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Greely Rangers Spring Sports Preview

Sports

Greely Rangers Spring Sports Preview

Greely is fired up for the spring sports season and has several teams that should enjoy great success. Baseball is always a top contender and even after a disappointing end to last season and a lot of players lost to graduation, should be a force well into June this time around. Softball has a new coach and looks to take the final step it couldn't manage last year. Boys' lacrosse believes it will be one of the top contenders in Western B, the toughest region in the state. The girls' squad also has a new coach and features some strong talent. Both track teams are, as always, loaded with standouts. Boys' tennis looks to get back in the playoff hunt, while the girls' team should be a force in the postseason.

BASEBALL

Coach: Derek Soule (14th year, 186-56-1 overall record, two state championships)

2012 Record: 15-2 (Lost, 9-6, to Cape Elizabeth in Western Class B quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Jonah Normandeau (Senior), Bailey Train (Junior)

Pivotal games: May 3 (H) FALMOUTH, May 8 (H) YORK, May 10 @ Yarmouth, May 15 (H) YARMOUTH, May 22 @ York, May 24 @ Cape Elizabeth

Coach's comment: “Graduation claimed seven starters. Falmouth and Yarmouth are loaded. Yarmouth will probably go undefeated. We hope to gain experience and improve as the year progresses and possibly make the playoffs. ”

The Forecaster's forecast: It would be shocking if Greely doesn't make the playoffs, considering that last happened way back in 1987. While graduation certainly decimated the roster, the cupboard isn't close to bare and Normandeau and Train are tremendous building blocks, so you can't help but get a grin out of Soule's downplaying his team's chances. Normandeau is one of the state's special players. He was Greely's 2012 Spring Male Athlete of the Year, was a first-team all-conference pitcher and won the Rupert Johnson Award (as the Western Maine Conference's top Class B player) after going 5-0 with a 0.48 earned run average, while also hitting to the tune of a .408 average and 18 RBI. He can be close to unhittable at times (and in fact threw a perfect game against Lake Region last spring). Train is a game-changer as well. He was 4-1 with 43 strikeouts and a 1.71 ERA on the hill last season and crushed opposing pitching for 17 RBI while batting .400. He's another first-team all-star. Sophomore Will Bryant is the potential next top arm. He'll become a household name as the season progresses. Senior Matt Ames and sophomore Reid Howland will catch, replacing all-conference standout Pete Stauber, who graduated. All-star Liam Maker's graduation will hurt, but this season, infielders to watch include senior shortstop Nick Dunnett and sophomore second baseman Miles Shields. Big things are expected from junior Tommy Buchholz in the outfield. There's an abundance of other players who will contribute (Soule and his assistants always make the most of the roster). Greely's pitching depth, athleticism, hitting and overall baseball IQ will once again lead to great things. The Rangers will make the playoffs. They'll have a high seed and this time, they'll stay awhile. Don't be surprised if Normandeau and Train lead Greely all the way to the promised land.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Jess Gomez (first year)

2012 Record: 16-3 (Lost, 8-1, to Fryeburg in Western Class B Final)

Top returning players: Danielle Cimino (Senior), Elyse Dinan (Junior), Mykaela Twitchell (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 22 (H) FRYEBURG, April 24 (H) GRAY-NG, May 10 @ Yarmouth, May 15 (H) YARMOUTH, May 24 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 29 @ Fryeburg

Coach's comment: “I have very high expectations for the team this year. We have great potential. My hope is to return to the conference final. The girls are very fun to work with, so it should be a fun, exciting season.

The Forecaster's forecast: After an impressive run to the regional final a year ago, coach and program legend Sarah Bennis Jamo stepped down to take over the program at the University of Southern Maine. The beat figures to go on for the Rangers, however, as her assistant, Gomez, ascends to the top spot. Gomez played at U. Maine and competed at the semi-pro level in California. She takes over a team that isn't satisfied with resting on its laurels from last season, is still thinking about the one bad inning that doomed it and wants to go all the way. Cimino was a first-team all-star last season and returns as the ace. She's on the short list of the top pitchers in the state and would love to go out in style, leading Greely deep into the playoffs. She'll be spelled at times this spring by sophomore Miranda Moore. The loss of Senior Player of the Year and first-team all-star catcher Edith Aromando will definitely be felt, but freshman Charlotte Benoit is prepared to step in. Dinan (third base) is another returning all-star. She, along with Twitchell, Moore and freshman shortstop Sarah Felkel, will help pace the offense. Greely might not have the offensive pop it featured last spring, but the Rangers will make things happen on the basepaths. Cimino will keep the team in every game and if Greely can find a way to solve nemesis Fryeburg, the sky is the limit. Look for the Rangers to once again be one of the top seeds and go deep into the playoffs. This could be the year they break through.

BOYS' LACROSSE

Coach: Mike Storey (second year, 8-5 overall record)

2012 Record: 8-5 (Lost, 12-1, to Cape Elizabeth in Western Class B semifinals)

Top returning players: Brooks Belisle (Senior), Fred Bower (Senior), Svenn Jacobson (Senior), Tim Storey (Senior), Brendan Trelegan (Senior), Calvin Stroud (Junior), Sam Doolittle (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 24 (H) WAYNFLETE, May 7 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 10 @ Kennebunk, May 13 (H) FALMOUTH, May 18 (H) DEERING, May 24 @ Waynflete

Coach's comment: “It's a great group of kids. We're looking very good so far. We've made giant leaps. Over 25 guys played in the offseason. We need to play as a team. We're very strong defensively. We have to get the offense on the same page. We're climbing the ladder. I feel we can hold our own with the top teams.”

The Forecaster's forecast: There's a lot of optimism around the Rangers this season. Greely is always in contention, but Storey feels that this year, the team can take the next step and seriously push powerhouses Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth. While the jury's still out, there are several reasons why. For starters, there are several potential scoring threats. Belisle, Bower, Doolittle, Stroud, Trelegan, sophomore faceoff man Gabe Belisle and sophomore Mitchel Mullin will make life very difficult for the opposition. On defense, Jacobson and Storey are seasoned. They're joined by junior longstick Andrew Benger, sophomore longstick Connor Wyman and sophomore Harrison Shain. Junior Griffen Doree, a backup in 2012, replaces Sam Reed in goal. The Rangers will ride their depth as far as they can. Greely doesn't see the Capers or Yachtsmen until the second half of the schedule, so it's possible (and imperative) the Rangers get off to a fast start. We'll have a better idea by late May just how close Greely is to the to the elite. The guess here is that the Rangers are going to make the playoffs for the 14th straight season, then make things very interesting.

GIRLS' LACROSSE

Coach: Becca Koelker (first year)

2012 Record: 7-7 (Lost, 18-10, to Cape Elizabeth in Western B semifinals)

Top returning players: Etta Copenhagen (Senior), Meg Finlay (Senior), Julia Mitiguy (Senior), Cameron Keefe (Junior), Teal Otley (Junior), Sara Piwowarski (Junior), Krystyna Rybka (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 29 (H) FREEPORT, May 7 @ NYA, May 9 (H) WAYNFLETE, May 17 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 30 @ Freeport

Coach's comment: “With a completely new coaching staff, we started this season off with a clean slate. We hope to improve on the record from last year and will count on the many returning players to get the ball in the back of the net. Our senior captains, Julia and Jordan, will anchor the attack and defense respectively, with multiple players having the capability of scoring. With such a talented, athletic group of players, we're looking to make it to the semifinals, but expect fierce competition from the likes of Cape, Waynflete and Falmouth.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Greely welcomes a new coach, who is a familiar face, this spring. Koelker, who went by the last name Lambertson when she starred for the Rangers in soccer and lacrosse in the late 1990s and early 2000s, went on to play at Gordon College and spent the past two seasons as a Yarmouth assistant. She also teaches Spanish at Greely Middle School and takes over a team that has been in the playoffs two years running and returns a lot of talent. The top returner is Mitiguy, a first-team league all-star in 2012. Mitiguy, along with Copenhagen, Finlay, Keefe and Otley, should pace the offense. Keefe, Mitiguy and Otley will all take draws. Freshmen Jocelyn Mitiguy and Kelsey Otley are new names (with familiar last names) to watch. Defensively, Piwowarski leads the way in front of Rybka, who returns for another season in goal. The Rangers' offensive balance will make them hard to stop. If Greely can tighten up the defense (it surrendered nearly 10 goals a game last season), it will be in the running with everyone. Unfortunately for the Rangers, they're in a region with arguably the three best squads in the state: defending Class B champion Waynflete and powerhouses Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth, so a deep playoff run will be difficult to pull off. Look for this squad to be very competitive, however, and a lot of fun to watch. With a lot of young talent littering the roster, it won't be long until Greely is back with the upper echelon powers.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: John Folan (19th year, six state championships)

2012 Results:
(Boys) 6th @ Class B State Meet
(Girls) 2nd @ Class B State Meet (WMC meet champions)

Top returning athletes:
(Boys) Ian Byron (Senior), Liam Campbell (Senior), Ben Giffard (Senior), Jacob Isaacson (Senior), Nathan Madeira (Senior), Nick Maynard (Senior), Nick Sprague (Senior), Chance Carr (Junior), James Ferrar (Junior), Will Jackson (Junior), Dan Ray (Junior), Weston Taylor (Junior), Ryder White (Junior), Troy Cochran (Sophomore), Ben Ingraham (Sophomore), Ben Ray (Sophomore)
(Girls) Megan Boynton (Senior), Molly Fitzpatrick (Senior), Lila Hall (Senior), Sarah Ingraham (Senior), Cora Lyden (Senior), Kathleen McKersie (Senior), Delaney Nolin (Senior), Nina Oberg (Senior), Kelsey Saunders (Senior), Gwen Sawyer (Senior), Kaley Sawyer (Senior), Jess Wilson (Senior), Natalie Dedon (Junior), Genny Dyer (Junior), Sarah Lawless (Junior), Emma Nicholson (Junior), Kirstin Sandreuter (Junior), Eva Bates (Sophomore), Hannah Keisman (Sophomore), Emily Mason (Sophomore), Maddy McKenney (Sophomore), Sophie McMonagle (Sophomore), Aspen Pray (Sophomore), Julia Ramseyer (Sophomore), Lucy Wetzel (Sophomore)

Top foes: Falmouth, York

Coach's comment: “The boys will be competitive, led by a deep distance crew, led by Madeira and Campbell. Maynard and Ferrar are top tier in the field events. Other potential breakout athletes will help. The girls have a number of interesting newcomers. Our team numbers in the mid-50s, so depth is a positive. We certainly have experience. We expect to be very competitive in the league.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Greely will once again be competitive in the league and at the state level.

The boys' team's top returner is Maynard, who was second in the long jump and fourth in the triple jump last year. Giffard and Ingraham are other jumpers to watch. Ben Ray is a threat in the pole vault. In the throws, Ferrar leads the way. He was fourth in the shot put in 2012. Distance should be a strength on the track side as Campbell (third in the mile last season) and Madeira (sixth in the mile) both return. Byron, Cochran, Dan Ray, Taylor and White, along with freshmen Ryan Morrison and Connor Rog, also look to score. In the sprints, keep an eye on Isaacson, Sprague, junior Connor Hanley, sophomore Andrew Therriault and freshman Chris Perry. Carr and Jackson are the lead hurdlers. There are a lot of potential points in this lineup. The Rangers will again be one of the best teams in the Western Maine Conference and should continue their streak of five straight top 10 finishes at states. Placing in the top five is quite possible.

On the girls' side, Greely (along with everyone else) is still chasing juggernaut Waterville, but like last season, the Rangers might be the next best squad. Greely has some solid points back on the field side. Gwen Sawyer was runner-up in the shot put last spring and just won it indoors. She was also third in the discus and could move up. She's joined in the throws by freshman Alyssa Casarez. Saunders was second in the triple jump, third in the high jump and seventh in the long jump a year ago. This season, she'll go for the top spot and will get company from Ingraham, Ramseyer, Kaley Sawyer and freshmen Samantha Pynchon and Allie Swaney. Lyden, McMonagle, Nolin, Oberg and Wetzel are top vaulters. On the track, Sandreuter returns as one of the top distance runners in the state. She was runner-up in the two-mile and third in the mile last spring. Bates (fourth in the two-mile), Wilson (fourth in the 800), Hall, Lawless, Mason, Nicholson and freshman Sophia Stickney are also threats. In the hurdles, look for Dedon, Dyer and Keisman to make a run at top finishes. In the sprints, Boynton, Fitzpatrick, McKenney, McKersie, Pray and freshman Kayla Barry all look to make a mark. The Rangers did lose some top points scorers, but this group has plenty of talent and some of the newer athletes should come into their own over the next several weeks. Look for Greely to have another superb season and make it 23 straight years with a top five finish at states.

BOYS' TENNIS

Coach: Bert Kendall (eighth year, 39-52 overall record)

2012 Results: 1-11 (no playoffs)

Top returning players: Mitchell Berube (Senior), Evan Carr (Senior), Alex Dorr (Senior), Philip Hodgkins (Senior), Liam Dougherty (Junior)

Pivotal matches: April 23 @ Freeport, April 26 @ Yarmouth, April 29 @ NYA, May 13 @ York, May 20 (H) YORK

Coach's comment: “We have 20 out for the team. We have our top three singles players back. We compete against the best teams. We hope to get off to a faster start this year and to improve on last year."

The Forecaster's forecast: The Greely program is in limbo as Kendall suffered a heart attack prior to the season and may not return to coaching this year. The team has been led in the interim by parent volunteer Chris Ray and new girls' coach Ben Caswell. The Rangers do have some talent returning this season. Dougherty was at first singles a year ago. Hodgkins played second singles and Dorr was in the third slot. While the ladder was unknown at press time, those three will again play prominent roles. Sophomores Mitchell Day and Chris Goding will play doubles. Berube, Carr, juniors John Donahue, Pete Hurley and Nick Ray, sophomore Nick Piacentini and freshman Blaine Ventre are also vying for spots. Greely is primed to compete well against most of its foes and win some matches as it climbs its way back to contention. The playoffs might be a longshot, but you can't rule this team out. Look for a lot of improvement over the next several weeks.

GIRLS' TENNIS

Coach: Ben Caswell (first year)

2012 Results: 10-4 (Lost, 5-0, to Yarmouth in Western Class B semifinals)

Top returning players: Coryn Armstrong (Senior), Haleigh Roach (Senior), Allie Eaton (Junior), Sarah Gooch (Junior), Anna Collins (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: April 24 @ Cape Elizabeth, April 26 (H) YARMOUTH, April 29 (H) NYA, May 8 @ Waynflete, May 10 @ Falmouth, May 15 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH

Coach's comment: “I feel we'll have a very competitive team. A good mix of veterans and youth that will push each other to get better. I'm hoping we will be one of the top schools this year and have our name mentioned in the conversation when it comes down to teams that others don't want to play against in the playoffs.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Greely is coming off its best season in six years and features a new coach this spring in Caswell, who played at Lyndon State College in Vermont and previously served as an assistant coach with the Windham boys. He takes over a team that should once again be in the hunt for a winning record and a playoff spot. Eaton is the top returner. She was a second-team league all-star a season ago. Armstrong, Collins, Gooch and Roach also have experience. Senior Lucrezia Cerulli (an exchange student from Italy) and freshman Alex Tebbs look to make an impact as well. While Falmouth is the clear favorite in Western B, after the Yachtsmen, the league appears wide open. Greely could be one of the squads in position to host a playoff match if all goes well. This should be another strong campaign for a program that is accustomed to being in the hunt.

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

Photo: File photo

Senior Jonah Normandeau is coming off a decorated 2012 season and will be one of the state's top pitchers this spring.

Photo: File photo

Senior shortstop Nick Dunnett will play a key role for the Rangers this season.

Photo: File photo

Senior Dani Cimino returns as Greely's ace.

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Junior Elyse Dinan will be a top hitter for the Rangers.

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Junior Mykaela Twitchell will make a big impact for the Rangers in the field and at bat this year.

Photo: File photo

Senior Brendan Trelegan figures to be one of Greely's top scorers this year.

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Senior Etta Copenhagen, coming off a state title in girls' hockey, will help pace the Greely offense this spring.

Photo: File photo

Senior Meg Finlay is another accomplished returner for the Greely girls' lacrosse team.

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Junior Teal Otley is another member of Greely's strong offense.

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Junior Sara Piwowarski anchors the Greely defense.

Photo: File photo

Senior Liam Campbell will be one of the conference's best distance runners this spring.

Photo: File photo

Senior Nick Maynard is a top returning jumper.

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Junior Kirstin Sandreuter is back for another dominant season in the distance races.

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Senior Jess Wilson is chasing the top spot in distance races this spring.

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Senior jumper Sarah Ingraham is another key returner for the Rangers.

Greely Spring Previews

BASEBALL

Mon., April 22 H FRYEBURG

Wed., April 24 H GNG

Fri., April 26 @ Poland

Wed., May 1 H WELLS

Fri., May 3 H FALMOUTH

Mon., May 6 @ Freeport

Wed., May 8 H YORK

Fri., May 10 @ Yarmouth

Mon., May 13 @ Lake Region

Wed., May 15 H YARMOUTH

Fri., May 17 H WAYNFLETE

Mon., May 20 @ Wells

Wed., May 22 @ York

Fri., May 24 @ Cape Elizabeth

Wed., May 29 @ Fryeburg

SOFTBALL

Mon., April 22 H FRYEBURG

Wed., April 24 H GNG

Fri., April 26 @ Poland

Mon., April 29 H SACOPEE

Wed., May 1 H WELLS

Fri., May 3 H FALMOUTH

Sat., May 4 @ Falmouth

Mon., May 6 @ Freeport

Wed., May 8 H YORK

Fri., May 10 @ Yarmouth

Mon., May 13 @ Lake Region

Wed., May 15 H YARMOUTH

Wed., May 22 @ York

Fri., May 24 @ Cape Elizabeth

Wed., May 29 @ Fryeburg

BOYS' LACROSSE

Sat., April 20 @ Freeport

Wed., April 24 H WAYNFLETE

Fri., April 26 @ Massabesic

Wed., May 1 @ Wells

Fri., May 3 H YORK

Tues., May 7 H CAPE ELIZABETH

Fri., May 10 @ Kennebunk

Mon., May 13 H FALMOUTH

Wed., May 15 H FREEPORT

Sat., May 18 H DEERING

Fri., May 24 @ Waynflete

Wed., May 29 @ York

GIRLS' LACROSSE

Wed., April 24 @ York

Fri., April 26 H MASSABESIC

Mon., April 29 H FREEPORT

Fri., May 3 H YORK

Tues., May 7 @ NYA

Thurs., May 9 H WAYNFLETE

Sat., May 11 @ Windham

Tues., May 14 @ Wells

Fri., May 17 @ Cape Elizabeth

Thurs., May 23 H FRYEBURG

Thurs., May 30 @ Freeport

BOYS' TENNIS

Mon., April 22 H FRYEBURG

Tues., April 23 @ Freeport

Wed., April 24 H CAPE ELIZABETH

Fri., April 26 @ Yarmouth

Mon., April 29 @ NYA

Fri., May 3 @ Lake Region

Wed., May 8 H WAYNFLETE

Fri., May 10 H FALMOUTH

Mon., May 13 @ York

Tues., May 14 @ Waynflete

Wed., May 15 @ Cape Elizabeth

Mon., May 20 H YORK

GIRLS' TENNIS

Mon., April 22 @ Fryeburg

Tues., April 23 H FREEPORT

Wed., April 24 @ Cape Elizabeth

Fri., April 26 H YARMOUTH

Mon., April 29 H NYA

Wed., May 1 @ OB

Fri., May 3 H LAKE REGION

Wed., May 8 @ Waynflete

Fri., May 10 @ Falmouth

Mon., May 13 H YORK

Wed., May 15 H CAPE ELIZABETH

Mon., May 20 @ York