North Yarmouth Academy Spring Sports Previews

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There are a lot of exciting things happening with NYA spring sports. Baseball is coming off its finest Class C season to date and with a new coach on hand, the Panthers hope to advance even deeper in the playoffs. Softball makes its varsity return after a three-year absence. There are some big-name athletes on the squad, so immediate success wouldn’t be a shock. Boys’ lacrosse expects to close the gap with its biggest rival, while the girls’ team is celebrating and defending a championship for the first time. They’d love to do it again. The boys’ track team has enough to contend in June, while the girls’ squad stands to surprise. Boys’ tennis should be stronger than the past couple seasons, while the girls’ team looks to keep on keeping on and win it all yet again.

BASEBALL

Coach: Dick Kinsman (first year)

2010 Record: 12-5-1 (Lost 3-1 to Dirigo in Western Class C semifinals)

Top returning players: Alan Brown (Senior), Andrew Esancy (Senior), Harry Fast (Senior), Jordan Haskell (Senior), Michael Ianno (Senior), Eli Leavitt (Senior), Ryan Spencer (Senior)

Pivotal games: April 27 @ OOB, May 4 (H) OOB, May 9 (H) GRAY-NG, May 16 @ Old Orchard Beach, May 21 @ Waynflete (doubleheader), May 25 @ Richmond, May 28 (H) WAYNFLETE, June 1 @ Yarmouth

Coach’s comment: “This year’s team will comprise a combination of experience and youth with four returning starters. The front end of this year’s rotation will have two pitchers with limited experience. The defense should be solid with strength up the middle. Expectations are to make the playoffs and go as deep as we can with the ultimate goal to win the state championship. These goals will be accomplished by having our rotation throw strikes, playing excellent defense, timely hitting and moving runners. Pitching will be the key to our success.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA has become a top Western Class C contender over the past couple seasons. This year, the Panthers welcome Kinsman as coach. He was previously the junior varsity coach at Yarmouth and is assisted by Mike Haskell, Rich Strabley and Cody Wall. They inherit a team that should remain a key contender even after losing reigning Class C Player of the Year Dean Darien to graduation. The pitching staff is a work in progress. Haskell returns behind the plate. Brown (a first-team Western Maine Conference Class C all-star in 2010) is a stalwart at shortstop. Leavitt is in centerfield. Esancy, Fast, Ianno and Spencer bring experience. Keep an eye on a pair of newcomers, Tom McGuckin and Ryan Salerno. NYA should be able to produce runs on a regular basis and will be one of the best defensive teams around. If the pitching comes through, the Panthers could easily post double-digit wins again and make another deep playoff run.

SOFTBALL

Coach: Diana Garcia (first year)

2010 Record: No varsity program

Players to watch: Blair Haggett (Senior), Kylie Dalbec (Junior), Mallory Ianno (Sophomore), Emma Laprise (Sophomore), Savannah Poole (Sophomore), Maggie Bertocci (Freshman), Sydney Garcia (Freshman), Emma Warren (Freshman)

Coach’s comment: “We’re fielding a team after a multiple-year hiatus. This gives us the opportunity to develop the team with a focus on fundamental skills and teamwork. The team is comprised of very talented athletes who work extremely well together. The breadth of hitting talent is especially impressive. I expect this team to surprise their competition with their level of team cohesion and skill not usually found with a new program.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA’s varsity softball program returns after a three-year break and features plenty of good athletes. Garcia was a softball player in high school and college and has served as a coach for many years. She’s assisted by David Echeverria, an NYA Middle School teacher and middle school hockey coach, who played and coached baseball for many years. This year’s team will feature three pitchers, senior Blair Haggett (NYA’s Winter Female Athlete of the Year), sophomore Emma Laprise and freshman Sydney Garcia. Sophomore Savannah Poole is the catcher. She’ll get help from junior Kylie Dalbec, who will also play first base. Sophomore Mallory Ianno and freshmen Maggie Bertocci and Emma Warren will also play on the infield. The roster also includes seniors Hannah Lolar (outfield), Lauren Nawfel (infield and outfield), juniors Mariah Farrell (outfield), Alexandra Hebert (infield and outfield), Sasha McLean (outfield) and Katie Perry (infield and outfield), sophomore Meghan Farrell (outfield) and freshman Chloe Leishman (infield and outfield). It’s hard to project how good the Panthers can be considering they haven’t played a game, but based on the qualify of athlete the team will put on the field, it’s not a stretch to suggest they’ll be competitive in most games and be able to rack up some victories as the season progresses. The last time softball was reinstated at NYA, 2004, the Panthers went to the regional final. While that might be a stretch this spring, don’t be surprised if they turn heads in the weeks to come.

BOYS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Chris Carpentier (third year)

2010 Record: 6-8 (Lost 17-7 to Yarmouth in Eastern Class B semifinals)

Top returning players: Finn Hadlock (Senior), Matt Kibler (Senior), Tim Millett (Senior), Forrest Milburn (Junior), Isaac Lipton (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 27 (H) GREELY, May 3 @ Falmouth, May 7 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 10 @ Freeport, May 14 (H) SCARBOROUGH, May 18 @ Yarmouth, May 20 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 27 (H) FALMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “Another big class of freshmen came in this year so we’re young again, but we should be solid after only losing a few people last year. It should be a fun season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA is hoping that this is the year they emerge from Yarmouth’s shadow and take Eastern Class B for the first time since 2007. The Panthers did struggle against the Clippers in the season opener Friday, a 6-2 home loss, but it’s clear the gap between the rivals has closed and that NYA can legitimately entertain title hopes if it improves as the season progresses. The offense should be able to produce in the weeks to come. Leading the way are Hadlock (who had an assist in the opener), Kibler, Milburn (who scored Friday) and Millett. Sophomore Oliver Silverson had a goal versus Yarmouth and could become a threat as well. Midfielders to watch include Lipton, senior Nico Kaminow and junior Matt Michaud. On defense, junior Charlie Gerrity and sophomore Elliott Wellenbach lead the way in front of new freshman goalies Weston Nolan (who made 15 saves in the opener) and Max Maurer. The Panthers have a solid mix of veterans and youth. The returning players are hungry to go all the way. The newer kids hope to step right in and make a mark. If they do and if this squad can steadily improve, NYA will be right there in the middle of June.

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Julia Sterling (fourth year)

2010 Record: 12-3 (Beat Waynflete 7-3 to win first Class B state championship)

Top returning players: Caroline Bowne (Senior), Frances Leslie (Senior), Rozi Smith (Senior), Lily Wellenbach (Senior), Katie Cawley (Junior), Katherine Millett (Junior), Molly Strabley (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 26 (H) YARMOUTH, April 30 @ Brunswick, May 5 @ Falmouth, May 7 @ Waynflete, May 19 @ Yarmouth, May 24 (H) WAYNFLETE, May 27 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 31 (H) FALMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “We have an interesting team. We still have a lot of talent. We have a solid team from the back to the front. I think we can beat anybody because we’ve been there. If I can keep the girls healthy, we have a good core. If Frances can become anything like Ashley Salerno in goal, we can compete with Yarmouth, but it might not be until the tournament. It’s a matter of having fun. The girls are excited.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Last year’s NYA story was the stuff of which books are written and movies are made. The Panthers overcame true adversity, the sudden passing of a star player’s mother, hospitalization of coach Sterling and a pair of disappointing regular season losses to fierce rival Yarmouth, but some how, some way, NYA saved its best for last, finishing strong and it won the program’s first-ever title in the sweetest way possible, first avenging the losses to Yarmouth with a regional final win, then avenging five prior state game losses to Waynflete with a start-to-finish transcendent effort in the finale, earning Sterling Coach of the Year honors. While graduation took its toll, most notably taking 2010 Spring Female Athlete of the Year Courtney Dumont and goalie Ashley Salerno, those who don’t believe the Panthers will have a major say (again) in determining the 2011 champion will be surprised. NYA got off to a fast start Thursday with a 14-4 home win over Freeport. The Panthers were up 10-1 at halftime and rolled behind four goals and two assists from Wellenbach (a first-team WMC all-star a year ago, who could be the most dominating player in the state this spring), three goals and three helpers from junior Megan Fortier (a transfer from Falmouth) and two goals each from senior Rozi Smith and junior Katie Cawley. NYA has an abundance of offensive weapons. Strabley, Millett and sophomore Hannah Hearn also had goals in the opener. Senior Sally LaPointe is another player to watch. On defense, Bowne, who along with Fortier and Wellenbach takes draws, Eliza Gendron, new seniors Christina Reese and Danielle Smith and sophomore Bailey Clock will make life tough for the opposition in front of a pair of new goalies, freshman Nikolle Storey, who started in the opener and senior Frances Leslie (who’s been moved into the goal from defense after suffering concussions). The Panthers will be a force all over the field in the weeks to come. Yes, Yarmouth, with its experience, deserves to be the Eastern B favorite, but the Clippers know as well as anyone just how hard it is to beat NYA in June. If the Panthers can stay healthy, get used to playing new positions and gain confidence as the season progresses, a fourth straight regional and second consecutive state championship are certainly realistic goals.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Chris Mazzurco (15th year)

2010 Results:

(Boys) 3rd @ Class C state meet

(Girls) 9th @ Class C state meet

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Mohamed Dahia (Senior) Nick Kolkin (Senior), Alex Coffin (Junior), Asad Dahia (Junior), Evan Kendall (Junior), Cam Rayder (Junior), Nick Rayder (Junior), Cam Regan (Junior)

(Girls) Emily Harrison (Senior), Hillary Detert (Junior), Hadley Gibson (Junior), Morgan Scully (Junior)

Top foes: Freeport, Sacopee, Waynflete, Yarmouth

Coach’s comment: “The boys have solid numbers. We have a lot of good athletes back. Losing Henry’s guaranteed firsts is a big hole to fill, but I think our slew of juniors can pick up those points. If it’s enough, I don’t know. I think we’ll be in the running with an outside shot at states. The girls’ numbers are down a little bit. We only have 10. We graduated a lot from last year, including every state point. I’m hoping they can pull together. The goal is going to be having us cover as many events as we can. They’re doing a great job. I think they’ll make themselves proud.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA’s small, but potent track program is poised for another memorable campaign in 2011.

The boys’ quest for a fifth straight Class C crown fell just short a year ago and getting back to the pinnacle will be daunting without standout big meet point scorer Henry Sterling (NYA’s 2010 Spring Male Athlete of the Year). While Sterling won’t be scoring 20-plus points by himself, the Panthers hope that on balance, they can make up the slack. Returning state meet scorers include Mohamed Dahia (runner-up in the 110 hurdles and fourth in the 300 hurdles last spring), Regan (fifth in both the pole vault and two-mile), Coffin (relays), Asad Dahia (relays) and Kolkin (relays). Rayder will look to score in the sprints. Kendall will run distance and pole vault. Rayder is a top thrower. NYA will be tough in the regular season and should be one of the best teams again come states. A seventh straight top three finish is a realistic goal.

On the girls’ side, the losses of high jump champion Hannah Bewsey, thrower Alexandra O’Reilly and jumper Maeve Stier will hurt, but the Panthers do have state meet scorers returning in Gibson and Harrison (relays). This year, Harrison will join Scully in the throws. Gibson and Detert are top distance threats. Junior Maura Lachance hopes to score in the high jump. This team is small, but athletic and could be very tough by the end of the season.

BOYS’ TENNIS

Coach: Charlie Hudson (33rd year)

2010 Results: 1-11 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Phong Ho (Junior), Burke Paxton (Sophomore), Dean Walters (Sophomore), Ryan Walters (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: April 25 (H) GREELY, April 27 (H) YARMOUTH, May 2 @ Yarmouth, May 4 @ Waynflete, May 6 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, May 13 @ Falmouth, May 23 @ Cape Elizabeth

Coach’s comment: “I have a good group with good spirit. We’ll be a step better than last year. More competitive. We return three of our top four from last year. We should move up and be in the middle of the pack. That would be a step in the right direction. I think we’ll be in most of our matches. We’re still at least a year away from challenging the more talented teams.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: After three tough seasons (which saw just two wins), NYA appears ready to come out of the wilderness and return to contender status. Paxton moves from second singles to the first spot. Dean Walters also moves up a slot, from third to second singles. Ryan Walters, senior Billy Ji and freshman Bryce Petrault are battling for the third singles spot. Ho is a fixture at doubles. Look for the Panthers to be able to compete in most matches and improve on last year’s win total. While championship contention is still in the future (perhaps the near future), this squad figures to produce a positive step forward.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Coach: Lorena Coffin (fifth year)

2010 Results: 15-1 (Beat Dexter 4-1 to win fourth straight Class C state championship)

Top returning players: Charlotte Briggs (Senior), Alicia Hoffman (Senior), Anna Jaeger (Senior), Alison Znamierowski (Senior), Sarah Jordan (Junior), Ally Morrison (Junior), Jessica Powers (Junior)

Pivotal matches: May 2 (H) YARMOUTH, May 4 (H) WAYNFLETE, May 6 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 13 (H) FALMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “My goal for the team is to have the players focus on their strengths, develop multiple strategies that could work for them against different kinds of players and to enjoy the sport.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA has had no peer for the past four years and hopes to win Class C again this June. Jaeger (a WMC first-team all-star in 2010) is at first singles this year. Jordan (a second-team all-star a season ago) is in the No. 2 spot. Briggs projects to play third singles. The first doubles team will likely consist of Morrison and Powers. Hoffman and Znamierowski will play second doubles. Junior Maggie Meixell and freshman Emma Randall are also in the hunt for a starting position. The Panthers have averaged 15 wins the past four years. They should be very formidable again this spring. If the team develops as hoped, NYA will again boast a gaudy record and be primed to make a run at another championship. Don’t bet against this group of Panthers.

Senior Finn Hadlock is one of the top players in the region.

Senior Matt Kibler hopes to be a consistent scorer for the NYA boys’ team.

Junior Forrest Milburn is another offensive weapons for NYA.

Sophomore Issac Lipton is a strong defensive presence for the Panthers.

Senior Lily Wellenbach could be the premier girls’ lacrosse player in the state this spring. She’ll play at Williams College next year.

Sophomore Molly Strabley is another big-time offensive threat for the Panthers.

Junior Katherine Millett will be a force all over the field for NYA.

Senior Caroline Bowne anchors the NYA defense.

Senior Frances Leslie is moving from defense to goalie this spring.

Senior Anna Jaeger will be the No. 1 singles player this spring for an NYA girls’ tennis team seeking yet another state championship.

Sidebar Elements


After so many close calls, the NYA girls’ lacrosse team finally exulted as state champions a year ago. The Panthers are hoping for a repeat this spring.

More photos below.

NYA Spring Sports Schedule

(For updated times, visit http://www2.nya.org/program/athletics)

BASEBALL

Mon., April 25 @ Sacopee

Wed., April 27 @ OOB

Wed., May 4 H OOB

Sat., May 7 H SACOPEE (doubleheader)

Mon., May 9 H GRAY-NG

Wed., May 11 H TRAIP

Sat., May 14 @ Traip (2)

Mon., May 16 @ OOB

Wed., May 18 H BUCKFIELD

Sat., May 21 @ Waynflete (2)

Wed., May 25 @ Richmond

Sat., May 28 H WAYNFLETE

Wed., June 1 @ Yarmouth

SOFTBALL

Mon., April 25 @ Sacopee

Wed., April 27 @ OOB

Wed., May 4 H OOB

Sat., May 7 H SACOPEE (2)

Mon., May 9 H GRAY-NG

Wed., May 11 H TRAIP

Sat., May 14 @ Traip (2)

Mon., May 16 @ OOB

Wed., May 18 H BUCKFIELD

Wed., May 25 @ Richmond

BOYS’ LACROSSE

Wed., April 27 H GREELY

Sat., April 30 @ Oak Hill

Tues., May 3 @ Falmouth

Sat., May 7 @ Cape Elizabeth

Tues., May 10 @ Freeport

Sat., May 14 H SCARBOROUGH

Wed., May 18 @ Yarmouth

Fri., May 20 H CAPE ELIZABETH

Wed., May 25 @ Waynflete

Fri., May 27 H FALMOUTH

Wed., June 1 H YORK

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Tues., April 26 H YARMOUTH

Sat., April 30 @ Brunswick

Tues., May 3 @ Greely

Thurs., May 5 @ Falmouth

Sat., May 7 @ Waynflete

Wed., May 11 H YORK

Sat., May 14 H MESSALONSKEE

Thurs., May 19 @ Yarmouth

Tues., May 24 H WAYNFLETE

Fri., May 27 @ Cape Elizabeth

Tues., May 31 H FALMOUTH

OUTDOOR TRACK

Fri., April 29 @ Wells (Falm, Frye)

Tues., May 3 @ Greely (GNG, Sacopee)

Fri., May 6 @ Traip (Greely, Waynflete)

Thurs., May 12 @ Sacopee (OOB, Yarmouth)

Fri., May 20 @ Poland (Freeport, GNG)

Sat., May 28 @ WMC championships

Sat., June 4 CLASS B STATES

BOYS’ TENNIS

Mon., April 25 H GREELY

Wed., April 27 H YARMOUTH

Fri., April 29 H FRYEBURG

Mon., May 2 @ Yarmouth

Wed., May 4 @ Waynflete

Fri., May 6 H CAPE ELIZABETH

Mon., May 9 @ Freeport

Wed., May 11 H YORK

Fri., May 13 @ Falmouth

Mon., May 16 @ York

Wed., May 18 H LAKE REGION

Mon., May 23 @ Cape Elizabeth

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Mon., April 25 @ Greely

Wed., April 27 @ OOB

Fri., April 29 @ Fryeburg

Mon., May 2 H YARMOUTH

Wed., May 4 H WAYNFLETE

Fri., May 6 @ Cape Elizabeth

Mon., May 9 H FREEPORT

Wed., May 11 @ York

Fri., May 13 H FALMOUTH

Wed., May 18 @ Lake Region

Fri., May 20 H GREELY

Tues., May 24 H OOB

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.