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Cheverus Stags Fall Athletes of the Year

Sports

Cheverus Stags Fall Athletes of the Year

FALL 2010 MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR:

PETER GWILYM, Senior-Football

* Maine Gatorade Player of the Year

* Fitzpatrick Trophy semifinalist

* Dave Allen Award winner (league MVP)

* SMAA All-Star, Cumberland County, first team defense

The 2010 Cheverus football team won its first state championship in a quarter century due in large part because of its unrivaled heart.

The Stags were on the ropes often this season, including in every regional playoff game, yet they rose to the occasion every single time.

No squad accomplishes that without a tremendous leader and Cheverus was fortunate to boast one of the best to come our way in a long time.

Senior Peter Gwilym, who captained the offense as quarterback and the defense as a cornerback, never got rattled, seemingly always was in the right spot and with a game (and on three occasions) a season on the line, simply came through.

For being not only one of the best players in the state, on both sides of the ball, but for his ability to lead and to produce with all eyes on him, Peter Gwilym is The Forecaster's choice as Cheverus' Fall 2010 Male Athlete of the Year, making him a repeat winner.

Gwilym grew up in Freeport, started playing football in the sixth grade and was a wide receiver as a freshman at Cheverus. After Vinnie Ciampi graduated, Gwilym was encouraged by legendary coach John Wolfgram to try quarterback and became an instant success, leading the Stags to their first playoff berth in seven years. As a junior, Gwilym and his teammates came within a point of playing for the state championship.

This fall, they wouldn't be denied.

Gwilym sparkled from start to finish. He scored twice on three carries in an easy season-opening victory over Gorham, threw, passed and returned a punt for a TD, while also forcing a fumble in a win at defending state champion Windham and ran for two scores in a victory at South Portland. In Cheverus' first stern test of the season, at home versus city rival Portland in Week 4, Gwilym helped rally the Stags from a 19-7 fourth quarter deficit to a 22-19 triumph with a late TD. He had two TD runs in a win at Kennebunk and three at Westbrook. In a pivotal late season clash versus perennial powerhouse Bonny Eagle, Cheverus rallied late again to win, 23-20, as Gwilym ran for a score. In the finale, the Stags wrapped up their first undefeated season and homefield advantage for the playoffs with a 30-point romp over visiting Deering as Gwilym threw for 120 yards and two scores.

He was even better in the postseason.

Cheverus had to rally past Windham in the quarterfinals, 34-27, as Gwilym threw for 176 yards and four TDs. He also rushed for 68. The Stags held off upstart Scarborough, 21-14, in the semis, as Gwilym rushed for a score and was a perfect 7-of-7 through the air for 100 yards.

The regional final versus Deering will go down in Maine football lore. As was the case three weeks prior, Cheverus roared to what seemed to be an insurmountable lead (29-6), before the Rams embarked on a furious second half rally to go up, 34-29. Gwilym (who had a 105-yard interception return as well as a TD pass) drove the Stags down the field for the go-ahead TD with 30 seconds to go, but he and his teammates had to watch and hope that a last second field goal would miss. It did. Barely.

The state final proved anticlimactic as Cheverus rode a huge second half to a 46-8 win over Bangor. Gwilym capped his career with 62 yards on 11 carries and a 7-of-9, 80 yard and one TD performance through the air.

“It was a perfect year for us,” Gwilym said. “Everything went right. It was a great, close-knit team. We had a great will to win. The seniors wanted it bad.”

Gwilym wasn't just named to the league all-star team after the season. He was honored as the MVP, Maine Gatorade Player of the Year and is a semifinalist (and in the minds of many, the favorite) for the Fitzpatrick Trophy.

If his on-the-field resume isn't impressive enough, consider that he's also an honor student (3.89 GPA) and is a member of the National Honor Society. He'll look to play another key role in a title run this winter as the boys' basketball team seeks to repeat. He plans to play baseball in the spring.

Gwilym hopes to play football in college. Bentley is his first choice, but he's also looking at several NESCAC schools. He plans on studying business and figures to move from quarterback to wide receiver or cornerback at the next level.

It won't matter. Wherever he is on the field, he'll make his presence felt. Peter Gwilym, Cheverus' Fall 2010 Male Athlete of the Year, is a winner and a leader who's like might not be seen again.

Coach John Wolfgram's Comment: "Peter is the consummate student-athlete. He's great in the classroom and on the field, he's been our offensive signal caller at quarterback and our defensive signal caller at defensive back. He's an outstanding competitor who was at his best when the game was on the line. He made play after play after play."

2009 winner: Peter Gwilym (Football)

2008 winner: Jack Terwilliger (Cross country)

2007 winner: Galen Munroe (Soccer)

2006 winner: Andrew Pochebit (Football)

2005 winner: Anthony Ardito (Golf)

2004 winner: Max Molleo (Soccer)

FALL 2010 FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR:

EMILY SAWCHUCK, Senior-Field hockey

* SMAA All-Star, first team

* All-State

* Team MVP

When the Maine Miss Field Hockey award was bestowed Sunday, arguably the best player in the state was absent. That's too bad, because if any of the voters were on hand the night of Oct. 26, Emily Sawchuck probably would have won in a landslide.

On that night, with history on the line, Sawchuck provided her greatest performance in a career of rising to the occasion. Facing Bonny Eagle in the regional final, Sawchuck likely set a record by scoring four times in Cheverus' 5-2 victory, sending the Stags to the Class A Final for the first time.

For three years, especially in 2010, if Cheverus needed a goal, Sawchuck, known to one and all as, 'Chuck,' came through, but while she was undoubtedly a superstar, she didn't act like one and helped her teammates become regional champions.

For being an amazing talent, who always seemed to shine the brightest on the biggest stage, and for focusing on her team above all else, Emily Sawchuck is The Forecaster's choice for Cheverus' Fall 2010 Female Athlete of the Year.

Sawchuck came a long way before she starred at Cheverus. She was adopted from St. Petersburg, Russia and grew up in Cumberland. She was a soccer player until her sophomore year. Admittedly tired of all the running she had to do in soccer, she immediately fell in love with field hockey and became a starter from the get-go. As a junior, she scored twice off penalty corners in a one-goal regional final loss to eventual state champion Scarborough.

This season, Sawchuck would set a new program record for goals in a season with 18 and her highlights started long before the regional final. In the opener, a 5-0 win at Deering, she set the tone with a highlight-reel run from midfield through several defenders before scoring. Sawchuck scored twice against Kennebunk, four times versus Noble, had a goal in a pivotal win at Sanford and scored the lone goal in a crucial victory at perennial contender Westbrook. At Scarborough, on Oct. 8, in the Stags' low point of the season, Sawchuck scored an early goal off a penalty corner, but the Red Storm erupted for six unanswered to win, 6-1.

Cheverus was 10-4 and ranked fourth for the playoffs and still few expected the Stags to make a serious playoff run. Sawchuck didn't even score in a 3-2 quarterfinal round victory over Kennebunk, but in the semis, at Scarborough, she gave Cheverus an early lead and this time, the Stags were able to finish, scoring again late to stun the champs, 2-1. In the regional final, Sawchuck scored twice in each half to lead her team to the state finals, where they lost, 3-0, to perennial champion Skowhegan.

Sawchuck, who often carried the ball 80 yards, toying with defenders, was just as adept passing the ball with aplomb or burying her scoring opportunities. She was named to the all-SMAA and all-state teams, but truly was worthy of even more praise.

She's now a key cog (on defense) of the defending state champion girls' ice hockey team. She's tried just about every sport in high school and may play softball (for her field hockey coach) in the spring. Sawchuck has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and went on a church trip to Guatemala City. She's looking to play field hockey and possibly ice hockey in college and is considering Endicott or Assumption, where she hopes to study international business.

Her legend will live on. Emily Sawchuck, Cheverus' Fall 2010 Female Athlete of the Year, did things rarely seen on the field and punctuated her unrivaled career in historic fashion.

Coach Amy McMullin's comment: "'Chuck' is amazing. I can't say enough good things about her. She isn't a loud player by voice, but there's no way you can miss her on the field. When the ball's on her stick, great things happen. Her teammates look up to her and want to be like her. She's so dangerous all over the field because she has so many talents. She's an absolute joy to coach. She's always about the team and never about herself. She's so humble, it's remarkable She's helped me as a coach more than anything. She lets me know what the team is feeling and thinking, which allows me to understand my team at an even deeper level."

2009 winner: Emily Durgin (Cross country)

2008 winner: Bethany Schleh (Field hockey)

2007 winner: Elizabeth Somma (Soccer)

2006 winner: Elise Roux (Soccer)

2005 winner: Meaghan Mingo (Soccer)

2004 winner: Lauren Metevier (Soccer)