Waynflete Flyers Spring Sports Preview

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Senior Shuhao Liu and his Waynflete boys’ tennis teammates are chasing a mindboggling 11th straight Class C state title this spring.

File photos.

More photos below.

BASEBALL

Coach: Paul Grazia (fifth year, 15-43 overall record)

2017 record: 0-12 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Ava Farrar (Senior), Nick Hagler (Senior), Nick Jenkins (Senior), Max Winson (Senior), Owen Ardell (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 23 @ Gray-NG, April 30 NYA, May 5 @ NYA, May 7 SACOPEE, May 16 ST. DOM’S, May 23 @ Sacopee

Coach’s comments: “After a posting a disappointing record last year, I’m very excited about this upcoming season. We have some holes to fill due to the loss of a strong senior class, but we have a very promising group of players led by our four seniors. 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 hone our skills, I think we could have a very successful season and make a push to the playoffs. As always, pitching and defense are key and remain an emphasis in our program. I believe our pitchers will be a strength of our team this year and put us in position to compete.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Waynflete hopes to be more competitive than it was a year ago. After scoring only 20 runs in a dozen games, the Flyers look to produce more offense and hope it translates into some victories.

Winson was a first-team league all-star in 2017 after hitting .429. He’s a top hitter who will see time on the mound as well. Hagler (.353 last spring) will also look to generate offense. Joining Winson on the mound will be Ardell, sophomore Eliot Bramble and freshmen Ben Curtis and Levi Lilienthal. Farrar and Jenkins are experienced players and juniors Miles Anderson, Ben Fratoni and Ian Irvine and sophomore Jack Cloutier will all look to play bigger roles this year.

Waynflete is eager to get back to a competitive level and while many tough games await, the Flyers just need to get things rolling in the right direction. An early victory would do the trick and if all goes well, Waynflete might just surprise some teams as the season progresses.

BOYS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Parker Repko (first year)

2017 record: 3-9 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Will Armstrong (Senior), Hank Duvall (Senior), John Veroneau (Senior), Miles Lipton (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 24 GREELY, May 1 WELLS, May 3 @ Freeport, May 9 @ NYA, May 12 DEERING, May 25 @ Cheverus, May 31 YARMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “We are looking forward to competing in Class C and hope to make it far in the playoffs. We graduated no seniors last year and are returning many players with varsity experience. We also welcome some new players that will add depth to our midfield personnel. ”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Waynflete is looking forward to some exciting changes this spring and could be in line for one of the best seasons in program annals if all goes well. For starters, the Flyers welcome Repko as coach. He spent the past five seasons as an assistant with the program. With lacrosse going to three classes this spring, Waynflete is in Class C and in the postseason, won’t have to contend with longtime tormentors Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth, meaning a deep run is possible.

This year’s squad is paced by Duvall and Lipton, second-team all-stars a year ago. They figure to score an abundance of goals in the weeks to come. Junior Mitchell Adams is new to the squad and will help the cause. Veroneau is another returning league all-star, who will pace the defense in front of Armstrong, one of the league’s better goalies. This team has the potential to score a lot of goals and frustrate the opposition.

The Flyers have a golden opportunity to play deep into June this year. The last time Waynflete reached the regional final, the year was 1999. With most of their postseason opposition hailing from new programs, the Flyers are expected to go on a run. This could be a special season for this program.

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Coach: Cathie Connors (26th year, 284-64-1 overall record, 12 state championships)

2017 record: 7-6 (Lost, 10-6, to Cape Elizabeth in Class B South quarterfinal)

Top returning players: Laura Baginski (Senior), Izzy Burdick (Senior), Claire Dubois (Senior), LZ Olney (Senior), Ya Stockford (Senior), Emi Boedeker (Junior), Sophie Sangster (Junior), Avis Akers (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: April 24 CHEVERUS, April 25 @ Scarborough, May 2 @ Greely, May 12 MARSHWOOD, May 15 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 19 @ Falmouth, May 21 LAKE REGION, May 31 YARMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “We have a lot of talent. We have a good, strong defense and good experience in the midfield and on attack. We have girls who are solid lacrosse players. The seniors are hungry. They want to make a difference this year. We have a very tough schedule and hope to be competitive with everybody. I love this group. I’m optimistic.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Waynflete is poised for a return to the upper echelon this spring. After failing to reach the semifinals for the first time in the Maine Principals’ Association-sponsored era a year ago, the Flyers have a nice mixture of experience and youth and despite a daunting schedule, will be a top contender in Class B.

The Waynflete program has boasted a lot of great players over the years, but this spring could represent the first time the Flyers have as many as five players poised to go on and play at the next level. Burdick, a standout midfielder, is heading to Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Olney, who plays attack, will matriculate at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts. Stockford, who has a deft scoring touch from her attack position, will play next year at Division II Jefferson College. Baginski, another midfielder, may play at Bates College. Dubois, a defensive stalwart who was limited by an ACL injury last spring, hopes to play at Haverford College in Pennsylvania next spring. Waynflete has some solid underclassmen as well. Boedeker, who has recovered from a collarbone injury suffered during basketball season, will take draws and play in the midfield. Sangster is a veteran on defense. Akers is back for her second year in goal and is working this spring with new goalie coach, Laura Bishop. The Flyers have some other girls working their way into the mix, who will play critical roles as well.

Waynflete, due to its size, could have played in Class C this season and would have been the prohibitive favorite to win the newly created class, but Connors wanted to stay in Class B and keep the Flyers with traditional rivals like Cape Elizabeth, Greely and Yarmouth. That means a tougher schedule and a more difficult postseason playoff road, but this squad should show steady improvement as the season moves along, eclipse last year’s win total and will have a shot to make some serious postseason noise. Waynflete’s due for a return to glory. This senior-laden squad could be the one to awaken the echoes.

BOYS’ TENNIS

Coach: Jeff Madore (12th year, 10 state championships)

2017 record: 15-1 (Defeated George Stevens Academy, 5-0, to win 10th straight Class C state championship)

Top returning players: Jacob Greene (Senior), Owen Hoffsten (Senior), Shuhao Liu (Senior), Nick Wagg (Senior), Thorne Kieffer (Junior), Chris Register (Junior), Cooper Sherman (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “We look forward to solid competition from all our opponents. With some talented new players, we have lots to sort out before league matches begin. Our goal is to improve our skills marginally each day and have fun doing it.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Waynflete has been a model of consistency, winning 12 of the past 13 Class C state title and the last 10 in succession. If all goes well this spring, number 11 could soon follow suit.

The Flyers return reigning league all-stars Greene and Kieffer, who will play singles. Liu (another all-star in 2017), Sherman and Wagg are in contention for the third singles spot. The two who don’t make it, project to play first doubles. Hoffsten and Register have experience and that nucleus is bolstered by the arrival of junior Ben Lualdi and freshmen Ben Adey, Aidan Kieffer and John Moon-Black.

As always, Waynflete boasts talent and depth. If the hunger to excel is there, the Flyers will again be a force. While St. Dom’s could stand in its way, anyone other than Waynflete being the last team standing in June would come as a surprise.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Coach: Linda Cohen (12th year, five state championships)

2017 record: 14-2 (Beat George Stevens Academy, 5-0, to win Class C state title)

Top returning players: Hana Delaney (Senior), Molly McNutt (Senior), Tabby Almusawi (Junior), Gabby Eng (Junior), Lily Fanburg (Junior), Chloe Fisher (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “We graduated five players from last year’s starting lineup. The team is small this year, but we’re working hard to prepare for the season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Waynflete returned to the pinnacle last spring after a two-year absence and this year’s squad, despite being hard-hit by graduation, has the pieces in place to win it all again.

McNutt is expected to move from No. 3 singles to the top singles spot this spring. Fisher, a doubles league all-star in 2017, Almusawi, Delaney, Eng and Fanburg are other players with varsity experience. Freshman Courtney Ford and Selina Yehing are new to the squad and will fit into the mix.

Waynflete will take some time to hit its stride and a challenging schedule will provide an extra obstacle, but this program is always at its best at the end of the season. If this Flyers edition shows steady improvement, it will be in a great position to embark on another long postseason run come June.

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

Senior Izzy Burdick, a four-year varsity player, looks to lead Waynflete’s girls’ lacrosse team on a deep playoff run this spring before playing at Wellesley College next year.

Senior attack LZ Olney looks to score a lot of goals this spring before playing next year at Endicott College.

Senior Laura Baginski is one of Waynflete’s leaders in the midfield.

Junior Emi Boedeker will take draws this season.

Junior Sophie Sangster is a seasoned defender for the Flyers.

Senior Ya Stockford will score plenty of goals in the weeks to come.

Sophomore Avis Akers is back for her second season in goal for the Flyers.

Senior Hank Duvall will make life difficult for the opposition as he leads a promising Waynflete boys’ lacrosse team this season.

Junior Miles Lipton is another returner who can score a lot of goals for the Flyers.

Senior Jacob Greene is another returning all-star for the Waynflete boys.

Senior Molly McNutt is expected to step into the number one singles role for the defending Class C state champion Waynflete girls’ tennis team.

Junior Chloe Fisher is another key returner for the Flyers.

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