Junior captain Jake Malcom has size and skill and is a top returner for NYA’s boys’ basketball team.
Ed. Note: Indoor track and skiing previews will be posted next week
COACH: Jason Knight (fourth year, 28-29 overall record)
2014-15 record: 8-12 (Lost, 79-48, to Forest Hills in Western D quarterfinals)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Haven Cutko (Junior), Jake Malcom (Junior)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 9 @ Richmond, Dec. 11 TRAIP, Dec. 17 @ Waynflete, Jan. 7 BUCKFIELD, Jan. 9 @ Traip, Jan. 12 WAYNFLETE, Jan. 21 @ Buckfield, Jan. 23 OOB, Jan. 26 RICHMOND
COACH’S COMMENT: “We only return two starters, so we’re inexperienced this year. It will come down to team chemistry and building experience. We have a great foundation to build on, but lack of experience and depth will be a factor. I expect we’ll get better. Our goal is the playoffs. We have the pieces. We have to build on them throughout the season.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Last winter, NYA got to Augusta for a second year in a row, but a third successive trip won’t come easily. For starters, the Panthers are back in Class C following the statewide reclassification. They’ll have a series of challenging games and don’t return a lot, but don’t overlook this squad, which should show steady improvement in the weeks to come.
NYA will be led by Cutko, a 6-foot-2-inch guard/forward, who can score as well as dish off (Cutko was sixth in assists in the Western Maine Conference with 4.1 per game last winter) and Malcom, a 6-5 forward/center who should be a force in the paint. Junior Chandler Waldron will run the point and can knock down long range shots. Junior guards Joey Hogan and Nathaniel Sinibaldi look to step in and fill holes.
The Panthers will be a work in progress this season, but progress they will. By February, no one will want to see NYA standing in its way. The best news is that the core of this team is young. The future is bright.
COACH: Seth Farrington (first year)
2014-15 record: 4-14 (no postseason)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Julia Blackwell (Senior), Lindsay Tufts (Junior)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 11 TRAIP, Dec. 17 @ Waynflete, Jan. 9 @ Traip, Jan. 12 WAYNFLETE, Jan. 23 OOB
COACH’S COMMENT: “We’re young. We’ll start at least two freshmen, maybe three. We have a new philosophy. We’ll have to depend on our defense. We’ll have to be patient on offense. I want to have an opportunity to be a playoff team. We want to have a winning atmosphere and be competitive.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: NYA is largely starting from scratch this winter behind a new coach in Farrington, who played at Gray-New Gloucester and was a boys’ assistant coach at his alma mater last year. He inherits a team that has work to do, but has quite an upside.
Blackwell is the top returner. She’ll be at the forward spot. Freshman Sydney Plummer also brings size. Tufts returns and will be the point guard. Freshman Maggie Larson hopes to make her presence felt as a scorer from the guard position. Other girls will have a chance to make a mark as the season progresses.
The Panthers will be underdogs in most of their games and will hope to be more and more competitive as February nears. This will be a building year, but there will be better and more triumphant days ahead.
COACH: Eric Graham (fourth year)
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Josh Chapman (Senior), Nick Demers (Senior), Bobby Murray (Junior), Jeremy Thelven (Junior), Michael Pitts (Sophomore)
COACH’S COMMENT: “We return eight of our top 10 scorers from last year, but we have to replace Bowdoin recruit Brad Potter. Murray, Chapman and Pitts will carry the offense, but we’ll need support from the rest of the veteran forwards to provide scoring depth. All eight defensemen return, led by four seniors. In net, Jeremy is proven at this level and expects to have a big year. We should be in the hunt for a Holt Conference championship and could be knocking at the door for a Division I playoff berth.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: NYA has a lot to be excited about this winter and should be very competitive throughout.
This year’s offense is led by Chapman, who had 19 goals and 22 assists a year ago, Pitts (10 goals, 14 assists) and Murray (15 goals, 8 assists). Junior Andrew Ray of Cumberland, sophomore Brent Rickett of Portland, freshman Finn Murray of Yarmouth and sophomore Brennan Flatt of South Carolina are new to the team and provide offensive depth. Demers is the top returning defender. Thelven, who saved nearly 91 percent of the shots he faced in 2014-15, is back in goal and will keep his team in every game.
NYA has the pieces in place to be a top contender in its conference and its playoff aspirations are legitimate. If you want to see boys’ hockey played a high level, get out and see the Panthers strut their stuff this winter.
COACH: Amy McNally (first year)
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Keeley Bartolini (Senior), Jenna Block (Senior), Gabby Linscott (Junior)
COACH’S COMMENT: “We have a small, but committed and passionate roster. We have enormous potential with the support of strong goaltending and veteran presence. With the addition of a few newcomers this year, we are looking to make an impact and grow from this season as a team and as a program.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: NYA has a new coach this winter in McNally, who spent the past three seasons coaching at Cheverus. She takes over a team that hopes to be competitive this winter and opened with a 1-2 record at the University of Maine Jamboree before losing its first scheduled game against Governor’s.
The Panthers’ offense will be paced by Bartolini, sophomore Jordan Ackerman and freshman Emily Demers. Block and Linscott are experienced defenders in front of junior goalie Savannah Shaw.
NYA will battle night in, night out this winter and should get steadily stronger as the season progresses. With several key players on the young side, consistent triumph isn’t far away.
COACH: Chris Mazzurco (19th year)
(BOYS) 20th @ Class B state meet
(GIRLS) Tie-21st @ Class B state meet
(BOYS) Xander Bartone (Junior), Henry Quesada (Junior), Jack Sillin (Sophomore)
(GIRLS) Emily Baker (Senior), Linnea Hull (Senior), Claire Maurer (Senior), Liz McIntosh (Senior), Emily Taylor (Senior), Sarah Austin (Junior), Isabelle See (Junior), Lauren Tufts (Junior)
COACH’S COMMENT: “The girls’ team has a good number of returning athletes who qualified for the state meet last year. Together, they should be able to make up a strong relay and cover a majority of the events.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: NYA has a small team, but again boasts some promising athletes.
The boys are led by Quesada, who came in fifth in last year’s 800. He’ll be a top distance threat. Bartone (sprints, middle distance) and Sillin (throws) are other athletes to watch. The Panthers will do some big things individually as the season progresses.
The girls’ team doesn’t return any state meet scorers, but this group will compete. Baker, McIntosh, Taylor and Tufts are sprinters to watch. They’re joined by junior Kiersten Marr, who runs middle distance events as well. Austin and Maurer will lead the distance contingent. On the field side, top jumpers include Baker, Hull, McIntosh, See and Taylor. Hull also pole vaults. Don’t be surprised if NYA moves up the ladder quite a bit come February.
Junior Haven Cutko will play a key role on NYA’s offense this winter.