South Portland Red Riots Fall Athletes of the Year

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GARY MAIETTA, Senior-Soccer

  • SMAA all-star, honorable mention

  • Captain

Maietta took one for the team this season and as a result, his team had another strong year. 

Maietta grew up in South Portland with soccer his top sport. He came to the Red Riots varsity as a sophomore and became a dangerous scoring threat, but this fall, South Portland needed help on defense and Maietta stepped into the void.

“It felt natural because I’ve played defense on other teams,” said Maietta, who would return to offense late in games when his squad was behind.

The Red Riots needed to solidify their defense to contend and they remained a top team in the region, winning seven games and tying four others, as they surrendered only 14 goals in 14 games. On offense, Maietta scored a late goal to forge a tie against Bonny Eagle.

South Portland earned the No. 6 seed, downed Kennebunk in the preliminary round of the Class A South playoffs, then upset No. 3 Thornton Academy on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals. Maietta helped the Red Riots rally from a 2-0 deficit in that one, getting brought down in the box to set the stage for a penalty kick and more importantly, man-marking Golden Trojans standout Simon Trcka and limiting his damage. South Portland finally met its match in Cheverus for the second year in a row in the semifinals, but Maietta almost sparked a rally at game’s end.

Following the season, Maietta was named a conference all-star, honorable mention, as his work ethic paid off.

“I push myself to do better,” Maietta said. “I have a lot of drive. I don’t like to lose.”

Maietta is also runner and jumper in track and volunteers with the South Portland fire department. He may play soccer in college.

Whatever he elects to do, Gary Maietta, South Portland’s Fall Male Athlete of the Year, will do it well. He certainly proved to be an invaluable teammate and leader this season.

Coach Bryan Hoy’s comment: “Gary really did well in leading the team. He knew that for us to be successful, he needed to develop into a lockdown defender, so that’s exactly what he did. His work ethic and dedication to becoming a better defender really helped solidify what ended up being a very stout defense. He also shifted back into his attack position late in games when we were behind.”

Prior winners:

2014 Henry Curran (soccer)

2013 Duncan Preston (football)

2012 Damjan Draskovic (soccer)

2011 Logan Gaddar (football)

2010 Nem Kaurin (soccer)

2009 Ryan Curit (football)

2008 Ryan Chapin (soccer)

2007 Nick Gaddar (football)

2006 David Knowland (cross country)

2005 Endy Carrera (soccer)

2004 Nolan Moon (cross country)

2003 Eric Giddings (cross country)

2002 Eric Giddings (cross country)

2001 Devin Shaw (cross country)


SERENA MCKENZIE, Junior—Cross country

  • New Englands qualifier

  • SMAA all-star, first-team

McKenzie emerged as one of the state’s top runners and led her team to another strong performance at the state meet.

McKenzie grew up in South Portland and started running in middle school. By sophomore year, McKenzie was 20th at the Class A state meet and this fall, she really stood out.

McKenzie made her presence felt immediately, beating out teammate Casey Loring by nine seconds to win a four-team season-opening meet at Windham. She also placed first in meets at home versus Gorham, Portland and Sanford, at Noble and at Thornton Academy and had a time of 19 minutes, 42.05 seconds to place 25th at the Festival of Champions. 

McKenzie’s postseason was dazzling as well, as she came in third at regionals (20:02.62) and fourth (third for scoring purposes, 19:58.19) at the Class A state meet, helping the Red Riots place sixth as a team. McKenzie capped her season by coming in 74th at New Englands (20:39.50).

“My teammates pushed me,” McKenzie said. “I did better than I expected at regionals and states.

“Running is very important to me. I like being outside and running in the woods. I love the team element of cross country.”

McKenzie also runs indoor and outdoor track (she was seventh indoors in the two-mile and placed third in the two-mile and seventh in the mile outdoors a year ago). She hopes to break the 19-minute threshold in her final cross country season, then would like to run in college. 

Serena McKenzie, South Portland’s Fall Female Athlete of the Year, keeps getting stronger and her best days are still to come, which is a scary thought for the opposition.

Coach Karen Reardon’s comment: “Serena made a big step forward this fall. She came into the season prepared and just kept moving forward. Both in the regional and state meets, she went right out with the lead pack and challenged herself to be there with them and she was. Her finishes in both races were outstanding. One of her strengths as a runner is her running style. She is able to run very smooth and relaxed throughout the race and that allows her to just hang with people and be there to make a move at the end. The girls knew they could count on her to take it to the competition and she came through time after time. Serena is a quality student-athlete, a fine representative of South Portland High School and a real pleasure to work with. She works hard and contributes to a fun environment on the team and is a very coachable athlete.”

Prior winners:

2014 Casey Loring (cross country)

2013 Shannon Conley (cross country)

2012 Nyajock Pan (cross country)

2011 Nyajock Pan (cross country)

2010 Rebecca Roberts (field hockey)

2009 Karleigh Bradbury (soccer)

2008 Annelise Donahue (cross country)

2007 Annelise Donahue (cross country)

2006 Kristina Aceto (field hockey)

2005 Emily Haeuser (cross country)

2004 Courtney Albin (soccer)

2003 Christina Aceto (soccer)

2002 Andrea Giddings (cross country)

2001 Andrea Giddings (cross country)

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

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