Greely Rangers Winter Sports Preview
Greely won four state titles last winter and could approach that number again this time around. Boys' basketball bids adieu to a longtime coach, but welcomes a program legend as his replacement. The Rangers will likely be one of the last teams standing. The girls' program also has a new coach and aspires to get back to the regional final, then go beyond. Boys' hockey hopes to repeat as state champions for the first time. The girls' team is also looking for another crown. Both track teams are loaded with runners, jumpers and throwers extraordinaire. Both swim teams are seeking more Class B hardware and have the pieces in place to do so. Both the Alpine and Nordic ski programs are also loaded for bear.
COACH: Travis Seaver (first year)
2011-12 Record: 13-6 (Lost, 55-54, to Lincoln Academy in Western Class B preliminary round)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Jonah Normandeau (Senior), Connor Hanley (Junior), Michael McDevitt (Junior), Bailey Train (Junior)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 10 (H) YORK, Dec. 13 @ Falmouth, Dec. 18 @ Cape Elizabeth, Jan. 5 (H) YARMOUTH, Jan. 15 (H) FALMOUTH, Jan. 18 @ York, Jan. 29 @ Yarmouth, Feb. 8 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH
COACH’S COMMENT: “Everyone's excited to get going. I really like our size and athleticism. I think the conference is pretty even. We'll pose a lot of matchup problems for teams. Usually you have size or athleticism. We have both. Our expectation is to make it to the tournament.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The long and triumphant Ken Marks Era has come to an end and Seaver, a one-time Rangers' hero and longtime Marks assistant, is the new man at the helm. He takes over a program that might still be reeling from last year's stunning playoff setback. While history will record Greely being ousted in the preliminary round, you could make a case for the Rangers being a point away from perhaps winning it all, as they played eventual champion Yarmouth even in the regular season and would have faced the Clippers in the quarterfinals had they avoided the Lincoln upset. If that matchup had occurred, who knows, maybe Greely would have gone on a run to the title. That's in the past, however, and this year's team, while there are holes to fill, should be quite formidable once more. McDevitt, at 6-foot-7, could be the conference's premier big man. A second-team all-star in 2011-12, McDevitt was 10th in scoring (13.9 points per game) and fifth in rebounding (8.0). He'll control the post and create matchup nightmares for the opposition. While McDevitt is holding down the fort inside, look for the 6-3 Train to play bombs-away from the perimeter. When he's on, he's a deadly 3-point shooter. Hanley (a 6-3 forward) and Normandeau (Greely's Spring Male Athlete of the Year, who stands 6-1) also have experience. The offense will be run by either senior Nick Dunnett or classmate Nick Shain. Junior center Kyle Wood will also be a key cog in the machine. This will be a year in which the Rangers can beat or lose to just about any conference foe as league coaches agree that there is uncommon parity. That opens the door for Greely, which will come together as the season progresses. If the Rangers can give McDevitt and Train some help on offense, look out. They might just make that elusive, deep run to the title and give Seaver an ideal welcome present, the school's first Gold Ball since 1998.
COACH: Joel Rogers (first year)
2011-12 Record: 17-4 (Lost, 49-30, to Lake Region in Western B Final)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Caton Beaulieu (Senior), Jaclyn Storey (Senior), Ashley Storey (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 7 (H) WELLS, Dec. 10 @ York, Dec. 13 (H) FALMOUTH, Dec. 21 @ Poland, Jan. 3 (H) LAKE REGION, Jan. 11 (H) FREEPORT, Jan. 15 @ Falmouth, Jan. 18 (H) YORK, Feb. 1 @ Lake Region
COACH’S COMMENT: “As the fourth coach in six years, there's a learning curve, but I have kids who can play. Jackie Storey is a once in a decade player. I think the conference is as strong as it's been in 10 years. I'd be surprised if the top team doesn't have four losses. We're young, but the kids know the game. We'll play up-tempo. We need to beat pressure and rebound. Our first six games will be critical. Every Greely team's goal should be the semis at the Civic Center and hope to push through.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The reason Greely should aspire to the semifinals is because the Rangers have made it that far 15 of the past 17 years, including last winter when they were ousted one step shy of the state game for the third time in four seasons. The program needs coaching stability and Rogers, Greely's fifth coach in seven seasons, feels he's the long-term answer. Rogers played at Portland High, spent nine years with the Falmouth youth program and assisted at both his alma mater and at Greely under Billy Goodman during the 2010-11 season, so he's familiar with this team and is excited about its chances. The Rangers will be led by 5-foot-9 Jackie Storey, a first-team all-star last winter, who was ninth in the league in scoring (11.2 points per game). She can handle the ball, score, rebound and play staunch defense. Ashley Storey broke on to the scene as a freshman and made the conference's second-team. She'll play guard, but at 6-feet, is a matchup problem anywhere on the floor. Rogers feels junior Jordynne Copp is going to have a breakout season at center. After helping the volleyball team to yet another state title in October, Copp is no stranger to the hardwood. Beaulieu will be called upon to make the offense run from the point guard position, but she was hampered by a soccer injury in the preseason and may take a few games to get up to speed. Beaulieu is a fierce competitor, who knows how to find open teammates. Junior forward Abigail Nielson is a potential 3-point threat. Junior guard Blaise Tardiff also will be difficult to contain. The Rangers will take awhile to get used to yet another new system as several players take on bigger roles, but Greely will strike fear into the heart of the opposition by year's end. If the Rangers' supporting players deliver as hoped and the Storey sisters are able to dominate as expected, Greely will once again be one of the last teams standing. Perhaps even the final one.
COACH: BarryMothes (19th year, 229-137-10, twostatechampionships)
2011-12 Record: 15-4-2 (Beat Messalonskee, 6-2, to win Class B state title)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Kyle Megathlin (Senior), Ted Hart (Junior), Mitchel Donovan (Sophomore), Reid Howland (Sophomore), Kyle Kramlich (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 17 @ York, Dec. 20 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, Dec. 22 @ Thornton Academy, Jan. 10 (H) YORK, Jan. 16 @ Leavitt, Jan. 19 (H) ST. DOM'S, Jan. 21 (H) YARMOUTH, Jan.26 @ Biddeford, Jan. 31 (H) LEAVITT, Feb. 2 @ Messalonskee, Feb. 7 @ CapeElizabeth, Feb. 11 (H) CAMDEN HILLS, Feb. 15 @ Camden Hills, Feb. 20 @ Yarmouth
COACH’S COMMENT: “One of the challenges this year will be getting more offensive production, including from defensemen. Despite losing several experienced returning players to Junior hockey and prep school, we're excited to defend our state title. A promising core of still relatively young, but experienced forwards should provide dangerous offensive depth. We play a challenging schedule. We're excited to get the regular season started. There are a lot of players taking on newer roles with regular ice time and we also have a core of talented and experienced players too. We'll be looking to get better in every part of our game and building our consistency.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Greely has long been a top contender under Mothes, but over the past five years has established itself as unquestionably the top team in Class B. That hegemony should continue this winter. While the Rangers did bid adieu to some special players, an abundance of talent returns and this team has enough ammunition for another title run. Greely is certainly viewed as the favorite entering the year. The offense will be paced by five returners and three others who will see bigger roles. Hart, the baby in a storied hockey family. Hart had 15 goals and 17 assists a year ago. He was an honorable mention all-star and could be even more prolific this time around. Donovan led the team in scoring last year with 38 points (15 goals, 23 assists). He was a second-team all-star who can light the lamp as effectively as anyone. Howland had 11 goals and nine assists as a freshman and came up huge in the postseason. He was a member of the All-Rookie team. Seniors Matt Ames and Brendan Trelegan are other returners of note. Juniors Aidan Black (2 goals, 6 assists last year), Pete Hurley (1 goal, 1 assist) and Joe Saffian (2 goals, 6 assists) will see more ice time this season and will be up for the task. Look for all three to produce more offense. On defense, Megathlin, a first-team all-star in 2011-12, is the lead returner. The latest in a long line of Greely blue line standouts, Megathlin is a force on offense as well, scoring 3 goals and adding 14 assists a year ago. Junior Brian Storey and sophomores Miles Shields and John Wright provide defensive depth. The Rangers got a pleasant surprise from Kramlich last season, when he backstopped the team to the title as a freshman. He had a goals against average of 2.50 and a save percentage of .890 and was named to the All-Rookie squad. He only allowed five goals in three postseason tests. He'll be even more confident this time around. Junior Christian Kroot will serve as the backup. Greely will be tested from start to finish, not only by several Western B rivals, but by several top Class A squad as well. That type of schedule has long helped the Rangers be at their best by playoff time, so look for Greely to be very dangerous in February. The Rangers will be pretty good in December and January as well. Greely has never gone back-to-back. The 2012-13 squad has what it takes to celebrate on the Colisee ice once more.
COACH: Nate Guerin (third year, 28-12-1)
2011-12 Record: 16-5 (Beat Falmouth, 7-1, to win state championship)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Chelsea Andrews (Senior), Etta Copenhagen (Senior), Meg Finlay (Senior), Monica Howland (Senior), Paige Tuller (Senior), Freyja Victory (Senior), Sarah Kurland (Junior), Mary Morrison (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 12 (H) LEWISTON, Dec. 22 Scarborough, Jan. 9 @ Lewiston, Jan. 19 @ Brunswick, Jan. 30 @ Falmouth, Feb. 2 (H) LEAVITT/EL
COACH'S COMMENT: “We have a lot of strong seniors. Our goal for the regular season is to put ourselves in a position to host the first round of the playoffs. Our ability to do this will be determined by how effective our seniors can be at leading by example in all aspects of the game. We have the depth, physical skill and ability to beat any team in the state, but our success will hinge on staying focused and outworking the competition. We lose games when we're unable to match the intensity of our opponents. We're very excited to see what this group can accomplish when they play to their fullest potential.”
THEFORECASTER'SFORECAST: Greely didn't appear title-bound when it struggled at the end of last regular season, but did the Rangers ever save their best for last, scoring goals with abandon while getting superb goalkeeping from Winter Female Athlete of the Year Emma Seymour en route to a first championship. With an abundance of talent returning, Greely is primed to repeat and is off to a strong start, blanking Yarmouth (11-0) and Brunswick (6-0), before dropping a 2-1 decision to Leavitt/Edward Little. So far, the offense has been very balanced as Andrews (a second-team all-star last season), Finlay (second-team), Morrison (first-team all-star), Tuller (another first-teamer), Delaney Curtin and Danita Storey have all tickled the twine. Copenhagen (honorable mention), Kurland (second-team) and Victory are also threats on the offensive end. Erin Molloy is a new threat to watch. Filling Seymour's void will be sophomore Maura Perry. The Rangers have as much talent as anyone and will only get better as the season progresses. Greely will look to stay healthy and hungry and if so, will once again be in a great spot when the playoffs commence. Based on last year's experience and the names on the roster, it's quite likely we'll be talking about the Rangers well into February.
COACH: John Folan (20th year)
(BOYS) 4th @ Class B state meet
(GIRLS) 2nd @ Class B state meet
(BOYS) Liam Campbell (Senior), Ben Giffard (Senior), Jacob Isaacson (Senior), Chance Carr (Junior), James Ferrar (Junior), Dan Ray (Junior), Troy Cochran (Sophomore), Connor Wyman (Sophomore)
(GIRLS) Meghan Boynton (Senior), Robyn Estes (Senior), Sarah Fitch (Senior), Molly Fitzpatrick (Senior), Lila Hall (Senior), Sarah Ingraham (Senior), Cora Lyden (Senior), Kathleen McKersie (Senior), Julia Mitiguy (Senior), Gabby Morris (Senior), Nina Oberg (Senior), Kelsey Saunders (Senior), Kaley Sawyer (Senior), Jess Wilson (Senior), Cameron Keefe (Junior), Brennah Martin (Junior), Katie Nicolaou (Junior), Sara Piwowarski (Junior), Kirstin Sandreuter (Junior), Hannah Keisman (Sophomore), Emily Mason (Sophomore), Sophie McMonagle (Sophomore)
COACH’S COMMENT: “The boys' team is on the smaller side, so depth will be a problem, but with Campbell, Giffard, Isaacson, and Ferrar leading the way, we will be competitive. The girls will be competitive in every meet.“
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Both Greely indoor track teams have enjoyed top 10 state finishes for an amazing 23 years running. Look for both squads to continue that trend.
The boys don't have huge numbers, but there is plenty of quality. After losing Class B champions Mike Leeman (long jump) and Nestor Taylor (800) to graduation, the Rangers top returner is Campbell (runner-up in the mile and fourth in the 800 a year ago). Cochran and Ray join him in the distance races. Isaacson and Wyman lead the way in the sprints. Carr is a top hurdler. On the field side, Ferrar was fourth in the shot put last year and hopes to move up. Giffard is a top jumper. The Rangers will be chasing the likes of Falmouth and York in conference and others at states, but will be one of the top teams when all is said and done.
On the girls' side, after last year's runner-up performance, Greely is seeking its first title in five seasons and has the pieces in place to reach the pinnacle. Fitch, Mitiguy and Wilson return from a state champion 3,200 relay squad and will pace a strong distance contingent, which also features Hall, Keefe, Mason, Morris, Nicolaou and Sandreuter (second in both the mile and two-mile last year). In the sprints, keep an eye on Boynton, Fitzpatrick and Martin. Estes and Keisman lead the hurdlers. On the field side, last year's shot put scorers have departed, so Greely will need someone to step up to fill the void. Saunders (third in last year's high jump) and Sawyer (also third in the high jump and fifth in the triple jump) return. Ingraham, McKersie and Piwowarski are other promising jumpers. Lyden, McMonagle and Oberg will pole vault. The Rangers will have their hands full in conference, but could still be the team to beat. Dethroning Waterville won't come easily, but don't write this group off.
COACH: Rob Hale (19th year w/boys' team, 22nd year w/girls)
(BOYS) Class B state champion
(GIRLS) Class B state champion
(BOYS) Nathan Madeira (Senior), Jack Benoit (Junior), Jon Dunnett(Junior), Griffin Fluet (Junior), Connor Russell (Junior), Ryan Plante (Sophomore)
(GIRLS) Emily Domingo (Senior), Sarah Easterling (Senior), Sidney Easterling (Senior)
COACH’S COMMENT: “The boys graduated two state all-stars and some depth, but our margin of victory at states was significant. Now we come back to the pack, but we return a very good core of swimmers and should be right in the mix. We hope to develop some new depth. At the conference level, the graduation losses will be felt greatly. It appears Cape will have some depth to go with their front line and Cheverus is always tough. It should be a three-team battle down to the last event. The rest of the teams are not as deep, but they each have some real quality swimmers. At the state level, we will battle MDI, as usual, along with Belfast,Waterville and Ellsworth, Graduation hit the girls hard. We lost seven swimmers who scored at states. Six of them scored in two events. While we have 22 new swimmers, only one has any real swimming experience. We will be hard pressed to repeat what we did last year. We have our work cut out for us. We will need a bunch of no names to become household names in the next 10 weeks. At the conference level, Cape is probably in a good position to defend with Cheverus right there. At the state level, I see Waynflete's frontline battling with MDI's depth and if I have done my job, we will be in the mix.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The inimitable Hale's wariness notwithstanding, both Greely teams will be Class B powers once more this winter.
The boys have the ammunition to make it four straight. While standouts Dan Spencer and Evan Campbell have departed, Dunnett, second in both the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly (an event in which owns the school record) is back. Also returning are Plante (fourth in the IM, fourth in the 500 free), Madeira (sixth in the 500 free), Benoit (sixth in the backstroke, seventh in the IM), Russell (sixth in the breaststroke and eighth in the 200 free) and Fluet (seventh in the breaststroke). The Rangers have the front line talent and depth to not only excel in the regular season, but even more importantly, carry the day once more in the big February meets. This group has what it takes to carry on the program's legacy.
On the girls' side, while several key contributors graduated, Greely has reason to believe it can capture Class B for the third time in four seasons. The Rangers have the good fortune of returning a superstar in Sarah Easterling, last year's Performer of the Class B State Meet, who set records in winning the IM and the backstroke. She recently committed to the University of Arkansas and wants to cap her stellar high school career with more hardware. Domingo was part of record-setting 200 and 400 free relay teams last winter. Individually, she came in fourth in the 500 free and hopes to move up this season. Sidney Easterling (seventh in the IM last season) will also be heard from. Sarah Easterling will carry this team a long way. You can only imagine how high she'll set the bar in her final season. If she gets some assistance from the other returners and some newcomers can step up, look out, Greely could be a top-notch force once again.
(BOYS) 7th @ClassA combined state meet
(GIRLS) 4th @ Class A combined state meet
COACH: Mark Ouellette(17th year)
(BOYS) 6th @ Class A state meet
(GIRLS) 2nd @ Class A state meet
(BOYS) Shane DelBianco (Senior), Steven Volta (Senior), Mitchell Whiting (Senior), Brian Wright (Senior), Sam Perlmutter (Junior), Will Bryant (Sophomore), Harry Crosby (Sophomore)
(GIRLS) Jordan Ouellette (Senior), Jill Booth (Junior), Liz Clifford (Junior), Elyse Dinan (Junior), Kristin Dugas (Junior), Eliza McKenney (Junior), Teal Otley (Junior), Delaney Stevens (Junior)
COACH’S COMMENT: “We have 32 athletes on the team this year. Sixteen girls and 16 boys. The boys should be more competitive this year. The girls should match the results from the past two years or beat them. We have some great individual ladies. A realistic goal is to have more than 50 percent of the top 10 be our team at some time during the season. Another goal would be to get a combined score of under 50 at the state meet.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Greely's Alpine program will vie to be among the best in Class A once again this year.
The boys feature DeBianco (who was 12th in the slalom and 13th in the giant slalom at last year's state meet). Bryant, Crosby, Perlmutter, Volta, Whiting and Wright will also be in the mix. This group will be able to hold its own against the elite teams in the Western Maine Conference and should help the Rangers move up the ladder at states.
On the girls' side, several state scorers return. Leading the way is Dinan, who was third in the GS. Booth (fifth in the slalom), Otley (sixth in the GS) and Ouellette (seventh in the slalom) are other top 10 returners. That's not all. Also back are Clifford, Dugas, McKenney and Stevens. This group has been almost unbeatable the pats two years, but stumbled when it mattered most last winter. Don't expect that to happen again. The Rangers have a great chance to be the last team standing when all is said and done.
COACHES: Tricia Barstow (first year)
(BOYS) 8th @ Class A State Meet
(GIRLS) 10th @ Class A State Meet
(BOYS) Ian Byron (Senior), Doug Mitiguy (Senior)
COACH’S COMMENT: “This is an exciting year, as it's many skiers' final season. We have a couple skiers looking to make the top 10 at the state meet. We've been training hard and can't wait to race.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The Greely Nordic program is headed this winter by Barstow, who helped out a year ago.
The boys' squad returns Mitiguy, who was 28th in the freestyle and 36th in the classic last year. Byron hopes to be in the mix as well as the Rangers look to move up the standings from last winter.
On the girls' side, several skiers will vie for top spots on the team and in the conference. Greely will steadily improve in the weeks to come and looks to once again be one of the best squads in the conference and state.