Spring Athletes of the Year
Falmouth Yachtsmen Spring Athletes of the Year
(Ed. Note: This story will appear in our July 12 northern print edition)
Male Athlete of the Year:
THOMAS FORTIER, Junior-Baseball
ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND CITATIONS
* WMC all-star, second-team
Fortier, a lanky lefty, enjoyed a storybook season as he evolved into the Yachtsmen's ace, then got to experience the ultimate thrill by pitching his team to a state championship. Time after time he took the mound against the best the opposition had to offer and found a way to earn a victory.
Fortier grew up in Falmouth and has loved the sport since T-ball. Yachtsmen designated hitter Seamus Powers is his neighbor and the two grew playing ball. Fortier started pitching in Little League, but stopped in middle school. Varsity coach Kevin Winship encouraged him to pick it back up in high school, one of the more fortuitous pieces of advice in program history.
Fortier's season did not begin auspiciously, as he struggled in the preseason, but thanks to the help of pitching coach Craig Pendleton, he gradually rounded into form and had many highlights.
Fortier didn't even get a start until the fifth game of the year when he pitched into the seventh inning and beat Lake Region. Fortier then really made a mark, blanking Yarmouth on two hits while striking out seven. Fortier's lone loss and his team's first setback came to reigning regional champion, Greely, 2-1, but in that one, Fortier only allowed two hits, including a bloop single that scored both runs. From there, he was unstoppable.
First, he beat Freeport in the regular season finale, 12-2, allowing just two runs and six hits.
In the playoff opener, a quarterfinal round victory over Spruce Mountain, Fortier got the win by allowing just two earned runs on four hits while striking out six. Fortier blanked Morse in the semifinals, surrendering a mere two hits while fanning 11. After the Yachtsmen managed to escape Cape Elizabeth in the regional final despite being no-hit, Fortier took the ball for the state game versus Foxcroft Academy and threw another shutout, again allowing only two hits while striking out six in a 2-0 triumph. Fortier didn't surrender a run his final 14 innings.
For the season, Fortier was 6-1 with an earned run average of 1.37. He only gave up 25 hits and 11 runs in 51 innings, walking just 16 batters, while fanning 48. Opponents had a .141 on-base percentage.
Fortier, who also sprints for the indoor track team at Falmouth, plays baseball year round. This summer, he's competing in American Legion ball and in showcase leagues. He's volunteered as a Big Brother and wants to pitch in college.
That is a most realistic goal. If he picks up where he left off this spring, Fortier could be close to unhittable in 2013.
Coach Kevin Winship’s comment: “Thomas has grown leaps and bounds since he was a freshman. He spot started and was more of a relief guy last year. He really came into himself this year and became our workhorse. He's really worked hard to become what I think is one of the best pitchers around right now. We knew he had the ability. Through hard work and determination, he became our No. 1 pitcher. He executed three pitches for strikes and became our go-to guy. He had some big wins for us.”
2011 winner: Matt MacDowell (Baseball)
2010 winner: Dan Hanley (Lacrosse)
2009 winner: Tommy Winger (Track)
2008 winner: Ethan Shaw (Track)
2007 winner: Ethan Shaw (Track)
2006 winner: Chris Morrison (Tennis)
2005 winner: Antonio Floridino (Track)
2004 winner: Aaron Paradis (Baseball)
2003 winner: Antonio Floridino (Track)
2002 winner: Matt Dissell (Track)
Female Athlete of the Year
JENNA SERUNIAN- Senior-Track
ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND CITATIONS
* All-New England
* Program record holder, shot put
* Class B state champion, discus
* Class B state champion, shot put
* WMC champion, discus
* WMC champion, shot put
* WMC All-Conference first-team, discus
* WMC All-Conference first-team, shot put
* WMC Principal's Citizenship Award
* All-Academic team
* Alfred H. Stadden Award winner (Outstanding Senior Sportsmanship)
* Most Valuable Athlete
Serunian penned one of the more inspirational stories in any sport this spring.
Just coming back from a serious knee injury to compete as a thrower would have been enough, but Serunian did much, much more, ensuring she was at her best by year's end, capping a memorable high school career by winning Class B state championships in both the discus and shot put.
Serunian grew up in Falmouth and started throwing in middle school. She came naturally to the sport as her father, Peter, threw in college at the University of Southern Maine. Serunian played four years of volleyball, three of basketball, one of indoor track and four of outdoor track. Following the lead of her mentor, Kate Sparks, she became one of the state's best by her junior year, finishing runner-up in the shot put and third in the discus. Her senior year was one of frustration, however, as she suffered a knee injury during volleyball season and had to miss the entire basketball campaign.
She gradually returned to form this spring, however, and by late May was unbeatable.
“It was a long winter recovering,” said Serunian. “It took me most of the (spring) season to get back to form. By the Western Maine Conference meet, I knew I still had it.”
Against the best teams in the conference, Serunian won both the discus and shot put, setting the stage for a repeat a week later, where she was crowned Class B state champion in each event.
“I have a desire to be the best,” Serunian said. “I didn't throw as well at states as the WMC meet, but still came in first."
Serunian finished 21st in the shot put and 34th in the discus at New Englands.
Serunian also has a dazzling athletic resume (see above). She was a member of National Honor Society, Falmouth's Key Club, took part in “Big Buddies” and has done her share of community service work, including raising money for victims of domestic violence and spending time in Guatemala with Safe Passage. She'll attend Northeastern University in the fall, where she plans to compete in indoor and outdoor track.
Serunian's future is very bright. Her time at Falmouth High School, especially her big stage showings this spring, will live on in lore.
Coach Danny Paul's comment: “Jenna loves to throw and she dedicated herself to having a successful season this spring. I know after the knee injury she was quite concerned about whether she could compete at the level she believed she wanted to, but it was a testament to her focus and discipline that she was able to return so successfully. I strongly credit coach Mark Campbell, who works directly with our throwers. He kept close watch on Jenna's return and he helped her gradually get to where she did. Jenna's attitude makes it easy to work with her and we all, the whole staff, enjoyed our time with her the last four years. She will do well next year at Northeastern.”
2011 winner: Kelsey Freedman (Softball)
2010 winner: Analise Kump (Tennis)
2009 winner: Annie Criscione (Tennis)
2008 winner: Hallsey Leighton (Tennis)
2007 winner: Carly Applebaum (Track)
2006 winner: Kristen Meahl (Tennis)
2005 winner: Eileen Brandes (Softball)
2004 winner: Kristen Meahl (Tennis)
2003 winner: Beth Rubenstein (Track)
2002 winner: Beth Rubenstein (Track)