Ed. Note: This article will appear in the April 9 edition of The Forecaster.
SERGE NYIRIKAMBA, Senior-Basketball
Mr. Maine Basketball semifinalist
Maine McDonald’s Senior All-Star
WMC all-star, Class C first-team
WMC Senior all-star
After three years of steady play and little renown outside the city of Portland, Nyirikamba burst into the state’s consciousness this winter, producing one of the finest senior seasons around and leading the Flyers to within a whisper of their first championship.
He came up big time and again on the floor while carrying himself with grace and as a result, is a repeat winner of this award.
Nyirikamba was born in Rwanda and came to Portland in the third grade. He didn’t even take up basketball seriously until middle school at Waynflete, where he was admittedly “very raw,” but he quickly became a star, due to his physical skills and commitment for getting better. Nyirikamba started playing with the Waynflete varsity as a freshman and was a first-team league all-star by his sophomore season. After leading the Flyers to their first regional final as a junior, again earning all-star honors, Nyirikamba had a transcendent senior campaign.
Nyirikamba was unstoppable when he drove to the hoop. He also dominated the glass, created a matchup nightmare and never hesitated to dish off to his talented teammates. It all added up to a 15-2 regular season.
Nyirikamba wound up second in the Western Maine Conference (classes A through D) in scoring (21.2 points per game) and third in rebounds (9.2).
The postseason was even better. Nyirikamba would be named the regional tournament’s MVP as he averaged 25.3 points in wins over Monmouth, Hall-Dale and Maranacook, as Waynflete won a regional crown for the first time.
On the biggest basketball stage of his life, Nyirikamba was again phenomenal, scoring 24 points and adding 22 rebounds, two blocked shots and a steal against Houlton in the Class C Final, but the Flyers lost in overtime.
“I knew we could make it to states,” Nyirikamba said. “We learned from last year and we all had the same goal.”
Nyirikamba credited hard work and his coach, Rich Henry, with helping him evolve into an elite player, one who not only made the conference and Maine McDonald’s Senior All-Star teams, but one who was a semifinalist for the Maine Mr. Basketball Award (and an argument could be made that he should have been on the final list of three).
Nyirikamba, who has also coached and mentored younger kids, remains undecided on playing in college, although his senior season has garnered plenty of interest. He’s still in the process of selecting a college and may study biology.
The Flyers had a season for the ages and that was due in large part to arguably the finest player to ever wear the green and white, Serge Nyirikamba, Waynflete’s Winter Male Athlete of the Year.
Coach Rich Henry’s comment: “Serge gives maximum effort. He’s the quietest, most unassuming kid, yet there’s an inherent gracefulness to him. He’s remarkable in that regard. He just plays his game and plays it well. There’s no wasted motion. He leads by example. He’s a pleasure to be around.”
2012-13: Serge Nyirikamba (Basketball)
2011-12: Luke Jeton (Swimming)
2010-11: Joe Veroneau (Basketball)
2009-10; Nate Niles (Nordic skiing)
2008-09: Hassan Jeylani (Basketball)
2007-08: Tom Reagan (Nordic skiing)
2006-07: Lucas Milliken (Nordic skiing)
2005-06: Lucas Milliken (Nordic skiing)
2004-05: David Wells (Swimming)
2003-04: Jeff Bates (Nordic skiing)
COLBY HARVEY, Senior-Swimming
Class B state champion, 100 butterfly
Class B state champion, 100 backstroke
Class B state meet record holder, 100 butterfly
All-state, 200 medley relay
All-state, 400 freestyle relay
All-conference, 200 individual medley
All-conference, 200 medley relay
All-conference, 400 freestyle relay
Southwesterns Swimmer of the Meet
Southwesterns champion, backstroke
Southwesterns champion, IM
Four years ago, the Waynflete swim program had lain dormant for decades. Now, the Flyers are among the best in the state and a big reason why is Harvey, who excelled for four seasons and saved her best for her senior campaign.
Harvey, a Cape Elizabeth resident, came to Waynflete in the sixth grade. The self-described “fish out of water” had struggled to find the best sport for her, but by high school, she realized swimming might take her someplace.
It did and did so quickly.
Harvey’s father, Jim, helped restore the Waynflete swim program and Colby Harvey immediately made a splash, winning the Class B 100 butterfly and coming in second in the 200 individual medley as a freshman. As a sophomore, she won the fly again and this time set a new state record in the process, and if that wasn’t enough, she won the Class B breaststroke as well. As a junior, Harvey three-peated in the fly and also won the 200 freestyle. As expected, she finished her high school career in style this past winter.
At Southwesterns, Harvey was named Swimmer of the Meet after winning the IM and the 100 backstroke. Then, at states, Harvey set a new meet record in the fly (54.97 seconds), also won the backstroke and anchored a 400 freestyle relay champion.
In her four-year high school career, Harvey won every race but one (the IM at the state meet her freshman season).
“I’m so happy with my whole high school career,” said Harvey. “I never thought I’d get a record. My teammates really motivated me. I hate to lose.”
Harvey also swims with Coastal Maine Aquatics, does community service and will matriculate at Florida State University next year, where she plans to swim the fly and perhaps study psychology.
She certainly psyched out the opposition, which never had a chance. Colby Harvey, Waynflete’s Winter Female Athlete of the Year, was an all-time great.
Coach John Stevens’ comment: “Colby works tirelessly at swimming. She has a love and a passion for the sport, which is shown through the way she approaches it. With everything from training to racing, she is very thoughtful with what she is doing and why. She has a great knowledge for the sport, with race strategy, training and technique. You don’t often see that in a high school athlete. Her commitment to the sport and herself has lead to some great high school accomplishments and I have no doubt will lead to many more as she heads of to one of the top swimming schools in the country. This is a great recognition for Colby, one’s that she has worked hard to earn. It means a lot for the program, as swimming often takes a back seat to other sports. With Colby’s success, it’s made the sport more visible for the school’s students and in turn helps build our numbers and the team.”
2012-13: Martha Veroneau (Basketball)
2011-12: Martha Veroneau (Basketball)
2010-11: Martha Veroneau (Basketball)
2009-10: Morgan Woodhouse (Basketball)
2008-09: Annie Cutler (Basketball)
2007-08: Margaret Veroneau (Basketball)
2006-07: Margaret Veroneau (Basketball)
2005-06: Margaret Veroneau (Basketball)
2004-05: Holly Whitney (Nordic skiing)
2003-04: Betsy Critchfield (Nordic skiing)