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The Maine Girls’ Academy basketball team, which featured all-star Catherine Reid, enjoyed a successful campaign last winter in what proved to be the program’s final season.
Portland’s boys’ lacrosse team came from nowhere last spring to reach the regional final.
Waynflete’s boys’ soccer team celebrated the culmination of an undefeated season and a Class C state title in November.
Local high school sports athletes made plenty of memories again in 2018.
Whether the season was winter, spring or fall, triumph was the theme and there were countless breathtaking moments.
With another winter season underway and a new year upon us, here’s one final look back at the thrills that made up a special year.
When 2017 gave way to 2018, Portland’s two-time defending champion boys’ basketball team was again the team to beat in Class AA, with Deering and Cheverus also in the mix. In Class C South, Waynflete was a top contender.
On the girls’ side, Cheverus, Deering and Portland were entertaining title dreams in Class AA North, while Maine Girls’ Academy was off to a fast start in Class AA South and Waynflete in Class C South was also in the chase.
On the ice, Cheverus boys’ and girls’ teams were playoff-bound, along with the both Portland/Deering squads.
Skiing, swimming, track and wrestling teams and individuals made their mark as they geared up for the postseason.
February brought plenty of glory.
In the pool, Cheverus’ boys’ swim team made it six consecutive Class A state championships, thanks in large part to Brim Peabody winning both the 200 and 500 freestyle.
Cheverus also won a Class A state championship in girls’ indoor track, as the Stags tied Scarborough for top honors. Emma Gallant continued to dominate, winning individual crowns in the 200 and 400.
Cheverus’ Annesley Black took home Class A girls’ Alpine slalom and giant slalom crowns.
On the ice, the Cheverus/Kennebunk and Portland/Deering girls’ teams capped great seasons with playoff runs. Top-ranked Cheverus/Kennebunk downed Scarborough in the semifinals and No. 2 Portland/Deering ousted Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland in its semifinal to set up a regional final showdown which was won by Cheverus/Kennebunk. Cheverus/Kennebunk’s dream of winning a state title was denied, however, by Greely/Gray-New Gloucester, 3-1.
On the boys’ side, Portland/Deering and the South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport co-op teams both lost in the quarterfinals. Cheverus, meanwhile, finished first in Class A South and earned a bye into the semifinals.
The basketball tournament featured no shortage of drama and surprise.
On the boys’ side, in C South, Waynflete, was upset by Boothbay in a quarterfinal thriller. In Class AA North, Cheverus lost to eventual champion Edward Little in the quarterfinals, while Deering was ousted by Oxford Hills in the same round. Two-time defending champion Portland liked its chances to three-peat, but after handling Lewiston in the quarterfinals, the Bulldogs were shocked by Windham in the semifinals.
On the girls’ side, Waynflete lost to Richmond in the Class C South preliminary round. In Class AA South, Maine Girls’ Academy was the first victim of Gorham’s run to the state final, losing at home to the Rams in the quarterfinals. In Class AA North, Deering lost to Oxford Hills in the quarterfinals, while Cheverus and Portland each advanced to the semifinals, but no further. The Stags lost to Oxford Hills in that round, while the Bulldogs were beaten by Edward Little, which went on to win an improbable championship.
March dawned with some exciting boys’ hockey playoff action, as Cheverus beat Thornton Academy in the semifinals, then battled Biddeford into double-overtime in the Class A South Final before losing a 6-5 heartbreaker.
Portland’s Terion Moss was named Mr. Maine Basketball as the state’s best senior player.
April and May
Even though the weather was a challenge, the short spring regular season featured much excitement and triumph.
Cheverus, Deering and Portland’s baseball teams all won enough games to qualify for the playoffs.
Portland’s softball team was the lone local squad to make it to the postseason.
Boys’ lacrosse featured Waynflete emerging into a powerhouse, Portland awakening the echoes with an 11-win season and Deering also producing a playoff-caliber squad.
On the girls’ side, Cheverus, Maine Girls’ Academy, Portland and Waynflete were all postseason-bound.
Area track stars geared up for the state meet.
The tennis story featured excellence from several city teams, most notably the always-dominant Waynflete boys.
The spring championship season began with Cheverus’ girls’ outdoor track team taking the Class A title for the second year in a row. The Stags were paced by Gallant, who won the 200, freshman Victoria Bossong, who won the 100 and 400, and Emma White, who took first place in the long jump and triple jump. Deering’s Annah Rossvall also won a Class A title, taking first in the 300 hurdles.
Cheverus boys’ were third in Class A and got first-place showings from Owen Burke in the 400 and Sean Tompkins in the 100 and 200.
A week later, Waynflete’s boys’ tennis team won a mind-boggling 11th successive Class C crown. Both Portland squads enjoyed great seasons, but lost to perennial champion Falmouth in the Class A South Final.
On the diamond, Portland’s softball team won a playoff game for the third straight season, ousting South Portland in the preliminary round, but for the third year in a row, the Bulldogs were eliminated by Scarborough in the quarterfinals. The Red Storm went on to repeat as Class A champs.
Baseball’s playoffs were exciting as well, as Deering, despite being the No. 12 seed, upset Biddeford in the preliminary round, then lost to Cheverus in the quarterfinals. Portland beat Windham in its quarterfinal, but lost at Gorham in the semifinals. Cheverus appeared doomed when it trailed in the bottom of the seventh inning against Falmouth in its semifinal, but the Stags rallied for a stirring victory. The Stags then fell in the regional final for the second year in a row, losing to Gorham.
Cheverus’ girls’ lacrosse team advanced the deepest in the playoffs, beating Portland (which had downed Oxford Hills in its first postseason game) in the semifinals before losing to eventual state champion Falmouth in the Class A North Final. In Class B South, Waynflete nearly sprung an upset against Greely in the quarterfinals, but the Rangers rallied late for a one-goal win. In Class C, MGA lost to St. Dom’s in the quarterfinals in what seemed like a footnote, but it was a game that proved to have more importance a few weeks later.
On the boys’ side, Deering was eliminated by Lewiston in the Class A North quarterfinals, while Portland capped its best season in nearly a decade by downing Windham in the semifinals before losing to Falmouth in the regional final. That left Waynflete, which took advantage of the first year of three-class play. The Flyers, ranked fourth, beat Oak Hill in the state quarterfinals, crushed rival North Yarmouth Academy in the semifinals, then dominated Lincoln Academy, 18-4, behind Hank Duvall and Miles Lipton’s seven goals apiece to win the program’s first state championship in the Maine Principals’ Association-sanctioned era.
July and August
High school action took a short break, while familiar names competed in road races and American Legion ball.
In early-July, word came that Maine Girls’ Academy was closing. The news was met with sadness, but the school’s athletic feats won’t be forgotten.
By mid-August, fall sports practice was underway.
Autumn brought football, soccer, field hockey, cross country, golf and volleyball excitement.
On the gridiron, Portland returned to its dominant ways, starting 4-1, while Cheverus won three of its first five games and Deering gave new coach Rob Susi his first victory.
On the pitch, both Cheverus and Portland teams and the Waynflete boys won their share of games.
Cheverus’ field hockey team burst out of the gates and provided plenty of excitement. Deering started slowly, but began to turn it around as the month ended.
Deering’s volleyball team enjoyed another solid campaign, while Cheverus was very competitive.
Cross country teams hinted at success to come.
Waynflete’s girls’ cross country team was fourth at the Class C state meet, while the boys, led by repeat individual champion Henry Spritz, came in sixth. In Class A, Portland’s boys were 13th, while the Cheverus girls finished fifth and the Deering girls were ninth.
Cheverus’ volleyball team won a playoff match for the first time, beating Brunswick. The Stags then lost in the Class A quarterfinals to Gorham. Deering lost to Biddeford in the quarterfinals.
The field hockey playoffs saw Cheverus edged Massabesic in overtime in the preliminary round thanks to a hat track from standout Sophia Pompeo, who won it with a penalty stroke. The Stags then lost to Scarborough in the quarterfinals. Deering won six of its final eight games to reach the playoffs, but the Rams lost to Marshwood in the preliminary round.
The soccer playoffs saw Portland’s girls lose to Noble in the preliminary round. Cheverus had arguably the best season in program history. The Stags blanked Falmouth in the quarterfinals, upset Gorham in the semifinals and even held a momentary lead at Scarborough in the regional final before the Red Storm rallied for three goals to prevail.
On the boys’ side, Cheverus outlasted South Portland on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals, then lost at Gorham in the semifinals. Portland almost got back to the state game, but after downing Kennebunk in the quarterfinals and edging Marshwood in the semifinals, the Bulldogs lost by a goal to Gorham in the regional final. That left Waynflete, which after an undefeated regular season, earned the top seed in Class C South and blanked Sacopee Valley, Mt. Abram and Maranacook to advance to the state final.
Football’s playoffs began with Deering losing to Sanford in the Class A South quarterfinals. In Class A North, Cheverus downed Bangor in the quarterfinals, while Portland earned a bye into the semifinals.
The soccer drama continued into November, where Waynflete’s boys traveled to Hampden to meet Fort Kent in the Class C state final. The Flyers fell behind early, then got goals from Askar Houssein, Oliver Burdick and Pat Shaw to capture their first championship since 2011.
On the gridiron, Cheverus was ousted by Oxford Hills in the semifinals, while Portland beat Edward Little in its semifinal. The Bulldogs then edged Oxford Hills in an overtime thriller in the regional final.
Portland met Thornton Academy in the state final and despite a record-setting effort from eventual Fitzpatrick Trophy finalist Zack Elowitch, the Bulldogs were beaten by the Golden Trojans, 49-14.
Winter has returned and here we go again.
In boys’ basketball, Portland is coming off a 14th straight win over rival Deering to stake its claim once again as a favorite in Class A North. The Rams are right there too and Cheverus has also shown promise. In Class C South, Waynflete could be in line for another boys’ state title for the school if it continues at its current rate.
On the girls’ side, Portland is off to the best start. Cheverus, Deering and Waynflete have also been competitive.
On the ice, both Cheverus and Portland/Deering’s boys’ and girls’ squads are in the mix.
Swimming, track and wrestling have provided their share of promising moments and skiing is about to get underway.
Say goodbye to the wonderful year that was. We welcome 2019 and look forward to a new batch of highlights.
Happy New Year everyone!