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Another fantastic year of high school sports action is over.
Local athletes kept us riveted last winter, dazzled in the spring and enthralled in the autumn.
With a new year nearing, here’s one more look back to the thrills that made up 2010.
When 2009 gave way to 2010, the preseason favorite Falmouth boys’ basketball team was looking like the real deal, with Greely and Yarmouth close behind.
On the girls’ side, Greely was once again chasing York for top Western B honors. Falmouth was also in the playoff hunt.
On the ice, Falmouth and Greely’s boys’ teams were competitive, while the big surprise was the return to prominence of Yarmouth. Falmouth and Greely girls’ teams were also solid.
Skiing, swimming and track teams and individuals made a mark as they geared up for the postseason.
February vacation week brought the first hardware of the new year.
On the 15th, Falmouth’s boys’ indoor track team took the Class B championship as Kellen MacDonald (55 hurdles) and Will Wegener (400) won individual crowns. Greely’s Michael Burgess (shot put), Mark McAuley (800 and mile) and Hannah Werneth (girls’ shot put), along with NYA’s Henry Sterling (two-mile), also took home titles.
In the pool, both Greely teams shook off years of close calls by capturing Class B. The Rangers got individual wins from boys Ian Mecray (50 free) and Dan Spencer (100 free) and girls Sarah Easterling (individual medley and backstroke) and Sara Schad (100 free). Falmouth’s Ryan Conley (boys’ diving) and Nicola Mancini (girls’ diving) and NYA’s Emily McKinnon (girls’ 500 free) also captured individual titles.
On the slopes, Falmouth’s boys took the combined Class B championship, as did the Yarmouth girls. The Clippers also swept the Class B Alpine crowns, while Freeport tied for the top Nordic spot in Class C. Individually, champions included Falmouth’s Alexander Gowen (Class B boys’ giant slalom), Greely’s Maddie Whittier (Class A girls’ GS), Merriconeag-Waldorf’s Zoe Chace (Class C girls’ classic) and Yarmouth’s Becca Bell (Class B skimeister) and Reed Wommack (Class B boys’ slalom).
Attention then turned to the basketball championships.
On the boys’ side, Yarmouth was ousted in the Western B preliminary round. Greely was sent packing for the third year in a row by Cape Elizabeth in the semifinals. That left Falmouth, which ousted York in the quarterfinals and Mountain Valley in the semis. In the regional final, the Yachtsmen avenged a loss from the same round the year before, vanquishing two-time regional champion Cape Elizabeth, 53-40. On the 26th, in snowy Bangor, Falmouth and Camden Hills produced an epic state final, which saw the Yachtsmen prevail, 72-65, in overtime, for the school’s first Class B championship.
Falmouth and Greely were the lone local girls’ teams to make the playoffs and both ran into eventual champion York. The Yachtsmen were sent home in the quarterfinals. The Rangers made it to the regional final, but a scoreless first period sealed their doom and they lost to the Wildcats in that round for the second year in a row.
Hockey’s playoffs saw Falmouth and Greely’s boys lose in the semifinals on the 27th, while Yarmouth sprung an upset over Camden Hills. On the girls’ side, Greely lost to Lewiston in the East Region semifinals, while Falmouth made it to the West Region Final, only to lose to eventual state champion Cheverus.
On the 3rd, Yarmouth’s hockey team made its first regional final appearance in eight years and gave favored York everything it could handle before losing by a single goal to bring the curtain down on the winter season.
Locals then took a between-seasons rest, while many standouts were named to conference, regional and state all-star teams.
April and May
The short spring regular season featured better-than-expected weather and many teams in contention.
The defending Class B state champion Greely baseball team, along with Falmouth, NYA and Yarmouth were in the playoff hunt.
Greely softball was once again competitive.
Boys’ lacrosse featured defending Class B state champion Yarmouth not missing a beat, especially on its home turf. Falmouth made an early statement with a decisive win at Cape Elizabeth to emerge as the Western B favorite. Freeport, Greely and NYA were all in the hunt as well.
On the girls’ side, Falmouth, NYA and Yarmouth all made noise as they jockeyed for playoff positioning.
Area track stars geared up for the postseason.
The tennis story featured excellence from Falmouth and NYA’s girls’ teams.
On the 5th, Falmouth’s boys’ outdoor track team joined the indoor squad as Class B champion, thanks in part to individual wins from Alec Dunn (110 hurdles) and Kellen MacDonald (300 hurdles). That was only the beginning. Greely produced winners Michael Burgess (discus), Jon Higgins (javelin), Mark McCauley (800 and mile) and Tanner Storey (high jump) on the boys’ side and girls’ champion Katherine Harrington (discus). NYA’s Henry Sterling won the boys’ Class C mile and two-mile while Hannah Bewsey was the girls’ Class C champion in the high jump.
On the 12th, the Falmouth and NYA girls’ tennis teams repeated as state champs, the Yachtsmen winning Class B, while the Panthers took Class C.
Greely’s run at another baseball title ended with a palpitating extra inning loss to Cape Elizabeth in the semifinals. The Capers then ended Yarmouth’s finest Class B season to date in the regional final. Falmouth lost at Lincoln in the quarterfinals. In Western C, NYA made it to the semifinals before falling to top-ranked Dirigo.
Greely’s softball team advanced to the semifinals before losing to Maranacook.
Yarmouth’s boys’ and NYA’s girls’ lacrosse teams made it back to the state final, but reversed their results from the year before. First, the Clippers eliminated NYA in the regional final. The Panthers did the same thing to the Yarmouth girls. Falmouth’s boys were the top seed and got closer than ever to making it to states, but dropped an agonizing overtime decision to Cape Elizabeth in the regional final. Falmouth’s girls also made it to the regional final, but lost to Waynflete.
At states, NYA, after losses to Waynflete in the ultimate game in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009, finally vanquished the Flyers, winning 7-3. Yarmouth’s boys’ quest for another championship, in what would prove to be Craig Curry’s final game as coach, fell a goal short to Cape Elizabeth.
July and August
High school action took a short break, while familiar names competed in road races and American Legion ball. By mid-August, fall practice was underway.
Autumn brought football, soccer, field hockey, cross country, volleyball and golf excitement.
On the gridiron, one of the most exciting seasons ever began with Falmouth living up to expectations, Freeport and Greely surpassing them and Yarmouth looking every bit like a championship contender.
On the pitch, Yarmouth’s boys’ soccer team earned some early confidence with a win over defending champion Falmouth.
On the girls’ side, Yarmouth stole the headlines as an early upset over Falmouth gave coach Rich Smith his 200th victory. Freeport surprised early, while Greely was formidable as usual.
The NYA field hockey team rose to the top again, while Falmouth, Freeport and Greely were in the mix.
Several local cross country teams and runners hinted at greatness to come.
Greely’s seven-time state champion volleyball team proved mortal, but remained dangerous. Falmouth emerged as a top contender for a second year in a row, while Yarmouth was in the hunt.
Falmouth, Greely, NYA and Yarmouth’s golf teams all had their eyes on qualifying for the state match.
Golf held its state championship on the 9th. Falmouth won yet another Class B crown with a valiant effort. Yarmouth placed third. In Class C, NYA finished ninth.
NYA’s boys’ and Merriconeag-Waldorf’s girls’ won Class C cross country championships on the 30th. Greely’s boys took a regional crown, but fell to fifth at states.
After Falmouth and Freeport were ousted in the quarterfinals and Greely in the regional final, NYA’s field hockey once again stole the postseason headlines. The Panthers pounded Waynflete in the quarterfinals, eked out an overtime win over Livermore Falls in the semifinals (on junior Katherine Millett’s goal), then held off Telstar to win Western C. The state final versus Foxcroft Academy would come down to penalty corners, but the Panthers found a way to get the job done and take the state title for the second time in three seasons.
The soccer playoffs saw the Falmouth and Yarmouth boys advance to a third successive regional final showdown. NYA, the No. 8 seed in Western C, stunned top-ranked Wiscasset and No. 4 Hall-Dale to make it to the regional final as well.
On the girls’ side, Yarmouth earned the top seed in Western B, but was upset by resurgent Falmouth in the semifinals. Greely also bowed out in the semifinal round.
Football’s regular year provided a memorable ending when Falmouth rallied to beat Greely in the season finale, leaving both teams, along with defending regional champion Cape Elizabeth at 6-3. The squad had played an identical schedule and with only two playoff spots available, a coin toss was necessitated on the 30th. Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth survived, while Greely’s tremendous season came to a disappointing close. Yarmouth, meanwhile, was the top seed for Western C and drubbed Maranacook, 54-6, in the quarterfinals.
Soccer held its regional finals on the 3rd. Falmouth’s girls continued their improbable run with an upset victory at York. NYA’s boys stunned favored Waynflete, 1-0, to advance. That evening, in another chapter in their epic rivalry, Falmouth and host Yarmouth played scoreless through 80 minutes. In overtime, senior Cotter Jackson delivered the Clippers into the state final with a goal.
Three days later, NYA’s title hopes were dashed by Fort Kent in the state game. Falmouth’s girls got the job done, edging Caribou on a late penalty kick from senior Jess DiPhillippo. Yarmouth’s boys had no trouble with Ellsworth, scoring early and often en route to a 5-0 triumph, capping an undefeated season.
Football then had center stage all to itself. In the semifinals, Falmouth was quickly sent packing by Mountain Valley. Yarmouth, meanwhile, got a scare from Oak Hill, but advanced, 28-7.
The regional final would prove to be the Clippers’ sternest test. Yarmouth trailed Lisbon most of the way, but a late TD run from freshman quarterback Brady Neujahr lifted it to a 14-12 triumph.
In the state final against Stearns, the Clippers wouldn’t be denied, taking an early lead and cruising to a 34-6 win, capping a perfect season and giving Yarmouth High the distinction of being the first school in Maine history to produce a boys’ soccer and football champion in the same season.
Winter has returned and the fun begins again.
In boys’ basketball, Greely could be the team to beat, racing to an undefeated start, which included a win over Falmouth. Yarmouth, coming off a stunning 23-point win at Cape Elizabeth, will also be heard from.
On the girls’ side, Greely is still formidable, but still unable to defeat York, losing at the Wildcats in the teams’ first meeting last week. Falmouth should be in the hunt all season. NYA could threaten in Western C.
On the ice, Greely, for good reason, is the Western B favorite and has played like it to date. Yarmouth hopes to be there at the end. Falmouth could be one of the top teams in Western A. On the girls’ side, keep an eye on Greely and Falmouth as the season progresses.
Swimming has provided positive glimpses and track and skiing are about to get underway.
Say goodbye to the wonderful year that was. We welcome 2011 and look forward to a new batch of thrills.
Happy New Year everyone!
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]
Back in February, Falmouth’s boys’ basketball team held off Camden Hills in overtime and celebrated its first Class B championship.
NYA’s girls’ lacrosse team won the state championship for the first time in June.
Yarmouth’s boys’ soccer team completed a dominant season in November with an easy state final win over Ellsworth.