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North Yarmouth Academy Fall Athletes of the Year

Sports

North Yarmouth Academy Fall Athletes of the Year

MALE:

JACKSON COHAN-SMITH, Senior-Soccer

  • Western C all-regional team

  • WMC Class C all-star, first-team

  • Captain

North Yarmouth Academy has a long and rich boys' soccer history, but what the Panthers accomplished this fall, going undefeated in the regular season for the first time in program history, caught absolutely everyone by surprise.

NYA's success was due in very large part to the play of Cohan-Smith, who while he didn't get the recognition he deserved at a state or New England level, certainly secured his legacy with a flair for the dramatic and unselfish play.

Cohan-Smith grew up in Portland and started playing soccer seriously in the sixth grade, which is also when he came to NYA. While also playing key roles in basketball in the winter and lacrosse in the spring, Cohan-Smith earned a starting role on a regional champion as a freshman despite being at a physical disadvantage. He first hinted at a big-game flair when he beat Lisbon with a long blast in the semifinals of his sophomore season. As a junior, he had 18 assists and was named all-conference.

Cohan-Smith saved his best for his fourth and final varsity soccer season.

Coach Martyn Keen wasn't sure his Panthers would even be competitive, but instead, they wound up unbeatable for 15 games and Cohan-Smith put up dazzling numbers in the process, scoring his share of goals, while feeding prolific teammate D.J. Nicholas on countless occasions.

Cohan-Smith set the tone with a goal in a win over Traip in the opener. He had a goal against Gray-New Gloucester, a goal and four assists versus Wells, a goal and two assists in a second meeting with Wells, set up four goals in a win over Sacopee Valley, scored a goal and added an assist against Freeport, had two goals against Fryeburg, had a goal and a mind-boggling seven assists versus Lake Region and capped the regular season with a goal against Sacopee and a goal and an assist versus Waynflete.

Cohan-Smith had an assist in a thrilling come-from-behind quarterfinal round playoff win versus Waynflete. NYA's season ended with a heartbreaking loss to eventual champion Maranacook in the semifinals, but Cohan-Smith ended with 11 goals and 30 assists (21 to Nicholas).

“I was happy with our season, but not satisfied,” Cohan-Smith said. “I'm still upset (about the playoff loss). It was hard work and great coaches. I thought we'd be good, but not that good. Everything just came together.”

For his career, Cohan-Smith had 18 goals and 54 assists, an overwhelming display of individual skill and willingness to make his teammates better.

Cohan-Smith plays for the Seacoast Premier team, will be the point guard on the basketball team and plays defense in lacrosse. He wants to play soccer in college and is weighing his options.

His stats were certainly impressive, but in truth, there was no way to quantify just how valuable Jackson Cohan-Smith, NYA's Fall Male Athlete of the Year, was to his team. His contributions won't soon be forgotten.

Coach Martyn Keen's comment: “I truly believe that Jackson is the best high school player I've ever coached. Jackson has sublime skills. His first touch is immaculate and that's what sets him above almost all his peers. Combine that with his ball control, vision, ability to read the game and execution of pinpoint passes and you have a player of the highest quality. Beyond his statistics and talent, he's a really amazing young man. He's articulate and funny and also gifted academically. Jackson is at the pinnacle in terms of the all-around package.”

Prior winners:

2012: Matt Malcom (Cross country)

2011: Cam Regan (cross country)

2010: Cam Regan (Cross country)

2009: Tim Millett (Golf)

2008: Henry Sterling (Soccer)

2007: Taylor Gorman (Soccer)

2006: James Sterling (Golf)

2005: Sean Lynch (Soccer)

2004: Nathaniel Bishop (Soccer)

2003: Luke Welch (Soccer)

2002: Sam Crocker (Cross Country)

2001: Colin Minte (Soccer)

FEMALE:

KAYLA ROSE, Senior-Field hockey

  • All-State

  • WMC Class C Player of the Year

  • WMC Division II all-star, first team

  • Team MVP

  • Captain

While the old adage suggests that every rose has a thorn, it was near impossible to find a flaw in Kayla Rose's game this autumn.

Rose's many talents on the field were only overshadowed by her leadership and effervescent personality and she capped her high school career in grand style by leading the Panthers to within a goal of another championship.

Rose was born in California and first starred athletically as a figure skater. She gave that up after a move to Falmouth and she came to NYA for the sixth grade. She first took up field hockey as a seventh grader and initially disliked it, but scoring 11 goals that initial season quickly changed her mind and a transcendent career was born.

With the Panthers, Rose emerged as a star as a sophomore, scoring two goals in a regional final win over Sacopee Valley and assisting on classmate Olivia Madore's game-winning goal in the state game. As a junior, she led the team in goals (12) and assists (seven).

This fall, despite voluntarily moving from forward to midfield, Rose found herself in the middle of the action from start to finish and NYA remained one of the state's finest programs.

Rose had just four goals and seven assists, but finishing wasn't her primary role. Instead, the midfielder did everything from frustrate the opposition, to carry the ball into the offensive end to set up scoring opportunities with her favorite move, a reverse lift.

Rose had 21 goals and 18 assists in her career and got the attention of coaches not just from the conference, but the state as well.

“I think I'm coachable,” said Rose. “I'm open to trying new things. I'm self-motivated and very competitive.”

Rose has played ice hockey in the past, but will throw and sprint this winter in indoor track, then will take part in outdoor track this spring. She is also the editor of the NYA yearbook, plays for the Katahdin premier team and hopes to start a field hockey camp. She also has a sister, Amber, who will likely become a household name a few years from now.

Rose has applied early decision to Skidmore College and hopes to continue playing at the next level. She's interested in physical therapy and athletic training.

What a legacy she leaves. Kayla Rose, NYA's Fall Female Athlete of the Year, was not only a star player, but a great teammate, leader and young lady.

Coach Tracy Quimby's comment: “Kayla is dedicated and devoted and has a true passion for field hockey. She's flexible and willing to play whatever position most benefits the team. What's most important about Kayla is that she took a step back from playing forward and leading the team in goals and assists as a junior to play in the midfield this season. She put the team first, led by example and earned the respect of everyone on the team. She is completely selfless. She's been a strong, positive, vocal leader since first starting playing field hockey. She's been an inspiration to everyone with her drive and desire to excel. Her exuberant personality will be missed, but the lessons she taught will be carried on by those players who have been fortunate to have played with her. Many thanks to her for being such a wonderful role model.”

Prior winners:

2012: Jen Brown (Field hockey)

2011: Katherine Millett (Field hockey)

2010; Katherine Millett (Field hockey)

2009: Courtney Dumont (Soccer)

2008: Nicole Fuller (Field hockey)

2007: Allie Tocci (Field hockey)

2006: Alex Mack (Soccer)

2005: Zoe Filliter (Cross country)

2004: Elizabeth Werley-Prieto (Field hockey)

2003: Abby Hamilton (Field hockey)

2002: Rachael Blanchard (Cross country)

2001: Kelsey Wilcox (Soccer)

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