Greely Rangers Winter Sports Preview

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Anna DeWolfe was a revelation as a freshman. As a sophomore, she hopes to lead Greely’s girls’ basketball team to a state title.

File photos.

More photos below.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Coach: Travis Seaver (fifth year, 55-26 overall record)

2015-16 record: 16-4 (Lost, 65-52, to Brunswick in Class A South semifinals)

Top returning players: Jordan Bagshaw (Senior), Shane DeWolfe (Senior), Matt McDevitt (Senior), Ryan Twitchell (Senior), Zach Brown (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Dec. 9 CAPE ELIZABETH, Dec. 12 YORK, Dec. 15 @ Brunswick, Dec. 17 YARMOUTH, Jan. 3 @ Falmouth, Jan. 10 @ Yarmouth, Jan. 20 @ York, Jan. 27 MARSHWOOD, Jan. 31 @ Cape Elizabeth, Feb. 3 @ Westbrook, Feb. 9 FALMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “We’re getting there. We still have stuff to work on. It’s nice to have a lot of returners. Our seniors are talented, athletic and motivated. Different guys can handle the ball, which makes us tough. We want to go as deep as we possibly can. We know expectations are high, but we’re excited. The kids are handling it well.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely was the top seed for the Class A South tournament a year ago, but was upset by Brunswick in the semifinals. This season, with a lineup littered with seniors, the Rangers know it’s now or never to capture the Gold Ball which has eluded them for nearly two decades. The pieces are in place to do big things.

Speaking of size, Greely boasts plenty of it in McDevitt, who was a first-team all-star last year after finishing seventh in Class A South with a 15.4 points per game average and seventh in rebounding (7.1), Twitchell (fifth in rebounds, 8.5 per contest), who will play baseball at the University of Rhode Island next school year, and new 6-foot-6 junior Jack Kane. McDevitt and Twitchell will be top scorers, as will Bagshaw, a guard, who was fifth in scoring (18.2), third in 3-pointers (46 in 18 games) and eighth in assists (3.0) during a first-team all-star campaign a year ago. Brown and DeWolfe also have experience at the guard position.

The Rangers are favorites for good reason, but their region is loaded. Defending state champion Falmouth has a new look, but remains dangerous, Cape Elizabeth is always a contender and the likes of Brunswick, Marshwood and Westbrook also stand in the way. Greely will score its share of points. The Rangers need to play staunch defense and be at their best in February. After so many near misses, this group is ready to finish the job.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Coach: Todd Flaherty (first year)

2015-16 record: 17-4 (Lost, 66-56, to eventual state champion York in Class A South Final)

Top returning players: Molly Chapin (Senior), Isabel Porter (Senior), Moira Train (Senior), Anna DeWolfe (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Dec. 12 @ York, Dec. 15 BRUNSWICK, Dec. 17 YARMOUTH, Dec. 20 @ Gorham, Jan. 3 @ Falmouth, Jan. 10 @ Yarmouth, Jan. 20 YORK, Jan. 24 GRAY-NG, Feb. 9 FALMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “We’ve had an excellent preseason. We have a good core back and some freshmen impact players. There are high expectations here and rightfully so. We expect to compete every night and steadily improve. If we can stay healthy, we’ll be there at tournament time.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely wasn’t able to go back-to-back last year, falling to the eventual champs in the regional final, but the Rangers could very well make it two championships in three seasons if all goes well this winter. Greely boasts one of the state’s best players, who is only a sophomore, and a terrific supporting cast of accomplished athletes ready to win another Gold Ball. After Joel Rogers stepped down, the Rangers welcome a new coach in Flaherty, who played basketball at Morse, coached in the Morse system for 15 years and spent three years as a coach at St. Dominic Academy. He inherits a team that is loaded and is wearing a bulls-eye.

Any discussion of Greely has to start with DeWolfe, who broke on to the scene in memorable fashion as a freshman, averaging a league high 20.4 points, as well as 3.6 assists and 3.1 steals. She’s unstoppable in transition and can bury the 3 if you leave her open. Best of all, DeWolfe, who is already a captain at her young age, is unassuming and unselfish and that’s a good thing when you consider the caliber of her teammates. Porter and Train, who are also captains, have shown the ability to knock down big shots, as well as play staunch defense. Chapin, the other captain, was last seen helping the volleyball team to a state title. She’ll be a force down low and can score and rebound. Sophomore Emma Spoerri saw limited time as a freshman and will play a much bigger role this winter, as a post presence. Two freshmen, guard/forward Katie Fitzpatrick and guard Brooke Obar, have turned heads in the preseason and will be key parts of the team’s success over the next couple months.

The stage is set for Greely to make a title run. If the Rangers can stay healthy, hungry and focused, it’s hard to imagine anyone in the region standing in their way.

BOYS’ HOCKEY

Coach: Barry Mothes (23rd year, 265-176-14 overall record, three state championships)

2015-16 record: 6-12 (No postseason)

Top returning players: Ryan Megathlin (Senior), Colby Robinson (Senior), Adam Rost (Senior), Jack Saffian (Senior), Ryan Sullivan (Senior), Peter Lattanzi (Sophomore), Jackson Williams (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Dec. 10 @ Gardiner, Dec. 17 @ Scarborough, Jan. 2 @ Falmouth, Jan. 14 @ Cape Elizabeth, Jan. 21 YARMOUTH, Jan. 24 @ Brunswick, Feb. 2 TA, Feb. 7 GARDINER, Feb. 9 BRUNSWICK, Feb. 11 @ Gorham, Feb. 15 YORK, Feb. 18 @ Yarmouth

Coach’s comment: “We’re hoping to pick up where we left off after going 4-3 in our final seven games last year. We want to build momentum earlier in the season and get back in the postseason mix. We feature an interesting blend of experienced seniors, a number of juniors and sophomores who gained valuable varsity time a year ago and a talented group of incoming freshmen who could make an immediate impact. We’ll run three regular lines at least and may have the depth to run four. We should have a veteran presence on defense. We need to produce more offense to take a bit of the pressure off the defense. Once again, we play one of the most challenging schedules of any Class B team. We hope those games push us to build and improve.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely made a late push for the playoffs a year ago, but fell just short. This winter, the Rangers are in a jumble of Class B South teams that will bid to dethrone Yarmouth.

The offense is paced by Megathlin (6 goals, 6 assists last season) and Saffian (9 and 8). Lattanzi (6 goals last year) and Williams (7 points) will also be heard from, as will senior Ian Grant, juniors Matt Dubbert and Quinn Molloy. Greely welcomes four new freshmen, Jack Brown, Matt Kramlich, Jake MacDonald and Andy Moore, who will provide depth. On defense, Robinson, Rost and Sullivan (an honorable mention all-star last season) are seasoned leaders. Junior Ben Kennedy also has experience. Juniors Andrew Eckhardt and Cole Stetson and senior Owen McIntyre, last year’s Most Improved Player as voted on by his teammates, help the cause in front of senior goalie Josh Lawless (4-3 last year with a 3.00 goals-against-average and a .884 save percentage). Junior Greg Kamra and sophomore Karsten Bourgoine will also be in the hunt for time between the pipes.

Greely has plenty of potential and you can bet that Mothes and his staff will turn this squad into a contender in the weeks to come. There are few easy games in this conference and every one comes with big playoff implications. The Rangers hope for a faster start this winter and if they get one, they’ll not only be in the hunt to make the playoffs, but perhaps host a quarterfinal. It’s been a long three years since Greely has been to Lewiston for a semifinal. Don’t be surprised if that drought comes to an end as the Rangers return to their rightful perch as one of the league’s and state’s best.

GIRLS’ HOCKEY

Coach: Nate Guerin (seventh year, 92-26-3 overall record, two state championships)

2015-16 record: 19-1 (Lost, 5-4, to eventual state champion St. Dom’s in North Region Final)

Top returning players: Emilee McGillicuddy (Senior), Ellie Schad (Senior), Nica Todd (Senior), Bridget Roberts (Junior), Courtney Sullivan (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 17 @ Scarborough, Jan. 2 @ Falmouth, Jan. 14 @ EL/Leavitt, Jan. 26 EL/LEAVITT, Feb. 2 @ St. Dom’s

Coach’s comment: “We’re looking to return to the North Region Final and find a way to beat St. Dom’s. St. Dom’s is the team to beat and I think we’re capable of doing that.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: It’s understandable if St. Dom’s is on the Rangers’ mind after the Saints spoiled Greely’s bid for a perfect season a year ago. The Rangers beat St. Dom’s in the regular season, but dropped a heartbreaker in an epic regional final and while Greely isn’t the favorite this time around, if all goes well, it could be the last team standing. The Rangers did lost at home to the Saints, 9-2, but has since dominated Biddeford/TA (8-0), Winslow (11-0) and Mt. Ararat/Morse (10-0).

This year’s offense will be paced by Sullivan, who erupted for 28 goals and added 18 assists last season, a year which saw her named to the North Region all-state team. Sullivan is already on a pace to score even more than last year as she hopes to help fill the void created by the graduation of standout Danita Storey. McGillicuddy, Roberts (an honorable mention all-star in 2015-16), Schad (15 goals, 10 assists during an all-state campaign last season) and senior Victoria Lattanzi will also be in on the scoring fun. Todd returns in goal. She was an all-state selection last season and is arguably the state’s finest goaltender. Todd will be spelled at times this winter by sophomore backup Jordyn Owens.

Greely won’t see St. Dom’s again until the penultimate game of the regular season, Feb. 2. The Rangers will be tested at times in the interim, but they hope to pull it together in time to be at their best in February. This program knows how to win big games on the big stage. Greely would love nothing more than to return the favor to St. Dom’s this time around.

INDOOR TRACK

Coach: John Folan (24th year, 12 state championships)

2015-16 results:

(Boys) 6th @ Class B state meet

(Girls) 2nd @ Class B state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Dan Peabbles (Senior), Max Stickney (Senior)

(Girls) Katherine Leggat-Barr (Senior), Kate Curran (Junior), Chloe Waldrep (Junior), Julia Curran (Sophomore), Maddy Irish (Sophomore), Carolyn Todd (Sophomore), Addy Traficonte (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We hope for dedication and improvement, barring injury or illness, from all our kids and we begin from there. All other things will take care of themselves as they always do. We have a large number of developing and talented women and men who will move up as the season goes on. Most haven’t scored in large meets yet, or competed in track, but we expect good things from them.“

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely can always expect good things in indoor track and the 2016-17 season will be no different.

The girls have been runners-up in Class B four years running and this year, will be knocking on the door again. Leggat-Barr was runner-up in both the mile and two-mile a year ago and hopes to move up this time. She’s joined by Todd (third in both the mile and two-mile a year ago) to make up a powerhouse distance contingent, which also includes Julia Curran and Kate Curran, Waldrep, senior Shannon Flaherty and juniors Izzy Evans and Chloe Smith. Traficonte (sixth in the 55 hurdles last winter), senior Zoe Lambert and sophomores Skylar Cooney and Morgan Selby are top sprinters. Cooney, Irish, Selby and senior Kaitlyn Page will also compete in the hurdles. On the field side, Waldrep and senior Lauren Williams are top jumpers, sophomore Maggie McCormick competes in the pole vault and sophomore Maddy Maynard is a thrower to watch. Then there’s junior Elizabeth Brown, who can do a little of everything. There’s a lot of potential points here and a solid season promises to be in store.

The boys’ squad is seeking another top 10 finish, but has some holes to fill. Stickney was part of a champion 4×800 relay team last season and will pace a distance group this winter, that also includes seniors Patrick Lyden and Ben Wilson, junior Caleb Thurston and sophomores Luke Marsanskis, Isaac Moore and Matt Todd. Junior Devlin O’Keefe is a top sprinter. Juniors Sam Jaglinzer and Gavin Poperechny are hurdlers to watch. On the field side, Peabbles, who also sprints, was fourth in the long jump last season. He’ll look to move up. He’s joined in the jumps by sophomore Nicolas Brown. Senior Elliott Boardman is a top thrower. Senior Sam Bonnevie, junior Dawson DiBiase and sophomore Bryan Taylor are pole vaulters. The Rangers should show steady improvement in the weeks to come and will be a force to be reckoned with in February.

SWIMMING

Coach: Rob Hale (24th year w/boys’ team, 26th year w/girls, 13 state championships)

2015-16 results:

(Boys) 9th @ Class B state meet

(Girls) Class B state champions

Top returners:

(Boys) Charlie Guild (Senior), Nik Kurlanski (Senior), Will Russell (Senior), Ryan Weeks (Senior)

(Girls) Sarah Bertich (Senior), Lauren Williams (Senior)

Coach’s comment: “The boys graduated 50 percent of their state meet points, so points might be hard to come by at the championship meets, but we will perform very well. The boys will see the result of a season of hard work and sacrifice. Graduation also took its toll on the girls, as 11 seniors and 70 percent of our state meet points left. We’ll struggle to score at the championship meets, but that won’t deter us from finishing the season on a high note.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Even if Greely has holes to fill, it will remain competitive this winter.

The girls might not defend their state title, but they still boast some talent. Williams is a top returner. She was sixth in the backstroke and was part of a runner-up medley relay team a year ago. She’ll swim the freestyle as well. Beretich hopes to score in the breaststroke and individual medley. Several others will look to make their mark in the weeks to come. While the Rangers will be chasing the likes of Cape Elizabeth and Morse in the South and of course, Mt. Desert Island at states, another high finish is likely.

On the boys’ side, Guild (breaststroke, sprint freestyle), Kurlanski (freestyle), Russell (freestyle and backstroke) and Weeks (freestyle) are the top returners. This group promises to improve between now and February and Greely should finish in the top 10 at states again.

ALPINE SKIING

Coach: Mark Ouellette (21st year)

2015-16 results:

(Boys) 7th @ Class A state meet

(Girls) 4th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Axel Lindsay (Senior), Will Murphy (Junior), Jack Gustafson (Sophomore)

(Girls) Jackie Perlmutter (Senior), Nettie Cunningham (Junior), Olivia Murley (Junior), Ella Novick (Junior), Greta Van Curran (Junior), Sabra Lindsay (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We should be competitive in both disciplines and genders. We have a big influx of first- and second-year athletes. Axel and Nettie should be in the top of all the races they enter. We should be a top contender with all the teams.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely’s Alpine program remains one of the best in Class A.

The boys are led by Lindsay, who was Class A runner-up in both the slalom and giant slalom a year ago. Murphy (36th in the slalom and 45th in the GS) and Gustafson (39th in the slalom) also return. Senior Jack Hurley and juniors Nate Bryant and Jack Libby also have experience. The Rangers could move up from last year’s showing.

On the girls’ side, six state meet scorers return. Cunningham placed 12th in the slalom, Novick was 24th in the slalom, Murley came in 25th in the GS, Lindsay placed 29th in the slalom, Perlmutter finished 30th in the GS and Van Curran 41st in the GS. Senior Maia Nevens and junior Erin O’Donovan also return. Look for Greely to be in the hunt for a high finish in all of its meets.

NORDIC SKIING

Coach: Rye Daily (fourth year)

2015-16 results:

(Boys) 7th @ Class A state meet

(Girls) 9th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Evan Goettel (Junior)

(Girls) Isabella Perry (Senior), Hannah Smith-Erb (Senior)

Coach’s comment: “I’m very excited about a crop of freshman boys who are thrilled to be skiing. They’re athletic and full of energy. Every season, the enthusiasm for skiing grows. Numbers remain constant and though the team is small, the group is passionate and pumped. My hope is to continually improve our finish at conference and state competitions. I’m looking forward to the race season and for a few individuals to achieve career bests.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely’s Nordic program is in good shape as a new season begins.

The boys return Goettel, who came in 30th in the skate and 37th in the classical a year ago at states. Several newcomers bolster the cause and will help the Rangers move up from a year ago.

On the girls’ side, Perry is coming off a strong season which saw her place 26th in the skate and 31st in the classical at states. Smith-Erb was 54th in the skate and 59th in the classical a year ago and hopes to move up. Look for this group to steadily improve and to also do well in February.

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

Senior Jordan Bagshaw will fill up the basket as he and his boys’ basketball teammates make a run at a state title.

Senior Matt McDevitt hopes to bow out as one of the best players in the region.

Senior Ryan Twitchell is going to URI for baseball, but he’s pretty impressive on the basketball court as well.

Senior Molly Chapin just won a state title in volleyball. She hopes to add another title this winter in basketball.

The sight of senior Isabel Porter launching shots will strike fear in the hearts of the opposition.

Senior Moira Train has made her share of big shots over the years.

Senior Ellie Schad is a dynamic goal scorer, defender and leader of a Greely girls’ hockey team that hopes to win a championship this season.

Junior Courtney Sullivan had 28 goals last season.

Senior Nica Todd returns in goal. She’s one of the best in big game situations.

Sophomore Dan Peabbles will compete in the sprints and jumps this winter. Greely’s boys’ indoor track team should again be one of the best in the conference.

Senior Katherine Leggat-Barr is in her final indoor track season and will vie for titles in the distance races.

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