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Waynflete Flyers Spring Sports Preview

Spring Sports Previews

Waynflete Flyers Spring Sports Preview

There's plenty of optimism at Waynflete this spring and for good reason. Baseball is coming off its best Class C season to date and while there are holes to fill, the squad has promise. Boys' lacrosse hopes to make a playoff run in the final year of its longtime coach. The girls' team has fallen in the state game two years running and it's not likely it will be denied again. The track program is small, but features some breakout athletes. Boys' tennis looks to continue its domination of Class C, while the girls' squad also hopes to defend its championship.

BASEBALL

Coach: Steve Kautz (sixth year, 21-43 overall record)

2011 Record: 9-5 (Lost 15-1, in five innings, to Dirigo in Western Class C semifinals)

Top returning players: Mitch Newlin (Senior), Thomas Spagnola (Senior), Andrew Butler (Junior), Joey Schnier (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 23 (H) OOB, April 30 @ OOB, May 4 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 7 (H) SACOPEE, May 9 (H) OOB, May 14 (H) TRAIP, May 16 @ Sacopee, May 18 (H) GREELY, May 21 @ Traip, May 25 @ Sacopee, May 30 @ Traip

Coach's comments: “I'm excited and nervous at the same time about this season. We lost six starters from last year and that's enough to make any coach nervous. We have a nice core of young, talented and dedicated players. They lack experience, but it will be exciting watching them play every day, learning on the job. Our schedule is tough, but we look forward to the challenge. We'll work hard to compete and if we can steepen the learning curve, we could have a terrific season and find ourselves back in the playoffs. As always, the key will be pitching. Can our talented young crew throw strikes and will our infield, with new players at almost every position, make the plays behind them? I like this team and I like our chances..”

The Forecaster's forecast: Waynflete has made great strides the past two years and reached the Western C semifinals for the first time ever in 2011. The offseason took its toll, as not only several key contributors graduated, but elite pitcher, first-team all-star and Spring Male Athlete of the Year Charlie Laprade transferred to Cape Elizabeth. This year, the Flyers will look to Butler (a second-team all-star in 2011), Schnier (3-1 with a 4.23 earned run average as a freshman) and new sophomore Nik Morrill to throw strikes, register outs and hold the opponent at bay. Junior Luke Jeton, the swimming standout and Waynflete's Winter Male Athlete of the Year, will catch. The offense is paced by Schnier (.333 average last spring), an infielder when he doesn't pitch, first baseman Butler (.320), Morrill, who will be in the outfield when he's not on the mound, and centerfielder Newlin (who homered twice and had 13 RBI during a first-team all-star campaign in 2011). Spagnola (at shortstop) also has experience. Senior infielder Pete Stein, junior outfielder Ryan Carr and sophomore infielder Isaac Sher are new to the team and provide depth. With North Yarmouth Academy not fielding a varsity baseball program this season, the Flyers are playing 15 games, including three each against Old Orchard Beach, Sacopee Valley and Traip. They also meet five Class B foes, including reigning regional champion Greely and perennial contender Cape Elizabeth. Posting another winning record will be a challenge, but Kautz and his assistants, Paul Grazia and Zak Starr, have gotten this group to believe it can contend and triumph. Waynflete will battle day in and day out. The Flyers have a good chance to still be standing when the postseason begins.

BOYS' LACROSSE

Coach: Bob Johnson (24th year, 170-131 overall record, one state championship)

2011 Record: 9-4 (Lost 17-1 to eventual state champion Falmouth in Western Class B semifinals)

Top returning players: Chris Burke (Senior), William Cleaves (Senior), Will Gordon (Senior), Max McKendry (Senior), Zander Majercik (Junior), Henry Cleaves (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 25 (H) GREELY, April 28 @ Cheverus, May 2 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 12 (H) THORNTON ACADEMY, May 19 @ South Portland, May 25 @ Greely

Coach's comment: “If we keep people healthy, we'll be OK. We're counting on our offense to keep us in games and give our defense a chance to keep it together. We'll try to control the ball and play a lot of offense. I have modest expectations. I want to finish on a positive note. The most important thing is to keep doing what we've been doing..”

The Forecaster's forecast: Johnson is entering his 24th and final year as coach of the Flyers. He plans to step down at season's end. He has some talent to work with this spring. The team is led by Burke, an honorable mention all-star and goal scoring machine a year ago (he tickled the twine on 50 occasions). Burke's joined as a top scoring threat by Majercik, McKendry and both Henry Cleaves and Will Cleaves (last seen scoring the overtime game winning goal in the soccer team's Class C state title back in November). Waynflete figures to score its share of goals. Defensively, Gordon has experience, but the rest of the unit will need time to get up to speed. The loss to graduation of Will Hallett will be felt, but sophomore Carter Burrowes looks to step in and make a mark. The Flyers have a schedule that should allow them to win more than they lose and get back to the playoffs for the eighth year in a row. If the defense comes along and the offensive is as productive as expected, Johnson's swan song will be memorable.

GIRLS' LACROSSE

Coach: Cathie Connors (20th year, 222-42-1 overall record, 10 state championships)

2011 Results: 12-3 (Lost 9-8 to Yarmouth in Class B state final)

Top returning players: Maddy Agnew (Senior), Lucy Crane (Senior), Sadie Cole (Junior), Katherine Torrey (Junior), Martha Veroneau (Junior), Walker Foehl (Sophomore), Ella Millard (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 25 (H) YARMOUTH, April 28 @ Kennebunk, May 4 @ Falmouth, May 10 (H) GREELY, May 12 (H) CHEVERUS, May 15 @ NYA, May 22 (H) FALMOUTH, May 23 @ Yarmouth

Coach's comment: “I have the biggest number of new kids ever. Five of our seven defenders are new. They've jumped right in. Our team leaders are awesome. We have speed in the midfield. More than usual. I'd love to see us be comfortable playing together by the end of the season. I love the strength of our schedule. It's a great group of girls who are willing to work really hard.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Look out Class B, the Waynflete juggernaut is on a mission this spring. Never have the Flyers gone three straight seasons without a state title and after falling in the state game to North Yarmouth Academy in 2010 and in a heartbreaker to Yarmouth last spring, Waynflete will settle for nothing short of a championship celebration. The Flyers certainly look as if they're capable going all the way based on Friday's season-opening 15-5 win over visiting NYA. In that one, balanced scoring was in vogue as Cole had five goals, Veroneau four and Foehl three, while three other players each scored once. Even better, Waynflete had seven assists. Cole and Veroneau were first-team all-stars in 2011 and as captains this spring, will anchor this formidable attack. Foehl has emerged as a scorer and the likes of Crane (a captain) and Millard (who scored once against NYA) will also be in the mix. Junior Isabel Agnew (who had a goal in the opener), sophomores Sofia Canning, Leigh Fernandez and Ellen Silk and freshmen Helen Gray-Bauer (one goal Friday) and Hannah Thompson-Greaves will also see time on offense. The defense is young, but that doesn't mean the unrivaled and often unsolvable zone will be any easier for opposing offenses. Captain Maddy Agnew is the experienced member of that group. She's joined by junior Rhiannan Jackson, a standout athlete best known for her work on the basketball court, junior Jo Moore and sophomore Amelia Deady. Torrey is back for her third season in goal. She appears much more confident and aggressive and that will help since she figures to see some shots while the defense gets up to speed. As always, Waynflete has a daunting slate, but the Flyers welcome all the challenges. This will be a unique season in that the power teams in Class B girls' lacrosse appear to be in the West Region as NYA and Yarmouth rebuild. That means Waynflete will have to run the gauntlet of very talented Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth teams, as well as vastly improved Greely, just to make it to Fitzpatrick Stadium on June 16. History and the wealth of talent on this roster suggests the Flyers will get there. If all goes well, the rest of the state will get to see that movie they've seen so many times before and a level of excellence for which there are no words.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Ziggy Gillespie (fifth year)

2011 Results

(Boys) Tie-27th @ Class C state meet

(Girls) Tie-27th @ Class C state meet

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Abshir Horor (Senior), Eric Nathanson (Senior), Abukar Adan (Junior), Colin Lawrence (Junior), Abdi Mohamed (Junior)

(Girls) Gigi Schnier (Senior), Rowan Price (Junior)

Coach's comment: “We're a small team, a roster of 15, but we can score points in the state meet, which we always focus upon. We'll score well in the boys' mile and 800 with Abshir, who is one of the top runners in the state. We hope to have a boys' and girls' 4x400 relay team in the state meet.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Waynflete's outdoor track team has modest goals this spring, but has some impressive athletes who could turn heads.

The boys' squad features Horor, who was fourth in the mile at last year's state meet. He hopes to move up even further this winter. Adan (sixth in the 800 at last year's Western Maine Conference championship meet), Lawrence and Mohamed all have experience. Look for this team to be competitive with most league foes and to have a stronger finish at the postseason meets.

On the girls' side, Schnier is a veteran presence. Price was fifth in the 800 and tied for fifth in the high jump at last year's WMC meet. Several others will look to make a mark in the weeks to come. Look for this squad to show dramatic improvement and for a few individuals to have an opportunity to make some noise in the postseason.

BOYS' TENNIS

Coach: Jeff Madore (sixth year, 64-14 overall record, four state championships)

2011 Record: 11-5 (Defeated George Stevens Academy 3-2 to win fourth straight Class C state championship)

Top returning players: Patrick Ordway (Junior), Ben Shapiro (Junior)

Pivotal matches: April 24 (H) FALMOUTH, May 7 @ Falmouth, May 21 @ Cape Elizabeth

Coach's comment: “We hope for good weather and good health. We're looking forward to many fun and challenging matches.”

The Forecaster's forecast: Waynflete managed to win another state championship last season, although it didn't come easily. After back-to-back undefeated runs, the Flyers were bested five times in 2011 and were ranked fifth entering the playoffs, but put it all together in June to make it four straight. There's a good chance number five could follow as just one player (Eric Ordway) of the top seven graduated. Patrick Ordway (a first-team all-star last spring) and Shapiro return as top singles players. Freshman Isaac Salas projects to fill the other singles spot. Both doubles teams are also intact as Addison St. Onge-May and Owen Deady and Sam Martin and Jon Tao will be formidable. Waynflete's biggest regular season tests will come from Class B powerhouses Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth. Those matches will help prepare the Flyers for the postseason, where they'll likely be the favorite once more, regardless of their record. The good times keep on rolling for this program.

GIRLS' TENNIS

Coach: Linda Cohen (fifth year, 47-12 overall record, one state championship)

2011 Record: 12-4 (Beat George Stevens Academy 4-1 to win Class C state championship)

Top returning players: Hillary Niles (Senior) Emily Trafton (Senior), Phoebe Suva (Junior), Emily White (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: April 24 @ Yarmouth, April 25 (H) FALMOUTH, May 2 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 7 (H) YARMOUTH, May 9 @ Greely, May 14 @ NYA, May 21 @ Falmouth

Coach's comment: “Our team is shaping up to be small but with good depth. The schedule changes every two years and we have the pleasure of playing Falmouth and Yarmouth twice. NYA and Cape will most likely prove to be solid challenges as well. We will need to rise to the challenge if we hope to make it to the playoffs. One of the fun things about high school sports is that the rosters change. The opportunity to coach a great bunch of young ladies in a sport they'll hopefully enjoy playing their whole lives is still a privilege.”

The Forecaster's forecast: After four straight years of frustrating playoff ousters, Waynflete got back to the Class C pinnacle last spring. While reigning league all-star Kaitlyn Thompson is not returning (she's at St. Dom's this year), the Flyers have the pieces in place to be a top team in the conference and make a run at another championship. Niles, Trafton and White will play singles. Abby Cough, Hanae Miyake, Annika Morrill, Sophie Raffel and Meghan Surges will fit into the doubles mix. Suva is working her way back from injury and will also factor in. Waynflete has a tough schedule as Falmouth has been all but unbeatable for several years and Yarmouth isn't far behind. Mix in always tough Cape Elizabeth and Greely and one showdown with longtime nemesis North Yarmouth Academy and the Flyers will be hard pressed to match last year's record. Regardless, they'll be battle tested come playoff time. This team will be in it until the end. Another title celebration isn't out of the question.

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

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Junior Andrew Butler is a top returner for a Waynflete baseball team coming off its best Class C season to date.

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Senior Chris Burke scored 50 goals last season and will be a handful for the opposition all year.

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Senior Will Gordon is a top defender for the Flyers.

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Junior Sadie Cole is a scoring machine for the Waynflete girls' lacrosse team.

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Senior Lucy Crane is a captain and scoring threat for the Flyers.

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Junior Katherine Torrey has started in goal since her freshman season and has emerged as one of the best at her position.

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Abshir Horor will be one of the top distance runners in the conference this spring.

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Abukar Adan is another distance threat for the Flyers.

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Gigi Schnier is a top returner for the girls' outdoor track squad.

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Junior Patrick Ordway is a top returner for a boys' tennis team seeking its fifth successive Class C state championship.

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Junior Ben Shapiro is another top returning singles player for the Flyers.