Freeport Falcons Winter Sports Preview

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Freeport could be in for an exciting winter sports season. The boys basketball team stands to improve. Perhaps enough to make a run at the playoffs. The girls’ squad welcomes a new coach and could be very competitive. Track has some very good athletes. Both ski programs are as always, capable of doing great things.

BOYS BASKETBALL

COACH: Nick Jewett (second year)

2009-10 Record: 4-14 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Spencer Bernier (Senior), Joe Loeman (Senior), Kyle Strozewski (Senior), Mitch Loeman (Junior), Josh Soley (Junior), Josh Weirich (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 14 (H) FALMOUTH, Dec. 16 @ York, Dec. 21 (H) GREELY, Jan. 4 @ Wells, Jan. 13 @ Cape Elizabeth, Jan. 21 (H) YARMOUTH, Jan. 25 @ NYA, Feb. 1 @ Yarmouth

COACH’S COMMENT: “We’re still kind of a young team. Only one senior with experience. Last year’s sophomores did well over the summer. As we grow, we’ll see good things. I hope we believe in our system. If we do, successful things will happen. We could be anywhere from 4-14 to 10 or 12 wins. It’s a matter of how we come together. I’m hoping for a spot in the playoffs.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Freeport should be much more competitive in Jewett’s second season. Although the Falcons are still young, the foundation for success is in place. This could be a vastly improved program by the end of the year. Freeport lost its opener, 63-55, at Fryeburg, but almost put together an inspirational rally in the fourth quarter. Freshman Chandler Birmingham suggested that he could be a star in the making with a 16-point effort. He’s one of several newcomers ready to make an immediate splash. Freshman Mark Donahue will see time at point guard. Sophomore forward Abrim Berkemeyer brings toughness off the bench. Junior guard Chris Farley and a pair of senior transfers, 6-foot-6 Zach Grant (from Cheverus) and Adam Higgins (from Maranacook) all will contribute to making this squad stronger. The returning players are hoping for better results than the past couple seasons. Strozewski had 13 points in the opener. He’ll be a force inside. Weirich (12 points Friday) can play guard or forward. Mitch Loeman (10 points against Fryeburg) is the lead point guard. Bernier, Joe Loeman and Soley all play forward and stand at least 6 feet. The Falcons have the ability to get the job done inside as well as from the perimeter. Fundamentals and a consistent, solid defensive effort will be paramount. The playoffs are a lofty goal for this team, but improving last year’s win total is likely. By season’s end, Freeport will be able to hold its own with everyone and in a best case scenario, will earn an extra game. With so many underclassmen, the future is very bright.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

COACH: Jen Chon (first year)

2009-10 Record: 5-13 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Allyson Fuehrer (Senior), Erin Hall (Senior), Katee Poulin (Senior), Jess Hench (Junior), Alexandra Mitch (Junior), Aubrey Pennell (Sophomore), Leigh Wyman (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 14 @ Falmouth, Dec. 16 (H) YORK, Dec. 21 @ Greely, Jan. 6 (H) LAKE REGION, Jan. 21 (H) YARMOUTH, Jan. 25 (H) NYA, Jan. 27 @ Lake Region, Feb. 1 @ Yarmouth

COACH’S COMMENT: “My hope this year is to stay injury-free. We also need to use our quickness and speed to our advantage by keeping an up-tempo pressure style of defense the entire game. Since we’re a smaller team, we need to focus on becoming stronger individually so we can match up to the larger teams in the conference. My expectations are for the girls to give 110 percent and work hard to be able to double our win record from last year and be a contender for the playoffs. I hope to also develop ongoing support for the program and hopefully become a team to watch in the future.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Freeport welcomes a new coach this year in Chon, who served as Jay Harper’s assistant and the junior varsity coach for the past four years. She played at Cony for the legendary Paul Vachon and went on to the University of New Hampshire, where she played intramural basketball. Chon takes over a team that has the pieces in place for a march up the standings. If Wyman can stay healthy, she’s a potential all-star. She averaged 8.2 points per game before suffering a season ending injury as a freshman. Poulin is the point guard. She’s a solid defender (2.2 steals per game last winter). Pennell (1.7 steals per game in 2009-10) will also see time at the point. Hench and Mitch are other guards to watch. Inside, Hall and Fuehrer will battle against some of the better players in the state. They’re joined by junior Morgan Brown, a transfer from St. Dom’s, who could play a big role in the offense. Three new guards, sophomore Jocelyn Davee and freshmen Livvy Dimick and Ashley Richardson, will also see minutes. The Falcons suffered a heartbreaking loss in their opener, 40-37, in overtime, to visiting Fryeburg, which tied the contest with a long 3-pointer in the waning seconds of regulation. Pennell led Freeport with 16 points. Wyman added 11. The Falcons haven’t made the playoffs since 2004-05 and will have their hands full doing so this winter, but expect the team to play hard night in and night out and for that effort to result in some victories. With Chon making a concerted effort to develop the youth program, it won’t be long until Freeport will be back in contention on a regular basis.

INDOOR TRACK

COACH: Brian Berkemeyer (third year)

2009-10 Results:

(BOYS) No score @ Class B state meet (12th @ WMC meet)

(GIRLS) Tie-26th @ Class B state meet

ATHLETES TO WATCH:

(BOYS) Miles Boucher (Senior), Charlie Lehmer (Senior), Nate Pfeffer (Senior), Thomas Dodge (Junior), Zach Greene (Junior), Taylor Saucier (Junior), Mason Cyr (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Kelly Edwards (Senior), Abby Roney (Junior), Ciera Wentworth (Sophomore)

COACH’S COMMENT: “We’re a young team and the freshmen look to add to our depth. We have a very committed core group of returning runners. As always, our goal is to get as many state qualifiers as possible. This year, we have a shot at getting back to New Englands with possibly the boys’ 4×800 relay or some individuals. We’ll focus on improving every individual and having each member set and break personal records.”

FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Freeport’s track program will continue to produce solid performances this winter.

The boys didn’t score at states a year ago. This time around, the distance crew features Boucher, Cyr, Pfeffer, Saucier and sophomore Ian McGhie, who competed in outdoor track. Dodge and Greene sprint. Lehmer could threaten in the triple jump. The Falcons should score some points during the regular season and boast a few individuals who can do the same at the Western Maine Conference meet and at states.

On the girls’ side, last year’s Winter Female Athlete of the Year Adrian Baker has graduated. She was the team’s lone scorer. This year, Wentworth could be a force in the middle distance. Roney is a top sprinter and hurdler, Edwards runs the distance races. Freeport’s goals will be modest, but it could turn some heads in February.

SKIING

2009-10 Results:

(BOYS) 2nd @ Class C combined state meet

(GIRLS) 2nd @ Class C combined state meet

ALPINE SKIING

COACH: Eric Wallace (fifth year)

2009-10 Results:

(BOYS) 3rd @ Class C state meet

(GIRLS) 4th @ Class C state meet

TOP RETURNING SKIERS:

(BOYS) Ryan Collet (Senior), Evan Lamarre (Senior), Owen Petherbridge (Junior)

(GIRLS) Sarah Pier (Junior), Sadie Russell (Junior), Mia Thomas (Junior), Taylor Enrico (Sophomore)

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have a very strong team this year. Thee loss of three seniors has been replaced by a very solid group of freshmen who have done well at the middle school level. We’re looking forward to getting into the gates. The boys are right there to compete. The girls are looking strong and deep. I’m looking forward to seeing our results as we move forward.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Freeport always has one of the top Class C ski programs and the winter should be no different.

The boys’ Alpine team is paced by Collet, who was runner-up in the slalom and fourth in the giant slalom a year ago. He’s joined by Lamarre (25th in last year’s slalom) and Petherbridge (18th in the slalom, 27th in the GS). Sophomores Griffin Breer, Nick Cartmell, Brady Davis and Alec Salisbury and freshman Spencer Drake provide depth and hope for future success. The Falcons will be one of the best teams in the Western Maine Conference and will make the rest of Class C take note in February as they look to take one of the top spots at states.

On the girls’ side, Enrico is coming off a third-place effort in the slalom at states a year ago. She was 11th in the GS. Thomas (14th GS, 15th slalom) and Russell (20th slalom, 23rd GS) also scored. They’re joined by Pier, junior Abby Latulupe, sophomores Olivia Follower and Emily Smith and freshmen Elly Bengtsson, Emily Jennings, Lilly Lamerre and Elly Pier. Bengtsson and Pier will become familiar names in no time. Freeport will be solid all season and could be in the mix for the state title.

NORDIC SKIING

COACH: David Steckler (first year)

2009-10 Results:

(BOYS) Class C co-state champion

(GIRLS) 3rd @ Class C state meet

TOP RETURNING SKIERS:

(BOYS) Spencer Egan (Senior), Max Jennings (Senior), Scott Ross (Senior), Bennett Wade (Senior)

(GIRLS) Brina Dillon (Senior), Emily Martin (Junior), Ellie Soule (Junior)

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have a very ambitious group of seniors who want to take the conference and they have the skill and athleticism to do it. Our team was doing dry-land training on their own every day for three weeks prior to the coaches coming on board to supervise, which speaks volumes to their dedication to the sport.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Freeport’s Nordic program is coached this year by Steckler, a PSIA instructor at several major touring centers in New Hampshire and Maine and a former high school coach in the Granite State. He’s assisted by former Falcon skier Erik Krahn, Class of 2005. They have some promising talent under their direction this winter.

The boys’ team finished in a dead heat with Fort Kent last winter and hopes to win it all this time around. While the loss of Henry Loughlin (fourth in the classic, fifth in the freestyle last year) to graduation hurts, Freeport boasts top returners Ross (fourth freestyle, ninth classic), Jennings (sixth classic, 11th freestyle), Wade (12th freestyle) and Egan (12th classic). Senior Matt Creasy and junior Alex Sturtevant join the team along with Nick Nielsonwood, Logan Parker and Liam Wade. These boys will be heard from all season and have to be considered a legitimate threat to win a title in February.

On the girls’ side, the Falcons lost Lindsey Merrill (seventh freestyle, 12th classic last year) and Kiera Berkemeyer (24th classic, 25th freestyle), but remain formidable behind Martin (fourth classic, 10th freestyle in 2009-10), Dillon (21st classic) and Soule (24th freestyle). Junior Abigail Maloney and sophomore captain Lia Wellen are key additions to the team. This group has the goods to join the boys at the top of the standings when all is said and done.

Sidebar Elements


Senior Scott Ross is a top returning Nordic skier for the Falcons.

Senior Max Jennings is another Nordic ski threat for the Falcons.

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