Sat, Apr 19, 2014 ●
BathHarpswellTopshamBrunswickCumberlandNorth YarmouthFalmouthFreeportPortlandCape ElizabethScarboroughSouth PortlandChebeague IslandYarmouth

Greely Rangers Winter Sports Preview

Sports

Greely Rangers Winter Sports Preview

Greely has made a habit of collecting championship trophies in recent winters and the Rangers should be in line for more glory in the months to come. Boys' basketball is on the short list of Western B favorites. The girls' squad should also make a run at a title. For two years running, Greely has excelled on the ice, as both the boys' and girls' squads have won consecutive state titles. A three-peat for both isn't out of the question. Both track teams boast a lot of talent. Boys' swimming is looking to capture another championship and the girls will also be heard from. Both ski teams should be among the best in the conference and state.

BOYS' BASKETBALL

COACH: Travis Seaver (second year, 10-10 overall record)

2012-13 record: 13-6 (Lost, 64-38, to York in Western B quarterfinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Connor Hanley (Senior), Michael McDevitt (Senior), Bailey Train (Senior), Kyle Wood (Senior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 17 YARMOUTH, Dec. 21 FALMOUTH, Jan. 9 @ York, Jan. 11 @ Falmouth, Jan. 17 @ Yarmouth, Jan. 25 @ Cape Elizabeth, Jan. 31 YORK, Feb. 7 CAPE ELIZABETH

COACH’S COMMENT: “I'm really excited. We're a year older and we have talented players. The conference in general has a lot of unknowns. Size is our strength. We post a lot of mismatches all over the floor. We have guys who are versatile. They can play inside or on the perimeter. The goal is to have a successful year. We should be up there with the top teams. We have very high expectations.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Greely's optimism is well founded. The Rangers have plenty of talent and with Falmouth playing in Class A for the playoffs, they are viewed by many as the Western B favorite. This year's team will be led by McDevitt, who recently signed a National Letter of Intent to play at Franklin Pierce (N.H.) University. McDevitt is a center who is a matchup nightmare with his ability to dominate in the paint and hit shots from outside. McDevitt was a second-team Western Maine Conference all-star last winter, after leading the league in rebounds (9.9 per contest) and placing ninth in scoring (14.6 points per game). If he's not enough to contend with, Train will keep the opposition honest with his shooting stroke (he led the league in made 3-pointers last season with 41), Train, who will play baseball at the University of Massachusetts next school year, is another player who can be productive in the paint or from the perimeter. Look for Hanley to become more of a household name this winter. He's another player who will score his share of points. Wood will be a force in the post. Senior Patrick O'Shea and junior Gabe Axelson will see time at the point guard position. After that, several other players are vying for playing time and will seek to contribute. Greely will be pushed by several league foes, but this team should post a very good record and will likely earn a very high seed entering the postseason. It's been a long 16 years since the program's last trip to the state final and its last championship. Those droughts could very well come to an end this winter.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

COACH: Joel Rogers (second year, 15-6 overall record)

2012-13 record: 15-6 (Lost, 42-27, to Lake Region in Western B semifinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Jordynne Copp (Senior), Blaise Tardif (Senior), Ashley Storey (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 6 @ Gray-NG, Dec. 11 FREEPORT, Dec. 17 YARMOUTH, Dec. 21 @ Falmouth, Jan. 9 YORK, Jan. 11 FALMOUTH, Jan. 14 @ Freeport, Jan. 17 YARMOUTH, Jan. 24 @ Lake Region, Jan. 25 CAPE ELIZABETH, 31 @ Wells, Feb. 4 WELLS, Feb. 7 @ Cape Elizabeth

COACH’S COMMENT: “We've got a chance to be really good. If we can be a good team without Ashley, when we get her back, we could be even better than last year. We're more athletic and we're better shooting. We have two really good freshmen. We're young, but I know we'll get there. I think the conference is the strongest it's been in years. I'll be shocked if someone goes 16-2. There's so much parity. Our goal is to win games at the Civic Center. I know our talent and we're going to get there.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Greely has a nice combination of proven talent and promising newcomers this winter and the Rangers should be in the thick of the Western B race throughout. Storey, a Western Maine Conference third-team all-star last season, could be one of the best players in the state this year, but first she has to completely heal from an offseason shoulder surgery. Storey was third in the conference in rebounds (10.2) last season and should be a double digit scorer. Tardif is on the brink of becoming a breakout star. Rogers raved about her play during summer ball and preseason. The forward has experience and will difficult to contain. Copp, a tremendous defender, who played Lake Region star Tiana-Jo Carter as well as anyone last winter, is another veteran returner who will certainly help the cause. Haley Felkel, a junior forward, and Sarah Felkel, a sophomore point guard, also saw time a year ago. They'll both contribute. A pair of freshmen might help push Greely over the top. Guard Molly Chapin will see a lot of playing time. Moira Train can play guard, forward or center. In a very difficult league, the Rangers will be challenged almost every time out, but this group has the pieces in place to not only contend, but to thrive. Once Storey is 100 percent, Greely will have to be viewed as a favorite come tournament time. The Rangers are used to getting to the Civic Center. If all goes well, this year's squad might just be able to add a trip to Bangor to its agenda.

BOYS' HOCKEY

COACH: Barry Mothes (20th year, 246-141-10 overall record, three state championships)

2012-13 record: 17-4 (Beat Messalonskee, 3-0, to win second straight Class B state championship)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Aidan Black (Senior), Peter Hurley (Senior), Joe Saffian (Senior), Brian Storey (Senior), Reid Howland (Junior), Kyle Kramlich (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 11 @ Kennebunk, Dec. 14 CAPE ELIZABETH, Dec. 21 KENNEBUNK, Jan. 1 FALMOUTH, Jan. 4 @ Lewiston, Jan. 8 @ St. Dom's, Jan. 11 @ Yarmouth, Jan. 14 TA, Jan. 27 BIDDEFORD, Feb. 8 YORK, Feb. 13 YARMOUTH, Feb. 15 MESSALONSKEE

COACH’S COMMENT: “We feature many new faces and returning players in new and expanded roles. We have a solid returning core of committed seniors and several juniors who were key parts of our season last year and they bring a lot of valuable experience and an understanding of what we need. It might take us awhile to hit our stride, but we have a great group and we're excited. We play a very challenging schedule. As the year goes on, we'll know a lot more about ourselves and hopefully we'll be in a position to take that into postseason play. We'll try to take things a game at a time and build and learn from the many great games and opponents we face. We're looking forward to it.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The Greely juggernaut rolls on. Over the past three seasons, the Rangers have gone 47-12-3 and last year went back-to-back for the first time in program history. The loss of standout Teddy Hart to Phillips Exeter, as well as Mitchel Donovan, who is no longer with the program, will pose some challenges, but Greely has plenty of talent in reserve and is ready to make another title run. The offense figures to remain prolific behind Howland, a second-team Western B all-star last year after a 25-goal, 18-assist season. Black (11 goals, 8 assists) and Hurley (10 goals, 8 assists) are also top scorers and look for the likes of Saffian (4 goals, 16 assists) and Storey (3 goals, 11 assists) to get even more involved with the offense. Senior Tom Eriksen, an exchange student from Norway, and freshmen Dylan Fried and Andrew Ray will look to tickle the twine as well. Storey anchors the defense. He'll get help from freshman Galen Arnold. Kramlich returns for his third year in goal. He was a second-team all-star and co-Goalkeeper of the Year last season. He's known nothing but championships and has come up big often on the biggest stage. He'll get some help from senior Christian Kroot. The Rangers are very deep at this position as sophomore Dillon Trelegan and freshmen Paul Buchanan and Josh Lawless also loom. Greely will only get better as the season progresses. It plays a very daunting schedule, which includes several Class A powers. While the Rangers might not match last year's record, they'll be at their best when it matters most. March has been Greely's best month for many years. While the competition has gotten stiffer, the road to the championship still goes through the Rangers. A third straight Colisee celebration is a distinct possibility.

GIRLS' HOCKEY

COACH: Nate Guerin (fourth year, 46-14-2 overall record, two state championships)

2012-13 record: 18-2-1 (Beat Scarborough, 1-0, in OT, to win second straight state championship)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Delaney Curtain (Senior), Sarah Kurland (Senior), Maura Perry (Junior), Erin Molloy (Sophomore), Danita Storey (Sophomore), Maura Verrill (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 11 YARMOUTH, Jan. 1 FALMOUTH, Jan. 4 @ Lewiston, Jan. 15 @ Scarborough, Jan. 18 @ Yarmouth, Jan. 29 SCARBOROUGH, Feb. 1 LEWISTON

COACH'S COMMENT: “With a lot of hard work, we're hoping to make the playoffs and mount a strong title defense with a very different roster. We're a young team with a lot to learn and we're hoping to improve as the season wears on. We're looking for our upperclassmen to lead by example, as the freshmen elevate their games to contribute on a varsity level. We expect to be tested and to be in a lot of close games.”

THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: The back-to-back champs are off to a fast start in 2013-14, beating EL/Leavitt, 2-1, and Brunswick, 9-0. Greely lost a lot of last year's talent, but the cupboard is far from bare this winter, suggesting the Rangers could make a run at another shiny piece of hardware. This year's offense will be paced by Curtain, Kurland (an honorable mention all-star a season ago) and Storey (a second-team all-star last winter). Freshmen Tori Latanzi, Emillee McGillicuddy and Ellie Schad will be heard from as well. Molloy and Verrill have experience at defense. Schad will also see time at that spot. Perry (a second-team all-star in 2012-13) returns in goal and will be spelled at times by freshman Nica Todd. Greely knows what it takes to win and more importantly, won't get rattled in big games. The bar has been set high by the program and this edition wants to live up to the legacy. While the Rangers might not be as strong on paper as the past couple seasons, on the ice, they'll find a way. Look for this squad to enter February as one of the favorites and if all goes well, another championship celebration will result.

INDOOR TRACK

COACH: John Folan (21st year, 12 state championships)

2012-13 results:

(BOYS) 7th @ Class B state meet

(GIRLS) 2nd @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNING ATHLETES:

(BOYS) Chance Carr (Senior), James Ferrar (Senior), Sam Parkinson (Senior), Dan Ray (Senior), Troy Cochran (Junior), Ben Ray (Junior), Connor Wyman (Junior), Kyle Hansen (Sophomore), Chris Perry (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Brennah Martin (Senior), Emma Nicholson (Senior), Katherine Nicolaou (Senior), Sara Piwowarski (Senior), Kirstin Sandreuter (Senior), Emily Mason (Junior), Kayla Barry (Sophomore), Alyssa Casarez (Sophomore), Maegan Dougherty (Sophomore), Jocelyn Mitiguy (Sophomore), Stephanie Pitassi (Sophomore), Samantha Pynchon (Sophomore), Sophia Stickney (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Falmouth, Lake Region, York

COACH’S COMMENT: “With the loss of our biggest graduating class and the decision of others to opt out of winter competition, numbers are down and expectations are modified. We hope both teams will focus on performance goals and improvement. If we improve and grow, the season will be a success. This has to be regarded as a building year, but the kids are working hard and are eager to go.“

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Yes, Greely will feel its absences in the weeks to come, but it will also revel in the performance of a lot of special athletes who should keep both teams near the top of the conference and the state.

The boys return reigning shot put state champion Ferrar, who's back for more glory. Also returning are Cochran and Dan Ray from a 3,200 relay team which was seeded 11th at states a year ago, then stunned everyone with a second-place finish. They'll both be top distance threats, along with Hansen and Parkinson. Carr's the top hurdler. Wyman leads the sprinters. Ben Ray will pole vault and Perry has the dexterity to compete in multiple events. The league remains chock full of powerhouses, but the Rangers will remain very competitive. Another top 10 state finish would make 27 years in a row of accomplishing such a feat. That's a strong likelihood.

On the girls' side, the lone returning scorers are Sandreuter (who was second in both the mile and two-mile last year) and Mitiguy (part of a runner-up 800 relay team). Sandreuter, Greely's Fall Female Athlete of the Year, whose cross country season didn't end until the Nationals the second weekend of December, will be one of the state's premier distance runners. She's joined by Mason, Nicholson, Nicolaou and Stickney. Mitiguy and Pitassi will be top hurdlers. Sprinters to watch include Casarez, Dougherty and Martin On the field side, Casarez will make a run at the shot put title. Piwowarski is a top jumper. Barry looks to score in the pole vault. Mitiguy is a jumper to watch. She'll be joined by Pynchon. There's plenty of athleticism and depth on this roster and that will keep the Rangers competitive throughout. Another runner-up state finish might be a stretch, but another top five showing (which would mark 25 in a row) certainly is realistic.

SWIMMING

COACH: Rob Hale (21st year w/boys' team, 23rd year w/girls, 10 state championships)

2012-13 results:

(BOYS) Class B state champion

(GIRLS) 2nd @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNING SWIMMERS:

(BOYS) Jack Benoit (Senior), Jon Dunnett (Senior), Griffin Fluet (Senior), Connor Russell (Senior), Ryan Plante (Junior)

(GIRLS) Meagan Currie (Junior), Hwanhee Park (Sophomore)

TOP FOES: Cape Elizabeth, Cheverus, Waynflete

COACH’S COMMENT: “The boys have been on a good run and hope to continue that this year. In the past, our strength has been our depth. We've had more kids qualify than other teams and their points were the difference. Our numbers are down this year, so we'll have our work cut out. Hopefully we'll find a diamond in the rough. My eclectic group of seniors will inspire and motivate. The girls' team has a new look this year. Over the last two years, graduation has taken its toll. Four of our eight state meet scorers from last year graduated. We only added two freshmen. We'll have to be a lunch bucket crew. If we're going to stay in the top six, we'll need to have all hands on deck.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Greely has been a veritable juggernaut in recent seasons, but the Rangers might come back to the pack a bit this winter.

The boys have won the past four championships, but a fifth, especially with Cape Elizabeth now in Class B, will be a stretch. Dunnett was part of a 400 free relay state champion, placed second in the individual medley and third in the butterfly at states last year. He'll cover all the events as the season progresses. Plante is coming off a state meet which saw him come in third in the backstroke and sixth in the 50 free. He'll also be a factor in all strokes. Fluet came in fourth in the breaststroke and fifth in the fly last year. He'll be one of the top breaststroke specialists this winter. Russell (fifth in the 50 free, seventh in the 100 free last year) will be a top sprinter. Benoit was sixth in the backstroke and seventh in the IM a season ago and will be a force in the backstroke and freestyle this year. That's a pretty solid core. It might not be enough for a five-peat, but the Rangers will be in the hunt all season.

On the girls' side, the loss of superstar Sarah Easterling, now at the University of Arkansas, will certainly be felt, but don't despair, there is plenty in reserve The return of Park, the reigning Class B champion in the 500 free, certainly helps. Currie will threaten in the freestyle. While Greely doesn't have the depth of recent years, there is top end talent that will help the cause. It will take some time for this edition to hit its stride, but they'll be making a splash by the time the big meets roll around in February.

SKIING

2012-13 results:

(BOYS) 3rd @ Class A combined state meet

(GIRLS) 4th @ Class A combined state meet

ALPINE SKIING

COACH: Mark Ouellette (17th year)

2012-13 results:

(BOYS) 7th @ Class A state meet

(GIRLS) Class A state champions

TOP RETURNING SKIERS:

(BOYS) Sam Perlmutter (Senior), Will Bryant (Junior), Layton Gervais (Junior), Ben Manning (Junior), Nick Piancintini (Junior), Mick Washo (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Jill Booth (Senior), Liz Clifford (Senior), Elyse Dinan (Senior), Kristin Dugas (Senior), Eliza McKenney (Senior), Teal Otley (Senior), Delaney Stevens (Senior), Jessie Hoffman (Junior), Kelsey Otley (Junior)
TOP FOES: Falmouth, Greely

COACH’S COMMENT: “We're looking great. The girls have only lost one race in the last three years. We've added depth. If we perform to our ability, we could be considered the best high school Alpine team ever. With 18 athletes, we could potentially go 1,2, 3 if we ran all 18 and had three teams. This is the best boys' team with well-rounded athletes in recent years, but numbers are a concern. The boys are hoping to put some numbers up on the gym banner. It's a great group.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: There is plenty of reason for Ouellette's optimism as Greely promises to be a Class A Alpine ski powerhouse this winter.

The boys have a lot back, including Perlmutter, who won the Class A giant slalom last year. Bryant, Gervais, Manning, Piancintini and Washo have experience and freshman Axel Lindsay could quickly become a key contributor. The Rangers figure to ride Perlmutter's excellence to a steady climb up the standings. They'll be in the mix for the top spot on the podium come February.

On the girls' side, no program has dominated like this group the past three seasons and a solid core of seniors is back for one final run at the title. Last year, Dinan was second in the GS and third in the slalom. Teal Otley placed fourth in both disciplines and Booth was sixth in the slalom and 18th in the GS. Dugas and McKenney have been through the battles as well. Clifford, Hoffman and Stevens are waiting in the wings, capable of being top skiers on other squads. Greely is chasing history this winter and expects to raise another banner with flair. If the Rangers stay healthy, they'll be stealing headlines again come February.

NORDIC SKIING

COACHES: Rye Daily (first year)

2012-13 results:

(BOYS) 7th @ Class A State Meet

(GIRLS) 8th @ Class A State Meet

TOP RETURNERS:

(BOYS) Tim Adams (Junior)

(GIRLS) Meredith Clark (Senior), Krista Marble (Senior), Ayanah Proulx (Senior), Emily Follet (Junior), Jessie Hoffman (Junior)

TOP FOES: Falmouth, Yarmouth

COACH’S COMMENT: “We're working hard and we'll ski fast every race. We're working on growing the popularity of skiing and looking to build a competitive program. We have many strong athletes who enjoy the thrill of racing. Our goals are to enhance athlete's strength and endurance, improve technique, continue the development of a ski culture and have a lot of fun throughout the entire process.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Greely's Nordic program looks to move up this winter under new coach Daily, who skied in the Mountain Valley Conference and later coached at Hampden Academy and Gray-New Gloucester. He inherits a promising squad.

The boys graduated their top skiers from last year, including Class A skimeister champion Doug Mitiguy. Adams will lead the the way this winter. With holes to fill, the opportunity will be there for newer skiers, including sophomores Ryan Morrison, Tristan Scilipoti and Connor Whittum, to make their mark. Look for steady improvement from this squad in the weeks to come.

On the girls' side, Follet is the top returner. She placed 39th in the freestyle and 42nd in the classic last winter. She's joined by veterans Clark, Hoffman, Marble and Proulx. Sophomores Jenn Gagne, Jenn Kern and Claire Nicholson and freshman Hannah Smith-Erb are other skiers to watch this season. Greely will look to be a top contender in the conference and should be in position to post impressive finishes come February.

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

Photo: Michael Strout

Franklin Pierce-bound senior Michael McDevitt will make life miserable for the Western Maine Conference over the next several weeks.

Photo:

Senior Connor Hanley will score his share of points this season.

Photo:

Senior Bailey Train can get the job done inside and out.

Photo: Michael Strout

Junior Gabe Axelson will play a bigger role this winter.

Photo: Jason Veilleux

Junior Ashley Storey will be one of the state's top talents this winter.

Photo: Michael Strout

Senior Jordynne Copp can neutralize even the best opponent.

Photo:

Senior Blaise Tardif is poised for a breakout senior season.

Photo: Michael Strout

Junior goalie Kyle Kramlich has known plenty of success in his first two seasons at Greely.

Photo:

Junior Reid Howland returns to pace the Greely offense.

Photo:

Senior Sarah Kurland and her teammates are looking to three-peat as girls' hockey state champions.

Photo:

Sophomore Chris Perry will look to score in several different events this winter.

Photo:

Senior Kirstin Sandreuter is a distance runner without peer. She's hoping to win some hardware in her final indoor season.

Photo:

Sophomore Jocelyn Mitiguy will be a top jumper this winter.

Photo:

Sophomore Alyssa Casarez will be among the conference's elite throwers this winter.