Greely Rangers Winter Sports Preview

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Don’t be surprised if Greely brings home multiple state championships in 2010-11. Boys’ basketball might just boast its best team this century. The girls are unheralded, but dangerous. Boys’ hockey is primed to make it two state titles in three seasons if all goes well. The girls’ team is in the title hunt as well. As always, both track programs are loaded. Both swim teams are reigning champions with perhaps more hardware in store. Alpine ski will be a factor and the Nordic program has a new coach and should also be in the mix.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

COACH: Ken Marks (24th year)

2009-10 Record: 14-6 (Lost, 51-43, to Cape Elizabeth in Western Class B semifinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Jon Coyne (Senior), Sam Johnston (Senior), Jake Levite (Senior), Tanner Storey (Senior), Nick Clark (Junior), Liam Maker (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 18 (H) FALMOUTH, Dec. 23 (H) YORK, Jan. 4 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, Jan. 11 (H) WELLS, Jan. 13 @ York, Jan. 25 @ Cape Elizabeth, Jan. 28 @ Falmouth, Feb. 4 (H) YARMOUTH

COACH’S COMMENT: “We’ve had a good preseason. I’m very happy right now. It’s going to be an exciting year. We have size and good guard play. We have a bench, four big men with different talents and all six guards can do different things. It’ll be a chess match. We can play different styles. I’m pleased with our chemistry. It’s going to be fun.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Since winning its last Class B title in 1998, Greely’s been as far as the semifinals six times and the regional final on three occasions, but hasn’t been able to get over the hump. In each of the past three seasons, it’s been rival and nemesis Cape Elizabeth which brought the curtain down. That might change this winter as the Rangers appear to have the best squad on paper as a new season dawns. Friday, in the opener, Greely held off host Traip, 59-48, demonstrating its balance in the process. While Johnston, as expected, led the way with 24 points, Storey added 11, Clark had 10 and four others got in the scoring column. Johnston, a scoring-minded point guard, is one of the premier players in Western B. He was a second-team all-star a year ago after finishing sixth in the conference in scoring with 14.4 points per contest and eighth in steals (2.2). He’ll be prolific in the weeks to come. Clark, Coyne, Maker and freshman Bailey Train will also fill the net. Down low, Storey (who stands 6-foot-6) and Levite, along with new senior Caleb King and freshman Michael McDevitt, will make life miserable for the opposition. The Rangers are certainly hungry for gold after so many agonizing exits in recent winters. Greely appears to have all the pieces in place for greatness. If they stay healthy and hungry and can improve steadily between now and February, the Rangers have a great shot to play in a state final for the first time this century.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

COACH: Billy Goodman (third year)

2009-10 Record: 18-3 (Lost, 50-38, to York in Western B Final)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Chelsea Bridges (Senior), Megan Coale (Senior), Sara Warnock (Senior), Caroline Hamilton (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 18 (H) FALMOUTH, Dec. 23 @ York, Jan. 13 (H) YORK, Jan. 21 @ Lake Region, Jan. 28 @ Falmouth, Feb. 11 (H) LAKE REGION

COACH’S COMMENT: “We lost five starters and our top six players. We have a lot of girls new to varsity basketball and a lot to learn. Our biggest challenge will be playing at varsity speed and decision making. We do have a lot of good players, but they haven’t earned or done anything yet. Making playoffs is the goal. We want to get there and then get to the Civic Center. If we work hard, I hope by February we’ll play good team basketball.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Greely was as good as anyone in Goodman’s first two seasons except when it went up against York. Last year, the Rangers lost only three times, but all three were at the hands of the eventual state champion Wildcats, bringing the curtain down on the careers of six seniors. This year’s squad is still talented but raw and it might take some time to get back to the upper echelon of contenders. It will happen. Greely got off to a great start Friday night with a 63-39 romp over Traip behind 16 points from Hamilton, 14 from freshman Mykaela Twitchell and 10 from sophomore Jaclyn Storey. When the Rangers are at their best, they’ll demonstrate inside-outside scoring balance and will shut down the other team’s top player as they did in the first outing. Greely will can its share of 3s. Not only can Hamilton knock down shots, but Coale and junior Haylee Munson will do the same. Sophomore Caton Beauleu runs the point. The front line is formidable also as Storey, Twitchell, Bridges and Warnock have diverse skills. The Rangers don’t feature an abundance of household names, but the team’s potential is undeniable. If this group can avoid the injury bug and allow Goodman to do his thing, they’ll be one of York’s top threats again. After back-to-back trips to the regional final, Greely isn’t expected to be one of the last teams standing this winter. The Rangers might just shock some people by the end of the year.

BOYS’ HOCKEY

COACH: Barry Mothes (17th year)

2009-10 Record: 8-9-2 (Lost, 3-2, to York in Western B semifinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: John Downey (Senior), Matt Labbe (Senior), Justin Murphy (Senior), Devyn Rogers (Senior), Michael Tuller (Senior), Pete Stauber (Junior), Kenny Richards (Sophomore), Erik Rost (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 18 @ York, Jan. 8 (H) SOUTH PORTLAND, Jan. 27 (H) YORK, Jan. 29 (H) BIDDEFORD, Feb. 1 @ Cape Elizabeth, Feb. 3 (H) YARMOUTH, Feb. 19 @ Yarmouth, Feb. 21 (H) FALMOUTH

COACH’S COMMENT: “We’re excited to get the season going and work on becoming better every day. I think the returning players, the seniors, juniors and sophomores who have played a lot of big games over the past few years, have learned a lot through those experiences. That should be something to really build on. It’s up to us, but I feel as if this group wants to work hard and accomplish things. Offense was a struggle last year, but that could change quickly for this team. We’re very excited about what the defensive group brings. Another strong point should be in net. Hopefully, we can start with a sharp focus right away. I know the players have high expectations, but we’re going to have to work very hard, be smart and committed to team hockey.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Greely hopes its recent odd-year trend continues and it makes it back to the Class B Final after falling in the 2007 state game and winning the program’s first championship two years ago. After a bit of a rebuilding year in 2009-10 culminated a superb effort in the playoff loss to York, this year’s squad is loaded for bear and is considered the early favorite in the region. The Rangers made an immediate statement Saturday night with a 5-2 home victory over Cape Elizabeth in the opener. Goals figure to be plentiful this winter. Murphy, an honorable mention all-star after scoring 14 times and adding 12 assists a year ago, will be one of the most prolific scorers in Western B. He had a pair against the Capers. Downey (eight goals, 10 assists), Stauber (nine goals, five assists in an All-Rookie campaign), Rogers (five goals, four assists) and Richards (four goals, four assists) are all capable of lighting the lamp on a regular basis. If that’s not enough, senior Shane Arnold, juniors Griffen Demick, Ben Hackett, Dan Mynahan, Jordan Tarbox and Nestor Taylor, sophomores Matt Ames and Brendan Trelegan and freshmen Aidan Black, Ted Hart (the younger brother of former Greely standouts Brian and Kevin Hart), Pete Hurley, Joe Saffian and Tommy Thompson are all fighting for ice time. The defense welcomes back Tuller, who missed almost all of last year with injury. He joins Rost, a member of the All-Rookie team, senior Andrew Hackett, sophomores Kyle Megathlin and Tim Storey and freshman Zac Doucette under the tutelage of assistant coach Matt Gilbert. Labbe is a rock in goal. He’s already seen his share of big-game action. Last year, his goals against average was a shade under 3 and his save percentage was .878. Senior Dan McKersie will also see some time between the pipes. The Rangers will be tested by a difficult schedule, but as always, will be at their best in late-February and March. Good luck denying this squad its place back at the odd-year state championship game table. Greely has that championship look. The Rangers just have to go out and get it done.

GIRLS’ HOCKEY

COACH: Nate Guerin (first year)

2009-10 Record: 8-10-1 (Lost, 3-2, to Lewiston in East Region semifinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Casey Benner (Senior), Maggie Bower (Senior), Michaela Finnegan (Senior), CeCi Hodgkins (Junior), Emma Seymour (Junior), Chelsea Andrews (Sophomore), Meg Finlay (Sophomore), Paige Tuller (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 18 (H) BIDDEFORD, Dec. 23 (H) FALMOUTH, Jan. 8 @ York, Jan. 12 (H) CHEVERUS, Jan. 15 (H) WINSLOW, Jan. 17 @ Falmouth, Jan. 22 @ Scarborough, Jan. 26 (H) ST. DOM’S

COACH’S COMMENT: “Even though we lost 11 seniors, we have a lot of talent returning to our roster. While we lack the explosive firepower of a single ‘superstar,’ I believe we have the deepest roster in the state. Our challenge as a team will be to come together and play as a unit. If our girls can learn to support each other and play an all-around team game, we will be very successful. We believe that we have the proper pieces in place to develop a highly competitive team. Our focus will be on getting our girls to take their games to the next level physically and mentally. Every game will be a challenge this season. The league is wide open and lots of teams will have chances to be successful.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Greely has been very successful in the first two seasons that the Maine Principals’ Association has sanctioned girls’ hockey. Two years ago, the Rangers reached the regional final and last year, they gave Lewiston fits in the semis. Coach Heather Geoghan did great things with the program, but stepped down after having a baby. She’s replaced by Guerin, who was the assistant last year after coaching boys’ hockey for four years in Ohio. He’s assisted by Matt Roy. So far this winter, the Rangers have had no trouble filling the net, but they sit 2-2 at press time. After a pair of tough 6-5 losses at talented Winslow and St. Dom’s, Greely bounced back with a 7-2 victory over Lewiston, then dispatched Brunswick, 5-1. Finnegan (a second-team all-star in 2009-10) has led the way offensively. She had four goals against the preseason favorite Saints. Finlay and Tuller (another reigning second-teamer) have also been heard from. Hodgkins (an honorable mention all-star last winter) always has a nose for the hockey goal, whether it’s in the fall or winter. Sarah Kurland (who scored a goal against Brunswick) and Megan Labbe join the team and add depth and sophomore Etta Copenhagen (a goal against Brunswick) is also dangerous. Defensively, Andrews and Benner (a first-team all-star last winter), along with two stalwarts from last year’s JV squad, Michelle Gray (a goal against Brunswick) and Halley Taylor, make life difficult for the opposition in front of goalies Bower and Seymour. As the Rangers hit their stride, they’ll tighten up defensively, but should continue to fill the net on a regular basis. This could be one of the finest squads around come playoff time and after coming oh so close the past couple years, Greely might be a team that takes the final step in 2010-11.

INDOOR TRACK

COACH: John Folan (18th year)

2009-10 Results:

(BOYS) 2nd @ Class B state meet

(GIRLS) 3rd @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNING ATHLETES:

(BOYS) Michael Burgess (Senior), Matt Davis (Senior), Brian Dolat (Senior), Jack Fellows (Senior), Jake Grandchamps (Senior), Jesse Lehman (Senior), Sam Mason (Senior), Nevin McCarthy (Senior), Matti Oberg (Senior), Grant Kern (Junior), Stefan Sandreuter (Junior), Austin Spencer (Junior), Liam Campbell (Sophomore), Ben Giffard (Sophomore), Jake Isaacson (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Emily Christensen (Senior), Meaghan Crowley (Senior), Katherine Harrington (Senior), Stella Keck (Senior), Dee Little (Senior), Elizabeth Morrone (Senior), Kerry O’Shea (Senior), Anna Whitaker (Senior), Abby Bonnevie (Junior), Catherine Fellows (Junior), Shannon Fitzpatrick (Junior), Melissa Jacques (Junior), Kaley Sawyer (Sophomore), Molly Fitzpatrick (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Falmouth, York

COACH’S COMMENT: “The boys have good senior points returning in field events. Sandreuter and Campbell lead a distance crew that can improve as the year goes on. Mason leads a solid, if untested sprint and jump bunch. We have lots of unknown and untested underclassmen. The girls have a nice combination of experience and youth. All the event clusters seem to be pretty balanced. We have a lot of newcomers. It’s way too early to see how things will play out, but many of the new athletes look promising.“

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Greely’s indoor track program has shortage of standouts as the new season nears.

The boys have been in the top two at states three years running and should be in the hunt for the title again. The Rangers will certainly miss the graduated Mark McCauley and Logan Price and their distance points. Campbell and Sandreuter hope to emerge and help lessen that blow. Mason (seventh in the 200 a year ago) is the lead sprinter. He’s joined by Giffard, Isaacson, Kern, Lehman, Oberg and new junior Colby Allred. The top field returner is Burgess, who won the Class B shot put crown last winter. Fellows was fourth. Dolat, Grandchamps and McCarthy are other throwers to watch. In the jumps, Spencer is coming off a season which saw him place fourth in the triple jump at states. New senior Alex Parenteau is a new jumper to watch. Davis competes in the pole vault. Greely has the potential to be very special. If many of these kids evolve as hoped, the Rangers will be in position by February to once again be a team without peer.

On the girls’ side, Greely hopes to claw back to the top after placing fifth and third the past two seasons. Hannah Werneth, the reigning Class B shot put champion, has graduated, but Harrington (third a year ago) is ready to move up and is joined by Fellows and sophomore Cassidy Storey. The Rangers have several pole vaulters, including Bonnevie (fifth last year) and sophomores Cora Lyden and Nina Oberg. In the jumps, Sawyer (fifth in the high jump), Molly Fitzpatrick (sixth in the long jump) and Whitaker (seventh in the long jump) are top returners. They’ll get help from Crowley and sophomore Kelsey Saunders. Christensen is the top returning runner. She came in sixth in the 55. Whitaker (seventh in the 55), Keck, Morrone and sophomores Robyn Estes, Lila Hall, Sarah Ingraham, Kathleen McKersie and Gabriella Morris will also be in the mix. Shannon Fitzpatrick, Jacques, Little, O’Shea, junior Julia Maine, sophomores Sarah Fitch and Jessica Wilson (a member of an outdoor relay champion) and freshman Kirstin Sandreuter (Greely’s Fall Female Athlete of the Year after a stellar cross country campaign) join them. Greely will fill events and has the potential to not only be the best team in the conference, but also to return to a spot (first in the state) it’s filled 13 times since 1991.

SWIMMING

COACH: Rob Hale (18th year w/boys’ team, 20th year w/girls)

2009-10 Results:

(BOYS) Class B state champion

(GIRLS) Class B state champion

TOP RETURNING SWIMMERS:

(BOYS) Jon Higgins (Senior), Ian Mecray (Senior), Peter Pacent (Senior), Dan Spencer (Junior), Nate Madeira (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Jackie Andrews (Senior), Meg Stroud (Senior), Sara Schad (Junior), Katie Whittum (Junior), Emily Domingo (Sophomore), Sarah Easterling (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Cape Elizabeth, Cheverus, Falmouth, Scarborough, Waynflete

COACH’S COMMENT: “The boys took a heavy hit with graduation. We lost most of our front line. We graduated 100 individual points, plus they were part of two winning relays. The cupboard is not empty but there is some shelf space. There are a number of potential freshmen but we will have to see how they adjust. Will they help us immediately or are they a project? Ask me in February. Locally we are one of the stronger programs. The girls also graduated a lot but those points were in depth. Our front line is still pretty much intact. As far as states, we come back to the pack some and I hear that there are some teams that got much stronger through some transfers and exchange students, so we will see.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Hale’s modesty notwithstanding, Greely is in great position to defend its long-coveted championships.

The boys lost Patrick Bowden and John Madeira to graduation, but Mecray and Spencer will do their best to keep the greatness going. Both won an individual event and were part of relay champions a year ago. Mecray is an elite sprinter. He won the Class B 50 free and was third in the 100 free in 2009-10. Spencer was tops in the 100 free and third in the 200 free. Nathan Madeira (eighth in the IM, 15th in the 500 free last year), Higgins (10th 50 free, 11th 100 free and Greely’s Fall Male Athlete of the Year after a stellar football campaign) and Pacent (16th in the 200 free) provide depth. Several newcomers will have a chance to step right in and become a factor. If that happens, the Rangers will keep their 14-year streak of top five state finishes alive.

On the girls’ side, Easterling is Greely’s reigning Winter Female Athlete of the Year. She had a breakout freshman campaign winning the Class B championship (and setting school marks) in the backstroke and IM. Her diversity allows her to swim anything. Schad was Greely’s 2009 Female Athlete of the Year. She won the 100 free (and set a school mark) and was runner-up in the 200 free a year ago. She’s as good as it gets in the sprints. Andrews (fifth 100 free, ninth 200 free), Stroud (fifth in the backstroke, tied for sixth in the 200 free), Whittum (seventh 50 free, 10th backstroke) and Domingo (seventh 500 free, 11th 200 free) also return and will excel. This group’s front line will make opposing coaches lose sleep. They have a great shot at repeating as state champion for the first time since Greely won in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

SKIING

2009-10 Results:

(BOYS) 3rd @ Class A combined state meet

(GIRLS) 5th @ Class A combined state meet

ALPINE SKIING

COACH: Mark Ouellette (15th year)

2009-10 Results:

(BOYS) 7th @ Class A state meet

(GIRLS) 2nd @ Class A state meet

TOP RETURNING SKIERS:

(BOYS) Peter Bailinson (Senior), Richard Judge (Junior), Luke Wilcox (Junior)

(GIRLS) Cat Ferguson (Senior), Jess Lalumiere (Senior), Abby Patch (Senior), Jordan Ouellette (Sophomore), Maddy Whittier (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Falmouth, Yarmouth

COACH’S COMMENT: We should be very competitive, especially on the girls’ side. We’re young, but if we live up to potential, we should be very good for a long time. The boys are very young with just one senior, but have shown super development.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Greely’s Alpine teams are in the running for the conference and state titles.

The boys return Bailinson, who was 42nd in the slalom at last year’s state meet. Judge and Wilcox provide depth and sophomores Shane Delbianco, Steven Volta and Mitchell Whiting will look to make an impact. The Rangers will get better as the season progresses and shouldn’t be overlooked in February.

On the girls’ side, Greely returns Whittier, who won the Class A giant slalom a year ago, Ferguson (11th in the GS and 16th in the slalom) and Ouellette (22nd slalom, 28th GS). Lalumiere and Patch have spent plenty of time on the slopes. Freshmen Jill Booth and Elyse Dinan hope to step right in and post fast times. The Rangers will be a factor against the best teams in the conference and state and should play a major role in deciding the champion.

NORDIC SKIING

COACHES: Greg Dolbec and Tyler Jasud (first year)

2009-10 Results:

(BOYS) 3rd @ Class A State Meet

(GIRLS) 6th @ Class A State Meet

TOP RETURNING SKIERS:

(BOYS) Jeff Aalberg (Senior), Connor Regan (Senior), Ryan Rybka (Senior)

(GIRLS) Audrey Parolin (Junior), Sammi Toorish (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Falmouth, Yarmouth

COACH’S COMMENT: “We hope everyone continues to improve and have fun. The team’s been growing. We have some good skiers. The boys are hoping for a top five finish at states”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Greely has a new tandem of coaches in Dolbec (a longtime running coach) and Jasud (a former ski racer). They take over a Nordic program which will contend.

The boys could be very strong behind Regan (10th in the freestyle, 11th in the classic a year ago), Aalberg and Rybka also return and hope to go out with a bang in their senior seasons. The Rangers will make life difficult for the rest of the conference and should make a run at another high state finish.

On the girls’ side, Parolin is the top returner. She was 31st in both the classic and freestyle a year ago. She teams with soccer teammate Toorish and looks to help the Rangers move up the standings. This team should be taken seriously.

Senior Sam Johnston will be one of the top players in Western Class B this winter and looks to lead Greely to its first regional crown this century.

Junior Caroline Hamilton will be a top scoring threat.

Senior Megan Coale is battling back from injury and is poised to have a big season.

Senior Chelsea Bridges looks to play a bigger role for this winter’s Rangers.

Junior Pete Stauber is another Greely star in the making.

Sophomore Kenny Richards looks to build on a solid freshman campaign.

Senior John Downey will score his share of goals this winter.

Senior Michael Burgess is the reigning Class B shot put champion.

Sophomore Kaley Sawyer had a breakthrough freshman season and will look to score again in the high jump.

Sidebar Elements


Senior Justin Murphy and his boys’ hockey teammates are dreaming of a state championship this winter.

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.