Portand Bulldogs Winter Athletes of the Year

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2011-12 Winter Male Athlete of the Year:

BEN ALLEN, Sophomore-Nordic skiing


* Third in the classic at Class A state meet

* Seventh in the freestyle at Class A state meet

* Eastern High School championships qualifier

The Portland Nordic ski program flies under the radar, but year after year, it produces its share of talent. The latest standout is Allen, who in two short years has made a nice name for himself.

A longtime aficionado of being outdoors, Allen started cross-country skiing in third grade and gradually became very good at his craft. As a freshman, he was 17th in the freestyle and 22nd in the classic at the Class A state meet.

Allen’s sophomore season was almost short-circuited when he broke his fibia at the state cross-country running meet in late October. That cut into his training and affected his endurance, but he managed to be at his best at states in February, moving all the way up to third in the classic and seventh in the freestyle, helping Portland finish fifth as a team. Allen went on to qualify for Maine J2 team.

Allen hopes to play varsity lacrosse this spring. His first sport remains Nordic skiing and he trains year round. He hopes to compete in college. First, look for him to continue making a mark at the high school level.

Based on the jump Allen made from his freshman to sophomore year, the sky’s the limit.

Coach Aaron Duphily’s comment: “Ben is a very dedicated athlete and a fierce competitor. He trains throughout the offseason to keep himself in shape for the racing season. In addition, he has an enormous amount of raw natural talent when it comes to endurance events. If he continues to apply himself and puts in the work in the offseason, he has the ability to become one of the top skiers in the entire state across all of the classes. He has been a pleasure to coach. He is eager to learn and is able to acquire new skills very quickly. He has always given me 100 percent effort in every race and is always ready for the day’s workout. I’m excited to have another two years to help guide him to the top of the Maine high school Nordic circuit.”

2010-11 winner: Mike Herrick ( Basketball)

2009-10 winner: Imadhi Zagon (Indoor track)

2008-09 winner: Sam Guimond (Hockey)

2007-08 winner: Imadhi Zagon (Indoor track)

2006-07 winner: Ryan Carmichael (Basketball)

2005-06 winner: Andrew Duncanson (Basketball)

2004-05 winner: Connor Cushman (Nordic Skiing)

2003-04 winner: Eric Shone (Basketball)

2011-12 Winter Female Athlete of the Year:

KYLIE DALBEC, Senior-Hockey


* Team MVP

* West Region all-star, first-team

It’s no coincidence that the Portland girls’ ice hockey team enjoyed its best season to date, right after the field hockey team did the same, as both squads benefited from the arrival of Dalbec, whose presence, leadership and talent produced big-time turnarounds.

After spending her first three high school years at North Yarmouth Academy, Dalbec, a Portland resident, who started playing hockey at a young age, became a Bulldog this school year. In October, she and the field hockey team reached the regional final for the first time in program history. This winter, she lit it up on the ice.

Dalbec helped Portland get off to a good start with a hat trick in a victory over Biddeford and two goals in a win over Lewiston. Other highlights included four goals versus Gorham, two more against Brunswick and two in a win over Cheverus.

The Bulldogs earned the No. 4 seed in the West Region for the playoffs, their first postseason appearance, and won their first playoff game, 6-2, over Cheverus. Dalbec scored twice and assisted on two others. The run ended with a loss to top-ranked Falmouth in the semis, but Dalbec capped her high school career with two assists, giving her 24 goals and 24 assists for the season.

Dalbec, who also plays lacrosse (she helped NYA win a state title her sophomore season), belongs to Key Club and works for the Red Claws and Pirates, plans to attend Anna Maria College, where she’ll play both field hockey and lacrosse.

While she only spent one season as a Bulldog, she showed just how valuable a player and person she is.

Coach Courtney Rideout’s comment: “This was Kylie’s first year playing for us, but she came in and had an immediate impact not only on the ice, but in the locker room and on the bench as well. She plays every game with the same level of intensity and desire, something that a lot of players aren’t capable of. She’s a two-way player and contributes all over the ice. She’s an unselfish player. She plays whatever position we needed her to and often came to me and requested to be switched around because she knew that it was best for the team.”

2010-11 winner: Nicolette Kapothanasis (Basketball)

2009-10 winner; Raechel Allen (Hockey)

2008-09 winner: Nyachuol Biliew (Basketball)

2007-08 winner: Nyachuol Biliew (Basketball)

2006-07 winner: Alex Perdomo (Hockey)

2005-06 winner: Regina Roberts (Indoor track)

2004-05 winner: Ashley Anderson (Basketball)

2003-04 winner: Ashley Brownlee (Basketball)

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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