slalom and 30th in the GS. That’s a great nucleus. Two freshmen, Caroline Keller and Nana Magueta, make the Yachtsmen even more formidable. After placing second as a team a year ago, Falmouth is bound and determined to go all the way this winter. Don’t bet against this talented group.

NORDIC

COACHES: Troy Barry and Sarah Beliveau (first year)

2013-14 results:

(BOYS) Class A state champions

(GIRLS) Class A state champions

TOP RETURNERS:

(BOYS) Ethan Cantlin (Senior), Iain Kurry (Senior), Scott Lambert (Senior), Gabe Mahoney (Senior), Devin Ventura (Junior)

(GIRLS) Anna Morin (Senior), Emily Rioux (Senior), London Bernier (Junior), Antoinette Lambert (Sophomore), Lucy Mahoney (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Cape Elizabeth, Fryeburg, Yarmouth

COACH BELIVEAU’S COMMENT: “We have an incredibly enthusiastic group again this year. If they continue to work hard and support each other as they have in the past, we expect to have another great season. Five of our top six girls return. We only lost one scoring senior on the boys’ side, leaving five of our top six scorers.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Falmouth had no peer a year ago and should be among the very best again this winter.

The boys return a top scorer in Mahoney, who was second in the freestyle and third in the classical last year. Kurry (sixth in the classical and eighth in the freestyle), Cantlin (10th in the freestyle) and Ventura (12th in the freestyle and 18th in the classical) are also back. Lambert will be in the mix as well, as will new senior Daniel Schmidt and freshman Simon Pratico. Colin Beliveau and Adam Meyer are also skiers to watch. Look for this team to be very formidable from the moment it first hits the trails right through the state meet.

On the girls’ side, while top scorer Gabrielle Farrell departed the program, Bernier (fourth in the classical and sixth in the freestyle), Morin (fourth in the freestyle and seventh in the classical) and Mahoney (sixth in the classical and 10th in the freestyle) are top returners. Lambert and Rioux will also be heard from. Freshman Meghan Cantlin will quickly work her way into the mix. Julianna Baranowski and Samantha Caruso provide depth. A repeat crown is certainly within the realm of possibility.

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

The sweet-shooting of senior Jack Simonds could carry Falmouth to the pinnacle this winter.

With his brother, Thomas, out with injury, sophomore Colin Coyne will have to step up a play a key role for the Yachtsmen this season.

Junior Thomas Coyne is one of the state’s elite players, but his injured foot has him out indefinitely. The Yachtsmen hope he’ll be back for the postseason.

Senior Jake Grade was the state game hero a year ago and will make his presence felt all over the ice this winter.

Senior Hunter Low will be one of Falmouth’s top defensemen this winter.

Senior Isac Nordstrom led Western Class A in scoring last season.

Senior Brandon Peters has a blistering shot.

Robby Armitage had a strong freshman season and will be a top goal scorer in 2014-15.

Sophomore Evie Clement is a premier goal scorer and is also unselfish with the puck.

Junior Sarah Hutcheon will score her share of goals again this winter.

Junior Martina St. Angelo will help protect Falmouth’s defensive zone.

Senior Spencer Brown is one of Falmouth’s lead distance runners this winter.

Junior Tony St. Angelo will look to be one of the conference’s top jumpers.

Senior Olivia Baranowski is back as one of the Western Maine Conference’s best hurdles.

Sidebar Elements


Falmouth’s boys’ hockey team repeated as Class A state champion a year ago in most dramatic fashion. The Yachtsmen are loaded for bear as they go for a three-peat this winter.

File photos.

More photos below.

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