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Yarmouth Clippers Winter Athletes of the Year

Sports

Yarmouth Clippers Winter Athletes of the Year

2012-13 Winter Male Athlete of the Year:

BRADEN BECKER, Senior-Skiing

ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND CITATIONS

· Class B state champion, classic

· Class B state champion, freestyle

· WMC Nordic All-Star, honorable mention

· Team captain

Becker's devotion to his craft paid off with a pair of individual state crowns and another team title for the Yarmouth juggernaut this winter.

Becker came to Yarmouth from Cumberland in the fifth grade and started skiing in middle school, where so many future Clippers stars take flight. He began as more of an Alpine skier, but quickly was drawn to Nordic and soon became a household name.

Becker, a New England caliber cross country runner, didn't even score at the Class B state ski meet as a freshman, but was third in the skate last year. He assumed a pretty big burden this winter as Jack Elder departed for a private ski school, Chester Jacobs missed time with illness and Carter Hall and Thomas Sullivan were both unable to ski due to injuries. Becker accepted the challenge and was transcendent.

After a strong regular season, Becker was second in the freestyle at the conference meet (he missed the classic race due to illness) and went on to win both the classic (14 minutes, 21.3 seconds) and the freestyle (12:20.1) at the state meet, helping Yarmouth add yet more ski hardware to its trophy case.

“We were down three of our top four skiers, so I just tried to help the others step up,” Becker said. “I tried to stay consistent.”

Becker, who also plays tennis in the spring, trains (biking, running, rollerskiing) with his sister, Sarah, who is every bit his equal and was a member of the state champion Yarmouth girls' squad. He also belongs to the Robotics Team and wants to win states again as a senior and build on this year's 12th overall (third from Maine) showing at the Eastern High School championships. He wants to run and ski in college and is in the midst of the selection process.

Becker rose to the occasion this winter and was simply sensational in February. Look for more of the same next season.

Coach Bob Morse's comment: “Braden is a highly motivated and true team skier. He listens to his coaches, is very focused and determined and knows when to rest. He gives 110 percent and is just a great person. I have been very fortunate to coach Braden in cross country in the fall and on snow. He is always looking to improve. He listens to his coaches and works to improve his skills. I think that because Braden worked hard on his 'transition skiing' this season, he became one of the top Nordic skiers in the state. Braden has great communication skills with his coaches and fellow skiers. He's a leader.”

2011-12 winner: Josh Britten (Basketball)

2010-11 winner: Luke Pierce (Basketball)

2009-10 winner: Ethan Gray (Hockey)

2008-09 winner: Cam Woodworth (Skiing)

2007-08 winner: Jack Gross (Skiing)

2006-07 winner: Lucas Denning (Basketball)

2005-06 winner: Jack Gross (Skiing)

2004-05 winner: Pat Delaney (Hockey)

2003-04 winner: Ben Swardlick (Skiing)

2002-03 winner: Gunnar Hagstrom (Basketball)

2001-02 winner: Jay Fletcher (Hockey)

2012-13 Winter Female Athlete of the Year:

ABBY BELISLE-HALEY, Junior-Swimming

The top scorer on a team which enjoyed one of its best seasons in recent memory, Belisle-Haley was one of the best swimmers in the region, continuing her trend of overcoming adversity in the process.

Belisle-Haley started swimming in the third grade and has been a standout both with her Casco Bay YMCA Stripers club team and at Yarmouth.

Belisle-Haley, who also plays soccer and lacrosse, is adept in the butterfly and freestyle and prior to suffering an ACL injury, was very strong in the individual medley as well. She placed runner-up in the fly as a freshman and again as a sophomore, was third in the backstroke as a freshman and finished fifth in the IM as a sophomore and had another solid season this winter as she rallied from her knee injury and also had to battle illness.

Belisle-Haley helped Yarmouth finish third at Southwesterns by coming in runner-up in both the IM and fly. At states, where the Clippers finished seventh, Belisle-Haley placed fourth in the fly and fifth in the IM.

“We were a team to be reckoned with and we did really well at Southwesterns and states,” said Belisle-Haley. “I was happy with our results. I have an 'underdog complex.' I've overcome setbacks. That drives me.”

Belisle-Haley qualified for Nationals in North Carolina with the Stripers. She writes a horoscope column for the student newspaper, is a member of Student Senate and the Chamber Choir and hopes to swim in college.

First, she'll look to finish even higher at states, keep the Clippers competitive and continue to establish herself as one of the state's best. Based on what we've seen so far, there's no reason not to believe in Abby Belisle-Haley.

Coach Ben Hollister's comment: “Abby is an intense competitor in the pool and possesses a contagious attitude on the deck. As well as pushing herself on both Yarmouth's team and the Casco Bay YMCA Stripers, she inspires others to push themselves. Getting a relay team fired up before a race or helping a teammate refine their stroke in practice, she is a team leader in a competition that is often considered an individual sport.”

2011-12 winner: Morgan Cahill (Basketball)

2010-11 winner: Becca Bell (Skiing)

2009-10 winner: Becca Bell (Skiing)

2008-09 winner: Lauren Stackhouse (Skiing)

2007-08 winner: Julianna Lord (Skiing)

2006-07 winner: Molly Hallweaver (Skiing)

2005-06 winner: Meredith Shaw (Basketball)

2004-05 winner: Aylie Baker (Basketball)

2003-04 winner: Kalie Dunn (Skiing)

2002-03 winner: Emily Poole (Skiing)

2001-02 winner: Emily Erickson (Basketball)

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