Portland Bulldogs Fall Athletes of the Year

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Zack Elowitch

Grace Stacey

MALE:

ZACK ELOWITCH, Senior-Football

  • Class A North all-star, first-team, running back

  • Class A North All-Academic team

  • Captain

Elowitch waited for his opportunity, seized it and before the season was through, he set records and led the Bulldogs to the state final with his legs, heart and will.

Elowitch started playing football at a young age and has long enjoyed the sport, along with wrestling, the sport he was best known for prior to this fall.

“I’m really competitive,” said Elowitch. “Everyone in my family is.”

Elowitch made the Portland football varsity team as a sophomore and played a supporting role as the Bulldogs reached the state final, only to lose to Bonny Eagle. As a junior, Elowitch expected to be the lead back, but Portland struggled early and he wound up blocking for Terion Moss as the Bulldogs came to life late and made a run to the regional final.

This fall, Elowitch followed in the footsteps of recent running back standouts Justin Zukowski, Joe Esposito and Dylan Bolduc and he ran his way over and through opposing defenses.

In the opener, Elowitch gained 203 yards and scored twice in a victory at Windham. The next week, in a home win over Cheverus, Elowitch had 92 yards and two scores. Elowitch also had three touchdowns in a win at Lewiston, scored three TDs in a victory over Edward Little and ran for 169 yards in a crucial, hard-fought win at Oxford Hills.

Those performances were impressive enough, but Elowitch truly was at his best in the playoffs.

In a semifinal round victory over Edward Little, Elowitch ran for 267 yards and three scores on 33 carries. In a regional final thriller against Oxford Hills, Elowitch picked up 220 yards on 28 carries and scored twice, including the game-winner in overtime. While Portland was no match for Thornton Academy in the state final, Elowitch did have a pair of long scoring runs and wound up with 243 yards on 33 carries, as he eclipsed Zukowski as the program’s single-season record-holder for yards. Elowitch then scored five times against Deering in a Turkey Day victory, giving him a program-record 26 for the season. He wound up with over 2,100 yards with that game factored in.

“It was great getting a chance this year after watching some other great backs,” said Elowitch, who is expected to be a semifinalist for the Fitzpatrick Trophy. “To be up there (in the record books) with those guys is crazy. The team needed me to step up and I did, but I got a lot of help. My line blocked well.”

Elowitch now turns his attention to wrestling, where he’ll be one of the state’s best. He also takes part in musical theater and will either run track or play rugby in the spring. He’s weighing his college options.

Zack Elowitch, Portland’s Fall Male Athlete of the Year, had a season for the record books. His determination and ability allowed him to etch his name in program lore and helped the Bulldogs be one of the last teams standing once again.

Coach Jim Hartman’s comment: “Zack is special. He’s tough and gritty. We’ve had good runners, but he won’t go down and you can’t tackle him with one guy. The other team knew he’d get the ball and they just couldn’t stop him. He’d run through and by people. He’s a tough kid. Extremely dependable. A good leader. He did a great job when he got his chance.”

Prior winners:

2017 Quinn Clarke (soccer/football)

2016 Dylan Bolduc (football)

2015 Joe Esposito (football)

2014 Jeremiah Copeland (football)

2013 Justin Zukowski (football)

2012 Tate Gale (football)

2011 Tim Rovnak (soccer)

2010 Fazal Nabi (soccer)

2009 Fazal Nabi (soccer)

2008 Fazal Nabi (soccer)

2007 Matt Methot (cross country)

2006 Chris Treister (football)

2005 Josh Wang (cross country)

2004 Ayalew Taye (cross country)

FEMALE:

GRACE STACEY, Senior-Soccer

  •  SMAA All-Academic team

  • Captain

Stacey scored her share of big goals this fall, but it’s her leadership, maturity and accomplishments off the pitch that truly made her stand out and her best is yet to come.

Stacey has epitomized the three-sport athlete ideal, immersing herself in whichever sport was in season, be it soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter, or softball in the spring.

She’s played soccer from a young age and made the Portland girls’ soccer varsity team as a freshman. Stacey became a captain as a junior and served in that capacity again this fall.

Stacey would score five goals and add three assists in helping the Bulldogs post a winning record and make the playoffs. Highlights included two goals in a win over Westbrook, the winner in an overtime victory over Thornton Academy and a goal in a win over Noble. 

“I had fun,” Stacey said. “It was a good way to go out. I enjoyed playing with the team and watching everyone grow and be successful. I’m driven to be the best I can be and try to do what’s best for me and my team.”

Stacey, who is also a captain on the basketball and softball teams, belongs to Portland High’s Women’s Rights Club, Musical Theater, National Honor Society and is a volunteer. She’s looking to attend a liberal arts college and has some top-notch schools on her radar.

Grace Stacey, Portland’s Fall Female Athlete of the Year, is going to go on and do big things in this world. Rest assured that her time in a Bulldogs soccer uniform won’t soon be forgotten. She impacted many with her play and encouragement.

Coach Curtis Chapin’s comment: “Grace has become a leader and someone I knew I could count on to set the tone and show everyone the right way to prepare, practice and play. She is the ultimate competitor, but wants to push others to be their best. On top of that, she is of the highest character. Her stats do not show how much she brought on the field. She always pressured the ball, won us possession and was a target to help us get into our offense. I cannot say enough what a fantastic athlete and person she is and could not be happier that she is being recognized for her hard work.”

Prior winners:

2017 Sophia Silva (volleyball)

2016 Taylor Crosby (soccer)

2015 Chessa Hoekstra (soccer)

2014 Madison Bolduc (soccer)

2013 Emma Stehli (soccer)

2012 Leanne Reichert (field hockey)

2011 Raechel Allen (field hockey)

2010 Effie Drew (field hockey)

2009 Sophia Nappi (soccer)

2008 Casey Monaghan (soccer)

2007 Nicole Place (soccer)

2006 Cilla Knox (soccer)

2005 Molly Radis (soccer)

2004 Brianna Shepard (field hockey)

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

Stacey

Elowitch

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