Waynflete Flyers Spring Athletes of the Year

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(Ed. Note) This story will appear in our July 11 Portland print edition)

2012 Spring Male Athlete of the Year:

CHRIS BURKE, Senior-Lacrosse


* All-American

* Bob Scott Award winner

* WMC All-Conference, second-team

* WMC All-Academic

* Senior All-Star

Chris Burke scored his share of goals and earned plenty of postseason accolades, but he would have traded them all for a postseason trip in his final high school season.

While that didn’t happen, Burke still proved to be one of the most dominant players around, one who was recognized at the league, state and national level.

Burke came naturally to lacrosse, growing up in Cape Elizabeth. Burke said he had to work hard to improve, going from barely being able to catch the ball as a freshman to an elite level, thanks to hours and hours of playing wall ball in Cape Elizabeth. Burke came to Waynflete his sophomore year and played three years of varsity, both at midfield and attack.

This season was one of many highlights.

Burke scored three goals in an overtime loss to Cheverus, had four goals and a pair of assists in a win over Freeport, four goals against South Portland, four goals and three assists in a win over Lake Region and five goals in the finale, a win at Freeport. Waynflete fell just short of the postseason.

Burke finished the year with 35 goals, added 23 assists and had 94 ground balls. For his three-year Waynflete career, Burke scored 118 times, added 53 assists and had 237 ground balls.

Following the season, Burke made the All-Conference and All-Academic teams, played in the Senior All-Star Game, was given the Bob Scott Award by the All-American committee for going above and beyond in service to his team, school and community and was also named the program’s first All-American this century.

“I’m proud to get All-American, but it was bittersweet,” Burke said. “I would trade it to have made the playoffs.”

Burke also played basketball, enjoys working with kids, has volunteered and is a talented musician, who plays the drums, guitar and piano. He will attend Haverford, a Division III school in Pennsylvania, where he plans to play lacrosse.

Coach Bob Johnson’s comment: “Chris has been successful because he is dedicated and he works hard at lacrosse. All that extra effort has really paid off. In addition, he is a really nice young man. He easily could have rested on his pure talent, but Chris chose to put forth a terrific effort every time walked on the field and you could see the payoff in his play in games. He has meant so much to this program in so many ways. He provided instant offense for us as his stats reflect. There is no doubt that our seasons would have been far more difficult without Chris. That said, he was the consummate team player. The team has always been more important to Chris than individual accolades. He has been a role model for the younger players on the team He has helped out with the youth and the middle school program. Simply he has done all that a coach could ask. I will miss him and all that he added to our community.”

2011 winner: Charlie Laprade (baseball)

2010 winner: Brandon Thompson (tennis)

2009 winner: Brandon Thompson (tennis)

2008 winner: Brandon Thompson (tennis)

2007 winner: David Cutler (lacrosse)

2006 winner: Ben Whipple (tennis)

2005 winner: Reid McMullan (lacrosse)

2004 winner: Matt Lacasse (track)

2012 Spring Female Athlete of the Year:

MARTHA VERONEAU, Junior-Lacrosse


* All-American, honorable mention

* WMC All-Conference, first-team

* All-American All-Academic team

There were an abundance of memorable plays on local lacrosse fields this spring, but one will stand out for its timeliness, impact and its breathtaking effect.

With Waynflete trailing top-ranked and undefeated Cape Elizabeth by a goal late in regulation of the Western Class B Final June 13, Veroneau put her teammates’ refuse-to-lose attitude into motion.

After a Flyers’ potential game-tying shot was saved and with the Capers looking to transition to offense where they could have run out the clock or scored a clinching goal, Veroneau swooped into action, coming from nowhere to knock the ball away, scooping it up and racing in on goal. With no time to think, Veroneau beat Cape Elizabeth senior goalie Elin Sonesson with a well-placed shot and Waynflete was on its way to one of the most epic victories in its storied history.

That it was Veroneau stealing the show was no surprise. This elite, unique athlete keeps getting better and absolutely loves the big moment, where she so often excels.

Veroneau grew up in Portland as one of eight siblings and had to learn to be tenacious simply to hold her own at the dinner table. Her athletic skills were obvious at a young age. She followed in the footsteps of her older sister, Margaret, and started playing lacrosse in sixth grade. She took to the fast-paced aspect of the game and became a fixture at midfield on a state runner-up her freshman year. The Flyers fell in the state game in 2011 as well, as Veroneau emerged as an elite talent.

This season was one of many memories, before and after her heroics at Cape Elizabeth.

In the opener, a win over North Yarmouth Academy, Veroneau had four goals and won six of eight draws. She had three goals versus Wells, scored four goals, had two assists and grabbed 11 ground balls in a victory over Kennebunk, finished with four goals and three assists in a win at Falmouth, scored once and had five assists versus Freeport, had four goals in the team’s lone loss, to Falmouth, and capped the regular season by scoring five goals, adding five assists and eight ground balls in a win at Yarmouth.

That set the stage for the playoffs.

Veroneau had four goals, including the tying tally, in a come-from-behind win over Falmouth in the semifinals. In the regional final, she finished with three goals, a whopping seven assists, eight ground balls and five draw wins in six opportunities. After her tying tally, Veroneau ultimately assisted on sophomore Walker Foehl’s “sudden victory” game winner. In a state final victory over Freeport, Veroneau’s first championship, she had four goals, five assists, nine ground balls and won four of seven draws.

Veroneau (who has also earned Winter Female Athlete of the Year honors two years running for her basketball excellence) had 46 goals, 43 assists, 84 ground balls and won 60 percent of her draw controls.

This was my favorite season,” Veroneau said. “Because of the team and (coach) Cathie (Connors).”

Veroneau also forced countless turnovers and displayed more winning intangibles than any other player in the state.

Veroneau is playing summer basketball, will run cross country in the fall, volunteers with elementary students and at Maine Medical Center. She’s interested in pursuing a nursing career and isn’t sure if she’ll play in college.

If next year’s her final one on the lacrosse field, it promises to be one to behold. No words can do justice to Martha Veroneau Show.

Coach Cathie Connors’ comment: “There are so many levels to Martha. It’s more than just her goal-scoring and turning it on when we need it. It’s her work ethic. Her drive during practice. She knows how to have fun too. She has an amazing sense of humor. She’s very likable. She’s so willing to share with her teammates. She trusts them. If she can feed it, she’ll feed it. She’ll do whatever it takes for the team to win. When she has the ball, I know she’ll do the right thing. She gets the game. She sees the field well. For her to score 89 points while also playing huge defense and running the ball end-to-end is amazing. She can be her own fastbreak. I’m thrilled to have her one more year.”

2011 winner: Scout Haffenreffer (lacrosse)

2010 winner: Morgan Woodhouse (lacrosse)

2009 winner: Christine Ordway (tennis)

2008 winner; Laura Armstrong (lacrosse)

2007 winner: Christine Ordway (tennis)

2006 winner: Christine Ordway (tennis)

2005 winner: Gretchen Koch (lacrosse)

2004 winner: Lily Hoffman (lacrosse)

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. 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.