Waynflete Flyers Spring Sports Preview

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Waynflete is all about winning in a big way come springtime and this year will likely be more of the same. Girls’ lacrosse has long been the state’s gold standard and even after graduating several special players, will make a run at another title. Both tennis teams have cornered the market on capturing Class C crowns and both squads will make a run at more hardware. Boys’ lacrosse looks to get back to the playoffs. Baseball welcomes a new coach and expects to remain competitive, while track has some fine athletes to watch.

BASEBALL

Coach: Paul Grazia (first year)

2013 record: 8-7 (Lost 7-6, in eight innings, to Old Orchard Beach in Western Class C prelim)

Top returning players: Matt Jarrell (Senior), Will Manny (Senior), Nik Morrill (Senior), Isaac Scher (Senior), Joey Schnier (Senior), Joey Sczurko (Senior), Jacob Hagler (Junior), Thomas Silk (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: May 2 @ OOB, May 23 @ OOB, May 7 SACOPEE, May 28 NYA, May 30 POLAND

Coach’s comments: “I am very excited about this upcoming season. We lost three starters from last season, so we have some holes to fill. Fortunately, we have a strong group of six seniors. All six of them have been part of the program for four years and have contributed, both on and off the field, as they’ve helped the continued development of the program. Apart from contributing directly in games, they all mentor and take time to teach the younger players and organize team activities. This season should honor their accomplishments and contributions. We are also excited to have underclassmen Tom Silk and Jacob Hagler returning and to see them assume increasing roles this spring. It will be exciting to see the team continue to come together on the field, compete and challenge themselves every game. Our schedule is tough and all the teams in our conference are competitive. If we continue to work hard and some new players step in and have an impact, I think we could have a very successful season and make another push to the playoffs. As always, pitching and defense are key and remain an emphasis in our program. We are returning four pitchers from last year and I believe that they will continue to develop and perform well on the mound this season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Waynflete has made the playoffs four years running and posted winning records each of the past three seasons. After a successful run as coach, Steve Kautz has stepped down and is replaced by Grazia, who was the assistant coach the past six years. Grazia played at Beloit College. He will be assisted by Zak Starr (now in his sixth year), Nick Farrell and Gary Wood. That group has a senior-laden, confident and hungry group to work with. While Class C Player of the Year and reigning Spring Male Athlete of the Year Andrew Butler has departed, there is plenty of experience and talent in reserve. Morrill (a reigning first-team league all-star) excelled on the mound in 2013, going 5-0 with a 3.30 earned run average. He was pretty impressive with the bat too, driving in a team-high 16 runs. Schnier (another first-team all-star last season) is another dual threat, a top pitcher with a lot of pop in his bat (.317, two grand slams and 13 RBI last spring). Scher (second-team all-star last year) helps make the offense go, scoring a team-high 15 times last season. Silk (who hit .362 in 2013) has an impressive bat as well. Joining Schnier and Morrill in the rotation will be Silk, Manny and sophomore Alonzo Antoine. Hagler, Jarrell, Manny and Sczurko are other hitters to watch. Freshmen Tyler Cutrone, Josh Lodish and Peterson Silk hope to make a quick impact. This team’s success will ride on the backs of its seniors. While Waynflete opened with a 5-1 loss at Western B contender Gray-New Gloucester, better days are ahead. The Flyers should be able to go toe-to-toe with everyone in the conference and might just produce a season to remember. Perhaps one that includes a deep playoff run.

BOYS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Dan Thomsen (second year, 7-7 overall record)

2013 record: 7-7 (Lost, 16-3, to eventual champion Cape Elizabeth in Western B semifinals)

Top returning players: Timmy Bollinger (Senior), Graham Chance (Senior), Henry Cleaves (Senior), Harry Baker-Connick (Junior), Aidan Olney (Junior), Graham Ratner (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 29 YORK, May 6 NYA, May 17 @ TA, May 23 YARMOUTH, May 28 WELLS, May 30 @ York

Coach’s comment: “We have a small team, only 20 guys and about half are sophomores. We’ve got some learning to do, but so far, so good. We feel good about our defense. Our attack can score goals. Our strength will have to be dedication and commitment. We hope to go further than last year in the playoffs. We hope to get better every day. The guys are excited.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Waynflete made some nice strides a year ago and looks to be competitive this spring in an absolutely brutally competitive region. That was illustrated painfully in the opener last week when the Flyers had to play at defending Class B state champion Cape Elizabeth and was no match for the Capers in a 15-1 setback. Better days are ahead, however. Cleaves is a force on offense. He’ll score his share of goals. Bollinger is another player who projects to tickle the twine on a regular basis. Baker-Connick, the tremendous athlete last seen leading Waynflete’s boys’ basketball team to within a whisker of a first-ever state title, will be all over the place, doing a little of everything in the midfield. Chance moves back from midfield to help solidify the defense along with Olney. Ratner had some great moments in goal last season and returns to that spot. Other players to watch include sophomores Willy Burdick, Cooper Chap, Aaron Lee and Will Lewis. Now that the Capers are out of the way, the Flyers should be able to compete with most everyone else on the slate. Waynflete will show steady improvement as the weeks go by and should be in the middle of the playoff picture by the end of the season.

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Cathie Connors (22nd year, 251-43-1 overall record, 12 state championships)

2013 record: 15-0 (Beat Yarmouth, 7-4, to win second consecutive Class B state title)

Top returning players: Sofia Canning (Senior), Leigh Fernandez (Senior), Cat Johnson (Senior), Ella Millard (Senior), Helen Gray-Bauer (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 26 @ NYA, April 30 @ Yarmouth, May 2 FALMOUTH, May 10 SCARBOROUGH, May 13 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 17 @ Cheverus, May 21 @ Greely, May 29 KENNEBUNK, May 31 YARMOUTH, June 6 @ Cape Elizabeth

Coach’s comment: “It’s a super-nice group of girls. I love them. Everyone’s working hard. We have a lot of skill and speed. I like the challenge of having new people. We have good senior winning experience. They want it.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: For nearly a quarter-century, there’s been Waynflete and there’s been everyone else when it comes to girls’ lacrosse and last year, even after all of the sport’s growth and ostensible parity, the Flyers’ transcendence might have been more evident than ever. Waynflete handled all 12 regular season foes, then played a nearly flawless postseason in repeating as Class B champion, giving its storied coach her 250th career victory in the regional final, then the next time out, her 12th title. Every season, the Flyers are hit hard by graduation, but last June, the program took a serious blow, having to say goodbye to seven special players. Martha Veroneau was one of the finest athletes to come out of southern Maine in recent years and while she won the Miss Maine Basketball award as a senior, you could argue lacrosse was her best sport (as her 10-goal outburst in the regional final and All-American, honorable mention distinction suggested). Reigning Spring Female Athlete of the Year, Sadie Cole, is now playing at Colorado College. Cole, an offensive standout, was an All-American last season. Also gone are four-year goalie Katherine Torrey, who got more clutch by the year, defensive wizard Rhiannan Jackson and defender Catherine Veroneau, all league all-stars. Jo Moore, a key cog in the zone defense, and Isabel Agnew, who scored several timely goals, have also departed. So that all means Waynflete should be vulnerable, right? Hardly. As the Flyers annually have to say goodbye to standouts, they also get to welcome others back, while introducing new stars to the masses. This year’s team doesn’t have the firepower of last year’s and there are holes to fill, but trust me, by June, Waynflete will be up to form. Top returners this spring include Millard, an all-star last year, Fernandez, the prolific winner in three sports, and Canning, an athletic standout who could be in for a breakout year. Those three are midfielders, prospective top scorers and most importantly, captains. Johnson, who saved her best for the state game in 2013, also returns and will play a bigger role at midfield. Then there’s the tenacious and indefatigable Gray-Bauer, who, along with Fernandez and Johnson, will take draws. Gray-Bauer, along with seniors Amelia Deady and Ellen Silk and new junior Dana Peirce, bring experience to a defense that will need some time to hit its stride. For the first time since 2010, someone other than Torrey will be in goal. Sophomore Charlotte Majercik, who shows great promise, will be that someone. Juniors Haley Johnson and Hannah Thompson-Greaves, sophomore Christian Rowe and freshmen Isabel Canning (a possible star of the future), Ali Pope, Beata Vest and Chase Warner round out the team. Compounding the Flyers’ challenge this spring is the strength of Western B. Cape Elizabeth has been banging on the door for three years, Falmouth has become a top-tier contender and Greely figures to be in the mix as well. If that wasn’t enough, longtime Waynflete rival Kennebunk is back in Class B, meaning simply getting to the state game (where improved Yarmouth ostensibly would await) will require an epic feat. The guess here is that the Flyers still find a way. These seniors know that their legacy is at stake. There’s plenty of promise elsewhere on the roster. Most of all, you simply can’t quantify the Connors Effect. She’ll find a way as the season progresses to figure out who fits best where. It probably won’t spell an undefeated season or decisive playoff wins, but when the title is on the line, no one wins like Waynflete. A three-peat could be the end result.

OUTDOOR TRACK

Coach: Ziggy Gillespie (seventh year)

2013 results:

(Boys) No score @ Class C state meet (8th @ WMC meet)

(Girls) No score @ Class C state meet (7th @ WMC meet)

Top returning athletes:

(Boys) Max Rowe (Senior), Julian Ireland (Junior)

(Girls) Rowan Price (Senior), Phoebe Colvin-Oehmig (Junior), Gemma Laurence (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “We’re very young, but we should have many kids who qualify for states. Rowan and Phoebe will be top runners in Class C.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Waynflete will make the most of its limited numbers this spring.

The boys’ team only had five athletes at press time. Rowe will be one of the better middle distance runners, while Ireland hopes to score in the 800. Junior Cody Tiparos, sophomore Christian Kabongo and freshman Matt Higgins are also on the squad. Look for some exciting things from this group in the weeks to come.

On the girls’ side, Price is a top threat in both the 800 and the high jump (she placed runner-up in the high jump at last year’s conference meet). Colvin-Oehmig was the team’s MVP last fall in cross country and will be a threat in the mile. Laurence and freshman Ellie Chidsey are other top runners to watch. Seniors Lydia Fox, Ellie Marston, Muntaha Mohamed and Emily Wasserman and juniors Maddy Pellow and Annarosa Whitman also have experience. Several freshmen will look to make a mark as well. The Flyers have enough front end points to make their presence felt as the season progresses.

BOYS’ TENNIS

Coach: Jeff Madore (eighth year, 90-20 overall record, six state championships)

2013 record: 13-3 (Defeated George Stevens Academy, 5-0, to win sixth straight Class C state championship)

Top returning players: Misha Linnehan (Senior), Stephen Epstein (Junior), Clancy Mitchell (Junior), Isaac Salas (Junior), Jake Soley (Junior), Peter Michalakes (Sophomore)

Pivotal matches: April 29 @ Cape Elizabeth, May 7 NYA, May 15 @ NYA, May 16 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 22 FALMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “With nearly half the team being new members, we’re striving to find our respective roles, improve our skills daily and bond as a team.

The Forecaster’s forecast: Every year, Waynfelte loses standouts to graduation, yet the following June, the Flyers find themselves hoisting yet another championship plaque. Don’t be surprised if history repeats this season. The loss of Patrick Ordway, Ben Shapiro and Jon Tao will certainly be felt, but there is plenty in reserve. First-team conference singles all-star Salas is the top returner. He’ll be in the first singles spot and will look to not only lead Waynflete to a team title, but to make a run at the singles crown as well. Epstein, Linnehan, Michalakes, Mitchell and Soley all have experience and are vying for spots, as will be freshmen Brandon Ameglio and John Van Dyke and former JV players juniors Nick Boulos and Austin Fanburg and sophomore Rowan May. There are plenty of question marks around the team, but Madore, our Coach of the Year last spring, always seems to plug holes effectively (a 10-win season would give him 100 for his tenure with the Waynflete boys). The Flyers will once again wear the bulls-eye, but they wear it with pride and skill. Until someone proves otherwise, the road to the Class C championship goes through Waynflete. Prepare the trophy case.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Coach: Linda Cohen (seventh year, 69-22 overall record, three state championships)

2013 record: 11-5 (Beat Van Buren, 4-1, to win third consecutive Class C state championship)

Top returning players: Allie Armstrong (Senior), Nina Flight (Senior), Sophie Raffel (Senior), Emily White (Senior), Annika Morrill (Junior)

Pivotal matches: April 29 CAPE ELIZABETH, April 30 YORK, May 5 GREELY, May 7 @ NYA, May 8 KENNEBUNK, May 13 @ York, May 15 NYA, May 20 @ Yarmouth, May 22 @ Falmouth

Coach’s comment: “As always, my coaching goal is to provide a solid platform for this group to mesh as a team. Team building toward success and definitely having fun as we journey through the season. The first week should be a real test as we have four matches in five days.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Like the boys’ team, the girls’ squad has reloaded again. Waynflete did graduate league all-stars Abby Cough and Phoebe Suva, but a solid nucleus of five experienced players returns. Leading the way will be reigning league all-star White, who was at number one singles last year and figures to be again. Armstrong was at third singles in 2013, but could move up. Flight, Morrill and Raffel all played doubles last season. Freshman Lexi Epstein will make an immediate splash. She’s expected to be in a singles role. Sophomore Liv Troiano and freshmen Sidara Cash-Sortwell and Randall Seder provide depth and will be vying for a spot on the ladder. The Flyers will have a series of regular season tests, but this group has consistently been at its best come playoff time in recent years. Waynflete is the team to beat. It won’t come easily, but don’t be surprised if the Flyers are once again the last team standing.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Senior Joey Schnier is a top pitcher and hitter for a Waynflete baseball team which expects to be in the playoff hunt again this spring.

Senior Nik Morrill is coming off a superb season on the mound and should be one of the best pitchers in the Western Maine Conference.

Sophomore Tommy Silk will be a key player for the Flyers in the field and at the plate.

Junior Harry Baker-Connick, coming off a tremendous basketball season, will make his presence felt all over the field this spring for a Waynflete boys’ lacrosse team seeking to get back to the playoffs.

Senior Henry Cleaves will be a matchup nightmare for the opposition.

Junior goalie Graham Ratner will play a key role for the Flyers this season.

Senior Leigh Fernandez is back for one final season as a key member of the powerhouse Waynflete girls’ lacrosse team. Fernandez, who has won five state titles in three sports during her high school career, is eyeing one more.

Senior Ella Millard will be one of the Flyers top offensive weapons in the weeks to come.

Senior Amelia Deady is a key returner on defense for the Flyers.

Look for senior Cat Johnson to play an even bigger role on this year’s squad.

Senior Sofia Canning is another key returning veteran for the Flyers.

Senior Rowan Price and junior Gemma Laurence are top distance runners for the Waynflete girls’ outdoor track team.

Junior Isaac Salas returns in the number one singles spot to help Waynflete as it goes after a seventh straight championship.

Senior Emily White is a top returner for a Waynflete girls’ tennis squad seeking a fourth successive Class C title.

Sidebar Elements


Another year, another celebration. Last spring, Waynflete repeated as Class B state champion with one of the best teams in program annals. This year’s squad has holes to fill, but can’t be overlooked in its quest to win it all again.

File photos.

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