Another year of high school sports action is in the rearview mirror, but the memories figure to linger for a long time.
Local athletes turned heads last winter 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 2011.
When 2010 gave way to 2011, the Cheverus boys’ basketball team was defending its championship in undefeated fashion en route to another top seed. Deering and Portland were also making runs to the Western A playoffs, while Waynflete was making its presence felt in Western C.
On the girls’ side, there was virtually no separation between Western A powers Deering and McAuley, with Cheverus not far behind. Waynflete was turning heads in Western C.
On the ice, the Cheverus boys and girls were pushing for a playoff spot.
Skiing, swimming, track and wrestling teams and individuals made a mark as they geared up for the postseason.
February vacation week brought the first hardware of the new year.
In track, Cheverus produced Class A individual champions Jack Terwilliger in the boys’ mile and two-mile, and Caroline Summa in the girls’ high jump. Deering’s Carleton Allen was the champion of the boys’ 55 hurdles, while Edie Pallozzi won both the girls’ 800 and mile.
In the pool, Deering’s Genevieve Worthley set a new record winning the Class A breaststroke and was also individual champ in the 200 individual medley. Waynflete fielded a team for the first time in decades and the girls were superb as Colby Harvey won the Class B butterfly and Ellen Silk took the 500 freestyle.
Attention then turned to the basketball championships.
On the boys’ side, in Western C, Waynflete won its first quarterfinal game at that level, as Joe Veroneau’s heroics led the Flyers past Wiscasset. Waynflete was then ousted by Dirigo in the semifinals. In Western A, Deering won its first playoff game in five years, upsetting Thornton Academy in the quarterfinals. The Rams were ousted by Bonny Eagle in the semis. Portland continued its late season resurgence by upsetting South Portland in the quarterfinals, but a close call wasn’t good enough in a narrow loss to Cheverus in the semifinals. The Stags went on to beat Bonny Eagle in the regional final.
On the girls’ side, Waynflete won its quarterfinal over St. Dom’s behind a record-setting 3-point shooting performance from Martha Veroneau, but lost to Livermore Falls in the semifinals. In Western A, Cheverus dropped a heartbreaker to Sanford in the quarterfinals, but both Deering and McAuley advanced. The Lions and Rams would make it to the regional final, where they produced one of the greatest games in state history, finally won by McAuley by a single point in overtime.
Hockey saw the Cheverus boys qualify for the postseason. On the girls’ side, Cheverus wasn’t able to repeat as state champion, losing to York in the West regional semifinals.
The first Saturday of March saw both the Cheverus boys and McAuley girls playing for Class A state titles.
The Lions went first and defeated Hampden Academy, 39-23, to win the Gold Ball for the first time since 2003. The Stags were looking good entering the fourth quarter, but Bangor rallied to hand them their first loss, 58-49.
The Cheverus boys’ hockey team was eliminated in the quarterfinals.
April and May
The short spring regular season featured much excitement and triumph.
Cheverus’ baseball team emerged as the squad to beat in Western Class A, but perennial power Deering wasn’t far behind. Waynflete was in the Western C hunt.
McAuley’s softball team was the best in the city.
Boys’ lacrosse featured perhaps the best team in Deering history, with Cheverus, Portland and Waynflete all in the hunt.
On the girls’ side, Waynflete, as always, was one of the top contenders for a state title.
Area track stars geared up for the postseason.
The tennis story featured excellence from both Waynflete teams, as well as the unbeaten Cheverus and McAuley girls. Waynflete’s Patrick Ordway won the boys’ individual championship.
On June 4, several city track stars won individual state titles. Cheverus’ Terwilliger won the 800, mile and two-mile, Summa took the high jump and Katie Shapiro won the discus. Deering’s Bryan White was tops in the shot put and Portland’s Imadhi Zagon bowed out with a crown in the 100.
On June 12, the Waynflete boys’ tennis team won another Class C championship and this time, it was joined by the girls at the pinnacle.
On the diamond, Deering was upset in the quarterfinals, Waynflete got to the semifinals before losing and Cheverus never met its match, emphatically defeating Lewiston to win a first state title.
McAuley’s softball team got to the semifinals for the first time before losing to South Portland, but the Lions set a new record for wins in a season.
The top local boys’ lacrosse story was Deering, which made it to a first ever regional final before being ousted by Lewiston, which had beaten Portland in the previous round.
On the girls’ side, Cheverus came from nowhere to storm to the Eastern A Final before Brunswick finally ended its Cinderella run. That left Waynflete, once again, as the last team standing. The Flyers, who had to scratch and claw to hold off Greely and Cape Elizabeth in the regional playoffs, met powerhouse Yarmouth in the Class B Final. The game would be a classic, but ultimately, Waynflete fell a goal short.
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 and golf excitement.
On the gridiron, Cheverus picked up where it left off. The defending state champions left little doubt that they had what it took for a repeat run. Deering and Portland were competitive as well.
On the pitch, Portland’s boys’ soccer team, a state finalist in 2010, once again impressed, along with Cheverus and Waynflete.
On the girls’ side, Cheverus, Deering and Waynflete established themselves as playoff contenders.
While Portland and Waynflete’s field hockey teams made some noise, defending regional champion Cheverus was once again tops in the city.
Cross country and golf teams hinted at success to come.
Golf held its state championship on Oct. 10. Cheverus came in second at the team state meet, while Deering was third. The next week, Deering senior Joe Walp tied for top individual honors in Class A.
Cheverus won another Class A girls’ cross country state title on Oct. 29, its third in succession.
Portland’s field hockey team stole the postseason headlines. As the No. 7 seed, the Bulldogs outlasted Thornton Academy in penalty corners in the preliminary round, upset Sanford in the quarterfinals and Westbrook in the semifinals to make it to the regional final for the first time in program history. There, Portland lost to Marshwood. Cheverus’ quest was derailed in the quarterfinals with an upset loss to Westbrook in penalty corners. Waynflete made it back to the Western C postseason before falling to Lisbon in the quarterfinals.
The soccer playoffs saw the Cheverus boys eliminate Deering in the preliminary round and upset Portland in the quarterfinals. The Stags were eliminated by eventual state champion Windham in the semifinals. In Western C, Waynflete’s recent run of playoff heartbreak ended. The Flyers blanked Wiscasset in the quarterfinals, then outlasted Hall-Dale in the semifinals on penalty kicks.
On the girls’ side, Cheverus was a winner over Marshwood in the preliminary round, but lost to defending champion Scarborough in the quarterfinals. Deering made it to the quarterfinals and had Cape Elizabeth on the ropes before suffering a painful setback in penalty kicks. Waynflete got to the regional final by virtue of wins over Hall-Dale and Old Orchard Beach as Becky Smith scored her 50th career goal.
Cheverus football went undefeated once again and had no trouble with Scarborough in the quarterfinals on Oct. 29. Deering went to Bonny Eagle in the quarterfinals and sprung the upset to advance.
Soccer held its regional finals on Nov. 2. The Waynflete girls lost in overtime to St. Dom’s, but the boys took care of business, avenging a postseason setback from the prior year with a victory over North Yarmouth Academy.
Three days later, the Flyers traveled to Hampden to meet Houlton for the Class C championship. The game went to double overtime, but ultimately, Waynflete prevailed, 2-1, on senior William Cleaves’ goal.
Football then had center stage all to itself. In the semifinals, Deering was pounded at Cheverus. The Stags trailed Thornton Academy in the regional final, before putting it together in the second half to advance to the Class A state game again. There, Cheverus dominated Lawrence from the start and rolled, 49-7.
Senior Spencer Cooke, who missed most of the postseason with an ankle injury, was named a Fitzpatrick Trophy finalist.
Winter has returned and the fun begins again.
In boys’ basketball, Cheverus is once again at the head of the pack, but has plenty of company from Deering and Portland.
The Stags have won their first five games, including victories last week over visiting Westbrook (73-47) and host Noble (74-22). Cheverus has a huge home showdown versus Marshwood Friday, then goes to Bonny Eagle Tuesday of next week.
The Rams are also 5-0 and have really turned heads in recent victories over host Noble (78-36) and visiting Sanford (63-31). Deering has a playoff rematch at Bonny Eagle Friday.
The Bulldogs dropped two of their first three, but turned the corner last week with wins at Bonny Eagle (66-47) and at home over Scarborough (63-60, in overtime). Portland hosted Gorham Tuesday and plays at Biddeford Tuesday of next week.
Waynflete could be even better than last year. The Flyers dominated visiting NYA last Wednesday, 57-18 to improve to 5-0. Waynflete returns to action Jan. 4 at home against defending Western B champion Cape Elizabeth.
On the girls’ side, McAuley is very much living up to billing in its title defense. The Lions rolled at Marshwood (58-34) and at home over Bonny Eagle (61-26) last week to improve to 5-0. McAuley is home with Biddeford Friday and plays at Windham Tuesday.
Cheverus won at Westbrook (43-32) and at home over Noble (52-18) to improve to 5-0. After a test at Marshwood Friday, the Stags host Bonny Eagle Tuesday.
Deering has won three straight after an 0-2 start. The Rams were winners last week at home over Noble (63-28) and at Sanford (38-32). Deering hosts South Portland Wednesday and Bonny Eagle Friday and plays at Kennebunk Tuesday.
Portland is still seeking its first win. The Bulldogs lost last week to visiting Bonny Eagle (59-38) and at Scarborough (50-38) to fall to 0-6. Portland is home with Gorham Friday and plays at Biddeford Tuesday.
Waynflete improved to 3-2 Wednesday with a 45-28 win at NYA. The Flyers figure to be in the Western C hunt throughout. They go to Cape Elizabeth Jan. 4.
On the ice, Deering isn’t fielding a team this fall. Cheverus improved to 3-1 with a 9-0 home win over Portland last week. The Stags next take the ice Jan. 5 at Cape Elizabeth. The loss to Cheverus (and a prior 5-1 home loss to South Portland) dropped the Bulldogs to 0-5. Portland is back in action Monday at home against Yarmouth.
The Portland girls have dramatically improved and were 5-2 after a 6-4 home win over Cape Elizabeth last week. The Bulldogs are at Gorham Monday. Cheverus is 3-3 after a 6-1 loss at undefeated Falmouth last week. The Stags host Scarborough Saturday and York Monday.
Swimming and wrestling have provided positive glimpses and track and skiing are about to get underway.
Say goodbye to the wonderful year that was. We welcome 2012 and look forward to a new batch of highlights.
Happy New Year everyone!
After eight long years, the McAuley girls’ basketball team celebrated a Class A state championship on March 5.
Back in June, the Waynflete girls’ lacrosse team came oh-so-close to another state title, but lost to Yarmouth by a goal in the Class B Final.
In November, the Cheverus football team celebrated its second straight Gold Ball.