Portland Bulldogs Winter Athletes of the Year

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2012-13 Winter Male Athlete of the Year:

KIDAYER ALJUBYLY, Junior-Wrestling


· Class A state champion, 106 pounds

· SMAA All-Star, first-team

It didn’t take Aljubyly long to become the very best at his weight level, capping a great junior year with a Class A state title.

Aljubyly was born in Iraq and came to the United States in 2006, arriving in Portland for middle school. He started wrestling in high school, getting talked into trying the sport by a friend, and the Bulldogs have been grateful ever since.

A year ago, as a sophomore, Aljubyly came in fourth at 113 pounds.

This year, wrestling at 106, he had no peer. Aljubyly excelled from start to finish, not losing a single match to a Class A foe. Despite battling a knee malady, he was seeded first at the state meet and he completed his year with a title, downing Massabesic’s Mike Aboud, 7-1, in the final match.

Aljubyly has honed his skills over the summer and credits his training regimen and his coaches for his success.

”I like winning and making my coaches happy,” Aljubyly said.

Looking ahead to his senior year, Aljubyly said he wants to reach 100 career wins (he’ll start with 82) and hopes to qualify for the New England championships. He’d like to win another state crown along the way as well.

After a season to remember, he’s only getting better. Don’t be surprised if Kidayer Aljubyly caps his high school career with more glory.

Coach David Elowitch’s comment: “Kidayer is one of the hardest working kids in the room. He always has the proper attitude and always works to get better, whether in season or out. He is always willing to do the extra pushups, sprints and drilling necessary to become a champion. Even in the offseason, Kidayer is looking for ways to improve, whether its attending Casco Bay Elite or working out at the Expo gym. In addition, Kidayer is always willing to help teammates improve on their skills by working diligently with them. He is the perfect student, teammate and mentor to the sport of wrestling.”

2011-12 winner: Ben Allen (Nordic skiing)

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)

2012-13 Winter Female Athlete of the Year:

ABBY POPENOE, Senior-Nordic skiing


· SMAA Nordic All-Academic team

· EHS qualifier

· Team captain

Popenoe has excelled on the trails and as a team leader and had a tremendous senior season for a small Portland squad which fell just short of winning a first state title.

Popenoe grew up in Portland and started skiing at a young age. More interested in cross country than downhill, Popenoe gravitated to the Portland Nordic team as a freshman and has been competitive throughout her high school years. Popenoe was 18th in the freestyle and 22nd in the classic as a freshman at the state meet, placed seventh in both races as a sophomore and moved up to third in the freestyle and finished ninth in the classic last season.

Popenoe, who runs cross country in the fall and competes in ultimate frisbee in the spring, still finds time to train for ski season year round. She won the skate race at the SMAA championships and finished second in the freestyle and third in the classic at states, where Portland was runner-up to Falmouth.

Popenoe competed at the Eastern High School championships as a freshman, junior and senior and at the J2 championships as a sophomore. She is a member of Portland’s Outdoor Club and is an admitted aficionado of the outdoors. She plans on attending and skiing for Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., next year.

She figures to be a success at the next level as well. Abby Popenoe made quite an impact on the Portland program and on the sport as a whole during her high school career. She got better every season and finished with a flourish.

Coach Aaron Duphily’s comment: “What has made Abby so successful has been a combination of her tenacity and unrivaled work ethic. I can say with certainty that I’ve never coached an athlete who has worked as hard. She has trained year-round for the past few years to get to the level she’s at. Her mental toughness on the race course is second to none. Her ability to push through the pain and to extract every last once of performance from her body is remarkable. She’s always looking for ways to get better and is very proactive about working on her technique. As a captain for the past two seasons, she has been an excellent team leader. She’s set the standard that all of my skiers to aspire to. Even through the hardest workouts, she stays positive and motivated. She has truly been an inspiration to us.”

2011-12 winner: Kylie Dalbec (Hockey)

2010-11 winner: Nicollette 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.