Postseason fun underway
The postseason is now underway in every sport but boys' hockey. While basketball (see accompanying story) will get the lion's share of attention, there's been plenty else to hail, with a lot more on the docket.
Here's a glimpse:
The hotly contested indoor track postseason began Saturday with the Western Maine Conference championship meet at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham and Falmouth, as it's done so many times before, had no peer.
The Yachtsmen boys tallied 130 points to edge York (125.5). Yarmouth (57) came in fourth, Freeport (38) was sixth, North Yarmouth Academy tied Sacopee Valley for seventh with 36 points and Greely (25.5) placed 10th.
Falmouth got first-place finishes from Noah Martin in the junior 200 (24.54 seconds), Sean Soucy in the junior 400 (56.59), Tony St. Angelo in the junior high jump (5 feet, 10 inches), Spencer Brown in the 800 (2 minutes, 5.89 seconds) and its junior 800 relay (Martin, St. Angelo, Soucy and Nigel Dunn,1:38.14).
The Clippers got a win from Darren Shi in the senior shot put (48-1). Travis Hamre was second in both the senior 55 (6.94) and senior 200 (23.95).
The Falcons were paced by their senior 800 relay team (Nick Wilson, A.J. Daniel, Eric Wentworth and Harrison Stivers), which won its race in 1:37.96. Stivers was runner-up in the senior 400 (52.58).
The Panthers featured event winners Xander Bartone in the junior 55 (6.95) and Michael McIntosh in the senior 55 (6.68) and senior 200 (23.32).
The Rangers' top finisher was Chance Carr, who took the senior 55 hurdles (8.55). Ben Ray was runner-up in the pole vault (10-6).
Falmouth's girls beat York (136-107). Greely (91.33) was a solid third. Freeport (48) came in fourth, Yarmouth (30) finished eighth and NYA (26.33) came in 10th.
The Yachtsmen got wins from Emma England in the junior 200 (27.92), Lydia Farmer in the triple jump (33-7.5) and from their junior (Mira Wyman, Farmer, Elizabeth Cyr and England, 1:52.42) and 3,200 (Alexa Hoffman, Meg Dye, Madeline Roberts and Gina Pardi, 10:05.68) relays.
"It was a good week for us," said Falmouth coach Jorma Kurry. "The kids are beginning to pull together as a team and the group effort really paid off. We were very balanced, getting points from a big range of kids. A lot of kids came up big and we got some clutch wins in other areas that really pushed us over the top."
The Rangers featured event winners Jocelyn Mitiguy in the junior 55 hurdles (9.39), Alyssa Casarez in the junior shot put (36-7.5) and pole vault (8-6) and Kirstin Sandreuter in the mile (5:11.93) and two-mile (11:20.09).
The Falcons won the senior 800 relay, as Meredith Broderick, Courtney Broderick, Bethanie Knighton and Lexi Dietrich had a time of 1:53.71. Knighton also won the senior 400 (1:01.25).
The Clippers were led by Emma Egan, who won the junior 55 (7.71) and the junior high jump (5-0).
The Panthers were paced by Hannah Austin, who came in third in the two-mile (11:53.25), Mackenzie Sangster, who finished third in the junior 55 hurdles (10.30), and Adela McVicar, who placed third in the junior high jump (4-8).
Falmouth will participate in the Class A state final (held at USM Monday) for the first time and is looking forward to going toe-to-toe with the likes of Cheverus, Scarborough, South Portland and Thornton Academy, among many others.
"This week will be a new challenge, facing the rest of Class A for the first time," Kurry said. "We will be focusing a little more narrowly with kids not doing as many events but we're optimistic for a good finish. We look to hold our own in our Class A debut."
Everyone else goes to Bates College in Lewiston Monday to compete in the Class B state meet.
Yarmouth's swim program has long taken a backseat to local powers Falmouth and Greely, but this winter, the Clippers, the girls' squad especially, have really made a name for themselves.
Last weekend, at the South Division Southwesterns, Yarmouth was a close second to repeat champion Waynflete, falling just 13 points shy of the Flyers.
The Clippers had many highlights. Eliza Lunt won the 100 breaststroke in 1 minute, 11.49 seconds and helped the medley and 200 freestyle relays to first-place finishes. Lunt was joined on the medley relay team by Brianna Jelly-Webber, Abby Belisle-Haley and Teagan Snyder (which won with a time of 1:58.37). Belisle-Haley, Cara Ricciardi and Eliza Oliver rounded out the 200 free relay team (which posted a time of 1:46.37.
Belisle-Haley was the runner-up in the 100 butterfly (59.65). Oliver placed third in the 200 free (2:16.55). Snyder came in third in the 100 free (59.57). Jelly-Webber placed fourth in the 200 individual medley (2:36.81) and fifth in the 100 backstroke (1:11.99). Ricciardi came fourth in the 50 free (28.22) Amanda Murray was ninth in the IM (2:46.37). The Clippers also placed third in the 400 free relay (Oliver, Ricciardi, Murray, Snyder, 4:09.40).
"The 'Magnificent Seven' is what I've nicknamed the girls," said Yarmouth's first-year coach Lenora Felker. "They were able to be successful because of their hard work and mental preparation. Not all of them are year-round swimmers, but they put in the work in practice and out of practice by visualizing their success. There is no difference between teammates they all are treated the same and have the same standards and expectations. The person and their character comes before the athlete. They are expected to give their best and with that comes gifts such as feeling good about themselves, team success and personal success.
They realize in high school that team success is also personal success and they enjoy both. I am their guide and mentor, but they have to do the work and the results come. They do the work, they support each other and have fun."
In the boys' meet, Yarmouth came in eighth out of 12 teams (Massabesic was first). Ethan Nightingale came in second in the 100 free (52.70). The Clippers also placed fourth in the medley and 400 free relays.
In the North Division Southwesterns, Greely's girls were a close second to Cape Elizabeth, while Falmouth came in fifth. NYA doesn't have a team, but behind standout Sonia Lin, wound up 10th.
The Rangers were paced by Hwanhee Park, who won the 200 free (1:58.17) and 500 free (5:24.52). Camilla Civiello was runner-up in the 200 free (2:06.38).
The Yachtsmen produced the best diver, Charlotte Janelle, who had 348.35 points.
Lin was second in the 100 backstroke (1:00.55) and fourth in the 50 free (25.65).
In the boys' meet, won easily by Cheverus, Greely was runner-up and Falmouth came in sixth.
The Rangers were led by Jon Dunnett, who won the fly in 53.50 seconds, and its medley relay (Jack Benoit, Griffin Fluet, Dunnett and Connor Russell), which came in first in 1:45.20.
The Yachtsmen got a win from Jake Perron in the 50 free (22.89).
Looking ahead, Falmouth's girls will take part in the Class A championships Saturday in Orono. The Class A boys' state meet is Monday in Orono. Greely and Yarmouth take part in the Class B girls' state meet Monday in Brunswick. The Class B boys' state meet is Tuesday in Brunswick.
"Anything can happen on race day," Felker said. "I can say I expect (the kids) to do their best and support each other. With hard work, positive composure and fun, I am confident in another successful meet."
The Western Maine Conference Alpine and Nordic championships were held over the past week and not surprisingly, many locals excelled.
On the downhill side, Falmouth's boys and Greely's girls won titles.
The Yachtsmen had 80 points to hold off Yarmouth (101), Freeport (129) and Greely (162).
Falmouth's top finisher was Joe Lesniak, who won the giant slalom (a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 34.39 seconds) and finished third in the slalom (1:30.16). Thomas Lesniak (fourth in the GS, 1:39.22, and sixth in the slalom, 1:34.67) also placed in the top 10.
The Clippers were led by Tucker Grout, who was second in the slalom (1:28.53). Rhys Eddy (seventh in the slalom, 1:37.52, ninth in the GS, 1:42.43) and Matthew Woodbury (ninth in the slalom, 1:39.63, 10th in the GS, 1:45.33) also had top 10 finishes.
The Falcons were paced by Ryder Bennell, who was fifth in the GS (1:39.51) and eighth in the slalom (1:38.42) and Caleb Abbott (eighth in the GS, 1:42.40).
The Rangers were led by Will Bryant (10th in the slalom, 1:41.82).
In the girls' race, the Rangers had 39 points to easily outdistance runner-up Yarmouth (103), third-place Falmouth (129) and sixth-place Freeport (209).
Greely got a win from Elyse Dinan in the slalom (1:34.99). Dinan was also runner-up in the GS (1:43.36). Jill Booth was second to Dinan in the slalom (1:40.24) and ninth in the GS (1:50.22). Teal Otley came in fourth in the GS (1:44.93) and seventh in the slalom (1:46.34). Kelsey Otley was fifth in the GS (1:45.75). Kristin Dugas came in ninth in the slalom (1:49.11).
The Clippers were led by Chapin Dorsett, who came in third in the slalom (1:40.65) and third in the GS (1:44.04).
The Yachtsmen were led by Krysia Lesniak, who won the GS (1:40.85) and placed fourth in the slalom (1:41.94). Alexandra Shapiro was sixth in the slalom (1:45.98).
The Falcons featured Wynne Cushing, who was 10th in both the slalom (1:49.47) and GS (1:50.46).
In cross country, Yarmouth swept the championships.
The boys had 36 times to defeat runner-up Merriconeag, third-place Falmouth, fourth-place Freeport, eighth-place Greely and ninth-place NYA.
Yarmouth was led by top 10 finishers Braden Becker, who won the classical (15 minutes, 3.4 seconds) and the skate (14:36.4), Carter Hall (second in the skate, 15:23.2, and fourth in the classical, 16:39), Sam Alexander (fourth in the skate, 15:50, and eighth in the classical, 17:30.6), John Lane (seventh in the skate, 16:13.8) and Jasper Houston (ninth in the classical, 17:34).
Merriconeag placed three skiers in the top 10: Forrest McCurdy (fifth in the classical, 17:00.7, and sixth in the skate, 16:01.3), Graham Roeber (sixth in the classical, 17:14.1) and Tucker Pierce (seventh in the classical, 17:19.3, and 10th in the skate, 16:25.8).
Falmouth's Gabe Mahoney (third in the classical, 16:35.9, and third in the skate, 15:29) and Iain Kurry (ninth in the skate, 16:20.9, and 10th in the classical, 17:35.4,) finished in the top 10.
Freeport was led by Elijah McCurdy, second in the classical (16:08.2) and fifth in the skate (15:52.7).
NYA was paced by Haley Cunningham, who finished 20th in the classical (18:49.2) and 30th in the skate (18:09.4).
Greely's Ryan Morrison came in 24th in the skate (17:49.9). Tim Adams was 24th in the classic (19:14.3).
Yarmouth won the girls' meet, as Freeport placed second, Merriconeag third, Falmouth fourth and Greely eighth.
The Clippers featured Lucy Alexander, Ellie Teare, Sarah Myers and Emma Torres finishing in the top 10. Alexander finished fourth in the skate (18:49.8). Teare was fifth in the classical (20:11.6) and sixth in the skate (19:05.4). Myers came in sixth in the classical (20:13.6) Torres placed ninth in the classical (21:06.1).
Freeport was led by Lily Johnston (third in classical, 19:54.1, and third in the skate, 18:12.8) and Elizabeth Martin (fourth in the classical, 20:00.4, and fifth in the skate, 18:59.2).
Merriconeag's Samantha Pierce was runner-up in the classical (19:53.4) and second in the skate (18:04.3). Fiona Ahearne (10th in the classical, 21:26.7, and 10th in the skate, 19:45.4) also had a top 10 finish.
Falmouth's top finisher was Gabby Farrell, who was seventh in the classical (20:51.3) and ninth in the skate (19:37.8). Anna Morin finished eighth in the skate (19:28.3).
Greely was led by Emily Follett, who came in 22nd in the skate (22:32) and 36th in the classical (27:26.2).
NYA didn't score as a team, but Abby Hinchman had the 48th-best time (27:04) in the classical and the 64th-fastest time in the skate (29:22)
The Nordic state championships begin Tuesday of next week. Alpine is held at the end of the month.
Falmouth was the lone girls' hockey team remaining at press time.
The Yachtsmen, ranked second in the West Region after a 13-5 regular season, opened the playoffs Friday with a 5-0 victory over No. 3 Biddeford the semifinals behind Sarah Hutchinson's hat trick. Falmouth earned a regional final date against undefeated Scarborough Wednesday evening. The Yachtsmen lost both regular season meetings, 4-1 and 5-0.
Greely and Yarmouth/Freeport saw their seasons come to a close last weekend.
The Rangers, ranked third in the East, suffered a close 1-0 loss at Lewiston in the semifinals and their two-year championship reign came to a close at 12-7.
"I'm so proud of the season we were able to put together," said Greely coach Nate Guerin. "We're a young team and we made a lot of progress throughout the season. It's been such a privilege to coach this group of girls. I wish we could've won a game or two in the playoffs, but the skill level was higher this year. It's fun to have such strong competition and it makes losing a little easier to swallow when you see your team play so hard down the stretch. They left it all on the ice and that's all any coach can ask for. I'd love to thank assistant coach Matt Roy and all of the families that helped to make this season a success. It's a great community to coach in and I feel very lucky to be a part of this team.
"The future looks bright. We have strong underclassmen with a ton of potential and I had a freshman goaltender win 10 games this season. I think we did a good job this season of showing that we can skate with any team in the state when we are playing our best."
Yarmouth/Freeport produced its best season to date, going 13-4-1 and earning the No. 4 seed. Yarmouth/Freeport then ousted No. 5 Mt. Ararat, 7-0, in the East Region quarterfinals behind two goals from Michelle Robichaud. Saturday, the good times ended with a 6-1 loss at top-ranked Leavitt/Edward Little in the semifinals. Ariel Potter had the lone goal as the season ended at 14-5-1.
"Our girls worked very hard and kept it close for two periods, but the better team won," said Yarmouth/Freeport coach Jeff Haley. "W had the most wins in the six years of our varsity program. We made the playoffs for the second time and for the first time, we hosted a playoff game. Our losses came from playoff teams within our strong conference and we defeated Greely and tied Lewiston."
Yarmouth/Freeport hopes to remain a top contender next winter.
On the boys' side, in a year where there doesn't appear to be a clear favorite, all three local squads like their chances.
In Western A, defending state champion Falmouth began the week 11-5 and first in the Heal Points standings after a pair of thrilling overtime wins last week: 8-7 at Biddeford and 6-5 at Thornton Academy. Jake Grade had the game-winner (his fourth of the game) against the Tigers. Tyler Jordan (who had a hat trick) tied the score with 13 seconds left in regulation. Hunter Low did the overtime honors against the Golden Trojans. The Yachtsmen host Lewiston Saturday and close at home versus Scarborough Thursday of next week.
In Western B, Greely, the two-time defending state champion, is atop the Heals with a 7-5-3 mark after extending its unbeaten streak to seven last week with wins over visiting Kennebunk (2-0) and York (5-3). The Rangers host Yarmouth Thursday and welcome Messalonskee in a rematch of the last two state finals Saturday before closing Wednesday of next week at home versus Gardiner.
Yarmouth was fourth at 7-5-1 after a 10-1 win at Westbrook and a 5-4 loss at Cape Elizabeth. Isaak Dearden had four goals in the victory. In the setback, Bobby Murray had two goals, while Patrick Grant and Tyler Hall each had one, but despite many chances, the Clippers were left frustrated.
"I thought we played well most of the game," Yarmouth coach David St. Pierre said. "We have to tighten up in our zone. That's our biggest liability right now. We had some lapses and Cape made the most of them and the next thing you know it, the puck was in the back of the net."
Yarmouth has a huge showdown at Greely Thursday, goes to Camden Hills Saturday, then closes at home versus York Wednesday of next week. The Clippers also need to make up the Gorham game (postponed due to snow last Wednesday).
"We're focused on what we need to do," said St. Pierre. "We have to pull things together before we make our run and if we don't, we'll struggle. There are still a lot of Heal Points out there. We'll play the three teams ahead of us. That's an opportunity."
Off the ice, Yarmouth senior Max Watson was named the Western B January Defenseman of the Month, while Greely's Galen Arnold, a freshman defenseman, was named Rookie of the Month by the league's coaches.