What a spring! Rough weather overshadowed by high drama
The spring of 2014 is now in our rearview mirror and while it will certainly be remembered for challenging weather conditions, ultimately, it will be hailed for the thrills it produced.
Outdoor track gave out its hardware first and the Cheverus boys stole the show, ending a long title quest by capturing Class A, thanks to superb efforts from many standout athletes. There were some other individual champions from the city as well.
Tennis was next and both Waynflete teams continued their stranglehold on Class C, as the boys made it seven consecutive championships, while the girls won their fourth in a row. Deering's boys and Portland's girls were tremendous as well, reaching the Western A Final before losing to eventual champion Falmouth.
On the diamond, Cheverus and Portland's baseball teams made the playoffs, while the Cheverus softball squad enjoyed its best season to date. McAuley also qualified for the postseason.
Lacrosse brought the curtain down. The Cheverus, Portland and Waynflete boys all qualified, but ultimately were ousted. Portland's girls lost their first playoff game, as did Waynflete, as the Flyers' two-year state championship and six-year regional title reign came to a close. That left Cheverus, the defending Class A champion, which got back to the state game and in an absolute, unforgettable epic, took Massabesic to a fifth overtime before falling in a heartbreaker.
What a way to cap a memorable spring!
Here's one last glimpse at the top moments of the spring before we enjoy the summer and look ahead to fall sports (practice starts sooner than you think, Aug. 18)...
Cheverus outdoor track, Class A
Waynflete boys' tennis, Class C
Waynflete girls' tennis, Class C
Jake Dixon, Cheverus, boys' 400, Class A
Kiera Murray, Cheverus, girls' two-mile, Class A
Nick White, Cheverus, boys' discus, Class A
Isaac Yeboah, Cheverus, boys' 110 hurdles, Class A
Isaac Yeboah, Cheverus, boys' 300 hurdles, Class A
Yahya Hussein, Deering, boys' two-mile, Class A
Olivia Smith, McAuley, girls' discus, Class C
Olivia Smith, McAuley, girls' javelin, Class C
Cheverus girls' lacrosse, Eastern A
Michael's top five stories/moments
5) Waynflete's flair for the dramatic
While the Waynflete girls' lacrosse team wasn't able to win a third consecutive Class B championship, the Flyers certainly engaged in no shortage of memorable games. The fun began with a one-goal win at North Yarmouth Academy in the opener. Waynflete fell to 1-2 with a close home loss to Falmouth, then hit its stride, finding a way to down Cape Elizabeth, Greely and then Kennebunk, in an overtime thriller. The Flyers' six-game win streak ended with another OT classic, a one-goal loss to eventual champion Yarmouth. Waynflete's excitement carried over to the playoffs, but it didn't result in a happy ending, as the Flyers' 12-year, 24-game win streak over Cape Elizabeth came to an close with an agonizing (you guessed it) one-goal loss.
4) Cheverus softball posts best season to date
Cheverus' softball team has had its share of competitive teams in recent years, but none like the one the Stags put on the field this spring. Cheverus won its first seven games, but memories of a 5-1 start followed by a 1-9 collapse in 2013 lingered. This year's squad was different, however, and rode the dazzling pitching of senior Brittany Bell and an opportunistic offense to a 13-3 mark, a program record. The Stags even won a quarterfinal for the first time, holding off Marshwood. Cheverus took a 3-1 lead to the fifth inning at eventual regional champion Thornton Academy in the semifinals before it fell apart, but even that 10-3 loss was quickly forgotten and all that remains is pride over a magical campaign.
3) Tennis excellence continues
The city of Portland produced two tennis team championships and were it not for a recent reclassification, it could have had four. The winners were no strangers, as Waynflete's boys made it seven championships in a row and the girls won their fourth in succession. There's no end in sight for either Flyers squad. Deering's boys and Portland's girls both ran the table in the regular season, then rolled over a pair of regional foes to make it to the Western A Final, but standing in the way was Falmouth, a longtime Class B power, which moved up this spring to increased enrollment. While the Bulldogs and Rams both played hard, they were no match for the Yachtsmen and fell short.
2) Cheverus track reaches the pinnacle
For years, Cheverus' boys' outdoor track team banged ever more loudly at the championship door, but the Stags couldn't break it down. This spring, finally, the Stags ascended to the top, thanks to many dazzling performances. On June 7, Cheverus downed Lewiston by 29 points and left several other teams in its wake thanks to six first-place performances. Isaac Yeboah won the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles, Jake Dixon took the 400 and Nick White won the discus. The Stags' 400 and 1,600 relay teams were also first and several other key contributors spelled the difference. This title was oh so sweet.
1) The game that wouldn't end
Everyone expected the Class A girls' lacrosse state final between Cheverus and Massabesic, a rematch of last year's thriller won by the Stags, 8-7, to be close, but no one could have dreamed just how long it would take to determine a winner. Cheverus jumped out early, 4-1, but the Mustangs came back and led, 6-5, inside of the final minute before Stags senior standout Alex Logan tied the score and forced overtime. Massabesic scored twice in the second three-minute OT to seemingly ice the title, but senior star Meredith Willard struck and Logan scored on a rebound to keep Cheverus' hopes alive. Willard had a free position shot saved in the third overtime, a Mustangs shot hit the post in the fourth and the game went into a fifth before Massabesic prevailed, 9-8, ending the longest state game in the history of Maine girls' lacrosse and proving that sometimes you really can have two winners and no losers.