Greely Rangers Winter Sports Preview

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Greely’s boys’ basketball team had no peer a year ago, going undefeated and winning the Class A state title. The Rangers have a new look this winter, but will contend again.

File photos.

More photos below.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Coach: Travis Seaver (sixth year, 77-26 overall record)

2016-17 record: 22-0 (Beat Messalonskee, 59-43, to win Class A state title)

Top returning players: Shane DeWolfe (Senior), Jack Kane (Senior), Zack Brown (Junior), Mike Coppersmith (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 8 @ Cape Elizabeth, Dec. 16 SOUTH PORTLAND, Dec. 22 @ Falmouth, Dec. 29 BRUNSWICK, Jan. 13 @ Oxford Hills, Jan. 15 @ Yarmouth, Jan. 23 WESTBROOK, Jan. 30 CAPE ELIZABETH, Feb. 2 YARMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “We have a different look, but we have a lot of kids who saw time last year. We’ll have to do things differently than last year. We’re not as high-powered on offense as we were, but we’re tough and the kids have a chip on their shoulders. We’re quick and athletic and we have good size. We’ll focus more this year on getting defensive stops. I’m excited.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: After years of close calls, Greely finally got back to the pinnacle last winter, capping a dominant season with a decisive victory over Messalonskee in the state final. The Rangers were then hard-hit by graduation, as several key contributors, including Mr. Maine Basketball Matt McDevitt, departed. The cupboard is not bare, however, as several kids who played key complimentary roles, return.

DeWolfe, a team sparkplug, is out until the end of the calendar year with an injury he received during football season. When he returns, he’ll play guard, along with Brown and Coppersmith, two players who have shown they can rise to the occasion in big games. Kane boasts size and will look to score some points down low. Junior Andrew Storey, a forward, and sophomore Logan Bagshaw, a guard, are top newcomers, who figure to immediately make an impact. 

Greely will have its hands full against some of the best teams in multiple classes. While the Rangers will taste defeat for the first time since the 2015-16 season, they will learn from their setbacks and steadily improve. Class A South is, as usual, a very deep region, but the Rangers will hold their own and could be a very tough out when the postseason commences.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Coach: Todd Flaherty (second year)

2016-17 record: 19-2 (Lost, 54-51, to Brunswick in Class A South Final)

Top returning players: Anna DeWolfe (Junior), Emma Spoerri (Junior), Brooke Obar (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Dec. 15 @ South Portland, Dec. 19 POLAND, Dec. 22 FALMOUTH, Dec. 29 @ Brunswick, Jan. 4 GRAY-NG, Jan. 6 GORHAM, Jan. 9 @ York, Jan. 11 FREEPORT, Jan. 13 @ Oxford Hills, Jan. 26 @ Gray-NG, Feb. 6 YORK

Coach’s comment: “We have some young girls, but it’s going well. We’re quick and share the ball well. We’ll be pretty deep. We have a lot of competition for playing time. We have a great opportunity to steadily improve. I don’t think of us as the favorite this year. We have work to do, but we hope to be playing well at the end.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: After back-to-back close losses in the Class A South Final, Greely looks again to get over the hump. The Rangers have lost several key contributors to graduation, but some talented returners are joined by promising newcomers and it will likely spell another very successful season.

DeWolfe remains one of the state’s elite scorers. She led the Western Maine Conference in scoring a year ago, putting up 24.4 points a game, which was 10 more per contest than the runner-up. DeWolfe, a first-team league all-star in 2016-17, enters the season 70 points from the 1,000 mark for her career and there doesn’t appear to be any slowing her down. DeWolfe will have the ball in her hands often and in addition to creating offense for herself, she won’t hesitate to set up teammates (she placed third in the league in assists last year). Obar is another guard who made quite a splash at a young age (averaging 11.7 points and 3.5 assists during an all-star campaign as a freshman). She’ll score her share of points as well. Seniors Kelsey Currier (the softball pitching ace) and Jen Spencer, junior Julia Martel and freshman Camille Clement (the younger sister of former McAuley standout and Miss Maine Basketball Allie Clement) bring big-time depth and promise to the backcourt. Spoerri saw some key minutes as a reserve last year. She’ll be a force in the post, along with senior Brooke Bickford and sophomore Hannah Storey-Kane, a transfer from Westbrook. Junior Madi Scott can play guard or forward.

Greely has a lot of players who can do things that will make life difficult for the opposition. The Rangers will score a lot of points. If they can play strong defense and if the newer players can get comfortable in tight games against good teams, the sky is the limit. After a couple of disappointing endings, this time around, Greely is hoping to be the last team standing.

BOYS’ HOCKEY

Coach: Barry Mothes (24th year, 279-183-14 overall record, three state championships)

2016-17 record: 14-7 (Lost, 3-2, in overtime, to York in Class B South Final)

Top returning players: Matt Dubbert (Senior), Ben Kennedy (Senior), Quinn Molloy (Senior), Peter Lattanzi (Junior), Jackson Williams (Junior), Matt Kramlich (Sophomore), Jake MacDonald (Sophomore), Andy Moore (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Dec. 16 CAPE ELIZABETH, Dec. 23 GORHAM, Jan. 1 FALMOUTH, Jan. 13 GARDINER, Jan. 15 @ York, Jan. 23 YARMOUTH, Feb. 3 @ Biddeford, Feb. 10 @ Gardiner, Feb. 13 SCARBOROUGH, Feb. 19 @ Yarmouth, Feb. 21 @ St. Dom’s

Coach’s comment: “We should feature a fairly dangerous and potent offensive attack. After the loss of three top-four veteran defensemen to graduation, building a solid, consistent corps will be a key challenge. We’ll have relatively new faces in net. As usual, we face another challenging regular season schedule.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely woke up the echoes a year ago, overcoming a slow start to the season to enjoy a stirring playoff run which didn’t end until York scored in overtime of the Class B South Final. This year’s team has some holes to fill, especially on the defensive side of the ice, but the Rangers boast a lot of promise and you have to figure that once again, by season’s end, Greely will be as formidable as anybody.

Look for this year’s team to light the lamp with regularity behind Moore (16 goals, 13 assists in 2016-17), Kramlich (18 goals, 11 assists), MacDonald (11 goals, 16 assists), Dubbert (4 goals, 5 assists), Williams (4 goals, 2 assists), Lattanzi (3 goals, 2 assists) and Molloy (2 goals, 3 assists). Kennedy is the top returning defenseman. Seniors Andrew Eckhardt and Cole Stetson, sophomores Caleb Duff and Ricky Walker and freshman Brennan Rawnsley will also look to step in and make an impact. Junior Karsten Bourgoine saw limited time in goal a year ago (4-1 with a 2.59 goals-against-average and an .858 save percentage). He’ll have an opportunity to be the starter this season. Freshman Jared Swisher shows promise as well.

Greely will stumble at times against a daunting schedule in the weeks to come as Mothes and his staff figure out who should play where, but the Rangers will remain in games behind their prolific offense. By the time the defense and goalkeeping hit their stride, Greely will be primed to make another deep run in the Class B playoffs. If all goes well, these Rangers might play on the final Saturday of the season. And win.

GIRLS’ HOCKEY

Coach: Nate Guerin (eighth year, 109-29-3 overall record, two state championships)

2016-17 record: 17-3 (Lost, 4-0, to eventual state champion St. Dom’s in North Region Final)

Top returning players: Molly Horton (Senior), Bridget Roberts (Senior), Courtney Sullivan (Senior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 9 @ Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland, Dec. 16 LEWISTON, Dec. 30 Edward Little, Jan. 1 FALMOUTH, Jan. 22 @ St. Dom’s, Jan. 26 @ Lewiston, Feb. 1 ST. DOM’S

Coach’s comment: “Led by Courtney and Bridget, we’ll be competitive against everyone this season. Our goal is to get our less experienced players adjusted to the speed of our game as quickly as possible so we can be a threat to the top teams in February. It’s an exciting group to coach because there is a wide disparity in ability, but a common expectation of 100 percent effort and accountability. If we can continue to mesh and support each other, the sky’s the limit.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely, which features some players from Gray-New Gloucester as a co-op team this winter, is once again a top contender in the North Region. The Rangers have a nice mix of returning standouts and promising newcomers and will be a force to be reckoned with from start to finish. Greely opened with wins over Scarborough (5-1), Portland/Deering (12-1), Edward Little (11-1) and Mt. Ararat (11-0). 

Once again, the offense will be paced by the transcendent Sullivan, a reigning first-team all-star who scored 29 goals and added 10 assists a year ago. She came into the season with 77 goals in her career and already has eight goals and seven goals in the early going. Roberts, a second-team all-star in 2016-17, is a tough matchup as well. She scored 15 goals and had 11 assists last winter and has seven goals and seven assists in the first four outings this year. Horton, along with sophomore Leah Walker, freshman Camilla Lattanzi and freshman Maddie Pelletier (a Gray-New Gloucester student) will also be heard from. Junior Jordyn Owens replaces Nica Todd in goal. 

Greely will win its share of games, but the Rangers will have to eventually figure out a way to get past St. Dom’s, which hasn’t lost since the 2015-16 season. By the end of the year, Greely might be the team best equipped to do so and could wind up the last squad standing.

INDOOR TRACK

Coach: John Folan (25th year, 13 state championships)

2016-17 results:

(Boys) 2nd @ Class B state meet

(Girls) Class B state champions

Top returners:

(Boys) Gavin Poperechny (Senior), Nicolas Brown (Junior), Luke Marsanskis (Junior), Matthew Todd (Junior)

(Girls) Elizabeth Brown (Senior), Chloe Smith (Senior), Chloe Waldrep (Senior), Skylar Cooney (Junior), Julia Curran (Junior), Maddy Irish (Junior), Maggie McCormick (Junior), Morgan Selby (Junior), Carolyn Todd (Junior), Addy Traficonte (Junior) 

Coach’s comment: “A solid, experienced distance crew leads the way for the boys. As always, we have a few untested but interesting newcomers. The girls will be solid, it not a bit small. Graduation losses were impactful, but so were everyone else’s. The kids are working hard and well to this point. We’ll see how the newcomers work hard. There are some potential impact people among them. We will compete.”

The Forecaster’s forecast:  Greely was a powerhouse a year ago and will be among the best in Class B yet again.

The boys’ team returns state meet scorers Poperechny (fourth in the 55 hurdles), Todd (fourth in the mile), Marsanskis (fifth in the mile) and Brown (tied for sixth in the high jump). Senior Sam Jagolinzer joins Poperechny in the hurdles. Marsanskis and Todd have distance event company from seniors Adam Bruder, Trevor Rafford and Caleb Thurston, junior Isaac Moore and freshman Sam Wilson. Sprinters of note include seniors Mike Geary, Devlin O’Keefe and Sean Richard, junior Luke Stickney and sophomore Naveen Caron. On the field side, joining Brown in the jumps will be junior Bryan Taylor. Greely covers most of the events and will only get better in the weeks to come. Another solid February is in store. 

On the girls’ side, after breaking through and returning to the pinnacle, the Rangers are hoping for a repeat. Despite losing several great athletes to graduation, Greely will be in the hunt. Todd (fourth in both the mile and two-mile a year ago) is a top distance returner. She’s joined by Smith (fifth in the mile), Curran, Waldrep and sophomore Marin Provencher. Cooney (fourth in the 55 hurdles last season) will score her share of points. Sprints figures to be a strength with Irish, Selby, Traficonte and sophomore Anya Davis on the roster. In the field events, Brown (fifth in the high jump last season) is a threat to move up. McCormick (third in the pole vault a year ago) will be heard from and senior Acadia LeSiege is a top thrower. It all adds up to another very good team. If Greely can save its best for last, it will have a shot to go back-to-back.

SWIMMING

Coach: Rob Hale (25th year w/boys’ team, 27th year w/girls, 13 state championships)

2016-17 results:

(Boys) 9th @ Class B state meet

(Girls) 3rd @ Class B state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Jared Merrifield (Senior), Nicolas Giandrea (Junior), Carter Lawless (Junior), Cole Moore (Junior)

(Girls) Lily Black (Senior), Maddie Rawnsley (Senior), Julia Bisson (Junior), Courtney Rog (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “We were humbled by the Cape girls’ team last year. There has been more excitement and energy this season and we will be improved. Our approach in the early season has been fantastic and we have added some depth. A couple of scoring freshmen, a transfer, an additional diver, some two-sport athletes, a renewed vigor and an increase of 18 swimmers hopefully will help lessen the gap between us and Cape. The boys graduated our two of our three state meet scorers, but we are excited about the what the season will bring. Like the girls, there is a sense of big things to come. A big group of juniors are looking to take the next step in being competitive at the state level. We may be a year away, but this season is going to be fun.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely’s boys and girls are poised to be top-notch programs in the regular season and at the championship meets.

The girls will be led by Black, who was second in the 200 freestyle and fifth in the 500 free last winter. Other top returners include Rog (third in the breaststroke and fourth in the individual medley), Rawnsley (fifth in the 200 free and seventh in the 100 free) and Bisson (who was the second-best diver in Class B a year ago). The Rangers have plenty of depth and talent and that will lead to big things in the weeks to come.

On the boys’ side, Lawless and Moore were part of a fifth-place 200 relay team a year ago. They, along with Giandrea and Merrifield, hope to lead this year’s team to a strong regular season and another top 10 state meet finish. 

ALPINE SKIING

Coach: Mark Ouellette (22nd year)

2016-17 results:

(Boys) 3rd @ Class A state meet

(Girls) 2nd @ Class A state meet

Coach’s comment: “Our gents are young, but experienced and athletic. We should be in the hunt as usual. Our ladies are competitive and they will battle for the top six spots all season long.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely has lost some top-notch talent to graduation and other departures, but should remain competitive in Class A.

The boys graduated slalom state champion Axel Lindsay (he’s now at the University of Maine-Farmington), but several veterans return and the Rangers hope some untested skiers step up and keep them near the top.

On the girls’ side, Mia Nevin and Jackie Perlmutter graduated, while Nettie Cunningham is playing hockey this year and Olivia Murley also isn’t skiing. Ella Novick (13th in the slalom and 15th in the GS last year), Sabra Lindsay (23rd in the slalom and 43rd in the GS) and Greta Van Curan (40th in the slalom) do return. Greely does have the pieces in place to remain a top five program.

NORDIC SKIING

Coach: Rye Daily (fifth year)

2016-17 results:

(Boys) 8th @ Class A state meet

(Girls) 8th @ Class A state meet

Top returner:

(Boys) Evan Goettel (Senior)

Coach’s comment: “We have a small team again this season, just eight skiers total, but it’s really cool to have a group that clearly loves skiing. Six of the eight skiers are freshmen and they have a lot of enthusiasm. We’ll have a lot of laughs and learn from one another. My goal is to improve in the standings and to grow the program. I hope with a little success, the team will gain some buzz.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Greely’s program appears to have a bright future, but the Rangers hope to turn some heads this winter as well.

Goettel leads the boys’ squad. He was 27th in the freestyle in the Class A state meet a year ago. Four new freshmen, including Lucas Goettel and Leif Harvey, bring promise to a team that hopes to peak at the end of the season.

The girls’ team is largely unproven, but like the boys’ squad, has some newcomers eager to show what they’re capable of. Look for some strong individual performances in the weeks to come.

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

Junior Zack Brown is a key returner for the Greely boys.

Greely junior Mike Coppersmith has already made some big plays in his young career. He’ll play an even bigger role this winter.

Senior Shane DeWolfe, when healthy, will do a little of everything for Greely.

Senior Jack Kane will be a key post presence for the Rangers.

Junior Anna DeWolfe enters the season 70 points shy of 1,000 for her transcendent career. She’ll look to lead the Greely girls’ basketball team to a state title this winter.

Sophomore Brooke Obar will also score a lot of points for the Rangers.

Sophomore Matt Kramlich has already scored some big goals for Greely’s boys’ hockey team, which looks to enjoy another long playoff run this winter.

Jake MacDonald is one of several Rangers who had a strong freshman season, scoring 11 goals and adding 16 assists. He’ll be a factor again this winter.

Sophomore Andy Moore scored 16 goals and had 13 assists a year ago and figures to light the lamp regularly this winter.

Ben Kennedy is a top returning defenseman for the Rangers.

Senior Elizabeth Brown will be a top jumper for Greely’s defending Class B state champion girls’ indoor track team.

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