Freeport Falcons Winter Sports Preview

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BOYS’ BASKETBALL

COACH: Matt Reid (first year)

2013-14 record: 2-16 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Brendan Qualls (Senior), Jack Davenport (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 5 POLAND, Dec. 10 @ Greely, Dec. 15 @ Cape Elizabeth, Dec. 18 YORK, Jan. 6 @ Poland, Jan. 8 LAKE REGION, Jan. 23 @ Yarmouth, Jan. 27 @ Lake Region, Jan. 29 FALMOUTH, Feb. 5 YARMOUTH

COACH’S COMMENT: “Things have been going well so far. The kids are working hard. We’re making progress. The question will be how quickly we can get it going. We need to take a ‘one day at a time’ approach. We want to win, so we have to prepare like a winning program and improve every day. We have to be more prepared and more confident. We want to make the tournament, but our schedule isn’t easy. Every game will be a test.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Freeport begins a new era as it welcomes Reid, the one-time Cape Elizabeth standout and longtime Jim Ray protege, as its new coach. The Falcons look to be competitive all season and if the pieces fall into place, they might even make a run to the playoffs. There is work to do, however. Replacing the production of graduated Chandler Birmingham will be a top concern. There also isn’t a ton of varsity experience. Qualls will look to play inside and outside and do some scoring. Davenport is a top backcourt threat. Freshman Ethan Sclar will run the point. Seniors Noah Butler and Nathaniel Cyr will also be part of the guard mix. Joining Qualls in the frontcourt will be sophomore center Matt Nielsen and senior Pete Lamagna, the football standout. Freeport will be a work in progress, but Reid is confident he can get the program on the right track. Look for this squad to be much more formidable by late January and February than it is to start. An improvement on last year’s win total is likely. While the playoffs might be a stretch, it won’t be long until the Falcons are back in the postseason.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

COACH: Mike Hart (first year)

2013-14 record: 8-10 (no playoffs)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Mackenzie Ackley (Senior), Lauren Cormier (Senior), Kayla Belanger (Junior), Jess Wall (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 10 GREELY, Dec. 12 @ Fryeburg Academy, Dec. 15 CAPE ELIZABETH, Dec. 18 @ York, Jan. 8 @ Lake Region, Jan. 13 @ Greely, Jan. 16 FRYEBURG ACADEMY, Jan. 24 @ Gray-NG, Jan. 28 LAKE REGION, Jan. 30 @ Falmouth

COACH’S COMMENT: “We still have a great deal of teaching left to do, however, I think we have a great group of unselfish players who are eager to learn. Our ability to compete will be determined by how fast they learn our new system. I look for us to get better every day.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The girls’ program also welcomes a new coach in Hart, who previously coached at Fryeburg and Morse. He inherits a squad which has been very competitive in recent seasons, but one which was hard hit by graduation after all-star standout and league leading scorer Nina Davenport, along with key contributors Livvy Dimick, Vanessa Lee, Jess Perry and Ashley Richardson, departed. This year’s squad has its work cut out, but could surprise. The Falcons have some size in Ackley and Wall. Belanger and Cormier are capable of knocking down shots. Seniors Jill Baker and Danielle Foster, juniors Kendra Harrison, Bailey Karnes and Morgan Karnes, sophomores Jessie Gray and Regan Lynch and freshmen Megan Cormier and Taylor Rinaldi round out the roster. Freeport will be able to compete against most of the league and hopes to take care of the teams at its level. If the Falcons can earn some early confidence, they’ll be in the playoff mix until the end.

INDOOR TRACK

COACH: Brian Berkemeyer (seventh year)

2013-14 results:

(BOYS) 10th @ Class B state meet

(GIRLS) 4th @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNERS:

(BOYS) Ramsay Dodge (Senior), Nick Wilson (Senior), Eric Brobst (Junior), Chandler Vincent (Junior), Max Heathco (Sophomore), Henry Jaques (Sophomore), Chandler Wyman (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Courtney Broderick (Junior), Chloe Hight (Junior), Ella Russell (Junior), Hannah Schnyder (Junior), Maddie Squibb (Junior), Emily Latulippe (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Cape Elizabeth, York

COACH’S COMMENT: “We’re a very young team, but this is our largest team ever with 27 boys and 27 girls. We lost a lot of key runners on the girls’ side, but we’ll look to do well at the relays and maintain our finish at the state meet. The boys look to improve on the distance side. Our goal is to get as many state qualifiers as possible and continue to send a few individuals to New Englands.”

FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Freeport has a lot of athletes to work with this winter, but many of them are young.

The boys’ team graduated standout Harrison Stivers, the defending Class B champion in the 400, but return distance standout and Fall Male Athlete of the Year Vincent. He’s joined in the longer races by Brobst and Jaques. Wilson and Wyman are top sprinters. Dodge and Heathco look to score in the throws. The Falcons will hold their own during the league season and have the individual firepower to move up at the big meets.

On the girls’ side, Hight (fifth in the 800 last year) is the top returner. She’s joined in the distance races by Russell and Schnyder. Broderick, Latulippe and Squibb will look to score in the sprints. Several other girls hope to make their presence felt. If so, this squad could be in for another top finish.

SKIING

2013-14 results:

(BOYS) 2nd @ Class B state meet

(GIRLS) 3rd @ Class B state meet

ALPINE

COACH: Jay Thomas (third year)

2013-14 results:

(BOYS) 2nd @ Class B state meet

(GIRLS) 7th @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNERS:

(BOYS) Caleb Abbott (Senior), Ryder Bennell (Senior), Blake Enrico (Senior)

(GIRLS) Wynne Cushing (Senior)

TOP FOES: Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Greely, Yarmouth

COACH’S COMMENT: “We’re looking for solid finishes from our senior racers and hope that we’ll have some of last year’s racers step up their game.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Freeport’s Alpine program is always among the elite and 2014-15 should be no different.

The boys return state meet scorers Abbott (fourth in the giant slalom), Bennell (eighth in the slalom) and Enrico (ninth in the slalom, 10th in the GS). That’s a solid nucleus. If the Falcons can get a few other kids to step up, they’ll make a run at the top spot.

On the girls’ side, Cushing was ninth in the slalom and 19th in the GS last season. She’ll look to bow out with even higher finishes while leading her team to a top five showing.

NORDIC

COACH: Dan Smith (first year)

2013-14 results:

(BOYS) 3rd @ Class B state meet

(GIRLS) 2nd @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNERS:

(BOYS) Kyle Dorsey (Sophomore), Bennett Hight (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Elizabeth Martin (Senior), Lily Johnston (Junior)

TOP FOES: Gray-New Gloucester, Yarmouth

COACH’S COMMENT: “We hope to duplicate or improve upon last year. Our girls are anchored by six seniors, most of whom are returning and two who have a legitimate shot at winning the individual state championship. Our boys’ team lost several top skiers to graduation, but we have a raft of sophomores returning and looking to stand out.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Freeport’s Nordic program is strong as well and will make a run at Class B glory this season.

The boys are led by Hight, who was 11th in the freestyle and 21st in the classical last season. Dorsey will also be heard from. Several other kids look to make their mark for a squad which should hold its own in the league and will make a run at greatness at states.

On the girls’ side, two standouts return. Johnston was the runner-up in the classical and fifth in the freestyle last winter. Martin finished second in the freestyle and seventh in the classical. Freshman Maya Egan will make an immediate impact and should help the Falcons soar to the top of the heap.

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

Senior Kenzie Ackley is a seasoned returner for the Falcons.

Senior Lauren Cormier will look to fill the hoop from the outside.

Junior Jess Wall will be a defensive stopper this winter.

Junior Chandler Vincent will be one of the conference’s elite distance runners.

Senior Elizabeth Martin is one of the premier Nordic skiers in the Western Maine Conference.

Sidebar Elements


Junior Kayla Belanger looks to have a breakout season for a Freeport girls’ basketball team which hopes to contend for a playoff spot 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.