Local high school sports athletes set a high standard again in 2016.
Whether the season was winter, spring or fall, triumph was the theme and there were countless memorable moments.
With another winter season underway and a new year upon us, here’s one final look back at the thrills that made up the year just past.
When 2015 gave way to 2016, Brunswick and Mt. Ararat’s boys’ basketball teams and the girls’ squads from Brunswick, Hyde and Morse were all heading for the playoffs.
Brunswick’s boys’ hockey team was one of many contenders in Class B South. Brunswick’s girls’ were competitive as well.
Skiing, swimming, track and wrestling teams and individuals geared up for the postseason.
February vacation week brought the first triumph of the new year as Brunswick’s girls’ swim team won the Class A state title. Caitlin Tycz won the 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley and Lynsie Russell was the champion in the 500 freestyle. Brunswick’s boys’ standout Nate Samson won the boys’ 50 and 100 free, as well as the 100 fly. Morse’s Ann Tolan was tops in Class B in the 50 and the 100 free.
Robert Heatherman of Mt. Ararat/Brunswick was the Class A wrestling champion at 170 pounds.
Brunswick’s Lena Martin was tops in Class A girls’ Nordic skiing in the classical race.
Indoor track produced individual champions Keenan Welzel of Brunswick in the Class A boys’ 800 and Chris Walfield of Morse in the Class B boys’ two-mile.
In boys’ hockey, Brunswick lost at home to Cape Elizabeth in the Class B South quarterfinals.
On the girls’ side, Brunswick got to the playoffs, but lost in the Lewiston in the North Region quarterfinals.
Attention then turned to the basketball championships.
Mt. Ararat’s boys’ team lost to Brunswick in the Class A South quarterfinals. The Dragons then upset top-ranked Greely in the semifinals before losing to eventual champion Falmouth in the regional final.
In the girls’ tournament, Hyde lost in the preliminary round of the Class C South tournament and after Morse upset Brunswick in the A South quarterfinals, the Shipbuilders lost to eventual state champion York in the semifinals.
Local athletes took the month of March off, preparing for the spring sports season.
April and May
The short spring regular season featured much excitement and triumph.
Morse and Mt. Ararat’s baseball and softball teams enjoyed strong campaigns.
Defending Class A boys’ lacrosse champion Brunswick was once again a top contender, while all three girls’ teams made runs toward the playoffs.
Area track stars geared up for the state meet.
The tennis story featured excellence across the board.
The spring championship season started with Mt. Ararat’s Nick Mathieu capturing the boys’ state singles title.
In team play, the Brunswick girls got to the regional final in Class A North, while the Dragons boys reached the semifinals. Mt. Ararat lost in the quarterfinals. Morse girls lost in the Class B South quarterfinals, while the boys got to the semifinals before being eliminated.
The state track meet saw Brunswick’s Welzel post the best time in the boys’ 400 at the Class A meet.
Mt. Ararat’s baseball team got to the A North semifinals before losing to Edward Little. Morse was ousted by eventual regional champion Freeport in the B South preliminary round.
Mt. Ararat’s softball team lost to Messalonskee in the A North quarterfinals. Morse lost to Cape Elizabeth in the B South preliminary round.
Brunswick’s boys’ lacrosse team wasn’t able to repeat in Class A, losing to Scarborough in the state final.
On the girls’ side, Morse got to the B North Final, but lost to Yarmouth. In A North, Brunswick lost to Windham in the quarterfinals and Mt. Ararat was ousted by eventual state champion Messalonskee in the semifinals.
July and August
High school action took a short break, while familiar names competed in road races and American Legion ball. By mid-August, fall practice was underway.
Autumn brought more excitement.
On the gridiron, Brunswick, after successive state game losses, emerged as perhaps the finest team in the state regardless of class, crushing all comers.
On the pitch, all six local teams embarked on runs to the playoffs.
Morse’s field hockey team set the tone locally.
Brunswick fielded a varsity volleyball team for the first time.
Cross country and golf teams hinted at success to come.
Mt. Ararat’s golf team almost won the Class A state title, losing to Gorham on a tiebreaker.
Both Brunswick and Mt. Ararat’s cross country teams qualified for the state meet.
The field hockey playoffs saw Morse lose to Winslow in the B North preliminary round.
The soccer playoffs featured Morse and Mt. Ararat girls losing in their respective preliminary rounds and Brunswick getting to the semifinals before being ousted.
On the boys’ side, Morse lost in the preliminary round, Brunswick was eliminated in the quarterfinals and Mt. Ararat fell in the semifinals.
Brunswick’s football team went a perfect 8-0 and earned a bye into the semifinals.
The cross country state meet saw Brunswick’s girls place fourth and the boys come in 12th. Mt. Ararat’s boys finished eighth and the girls were 12th.
That left Brunswick’s football team to carry the torch and the Dragons didn’t disappoint, dominating Messalonskee in the semifinals, surviving a scare from Brewer in the regional final in what proved to be their only tight game, then beating Kennebunk in the state game to bring home the Gold Ball.
Winter has returned and the fun begins again. Look forward to a lot of triumph in the weeks and months to come.
Say goodbye to the wonderful year that was. We welcome 2017 and look forward to a new batch of highlights.
Happy New Year everyone!
Morse’s Chris Walfield won the Class B two-mile back in February.
Mt. Ararat’s Nick Mathieu won the state boys’ singles tennis title last spring.
Brunswick’s football team celebrated an elusive state title in November.