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RYAN RUHLIN, Senior-Baseball
* Western Maine Board of Baseball Umpires’ SMAA Outstanding Catcher
* SMAA first-team, utility
* Senior All-Star
Ruhlin was the lone certainty for the Bulldogs when the 2015 season began. When the year ended, he was the biggest reason why Portland stole so many headlines and hearts and fell inches shy of an improbable regional title.
Ruhlin grew up in South Portland and came to Portland High, where he would become a three-sport athlete. While he made a mark in football and hockey, baseball, his top sport and one he’s played most of his life, brought him the most acclaim.
Ruhlin played a complementary role as the designated hitter, catcher and pitcher his first three seasons, often taking a backseat to older teammates, but entering 2015, the pressure was solely on his shoulders as he was the most experienced returner on a young, but promising squad. Ruhlin welcomed the pressure and bludgeoned it into submission, excelling behind the plate, at the plate and on the mound, where he turned into a lights-out closer.
Ruhlin got his first save in the opener when Portland set the tone for a special season to come with an upset win at preseason favorite Marshwood. He also had a hit and scored a run. Ruhlin had two hits and earned a victory in relief against defending regional champion Windham, produced a hit and an RBI in a win over Scarborough, threw a three-hit shutout and had a hit, a run scored and two RBI against Noble, had two hits, a run scored and an RBI in a win over Gorham, two hits in a second win over Marshwood, earned a win in relief in a second victory over Windham, had two hits, two RBI and earned another win in relief in a win over Cheverus, singled, doubled and tripled, scored twice, had two RBI and earned the save in a victory over Deering, drove in two runs and got a save against Bonny Eagle and added two hits and a save in a regular season-ending win over Sanford which gave the Bulldogs the top seed for the Western A playoffs.
Ruhlin finished the regular season with a .360 average, second on the team to John Williams. He had 18 hits, a team-high 11 RBI and scored seven times. On the mound, he was 4-2 with a 1.95 earned run average, striking out 28 batters and walking just seven, and in the field, he committed just one error in 16 games.
He was even better in the postseason.
In a come-from-behind win over Deering in the quarterfinals, Ruhlin threw 2.1 innings of hitless ball and earned the victory as Portland erased a 3-0 deficit and prevailed, 4-3. In the semifinals against Falmouth, Ruhlin entered a scoreless game in the top of the sixth inning, kept the Yachtsmen off the board and earned another victory when the Bulldogs scored four times in the bottom half, scoring one of the runs himself. Ruhlin’s final appearance came in the regional final against South Portland. He gave up a run in 1.2 innings and almost earned another win, but Portland fell a run shy when a two-out line drive was hit right at the Red Riots’ first baseman.
“We were jumping over the railing to celebrate,” Ruhlin said. “Then the ball got caught. Looking back, nobody expected anything from us. I thought we’d be decent, but not that good. We had chemistry and belief. Every game, a different person came up with a hit or a diving catch. It was a total team effort.”
Ruhlin credits his love for the sport for his success.
“I work hard and I enjoy the game,” Ruhlin said. “I like pressure situations. I’m dedicated. I’m very competitive. I like to win.”
Ruhlin, who was also part of Students Against Destructive Decisions and student government at Portland High, will spent a postgraduate year at Bridgton Academy, then he hopes to attend and play baseball at a NESCAC school in the the 2016-17 year.
Whatever the future holds, he’ll have a hard time matching the magic he produced in 2015. Ryan Ruhlin, Portland’s Spring Male Athlete of the Year, put the Bulldogs on his shoulders and carried them on a fairy tale run.
Coach Mike Rutherford’s comment: “Ryan was the MVP of the team by far. He’s a really good player. He catches, he hits. When he was pitching, he just gave us a spark. No one runs on him when he’s catching. He’s a great kid. A leader on and off the field. He’s irreplaceable.”
2014 Jonathan Bobe (track)
2013 Caleb Fraser (baseball)
2012 Ryan Jurgelevich (lacrosse)
2011 Ryan Jurgelevich (lacrosse)
2010 Caleb Kenney (lacrosse)
2009 K.R. Jurgelevich (lacrosse)
2008 Brian Furey (baseball)
2007 Sam McAdam (lacrosse)
2006 Joe Fessenden (baseball)
2005 Peter Sengelmann (lacrosse)
2004 Jake Schuit (lacrosse)
MARGOT ANDREASEN, Senior-Tennis
SMAA All-Conference, first-team, singles
SMAA All-Academic team
Andreasen capped a fabulous high school career by stepping into the number one singles role and enjoying her finest season yet.
Andreasen’s tennis origins were modest, as she started playing at Lyman Moore Middle School simply to have fun with her friends. She had formerly played lacrosse, but tennis quickly became her top sport and many of those friends became high school teammates and their time hitting together for recreation set the stage for excellence with the Bulldogs.
Portland coach Bonnie Moran knew that Andreasen had promise.
“When I first started working with Margot, she had spent a lot of time on the courts with her friends and I knew she had the attitude and athletic ability to be a very good player,” Moran said. “Although I don’t believe she had had much formal training at that point, she had good technique, no glaring bad habits to break and an aggressive mentality. Being left-handed didn’t hurt either. That’s always a bonus at this level. She set the bar high and was able to push her teammates and friends who aspired to keep up with her. That kind of leadership is rare and has been so beneficial to our program.”
After playing second singles as a freshman and third singles as a sophomore (a year which saw her help Portland reach the state final match), Andreasen returned to second singles her junior year and helped produce a perfect regular season, one which saw her named to the SMAA all-star first-team.
Andreasen moved up to first singles this year and despite matching up with several of the state’s top players with all eyes on her, continued to impress and was at her absolute best in the biggest event, the state singles tournament.
As was the case her junior year, Andreasen was unstoppable in the regular season this spring, winning every match in straight sets. Six times she swept her opponent, 6-0, 6-0. Scarborough’s No. 1 Megan Nathanson, whom Andreasen beat, 7-5, 6-3, to give Portland a 3-2 match win, said that Andreasen was the toughest player she faced all year.
Andreasen continued her trend of doing better each singles tournament, making a run to the elite eight this spring before finally being ousted.
In a quarterfinal round playoff victory over Gorham, Andreasen defeated Whitney King, 6-0, 6-0. Andreasen and the Bulldogs finally met their match in the semifinals. Andreasen she lost to three-time singles champion Olivia Leavitt and Portland was ousted for the second year in a row by unstoppable powerhouse Falmouth.
For her career, Andreasen went 53-5 in team play, not losing a regular season match after her freshman year.
“I was ready for first singles,” Andreasen said. “I wanted to have a good season. I got to my goal of final eight at the singles tournament.”
Andreasen, who also played for Portland’s fledgling volleyball team as a senior and was a member of Yearbook, Ski and Snowboard Club, Executive Board and was the vice president of Key Club, will attend and play tennis at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts next year.
What a high school career it was for Margot Andreasen, Portland’s Spring Female Athlete of the Year. She got better every season and saved her best for last.
Coach Bonnie Moran’s comment: “Margot is the only player in my eight years of coaching who has played singles her entire high school career. I measure a player’s success by how steadily they improve, no matter the level they start. Margot’s improvement has been continuous and at a remarkable pace. I think part of that is because she truly loves to play and cares about her performance but not so much that it takes over her life. She is able to keep it all in perspective and that’s part of the reason she is such a good sport and treats her teammates and opponents so well. It has been so much fun having Margot on the team for the past four years and I hate to see her go, but I know she will get better and better as she plays college tennis and beyond.”
2014 Annette Denekas (tennis)
2013 Annette Denekas (tennis)
2012 Drew Barry (lacrosse)
2011 Drew Barry (lacrosse)
2010 Mary Moran (tennis)
2009 Maggie Swann (tennis)
2008 Liz Mosley (lacrosse)
2007 Jasmine Powell (track)
2006 Katie Hutchins (softball)
2005 Kelly Flaherty (lacrosse)
2004 Lily Anderson (lacrosse)