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North Yarmouth Academy Spring Sports Previews

Sports

North Yarmouth Academy Spring Sports Previews

North Yarmouth Academy's spring sports teams are looking for triumph and improvement. Boys' lacrosse has been to the state final each of the past two seasons and hopes the third time is a charm as it chases a championship. The girls' team is primed to bounce right back into contention. Both track teams once again feature a lot of talented athletes. Boys' tennis is coming off its best season in a number of years and should be strong again. Girls' tennis is hoping to get back to title form and can't be written off.

BOYS' LACROSSE

Coach: Peter Gerrity (first year)

2012 Record: 9-7 (Lost, 7-4 to Falmouth in Class B state championship game)

Top returning players: T.J. Daigler (Senior), Matt Hawkins (Senior), Aidan McLaughlin (Senior), Jacob Scammon (Senior), Oliver Silverson (Senior), Eliott Wellenbach (Senior), Wes Bright (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 20 (H) YARMOUTH, April 24 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, April 27 @ Scarborough, May 6 @ Falmouth, May 15 @ Yarmouth, May 21 (H) WAYNFLETE, May 24 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 29 (H) FALMOUTH

Coach's comment: “The kids are excited. We have a lot of seniors. They handled last year really well. We're hoping to control the game on offense. If we can maintain possession and help out a younger defense than we've had, we can play with anybody. It would be nice to make another run at the end of the season.”

The Forecaster's forecast: NYA went through its share of upheaval last spring, but still managed to put a mighty scare into Falmouth before falling in the state final. After a late season coaching change, the Panthers somehow pulled it together for the playoffs and won at St. Dom's and Yarmouth to reach the state game. Gerrity, the one-time NYA standout and former assistant coach, is now in place officially as the head coach and he and his assistants are very excited about what the season holds. There's a lot of scoring punch returning, suggesting the Panthers should produce plenty of goals. Scammon was last year's leading scorer. He's back, as are Daigler (NYA's Winter Male Athlete of the Year), Hawkins and Silverson. Throw in Wellenbach, senior Jeremy Sylvain, juniors Austin Kidder (who will take faceoffs) and Colton Ackerman and sophomore Haley Cunningham, and there's no slowing this attack. Senior Ben Claytor (who also will see time in the faceoff circle), Bright and McLaughlin pace the defense. There's a big hole to fill in goal after Weston Nolan left for prep school, but it appears sophomore D.J. Nicholas, a tremendous athlete, will be able to step in to the void. The Panthers will have a series of tests in the regular season, starting with a regional final rematch with their fiercest rival Yarmouth (a benefit for the Wounded Warrior Project Saturday at 1 p.m., at NYA). The Panthers know what it takes to be the best team in Eastern Class B. Taking that next step has another story, however. Once again, Falmouth and Cape Elizabeth appear to be the cream of the crop. NYA is eager to measure itself against those squads and hopes to see one of them a third time, on June 15 in the state final at Fitzpatrick Stadium. The last two Panthers' editions made it to the finale. This one could make the third time a charm and win it all for the first time since 2007.

GIRLS' LACROSSE

Coach: Lynn Sullivan (second year, 1-11 overall record)

2012 Record: 1-11 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Jen Brown (Senior), Bailey Clock (Senior), Mallory Ianno (Senior), Nyajal Ngoal (Senior), Lillie Reder (Senior), Olivia Madore (Junior), Abby McKelvy (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 23 (H) FREEPORT, April 26 (H) CHEVERUS, May 3 @ Yarmouth, May 7 (H) GREELY, May 14 @ Freeport, May 31 (H) FALMOUTH

Coach's comment: “The program has been bolstered by an influx of talented freshmen, some of whom may work their way into the starting lineup. We're looking to get back to the old NYA lacrosse.”

The Forecaster's forecast: After struggling last spring and missing the playoffs for the first time since 1999, the Panthers are ready to return to form. They figure to be much more competitive this season. The offense will be led by Madore, McKelvy and junior Jen Machin. Ngoal, Reder and freshman Alex Wahlstrom will look to score as well. Brown (NYA's Fall Female Athlete of the Year) and Ianno pace the defense. Sophomore Scout Fischman will be in goal. The return of Clock, who missed most of the 2012 campaign with a concussion, will bolster the squad. The Panthers have a more favorable schedule this spring and hope to get off to a good start to establish confidence. NYA should be able to get back to the postseason and in an open region, could make a deep run. The Panthers might go from one win and out of the playoffs to playing for a state title if all goes well. It's safe to say that "the old NYA lacrosse" won't take long to return.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Chris Mazzurco (17th year, four state championships)

2012 Results:
(Boys) 2nd @ Class C state meet
(Girls) 12th @ Class C state meet

Top returning athletes:
(Boys) Jake Burns (Senior), El Tayeb Dahia (Junior), Michael McIntosh (Junior), Chase Gendron (Sophomore), Duncan George (Sophomore), John LeBlanc (Sophomore)
(Girls) Jillian Bjorn-Caron (Junior), Kayla Rose (Junior), Muriel Adams (Sophomore), Hannah Austin (Sophomore)

Top foes: Falmouth, Greely, Sacopee, Traip, York

Coach's comment: “We graduated over half our boys' team. The Class of 2012 scored a large percentage of our points in major competition, but they left behind a strong legacy. Several new athletes have joined the team. Our numbers are solid. The younger athletes have come into the spring working hard and are determined to continue where last year's team left off. While it will be a challenge to properly cover all events, we have a group of individuals willing to focus on what's needed for the team to be successful. If we can focus on staying healthy and training some new skills, we'll see some strong individual and relay performances at the championship meets which many in turn, yield some surprising team results. We have an exceptionally young girls team this year with only one senior on the team and three juniors. The freshmen and sophomores bring strong talent, work ethic and a positive attitude to an already strong core of returning upperclassmen. While there is much learning to be done, the team is getting stronger by the day. If we can cover all of the events starting this year, we should have a strong season to build upon.”

The Forecaster's forecast: NYA expects another strong season on the track this spring.

The boys have enjoyed nine straight top 10 state meet finishes, including last year's runner-up. Returning state scorers include McIntosh and 2012 Spring Male Athlete of the Year Burns from a Class C champion 400 relay. Burns will be a top sprinter, hurdler and jumper this season. Other top sprinters project to be Dahia and McIntosh. Senior Dean Walters comes over from tennis and hopes to be a factor in the sprints as well. George and LeBlanc lead the distance contingent. Gendron is a top thrower. The Panthers did graduate a lot of points, but this group is primed to step up and continue the program's recent excellence. NYA will be in the hunt for June glory once again.

On the girls' side, the Panthers return Rose, who was runner-up in the discus at last year's state meet, and Adams, fourth in the discus. Between them, NYA will be solid in the throws. Bjorn-Caron and freshman Linnea Hull are jumpers to watch. On the track, Bjorn-Caron will run sprints and hurdle. Austin returns in the distance events. Several other newcomers are worth keeping an eye on as well. Sophomore Maddie Cutten runs everything from the sprints to hurdles to distance and freshmen Emily Baker (sprints), Winter Female Athlete of the Year Sonia Lin (sprints, hurdles) and Kate Hilscher (distance) hope to make their mark. NYA has its hands full with league competition, but will make some noise behind its talented individuals. At states, the Panthers could move up into the top 10, all the while setting the stage for more triumph in the years to come.

BOYS' TENNIS

Coach: Charlie Hudson (35th year, 174-171 overall record since 1987, two state championships)

2012 Results: 9-6 (Lost, 5-0, to eventual champion Waynflete in Western Class C semifinals)

Top returning players: Burke Paxton (Senior), Ryan Walters (Senior), Bryce Tetreault (Junior), Brad Potter (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: April 22 @ Waynflete, April 23 @ Yarmouth, April 24 (H) FREEPORT, April 29 (H) GREELY, May 3 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 6 (H) FALMOUTH, May 8 (H) YARMOUTH, May 10 @ Freeport, May 13 (H) WAYNFLETE

Coach's comment: “We'll probably be comparable to last year. We're looking good at singles. We should have a very competitive first doubles team. The veterans are motivated. We're not taking anything for granted. We'll still playing tough teams. The key to the season is winning our tough matches.”

The Forecaster's forecast: NYA returned to prominence last spring, posting a winning record and making the playoffs for the first time since capturing the Class C title back in 2007. While second-team all-star Dean Walters left the program to run track, the Panthers do have some building blocks for what should be another competitive campaign. Leading the way this spring, again, is Paxton, now at first singles for the third year in a row. He's a reigning first-team all-star. Tetreault will play second singles. At press time, the third spot was up in the air as Potter, Ryan Walters and junior Max Maurer were all in contention. Two of those three will play doubles. The second doubles squad will come from some combination of sophomore Ben Ford and freshmen Haize Fassett and Hunter Mahoney. NYA has a difficult schedule and might be hard pressed to match last year's record, but if they can get in the playoffs, another deep run could be in store.

GIRLS' TENNIS

Coach: Lorena Coffin (seventh year, 74-16 overall record, four state championships)

2012 Results: 4-8 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Emma Randall (Junior), Mina Stam (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: April 22 (H) WAYNFLETE, April 23 (H) YARMOUTH, April 29 @ Greely, May 3 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 6 @ Falmouth, May 8 @ Yarmouth, May 13 @ Waynflete

Coach's comment: “We have several returning players who played exhibition or JV doubles last year, but are ready to step into some of the varsity slots. Our goal is to make the team tournament this year.”

The Forecaster's forecast: NYA just missed the playoffs (where it could have done some serious damage) last season for the first time since 1997. That was an aberration. The Panthers should bounce back nicely this spring. While NYA graduated four starters, including reigning Spring Female Athlete of the Year Sarah Jordan and Ally Morrison, there is talent in reserve. Randall and Stam are the top returners. Sophomores Hannah Hungerford, Diana McLeod and Livy Stam will be relied upon to play bigger roles. Freshmen Hannah Chapman, Corinne Poitras and Lena Rich bring depth and promise for the future. The Panthers have another tough schedule, but they'll hold their own. NYA will keep a close eye on two-time champion Waynflete. The Panthers are hoping to dethrone the Flyers and return to the Class C pinnacle, where they resided between 2007-10. If the newer players develop as hoped, NYA has a very good chance to do that very thing.

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

Photo: File photo

Senior Jacob Scammon is back to pace the NYA offense this season.

Photo: File photo

Senior Matt Hawkins will also play a key role on the offense this spring.

Photo: File photo

Junior Wes Bright is a top defender for the Panthers.

Photo: File photo

Junior Olivia Madore will play a key role at midfield for the Panthers this season.

Photo: File photo

Junior Abby McKelvy will look to score her share of goals this season.

Photo: File photo

Senior midfielder Lillie Reder looks to help the Panthers return to prominence this year.

Photo: File photo

Senior Nyajal Ngoal is a key returner for the Panthers.

Photo: File photo

Junior Jillian Bjorn-Caron will compete in the sprints, hurdles and jumps this year.

Photo: File photo

Junior Bryce Tetreault is playing second singles for the Panthers this season.

NYA Spring Schedules

BOYS' LACROSSE

Thurs., April 11        @        Wells
Sat., April 20            H        YARMOUTH
Wed., April 24        H        CAPE ELIZABETH
Sat., April 27            @        Scarborough
Mon., April 29        @        Fryeburg
Mon., May 6            @        Falmouth
Sat., May 11            H        GORHAM
Wed., May 15            @        Yarmouth
Sat., May 18            H        TA
Tues., May 21            H        WAYNFLETE
Fri., May 24            @        Cape Elizabeth
Wed., May 29            H        FALMOUTH

GIRLS' LACROSSE

Tues., April 23        H        FREEPORT
Fri., April 26            H        CHEVERUS
Tues., April 30        H        YORK
Fri., May 3            @        Yarmouth
Tues., May 7            H        GREELY
Sat., May 11            @        Massabesic
Tues., May 14            @        Freeport
Fri., May 17            H        FRYEBURG
Tues. May 21            @        Wells
Thurs. May 23        @        York
Fri., May 31            H        FALMOUTH

BOYS' TENNIS

Mon., April 22        @        Waynflete
Tues., April 23        @        Yarmouth
Wed., April 24        H        FREEPORT
Thurs., April 25        @        Lake Region
Mon., April 29        H        GREELY
Wed., May 1            H        FRYEBURG
Fri., May 3            @        Cape Elizabeth
Mon., May 6            H        FALMOUTH
Wed., May 8            H        YARMOUTH
Fri., May 10            @        Freeport
Mon., May 13            H        WAYNFLETE
Fri., May 17            @        York

GIRLS' TENNIS

Mon., April 22        H        WAYNFLETE
Tues., April 23        H        YARMOUTH
Thurs., April 25        H        LAKE REGION
Mon., April 29        @        Greely
Wed., May 1            @        Fryeburg
Fri., May 3            H        CAPE ELIZABETH
Mon., May 6            @        Falmouth
Wed., May 8            @        Yarmouth
Fri., May 10            H        FREEPORT
Mon., May 13            @        Waynflete
Wed., May 15            @        OOB
Fri., May 17            H        YORK