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Cheverus Stags Winter Athletes of the Year

Sports

Cheverus Stags Winter Athletes of the Year

Ed. Note: This story will appear in the April 9 edition of The Forecaster

Male:

JAKE DIXON, Junior-Track

  • Nationals qualifier

  • New England championships qualifier

  • All-State, first-team

  • Class A state champion, 200

  • All-New England, 300

  • State record holder, 200

  • Conference record holder, 200

  • SMAA All-Star, first-team, senior 200

  • SMAA All-Star, third-team, senior 400

Dixon had a transcendent junior season and the bad news for the rest of the state is that he still has quite an upside.

Dixon left his competition in his wake in the sprints this winter and he even made his mark at the regional and national levels. While his athleticism is unquestioned, he has much more going for him.

His first love was soccer, as he began running recreationally at the age of nine, but by the time he came to Cheverus for high school, he realized track might just take him someplace.

This season, it did and Dixon felt he had plenty of help.

Credit to Coach (Steve) Virgilio,” Dixon said. “He's so knowledgeable. I trained with good teammates. I developed strength and knowledge of the sport.”

Dixon, a Falmouth resident, posted team-best times in the 55, 200 and 400. he broke school records in the 200, 300 and 400 and was at his best in the biggest meets.

Dixon won the 200 at the SMAA championship meet (in 23.10 seconds). He was also runner-up to Biddeford standout James Ociti in the 400 in 51.09 and placed fourth in the 55. Then, at states, Dixon won the 200 in 23.08 and was second to Ociti in the 400 in 50.45.

Next up was the New England championships, where Dixon placed sixth in the 300 (35.63). He capped his season at Nationals, where he was 56th in the 200 in 23.28.

My season exceeded expectations,” said Dixon. “Making the podium at New Englands was a big surprise to me. I loved going to New York City for Nationals.

Dixon, who also runs outdoor track and enjoys bike racing and snowboarding when not running, has been contacted by the likes of Clemson, Duke, Harvard, Penn State, Rhode Island and Villanova, suggesting that not only is he a top-notch athlete, but that his classroom ability is also without peer. While he hopes to run at the next level (and perhaps study to become a dentist), Dixon has his sights set on making his mark as a senior.

I want to win more championships, take down state records and become an All-American,” he said.

In other words, consider yourself warned, Maine high school track community. Jake Dixon, Cheverus' Winter Male Athlete of the Year, isn't about to rest on his laurels.

Coach Steve Virgilio'scomment:“Jake is special. His talent is rare. He's smart. He's a top student. He's talented and fast and he's a good kid too. When you put those ingredients together, it's hard to stop. He means everything to our program. He was the unequivocal MVP of the team. This type of kid doesn't come around every year, more like once in a decade and maybe even more unique than that. He's solidified his spot in Maine high school track and field as one of the best all-around sprinters ever as just a junior. He is open and eager to learn and willing to get better. He has a bright future and has the opportunity to surprise a lot of people in the coming years, unless you expect the unexpected, then he'll simply make you smile and say, 'I knew this kid was great.'

Previous winners:

2012-13: Trebor Lawton (Swimming)

2011-12: Trebor Lawton (Swimming)

2010-11: Jack Terwilliger (Track)

2009-10: Indiana Faithfull (Basketball)

2008-09: Zander Markellos (Skiing)

2007-08: Matt Libby (Swimming)

2006-07: Matt Libby (Swimming)

2005-06: Alex Arthur (Hockey)

2004-05: Adam Horgan (Hockey)

2003-04: Kevin Marchesi (Hockey)

Female:

SARAH NAPPO, Senior-Swimming

  • Class A state champion, 100 backstroke

  • Southwesterns champion, 100 backstroke

  • All-state, 100 backstroke

  • All-state, medley relay

  • All-conference, 100 backstroke

  • All-conference, medley relay

  • All-conference, 200 freestyle relay

  • School record holder, 100 backstroke

  • Pool record holder, 100 backstroke

  • Southwesterns record holder, 100 backstroke

Cheverus' girls' swim team made history this winter and Nappo was a big reason why, winning one event as she capped a special high school career in style.

Nappo, a Portland resident, was a part of the Cheverus program for four seasons and after dabbling in soccer as a freshman and sophomore, she committed to swimming, began working with the Westbrook Seals club team and emerged as a top-notch talent.

Nappo scored in the medley relay as a freshman, was fourth in the backstroke as a sophomore, then won states for the first time as a junior, capturing the Class A backstroke title.

This past season was even better.

At Southwesterns, Nappo wasn't just the winner of the backstroke in 56.59 seconds, she also set a school, pool and event record in the process. Oh by the way, she was also second in the 50 free. If that wasn't enough, Nappo repeated as the Class A backstroke champion with a time of 57.59 seconds. She also helped the Stags' medley relay team to a title and was fifth in the 50 free. All those points were critical as Cheverus won the Class A title for the first time, by a mere six points over Brunswick.

It was a really fun season,” Nappo said. “I didn't comprehend that we'd do so well at states. I love the team. It was great to win senior year. It was so exciting.”

Nappo loves swimming so much that she even lifeguards during the summer at the Falmouth Country Club. She's also a member of Cheverus' Pink Ribbon Club, Home Team Club and Homefront.

Nappo's next stop will be Connecticut College, her top choice, which, like Bates, Bowdoin and Colby, is a New England Small College Athletic Conference school. She plans to swim the backstroke and will pursue a degree in history or museum studies.

Before she studies history, she made some. Sarah Nappo, Cheverus' Winter Female Athlete of the Year, couldn't have asked for a better final act to her high school career.

Coach Kevin Haley'scomment:"Sarah has been amazing for our team. She's been a huge asset to our relays. She excelled in the backstroke and stepped up to do breaststroke in the medley relay and played a key role in the 400 free relay. More importantly, she served as a great role model to our younger athletes. Her work ethic day in and day out spread to the other team members and caused them to strive for their best. She's a competitor. She loves to race. She's always up for the challenge. She's an amazing young lady.”

Previous winners:

2012-13: Brooke Flaherty (Basketball)

2011-12: Fiona Hendry (Track)

2010-11: Caroline Summa (Track)

2009-10: Saundrine Lanouette (Hockey)

2008-09: Caroline Summa (Track)

2007-08: Jessica Groth (Track)

2006-07: Jessica Groth (Track)

2005-06: Caitlin Barber (Alpine skiing)

2004-05: Jill Horan (Swimming)

2003-04: Alana Van Loenen (Track)

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