Portland Bulldogs Winter Athletes of the Year

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Couture

Appel

Male:

WILL COUTURE, Senior—Swimming

* All-State, 100 butterfly

* All-State, 100 backstroke

* All-State, 200 freestyle relay

* All-Conference, 100 backstroke

* All-Conference, 100 butterfly

* All-Conference, 200 medley relay

* All-Conference, 400 freestyle relay

* Captain

Couture gave himself 100 percent to the Bulldogs program and he will depart as one of its best swimmers in years, one who helped Portland soar up the competitive ladder.

Couture started swimming in the fifth grade. He gave up club swimming to focus on high school competition.

He swam for the Bulldogs as a freshman (placing fourth at states in the 100 backstroke and sixth in the 100 butterfly), took his sophomore year off, then returned rejuvenated for his junior season, finishing second in Class A in the fly and third in the backstroke, helping Portland to a fifth-place team showing, the program’s best since 1972.

This winter was more of the same for Couture in his final high school campaign, as he not only dominated in the fly and the backstroke, but also made a mark in the 50 freestyle as well as multiple relays. At Southwesterns, Couture set a new school record in the fly at 52.77 seconds, won the backstroke in 54.12 seconds and swam the first leg on a champion medley relay team (1 minute, 46.09 seconds). At the state meet, he lowered his fly time to 52.49 and finished a close second to Deering’s Owen McLaughlin, was runner-up in the backstroke (53.33) and was part of a third-place medley relay team as Portland repeated its fifth-place team finish.

“I was quite happy with the season,” Couture said. “I was satisfied to get my best times. I like that in swimming you have to show up and do well. It’s a team sport, but success is on you.”

Couture will graduate as a school record holder in the backstroke, butterfly and a pair of relays. He belongs to Surf Club, is an avid surfer and waterboarder and is a Crossfit aficionado. He plans to study business at the University of Southern Maine beginning in the fall. 

Will Couture, Portland’s Winter Male Athlete of the Year, will long be remembered for his skill in the pool and for his devotion to the program.

Coach Morgan Dorsey’s comment: “Over the past two years, Will has served as captain and has inspired growth and change for PHS swimming. I have worked with Will the past two seasons and can say that he is well respected by his teammates. He is a role model for peers and younger swimmers. He leads by example and is always eager to help newer swimmers. Will exemplifies good sportsmanship, encouraging teammates when they are struggling, and celebrating others’ successes. Will works hard both in and out of the pool and strives for excellence in everything he does. He is a role model, models exceptional sportsmanship and juggles school, family business and swimming.”

Previous winners:

2017-18 Terion Moss (basketball)

2016-17 Dom Tocci (hockey)

2015-16 Amir Moss (basketball)

2014-15 Steve Alex (basketball)

2013-14 Ben Allen (Nordic skiing)

2012-13 Kidayer Albujyly (wrestling)

2011-12 Ben Allen (Nordic skiing)

2010-11 Mike Herrick (basketball)

2009-10 Imadhi Zagon (track)

2008-09 Sam Guimond (hockey)

2007-08 Imadhi Zagon (track)

2006-07 Ryan Carmichael (basketball)

2005-06 Andrew Duncanson (basketball)

2004-05 Connor Cushman (Nordic skiing)

2003-04 Eric Shone (basketball)

Female:

JAIDYN APPEL, Senior-Track

* SMAA All-Star, second-team, senior high jump

* SMAA All-Academic

* Captain 

Appel showed steady improvement and reached just about every one of her goals this winter.

Appel started competing in track in middle school, sprinting and jumping. She joined the Portland team freshman year and by her junior season, she placed fourth in the high jump at the Class A state meet.

“I dramatically improved junior year,” said Appel, who has also been one of the league’s top field hockey players in the fall. “I worked harder in the offseason and it paid off.”

This winter, Appel opened the season by winning the triple jump and placing second in the high jump and she never looked back. At Southwesterns, Appel was second in the high jump and third in the triple jump. Then, at the Class A state meet, Appel was second to Westbrook’s Louisiana State University-bound standout Nyagoa Bayok in the high jump. She then tied for sixth in the high jump at New Englands.

“I did the best I could,” Appel said. “I wanted to jump 5-7 and I got 5-6, I wanted to finish top three at states and I wanted to go to New Englands.”

Appel, a member of Portland High’s Executive Board, Student Council and National Honor Society, is now competing in her final high school season outdoors, where she hopes to duplicate her indoor success. She will attend Tufts University in Massachusetts, where she’ll continue to jump.

Jaidyn Appel, Portland’s Winter Female Athlete of the Year, has been an admirable student-athlete and she leaves behind a legacy of excellence.

Coach Bill LeRoy’s comment: “Jaidyn is top-shelf. She’s such a great person. As an athlete, I couldn’t ask for more from her as a coach. She was focused and determined to improve. She became a student of her events. She was a pleasure to be around and she had a great season.”

Previous winners:

2017-18 Shayla Eubanks (basketball)

2016-17 Maggie Hosmer (track)

2015-16 Lauren McIntyre (hockey)

2014-15 Gabby Wagabaza (basketball)

2013-14 Brianna Holdren (basketball)

2012-13 Abby Popenoe (Nordic skiing)

2011-12 Kylie Dalbec (hockey)

2010-11 Nicollette Kapothanasis (basketball)

2009-10 Raechel Allen (hockey)

2008-09 Nyachuol Biliew (basketball)

2007-08 Nyachuol Biliew (basketball)

2006-07 Alex Perdomo (hockey)

2005-06 Regina Roberts (track)

2004-05 Ashley Anderson (basketball)

2003-04 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.