Waynflete Flyers Fall Sports Preview
Gold (as in gold balls) has been a predominant color at Waynflete in recent seasons and last fall was no exception, as girls' soccer scratched and clawed and rallied its way to a first-ever Class C title. What will 2013 bring? Probably more of the same. The girls are looking to repeat and even though graduation took a toll, the Flyers are loaded with talent again. The boys' team's quest for a repeat championship fell agonizingly shy last season, but Waynflete has shaken it off and appears to be the favorite in Western C again. Field hockey keeps improving and this year, the Flyers aim to win a playoff game. Both cross country teams will be chasing excellence. Golf is once again a JV program, although it will play a few varsity matches. That team is coming off a 5-5 varsity campaign, its best to date, and features Stephen Epstein, Ryan Perry and Simon Shin.
COACH: Brandon Salway (25th year, 207-96-33 overall record, four state championships)
2012 Record: 12-3-2 (Lost, 1-0, 5-4 PKs, to Hall-Dale in Western C Final)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Elyse Bayizere (Senior), Henry Cleaves (Senior), Joey Schnier (Senior), Harry Baker-Connick (Junior), Clancy Mitchell (Junior) Willy Burdick (Sophomore), Aaron Lee (Sophomore), Ahmed Mohamed (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 24 YARMOUTH, Oct. 2 NYA, Oct. 8 FREEPORT, Oct. 18 @ NYA, Oct. 21 @ Falmouth
COACH’S COMMENT: “It's a fun group to work with. We have the makings of a strong team, solid all around. We have to figure out the goalie position. Our schedule forces us to grow and improve. There are no layups in our league. We have the makings of a strong team. We have to play hard. I think we'll be very good, especially by the end of the year.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Waynflete has defined excellence the past four seasons, winning 51 games, but only once in that stretch did the Flyers ascend to the mountaintop. After last year's gutwrenching regional final defeat on penalty kicks, Waynflete is bound and determined to get back to states and finish the job.
The program does have a few big holes to fill, most notably the individual brilliance of All-Stater and Fall 2012 Male Athlete of the Year Peabo Knoth, all-conference standout Paul Runyambo and longtime goalkeeping stalwart Zander Majercik. Replacing Knoth and Runyambo's production might be the easier task as several players promise to produce offense. Baker-Connick continues to emerge as a special talent and will be difficult to contain. Mitchell is another finisher. Bayizere, Burdick, Mohamed and four newcomers, senior Serge Nyirikamba (the basketball standout), sophomores Milo Belleau and Jack Weston and freshman Khalid Suja, will also help the cause. Replacing Majercik is another story and at press time, Salway still wasn't sure which direction he would turn, although sophomore Tommy Silk was a distinct possibility. That will mean it's incumbent on defenders like captains and reigning league all-stars Cleaves and Schnier, as well as Lee, to hold the opposition at bay as much as possible. The loss of senior Peter Miner to a knee injury thins the ranks a bit.
Once again, Waynflete plays a daunting schedule, which features opponents from Class A, B and C, including arguably the state's two premier powers, two-time Class B champion Falmouth and a Yarmouth squad which many feel could be the cream of the crop this autumn. That kind of slate makes the Flyers battle tested for the playoffs, where they'll once again be in a position to make a deep run. If the goalkeeping position sorts itself out and the offensive production comes along as expected, Waynflete will play into November. This team is hungry, deep and very talented.
COACH: Todd Dominski (fifth year, 48-14-5 overall record)
2012 Record: 12-2-4 (Beat Ft. Kent, 3-2, to win Class C state championship)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Sofia Canning (Senior), Leigh Fernandez (Senior), Sophie Raffel (Senior), Julianna Harwood (Junior), Arianna Giguere (Sophomore), Marijke Rowse (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Oct. 2 @ NYA, Oct. 4 @ Sacopee, Oct. 8 @ Freeport, Oct. 14 SACOPEE, Oct. 18 NYA, Oct. 21 FALMOUTH
COACH’S COMMENT: "We lost a bunch of seniors, but our preseason's going well. We have good leadership and very good goaltending. We're putting the pieces together. We're working on getting healthy. We'll have good results. We'll strive to get back to the state championship game."
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: A year ago, Waynflete won Class C for the first time since 2008 and did it in palpitating fashion. That team then graduated six seniors, including Sadie Cole, who had a penchant for clutch goals, and All-Stater Rhiannan Jackson. Weep not for the Flyers, however, they're still very loaded and if the championship hunger remains, they have a great chance to bring home more hardware.
For starters, Waynflete features one of the best goalies around in Harwood, a league all-star, who made countless huge saves during last year's title run. Her mere presence keeps the Flyers in every game. Defensively, Raffel, new junior Helen Gray-Bauer (who will also see some time in goal) and freshman Isabel Canning will ensure Harwood sees few difficult shots. The offense is sparked by Fernandez, an unheralded talent who is riding a personal four season championship streak (two in soccer, one each in basketball and lacrosse). Long content doing her thing in the shadows, look for Fernandez to have a breakout season in 2013. Sofia Canning (another reigning league all-star) and a pair of players who turned heads as freshmen, Giguere and Rowse, will also be heard from, as will a couple huge additions. Senior Ella Millard, who ran cross country as a junior, is back on the pitch. Her skills and strength will provide a matchup nightmare. Lacrosse teammate senior Cat Johnson also comes over from cross country and looks to make an impact.
It might take a little while for this squad to jell, but the early schedule is favorable. The toughest tests come in October, when Waynflete should be up to speed. If the Flyers can remain healthy, they'll be in a strong position to repeat. We'll see if they can retain their flair for stirring victories. If so, another state title will be theirs.
COACH: Kelly Hoffman (third year, 14-14-2 overall record)
2012 Record: 8-5-2 (Lost, 3-0, to Dirigo in Western C quarterfinals)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Alexandra Armstrong (Senior), Lauren Cressey (Senior), Nina Flight (Senior), Gavriella King (Junior), Allison Mills (Junior), Dana Peirce (Junior), Madison Pellow (Junior), Chloe Williams (Junior), Charlotte Majercik (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 9 YARMOUTH, Sept. 17 NYA, Sept. 25 @ Greely, Oct. 1 @ Yarmouth, Oct. 9 @ NYA
COACH’S COMMENT: “It should be a fun and competitive season. We've been having a lot of fun in the preseason. We lost some significant seniors, but we still have a core group. My hope is that we make the playoffs and make it to the next round.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: While last year's loss to Dirigo was disappointing, it did mark the third straight season the Flyers had qualified for the playoffs, a first in program annals. A fourth consecutive trip appears likely and this time, Waynflete might not be satisfied with just showing up. Hoffman, assisted by Stacey Sevelowitz and Alice Wagg, has a lot of experience and talent to work with even after some key players, like All-State selection, Class C Player of the Year and 2012 Fall Female Athlete of the Year Jo Moore graduated.
Top scorers project to be Mills, who saw limited time last year, and Pellow. Majercik could be a star in the making. Junior Lucy Weaver and freshman Rahwa Michael, the younger sister of former all-star Merrilla Michael, will look to step right in and make an impact. In the midfield, Cressey (who was sidelined by a hip injury much of last year), Williams and freshman Randall Seder will look to control play and transition the attack. Armstrong, Flight (currently out with a back injury), King and Peirce are experienced defenders. They're joined by senior Sally Li, sophomore Anabelle Carter and freshman Amina Nur. The Flyers have to replace Katherine Torrey in goal and appear to have a good one in freshman Kiera MacWhinnie.
Waynflete has its share of tough tests this fall, but the Flyers should compete with everyone, even an NYA squad which has run roughshod on the region in recent seasons. Another winning record is a distinct possibility, but Waynflete has its sights set on a first ever playoff victory. This could be the year.
COACH: Brian Gillespie (ninth year, three state championships)
(BOYS) 4th @ Class C state meet
(GIRLS) 3rd @ Class C state meet
TOP RETURNING RUNNERS:
(BOYS) Graham Chance (Senior), Max Rowe (Senior), Julian Ireland (Junior), Cam Thompson (Sophomore)
(GIRLS) Lydia Fox (Senior), Ellie Marston (Senior), Rowan Price (Senior), Emily Wasserman (Senior), Emily White (Senior), Gail Johnson (Sophomore)
TOP FOES: Merriconeag, NYA
COACH’S COMMENT: “It's going to be an interesting season. The boys don't have the upfront runners we've had in the past. We do have a large team, with many of the new runners showing great potential. I think we'll have a 'pack' team, with our top five being very close together. We should qualify for states and be a real factor next fall.
"We thought the girls were going to have one of the best teams we've had in the past eight years, but (with kids playing other sports and not being in school,) we went from being in position to win states to hoping to qualify for states. I have no idea how good we can be. With 12 freshmen, our future's certainly positive.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Waynflete has consistently been among the top Class C cross country teams and while there are obstacles to overcome, the Flyers should again be a factor in 2013.
The boys graduated state meet scorers Josh Espy (eighth), Dylan Kingsbury (19th), Abukar Adan (26th) and Colin Laurence (38th). The only returning scorer is Ireland (49th). Thompson came in 33rd at the regional championships. Chance will be one of the top runners this time around. Rowe has experience. Senior Mason Saltz, juniors Jacob Hagler and Jake Soley, sophomore Jake Woods and freshmen Booway Bikales, Matt Higgins, Liam Keohane, Sam Puiia and Peterson Silk are new to the squad and add depth. Waynflete has qualified for states three years in a row and should make it four.
On the girls' side, hopes of a title were dashed when Helen Gray-Bauer, Cat Johnson and Ella Millard all left the team to play soccer. Those three were among the top 50 at the state meet. If that wasn't enough of a hit, standout Martha Veroneau (fifth last year) graduated. Gail Johnson (21st at states) and Marston (29th) are back, so that's a start. Fox, Price, Wasserman and White also return. Junior Phoebe Colvin (who could step into the Veroneau role as the pack leader) and a passel of freshmen (including Sophia Mayone) round out the ranks. The guess here is that the Flyers will be just fine and should be able to qualify for states for the ninth straight year. They haven't finished lower than third in that time. Such a lofty finish this time around might be a stretch, but when all is said and done, Waynflete will make its share of noise at the postseason meets.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.
Mon., Sept. 9 @ Traip
Mon., Sept. 16 @ Fryeburg
Wed., Sept. 18 H LAKE REGION
Sat., Sept. 21 @ Gray-NG
Tues., Sept. 24 H YARMOUTH
Fri., Sept. 27 @ Poland
Wed., Oct. 2 H NYA
Fri., Oct. 4 @ Sacopee
Tues., Oct. 8 H FREEPORT
Fri., Oct. 11 H GRAY-NG
Mon., Oct. 14 H SACOPEE
Wed., Oct. 16 H TRAIP
Fri., Oct. 18 @ NYA
Mon., Oct. 21 @ Falmouth
Mon., Sept. 9 H TRAIP
Mon., Sept. 16 @ Fryeburg
Wed., Sept. 18 @ Lake Region
Fri., Sept. 20 H GRAY-NG
Tues., Sept. 24 @ OOB
Fri., Sept. 27 H POLAND
Mon., Sept. 30 H OOB
Wed., Oct. 2 @ NYA
Fri., Oct. 4 @ Sacopee
Tues., Oct. 8 @ Freeport
Mon., Oct. 14 H SACOPEE
Wed., Oct. 16 @ Traip
Fri., Oct. 18 H NYA
Mon., Oct. 21 H FALMOUTH
Mon., Sept. 9 H YARMOUTH
Mon., Sept. 16 @ Sacopee
Tues., Sept. 17 H NYA
Thurs., Sept. 19 @ Wells
Sat., Sept. 21 @ OOB
Mon., Sept. 23 H TRAIP
Wed., Sept. 25 @ Greely
Fri., Sept. 27 H OOB
Tues., Oct. 1 @ Yarmouth
Fri., Oct. 4 @ Traip
Mon., Oct. 7 H SACOPEE
Wed., Oct. 9 @ NYA
Fri., Oct. 11 H WELLS
Tues., Oct. 15 H POLAND
Thurs., Sept. 5 @ Wells (LR, Traip)
Fri., Sept. 20 @ NYA (Cape, Frye)
Fri., Sept. 27 @ Yarmouth (Kbunk, Sacopee)
Fri., Oct. 4 @ Poland (Kbunk, LR, Sacopee, York)
Fri., Oct. 11 @ Greely (Falm, GNG)
Fri., Oct. 18 @ WMC Championships
Sat., Oct. 26 @ Western B Regionals
Sat., Nov. 2 @ Class B State Meet
Mon., Sept. 16 @ NYA
Wed., Sept. 18 @ GNG
Thurs., Sept. 19 H NYA
Tues., Sept. 24 @ Cape Elizabeth