Waynflete Flyers Fall Sports Preview
Waynflete had one of its finest fall sports seasons ever in 2008 with a pair of state championships and another state game appearance. There should be more triumph to come this year. Boys' soccer is smarting over its championship game loss and is bound and determined to finish the job this time. They have a great chance to do so. The girls' team finally got over the hump last autumn, vanquished nemesis and rival NYA and won an initial Class C championship. The program welcomes a new coach and hopes to remain on top. Field hockey has been more competitive of late and hopes to make a playoff run this season. Girls' cross country has had no peer the past couple years. That team, along with the up-and-coming boys' squad, will be a force at the regional and state meets. Golf is looking to improve and win a match or two.
COACH: Brandon Salway (21st year)
2008 Record: 8-8-3 (Lost 2-1 to Washington Academy in Class C state final)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Josiah Baker-Connick (Senior), Sam Cleaves (Senior), Chris Gillespie (Senior), David Gorsky (Senior), Daniel Mitchell (Senior), Peter Smith (Senior), Robin Wajler (Senior), Jay Witte (Senior), Omar Abdille (Junior)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 17 (H) FREEPORT, Sept. 22 @ NYA, Oct. 3 @ Freeport, Oct. 13 (H) NYA, Oct. 17 @ Richmond
COACH'S COMMENT: "We have a lot of confidence carried over from last year. We lost three important kids, but the others are a year older. We have to find ourselves more quickly than last year, but I think we're ahead of last year. It's a deeper team. Hopefully, the goals will come easier."
THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: After a pedestrian regular season, Waynflete stole the headlines in the playoffs, ripping off four straight wins before an agonizing loss in the Class C state final. The Flyers made their run as the No. 11 seed, something that won't be possible this autumn, now the Maine Principals' Association is allowing just 50 percent of each region's teams to qualify. Waynflete figures to hit its strides more quickly this fall. With a bevy of returning standouts, who now have big-game experience, the Flyers figure to be able to hold their own throughout the regular season. Gillespie has become one of the finest goalies in the state. He's embarking on his fourth season between the pipes. Defensively, Baker-Connick, Cleaves (a Western Maine Conference all-star last fall) and new sophomore Daniel Weiner will prove stingy to opposing attacks. Waynflete should be able to score its share of goals. Mitchell, Wajler and new junior Tucker Geoffroy (a transfer from powerhouse Greely) will lead the way, assisted by Abdille, Gorsky, Smith and Witte. Freshman Peabo Knoth will also look to make an immediate splash. The Flyers enjoyed their finest Class C season to date a year ago, but are by no means satisfied. Last year's playoff run was stirring, but incomplete. Waynflete is looking to post a solid regular season record, face an easier postseason run, then cap matters with a first-ever Class C crown. It won't be easy, but this team is capable. This group would love one more shot at a gold ball.
FUN FACT: Last year wasn't the first time the Flyers had a losing record in the regular season then played for a state title. It also happened in 2003, when Waynflete went 4-6-2 and lost to Machias in the final.
COACH: Todd Dominski (first year)
2008 Record: 14-3 (Beat Orono 4-1 to win first-ever Class C state championship)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Caitlin Britos (Senior), Julia Pope (Senior), Sasha Timpson (Senior), Morgan Woodhouse (Senior), Izzer Berrang (Junior), Emily Bessette (Junior), Elena Britos (Junior), Becky Smith (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 22 (H) NYA, Oct. 3 @ NYA
COACH'S COMMENT: "I think it's a good group with a lot of potential. The goal at Waynflete is always the same, to go all the way. Our history is that we've always been successful. We hope to put a run together."
THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: After three seasons of ever-more agonizing losses to rival and nemesis North Yarmouth Academy, the Waynflete girls' soccer program got over the hump in a big way last year, downing the Panthers in the regional final before dispatching Orono to take Class C for the first time. Now that the Flyers have ascended to the pinnacle, they're ready to do it again. This year's team has a different look. Jon Shardlow has moved on to take over the Falmouth program and has been replaced by Todd Dominski, who played in Connecticut and at the University of Southern Maine. He's coached with Maine Metro in the past. He inherits a very talented and hungry squad that won't be tested much in the regular season. After two years of playing some of the best teams in the area, Waynflete will struggle for competition in the regular season. The Flyers should excel regardless of the opposition. Waynflete features as potent a 1-2 punch as any team in the state in reigning conference and regional All-Stars Timpson and Woodhouse. That tandem is capable of combining for 50 to 60 goals. They'll be worth keeping an eye on from start to finish. The Flyers are much more than a two-woman show, however. Caitlin Britos is an emerging star on offense. Elena Britos and Bessette will do their share of damage as well. Defensively, Berrang, Smith and a pair of freshmen, Sadie Cole and Katherine Harwood will keep the opposition at bay. Pope returns in goal. She's already proved her mettle in key situations. In the end, it will likely come down to Waynflete and NYA again. The Flyers finally slayed the Panthers last fall and have the pieces in place to do it again. It might take awhile for this team to click on all cylinders, but they will be fun to watch throughout. By late-October, look for Waynflete to make magic again and be a serious threat to raise another gold ball to the heavens.
FUN FACT: Since 1995, Waynflete has enjoyed double-digit victory seasons every year but one and has averaged nearly 12 wins a season. The Flyers have also won six state titles in that span.
COACH: Noelle Surette (second year)
2008 Record: 3-9-2 (no postseason)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Lindsey MacLeod (Senior), Maddy Shapiro (Senior), Lindsey Sinicki (Junior), Annie Vogt (Junior)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Sept. 15 @ NYA, Sept. 18 (H) FREEPORT, Sept. 23 (H) SACOPEE, Sept. 25 @ Freeport, Oct. 1 (H) NYA, Oct. 9 @ Sacopee
COACH'S COMMENT: "We have a strong core of players coming back from last year's team. I saw huge progress made from the start of the 2008 season to the end and am expecting them to pick up where they left off. We have a large group of newcomers. I see a lot of potential with the younger girls. It will be the job of the returners to set an example with strong work ethic and hustle. The girls who played last year are enthusiastic about reaching team goals that they have set for themselves this season."
THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Waynflete has slowly morphed into a contender in recent seasons and has an outside shot at making the playoffs this fall. With NYA the lone powerhouse in the region, there are postseason spots to be had. This year, the offense is paced by Vogt, who tied for the team lead in goals scored in 2008. MacLeod will also look to make noise on offense. Sinicki, a first-team Western Maine Conference all-star last year, also returns. She is a top defender. Shapiro returns in goal. She averaged over eight saves a game last season, her first in the cage. A pair of newcomers will also help the cause. Sophomore Alida Farrell and freshman Liz Berthy will look to make an impact on offense. Waynflete only managed an average of a goal a game last year. If the Flyers can find a way to rattle the cage more often, they could be in line for a big leap up the standings. Shapiro won't allow much in goal and the defense appears to be solid. Waynflete has the talent on the offensive end to get the job done. If the Flyers can get off to a good start, look out. A playoff spot is realistic. This will be a team to keep an eye on in the weeks to come.
FUN FACT: Waynflete has 10 victories over the past three years, its best in a three-year span since the 1979-81 teams had 13 wins.
COACH: Brian Gillespie (fifth year)
(BOYS) DNQ for state meet (12th @ regional meet)
(GIRLS) Repeated as Class C state champions (29th @ New Englands)
TOP RETURNING RUNNERS:
(BOYS) Eli Sobel (Junior), Max Sobel (Junior), Joe Veroneau (Junior), Will Gordon (Sophomore), Eric Nathanson (Sophomore), Mitch Newlin (Sophomore), Peter Stein (Sophomore)
(GIRLS) Grace High (Senior), Emily Trafton (Sophomore)
TOP FOES: Freeport, NYA
COACH'S COMMENT: "This is going to be fun. The boys have everyone back, a year older and stronger, but we're still very young. We have three freshmen that will be a factor. The girls will be very strong again, but in a different way this fall. The key will be the development of a fifth runner. We have six to eight girls seeking that position. As usual, we'll be ready for the championship meets."
THE FORECASTER'S FORECAST: Both Waynflete cross country teams are poised for strong 2009 seasons.
The boys have been watching the girls dominate the past couple years, but they're primed to move up this fall. Newlin made his mark a year ago, qualifying for states as a freshman. He'll look to be one of the finest runners in his class this year. Newlin is joined by Gordon (65th at last year's regional meet), Veroneau (69th), Stein (73rd), Eli Sobel (75th) and Max Sobel (79th) to make up a formidable pack. Nathanson looks to make his move. Three freshmen: Abukar Adan, Josh Espy and Kaun Tao, are also in the mix. The Flyers have a great shot at qualifying for states and for making a run at a title.
On the girls' side, while standout and reigning Fall Female Athlete of the Year Adele Espy has departed, plenty of talent returns. Trafton could be the heir apparent. She was sixth at the Class C state meet a year ago. High finished 17th at last year's state meet. While that tandem is inspiring, a pair of newcomers really give cause for optimism. Senior Amy Allen, a soccer and lacrosse standout, is running this fall. Freshman Martha Veroneau also figures to make an immediate impact. Several other girls hope to help the pack and keep the Flyers at the top of the heap. It won't come easily this fall, but Waynflete will still be very, very good and has a chance to defend its crown.
COACH: David Neilan (fifth year)
2008 Record: 0-9 (DNQ for state match)
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Gabe Bornstein (Senior), Sam Fillinger (Senior), Blake Payton (Senior), Peter Schnell (Senior)
TOP FOE: NYA
COACH'S COMMENT: "Our numbers are better, but we're still a fledgling program. We hope to be more respectable and competitive. We haven't won a match. We hope to create some enthusiasm for the program. I've seen improvement."
FORECASTER'S FORECAST: The Waynflete golf program continues to take baby steps. This year's team appears to be the best equipped to compete. Not only do the four seniors return, but three newcomers figure to step right in and help. That group includes senior Jonathan Sherman, junior Luke Wendland and sophomore Thomas Spagnola, a transfer from traditional power Cape Elizabeth. The Flyers' goal is simple. They want to earn a match win and continue to improve. That's a realistic quest. Expect the team to show steady growth and be much more competitive this fall. Don't be surprised if some individuals turn some heads as well.