Spring sports season once again sensational for Portland schools
The 2009 spring sports season featured the old and the new.
While many new faces had their moment in the spotlight, perennial champions once again did their thing, and after a warm start, Mother Nature delivered a rainy payback in spades.
Ultimately, the lingering moments from the past two months will be the transcendent effort and triumph of local athletes as they once more gave us plenty to cheer.
Deering's baseball team won it all again, while Cheverus, Portland and Waynflete all had their moments.
The top softball story was a Cheverus team, which enjoyed its finest season to date. Deering also qualified for the postseason.
There were no shortage of memories for lacrosse fans. Portland's boys' team won a first-ever Class A championship. Cheverus and Waynflete won playoff games. On the girls' side, Waynflete repeated as Class B champion, while Portland reached the playoffs for a second successive season.
Local runners, jumpers and throwers impressed during the regular and postseasons.
Tennis provided some special moments as well, as Waynflete's boys won Class C again, while Portland's girls won their first-ever regional title.
Here's one final look back at the spring of 2009 before we (hopefully) turn our attention to summer.
Michael's top five stories
5) One-man show at states
Several local athletes turned heads at the outdoor track state championship meets June 6, but no one stole the show like Portland sophomore Imadhi Zagon. Zagon personally led the Bulldogs to a sixth-place finish by scoring 38 points on his own. Zagon won the 100, 200 and long jump and if that wasn't enough, was runner-up in the high jump. Zagon outscored 21 other teams all by himself.
4) Deering baseball does it again
Deering's two-time defending Class A state champion baseball team welcomed a new coach this spring, but kept on winning. The Rams, a veritable all-star squad, stretched their three-season win streak to 50 games and earned their eighth state title in the last 11 years. Deering was tested at times, but had answers for Cheverus in the semifinals, Scarborough in the regional final, and ultimately Cony in the state game. With graduation set to decimate the program, many will write the Rams off, but don't. Deering always finds a way to be at the top.
3) Waynflete girls' lacrosse again without peer
The Waynflete girls' lacrosse team entered the 2009 campaign uncertain of its prowess. On June 20, the Flyers were once again fabulous, capping just the third undefeated season in program history with a hard-fought 9-5 victory over NYA in the Class B Final. Waynflete wasn't even tested in its first 11 contests, then proved it could answer every challenge with its offensive balance, impenetrable defense and ability to kill the clock. The title was coach Cathie Connors' 10th and doesn't figure to be her or her team's last.
2) Portland girls' tennis makes history
Prior to 2009, Portland's girls' tennis team had never won more than 10 matches in a season or advanced past the semifinal round of the playoffs. This spring, the Bulldogs, led by coach Bonnie Moran, enjoyed a season for the ages, dominating in all 12 regular season matches, before downing South Portland, McAuley and Gorham to win a first-ever regional crown. Portland's dream finally ended with a loss to Lewiston in the Class A state match, but that did nothing to put a damper on a magical run. Don't expect this to be a one-time thing either. The Bulldogs return plenty of talent in 2010 and will be hungry to take that final step.
1) Portland boys' lacrosse wins first championship
After several seasons of ever closer calls, Portland's boys' lacrosse team was simply brilliant in 2009. The Bulldogs crushed just about every foe, stumbled just once (an 11-9 loss at Yarmouth in the year's best game), then decimated Massabesic, South Portland and Scarborough by a composite 55-5 margin to set up a state final showdown with Brunswick, a team that beat Portland in the 2007 state game. This time, it was all Bulldogs, as their countless offensive weapons and smothering defense made life miserable for the Dragons. When the dust settled, Portland was a 9-3 victor and it was celebration time.