Spring thrills won't soon be forgotten
The 2013 spring sports season was short, sweet and successful for local athletes and teams.
Highlights were plentiful.
Waynflete's girls' lacrosse team repeated as Class B state champions, but this time, the Flyers had company at the pinnacle as Cheverus won its first championship, in Class A.
Boys' lacrosse saw Cheverus repeat as regional champion, downing rivals Portland and Deering along the way. Waynflete earned its first playoff win in several seasons.
On the diamond, Portland's baseball team made a spirited run to the semifinals before losing to the eventual state champion. Cheverus and Waynflete also qualified for the playoffs.
The outdoor track and field state meet produced several memorable performances.
Both Waynflete teams repeated as tennis champions. Portland finished one point shy of its first championship.
While we're all glad summer's here, let's take one final look back at the moments and champions that made the spring of 2013 one to remember.
Spring 2013 state champions
Cheverus girls' lacrosse (Class A)
Waynflete girls' lacrosse (Class B)
Waynflete boys' tennis (Class C)
Waynflete girls' tennis (Class C)
Spring 2013 regional champions
Cheverus boys' lacrosse (Eastern A)
Portland girls' tennis (Western A)
Spring 2013 individual state champions
Jared Bell, Deering boys' discus, Class A
Jared Bell, Deering boys' shot put, Class A
Michael's Top 5 stories:
5) Bell tolls twice more
Deering throwing standout Jared Bell stole the show at the Class A boys' outdoor track and field meet. On a sweltering day, Bell capped his sensational senior season by winning the discus with a throw of 176 feet, 7 inches (nearly three feet better than the previous state record) and the shot put with a top throw of 57-2.5 (a facility record). If that wasn't enough, Bell also placed fourth in the javelin, accounting for 24 of the Rams' 30 points, which would have placed him 12th in the team standings all by himself. Bell's next stop is Princeton University.
4) Portland baseball saves best for last
The Portland baseball team, featuring a core of seniors who made a name for themselves in Little League and Babe Ruth ball, hadn't lived up to expectations at the high school level, but certainly bowed out with a flourish. After an 8-8 regular season, the Bulldogs rode an eight-run inning to a victory over South Portland in the preliminary round, then stunned top-ranked Scarborough behind timely hitting and a strong effort from senior pitcher Caleb Fraser in a quarterfinal round shocker. Portland then gave Westbrook fits in the semifinals before suffering a tough one-run loss. The Blue Blazes went on to win the Class A state title. The Bulldogs left with their heads held high.
3) Tennis (titles) anyone?
Waynflete's tennis program has turned into one of the finest in the state, one that just keeps on producing hardware. Early last month, the Flyers boys survived an early morning wakeup call, then won their sixth Class C crown in succession. The girls continued their impressive run with a third straight championship. Best of all for the school, there's no end in sight. The Portland girls almost joined in the fun, but dropped a 3-2 heartbreaker to defending champion Brunswick in the Class A match.
2) Flying into legend
The Waynflete girls' lacrosse program has long set the bar for excellence. The Flyers have produced countless great teams while being the state's flagship program, but this year's group was in a league of its own. Waynflete won almost every game with ease, trailed for just a handful of the 750 minutes it played and behind an accomplished senior core, added yet another state title to the school's overcrowded trophy case. The Flyers got 10 goals from senior sensation Martha Veroneau in a regional final victory over Cape Elizabeth, then fended off Yarmouth's upset bid in the state final, 7-4, to make it two titles in a row, 10 since 1998 and 12 in the illustrious career of coach Cathie Connors, who now has 251 career victories.
1) Cheverus wins first title
Cheverus' girls knocked on the door the past couple seasons, but couldn't get past the regional final. That all changed in 2013. The Stags produced a program-record eight-game win streak, went 9-3 in the regular season, then had no trouble with Mt. Ararat, Windham or Cony in winning the Eastern A championship for the first time. That was a mere tuneup to the events of June 15, when Cheverus squared off with Massabesic in a state final thriller. The Stags overcame early nerves, went ahead in the second half, then held on for dear life down the stretch to fend off the Mustangs, 8-7, and become just the third (cross country, hockey) girls' program from the school to win a crown. Better still, Cheverus returns an abundance of talent next year. A repeat title is a distinct possibility.