South Portland Red Riots Fall Athletes of the Year

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Cronin

Cronin

Mawhinney

Mawhinney

MALE:

CHARLIE CRONIN, Senior-Soccer

  • All-New England

  • All-State

  • SMAA all-star, first-team

  • SMAA Offensive Player of the Year

  • Class A South regional all-star

  • Captain

Cronin displayed a multitude of skills and led the Red Riots to the best regular season in program history.

Cronin began playing soccer at a young age when his family lived in Japan and it’s long been his top sport.

“I was able to kick a ball since I was little,” Cronin said. “(My older brother, Calvin) was a big influence. I like soccer because you can’t predict what will happen. I play for my teammates, coaches, family, friends and the fans.”

After coming to South Portland, Cronin played Premier soccer and joined the Red Riots varsity as a freshman. He played a limited role that year, became more of a factor as a sophomore, then made the SMAA all-star team as a junior.

This season, Cronin dazzled, scoring 16 goals and adding eight assists, giving him 37 and 19 for his career. Highlights included two goals in a season-opening win at Thornton Academy, three goals in a victory over Massabesic, three more goals in a win at Noble, a goal and an assist in a win over Kennebunk, three goals in a victory over Windham, a goal in a first-ever win over Falmouth, two goals at Cheverus in Coach Bryan Hoy’s 100th career victory, the lone goal in a win over eventual regional champion Portland and both goals in a season-ending victory at Westbrook.

South Portland enjoyed its best-ever regular season at 13-0-1 and earned the top seed for the playoffs for the first time since 1988, but the Red Riots’ dreams of a first trip to the state final were dashed in the quarterfinals when they were upset by Thornton Academy on penalty kicks.

“It was tough to lose, but we have so much to be proud about,” Cronin said. “We were conference champs, undefeated, we had the best record in South Portland history and we gave Coach his 100th win. We played so well this year.”

Cronin doesn’t just play a lot of soccer, he also does community service, volunteers with younger kids, is a member of South Portland’s Spanish Club and Bee Club and for fun, likes to surf, ski and mountain bike. He will join his brother at Bates College next year, where he plans to continue playing soccer.

He’ll certainly play it at a high level. Charlie Cronin, South Portland’s Fall Male Athlete of the Year, departs as one of the best players in program history. One largely responsible for the best season in program annals.

Coach Bryan Hoy’s comment: “Charlie has been a great influence on our program both on and off the field. When he arrived as a freshman, we knew he’d be a great player for us. You could tell he loved to play and wanted to get better. He’s very competitive and our other players fed off of that. When you challenge him, he thrives. We held his play to an incredibly high standard, but he never got frustrated or overwhelmed, he kept trying to be the best player he could be and that rubbed off on the guys around him. He set the bar high for future players. Not only with his skill, but with his positive attitude, leadership and academics. He’s a great young man.”

Prior winners:

2016 Khalid Suja (soccer)

2015 Gary Maietta (soccer)

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)

FEMALE:

MOLLY MAWHINNEY, Senior—Volleyball

  • Maine Coaches’ Association Class A Player of the Year

  • All-state, Class A

  • SMAA all-star, first-team

  • Senior Showcase MVP

  • Captain

Mawhinney’s hitting brilliance gave the opposition nightmares and led the Red Riots on a stirring and stunning playoff ride which resulted in the program’s first-ever state final berth.

Mawhinney grew up in South Portland loved volleyball from the age of nine.

“I love the adrenaline,” Mawhinney said. “I get so fired up. I’m insanely competitive. I have a passionate drive to win.”

Mawhinney joined the Red Riots varsity in 2014, when the program was in just its second season. She turned heads as a freshman and made the SMAA second-team as a sophomore. In her junior season, South Portland made the playoffs for the first time and Mawhinney made the all-star team again.

Then, this fall, she and the Red Riots took things to a completely different level.

Mawhinney registered a whopping 181 kills, 234 service receptions, 111 digs, 66 aces and 11 blocks in 17 matches. Highlights included 12 kills and eight aces in a season-opening win over Gorham, 12 kills in a victory over Bonny Eagle, 13 kills in a five-set loss to Portland, eight kills and six aces in a win over Windham and a season-high 27 kills in a five-set victory over Thornton Academy.

She remained dominant in the postseason, posting 18 kills and seven aces in a quarterfinal round upset of Gorham, 22 kills in a semifinal round upset of top-ranked Deering and 20 kills in a state final loss to Scarborough.

“I’m so appreciative of what we accomplished,” Mawhinney said. “Nobody saw us coming. Gorham gave us confidence. I never experienced anything like playing in front of that state final crowd.”

Mawhinney also plays for Maine Juniors and plans to swim for South Portland this winter. She will play volleyball in college, but is uncertain where.

Whatever school winds up with her on the floor will be thrilled with her production. Molly Mawhinney, South Portland’s Fall Female Athlete of the Year, only gets better as the matches get bigger and her play will be the standard by which all future Red Riots will aspire.

Coach Nicole Kane’s comment: “Molly has been the heart and soul of South Portland volleyball. Volleyball is her passion and that shows every day on the court. She’s a confident player who pushes her teammates to do their best. She’s been a joy to coach. She will be irreplaceable, as volleyball is her life and we’ll miss her dedication to the team immensely.”

Prior winners:

2016 Lydia Henderson (field hockey)

2015 Serena McKenzie (cross country)

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 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.