Spring Athletes of the Year: Portland Bulldogs

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2009 Spring Male Athlete of the Year:

K.R. JURGELEVICH, Senior-Lacrosse

* All-American

* SMAA All-Conference first team, midfield

* Senior All-Star

Whatever future lacrosse stardom awaits K.R. Jurgelevich (and there promises to be plenty), his impact on the Portland High boys’ program will not soon be forgotten.

Jurgelevich set records that figure to last for a long, long time and made an even bigger impact with his character and leadership as the Bulldogs won their first-ever state championship this spring.

A highly touted superstar, he rose to the occasion time and time again, dominated not only offensively, but also on special teams, and capped his career by carrying his team to the pinnacle.

In light of those accomplishments and attributes, K.R. Jurgelevich is The Forecaster’s choice as Portland’s 2009 Spring Male Athlete of the Year.

Jurgelevich moved from Boothbay to Portland at a young age and essentially grew up with a stick in his hand. His father, Kirk, played at Adelphi, and K.R. quickly blossomed into one of the finest players around, regardless of age.

Jurgelevich joined the Portland varsity as a freshman, set a program record for points as a freshman (57) and was named to the SMAA All-Star team and was also chosen as the Bulldogs’ Offensive Player of the Year. As a sophomore, Jurgelevich broke the program’s points record and once again earned several postseason accolades as Portland reached the state final for the first time. In 2008, Jurgelevich had another superb campaign, but the Bulldogs (who beat perennial powerhouses Cape Elizabeth, Yarmouth and Kennebunk early in the season) faded late and were upset by Cheverus in the quarterfinals.

This spring, Jurgelevich and his teammates weren’t about to settle for anything shy of the championship. He would contribute time and again toward that goal. Jurgelevich opened the year with three goals and an assist in a win over Greely, scored four times against Waynflete, added four in a revenge victory over Cheverus, then tickled the twine four times as Portland announced once and for all that it was the team to beat with a 12-1 drubbing of defending state champion Scarborough.

The Bulldogs would finish 11-1, losing only to Yarmouth in a classic. Jurgelevich scored five times against Kennebunk, three against Cape Elizabeth, a season-high eight versus Gorham, four against Deering, five versus NYA, and three against Thornton Academy.

In the playoffs, Jurgelevich had six goals and three assists in the quarterfinal round win over Massabesic, scored four times and assisted on another goal in a semifinal romp over South Portland, tallied five goals against Scarborough in the regional final, then capped his high school career with three goals against Brunswick in the state game.

For the season, Jurgelevich set a new points record with 91 and a single-season goals mark (65) that figures to stand for a long, long time. He also grabbed 117 ground balls and won a whopping 81 percent of his faceoffs. He graduates with 286 points and 342 ground balls.

Jurgelevich, who also played four years of soccer and one of hockey, plays year-round and works tirelessly at his craft. His next step will be the University of Massachusetts, which has been an elite Division I program in recent years. Jurgelevich hopes to see immediate playing time and plans to study graphic design or art.

He certainly made the sport of lacrosse into an art form. K.R. Jurgelevich was a transcendent talent that had to be seen to be believed. Local lacrosse fans are very fortunate that he graced our presence.

Coach Eric Begonia’s comment: “K.R. never missed a game. He’s as durable as they come and works tirelessly at his craft. What most people don’t know about him is that he’s an even better son, friend and person to everyone around him. He always deflects the individual accolades he receives and attributes them to others who have given him the opportunity to succeed.”

2008 winner; Brian Furey (baseball)

2007 winner: Sam McAdam (lacrosse)

2006 winner: Joe Fessenden (baseball)

2005 winner: Peter Sengelmann (lacrosse)

2004 winner: Jake Schuit (lacrosse)

2009 Spring Female Athlete of the Year:

MAGGIE SWANN, Senior-Tennis

* SMAA All-Conference first team singles

* SMAA All-Academic team

Portland’s first-ever girls’ tennis regional championship was a team effort, but one player led the way.

Battling the best that the SMAA had to offer, day after day, senior Maggie Swann met the challenge time and again and helped the Bulldogs make history. She was always at her best on the court, was an ideal teammate and a coach’s dream.

She not only helped her team become the feel-good story of the season, but her accomplishments and attitude convinced The Forecaster to select Maggie Swann as Portland’s 2009 Spring Female Athlete of the Year.

Swann grew up in Portland and started playing tennis in the sixth grade. She spent her freshman year on the junior varsity, played first doubles as a sophomore, then stepped into the first singles spot her junior season. That year, the Bulldogs reached the semifinals and set the stage for this year’s run.

In 2009, Swann and her teammates were up for the challenge every time they took the court. Portland won all 12 matches and went on to capture three more in the playoffs. During the postseason run, a bound and determined Swann surprisingly avenged a pair of regular season losses with victories in the semifinals over McAuley’s Erin Woodbury and regional final versus Gorham’s Hannah Shorty.

The Bulldogs would lose the state match to perennial champion Lewiston and Swann fell in straight sets to Blue Devils’ standout Chantalle Lavertu, but the disappointment didn’t linger.

Swann, who also played four years of soccer and two of basketball in high school, was the co-president of the Key Club and was on the school’s executive board.

Swann will attend Clark University in the fall. She’s undecided about playing tennis and also isn’t sure about a major.

Whatever path she chooses, look for success to follow. Maggie Swann, Portland’s 2009 Spring Female Athlete of the Year, didn’t just excel on the tennis court. She was graceful, sportsmanlike and fun-loving as she and her teammates chased history.

Coach Bonnie Moran’s comment: “Maggie is a dream. She’s amazing. Very even-keeled. I wish I could bottle what she has and give it to everyone. She just has the best attitude, is good natured, has fun, plays hard and is very coachable. She wins and loses gracefully. I’m going to miss her.”

2008 winner: Liz Mosley (lacrosse)

2007 winner: Jasmine Powell (track)

2006 winner: Katie Hutchins (softball)

2005 winner: Kelly Flaherty (lacrosse)

2004 winner: Lily Anderson (lacrosse)


Sidebar Elements

Sports editor’s note: 

As usual, selecting the top male and female spring athletes from each school was a challenge, more so in some cases than in others. While coaches and athletic directors were consulted, the ultimate decision was mine, based on seeing all or part of 91 sporting events since mid-April. The following athletes weren’t always the most prolific performers or even necessarily in the spotlight, but I feel that each of them helped elevate their respective teams to greatness. Congratulations to all of the winners!

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