Waynflete Flyers Winter Sports Preview

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Fresh off leading Waynflete’s boys’ soccer team to a Class C state title last month, junior Askar Houssein will light a spark for the Flyers boys’ basketball squad, which hopes to continue the school’s recent winning ways.

File photos.

More photos below.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Coach: Rich Henry (15th year, 180-88 overall record)

2017-18 record: 15-4 (Lost, 65-64, to Boothbay in Class C South quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Musaid Mohammed (Senior), Burr Rhoads (Senior), Alex Saade (Senior), Finn Scott (Senior), Oliver Burdick (Junior), Diraige Dahia (Junior), Askar Houssein (Junior), Solomon Levy (Junior), Dominick Campbell (Sophomore), Jared Johnson (Sophomore), Chris Saade (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Dec. 7 WELLS, Dec. 20 @ Cape Elizabeth, Dec. 22 @ Yarmouth, Jan. 5 NYA, Jan. 12 @ Gray-NG, Jan. 16 YARMOUTH, Jan. 22 FREEPORT, Feb. 7 @ NYA

Coach’s comment: “We went through some growing pains early in the season last year, hit our stride and then got upset in the quarters. I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ve learned from that experience. The freshmen and sophomores we relied on are now sophomores and juniors. We have three seniors who were on the last Waynflete team to play in the state game and I’m counting on them to help the rest of the team understand what it takes to make a long run in the tournament. We play our traditional Class B-heavy regular season schedule. We’ve got a pretty athletic and deep group and we’re excited for the season to start. A number of these kids played significant roles on the soccer team, which had an outstanding year. We’d like to keep some of that tournament success going in the winter.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Waynflete looked like a team capable of making a deep tournament run a year ago, but the Flyers couldn’t hold a big lead and were upset by Boothbay in the quarterfinals, bringing a sudden and stunning end to a terrific season. This winter, Waynflete has aspirations of playing into March, especially considering that many team members were part of a boys’ lacrosse championship back in June and recently led the boys’ soccer squad to an undefeated state championship last month. Nothing will come easily against a tough schedule, which begins with a game versus defending Class B South champion Wells Friday, but rest assured that the Flyers will only get stronger in the weeks to come.

Dahia and Houssein both made the WMC first-team a year ago and will be the focal point of opposing defenses. Houssein runs the point and is a matchup nightmare. He’s at his best when he gets everyone involved in the offense. Campbell, who turned heads as a freshman, will be a force in the post, both scoring and on the glass. Alex Saade (a second-team all-star last season) and Scott will also do their share of putting the ball in the hoop. Waynflete’s depth will be its greatest strength, as Mohammed and Rhoads also have senior experience, Burdick will help anchor the backcourt and Levy, along with Johnson, Chris Saade and new sophomores Ilo Holdridge and Michael Veroneau, give the Flyers a lot of flexibility in the frontcourt and on the wings.

Waynflete will play in some of the most compelling games around this regular season and meeting many top foes from Class B will make the Flyers battle-tested for the tournament in February. This time around, Waynflete plans to stay in Augusta awhile and based on the current run the school’s boys’ athletes have enjoyed, it wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if the Flyers made it all the way to the state final and took home the hardware.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Coach: Jim Marshall (first year)

2017-18 record: 6-13 (Lost, 49-25, to Richmond in Class C South preliminary round)

Top returning players: Emi Boedeker (Senior), Sophi Aronson (Junior), Anna Wildes (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 7 @ Wells, Dec. 20 CAPE ELIZABETH, Dec. 22 YARMOUTH, Jan. 5 NYA, Jan. 12 GRAY-NG, Jan. 22 @ Freeport, Feb. 7 @ NYA

Coach’s comment: “It’s a great group of kids. We’re a very young team, but we have a ton of enthusiasm. We’ll be starting one senior, two juniors, one sophomore and one freshman. We have good size. If things break our way, we could have a really successful year. We have a chance by the end of the season to be very good.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Waynflete looks to continue its tradition of being a playoff-bound team this winter under a new coach. Marshall has coached for many years in New York City, as well as in Thailand and Poland (the country, not the Western Maine Conference school) and he takes over a team that is raw, but has quite the upside.

Boedeker is a senior captain who will made an impact in the post, at both ends of the floor. Aronson (a forward/center) and Wildes (a guard and captain) will both be key contributors. Sophomore Kilee Sherry, who came on strong at the end of last year, will be the point guard. Freshman Margaret Ojut, who stands 6-feet, will make an immediate impact in the post. Freshman Cece Marshall, the coach’s daughter, will see key minutes off the bench as a guard or forward. Senior captain Samia Amann is another captain and provides depth. Senior Gaia Santoro-Lecchini, junior Avis Akers and freshmen Jesse Connors, Ellis Dougherty and Devan Sherry round out the roster.

The Flyers have a very challenging schedule, which includes several games against top Class B South squads. This team will look very different as December gives way to January, then February. Waynflete has the pieces in place to win enough games to make the tournament and if the Flyers get in, they’ll be a team that can give anyone fits.

SWIMMING

Coach: Steve Withers (fifth year)

2017-18 results:

(Boys) no score @ Class B state meet

(Girls) 15th @ Class B state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Blake Bondellio (Senior), Seb Shames (Senior), Haoming Ma (Junior)

(Girls) Emma Anghel (Senior), Lily Fanburg (Senior), Zoe Ruff (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “It will be an exciting season. The girls have a veteran team. With half of our team being seniors, we look to capitalize on our experience. Building off last year’s growth, look for us to remain competitive. As always, our sights are set on a strong showing at Southwesterns and states. The boys added considerable depth, with over half the team being newcomers. Look for us to improve each week and be competitive in meets where we were previously overlooked. Plan for us to peak at the end of the season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Both Waynflete teams expect to move up the competitive ladder this winter.

The girls feature Fanburg (breaststroke, individual medley), a captain, Anghel (freestyle, butterfly) and Ruff (freestyle, IM). Fisher is the other captain. Libby Dakers and Larkin Kern are freshmen who will step right in and contribute. The Flyers will only get better and will turn some heads in February.

The boys’ squad features captains Bondellio (fly, freestyle) and Ma (fly, breaststroke). Shames (freestyle) is another veteran. Juniors Xander Forsyth (backstroke, freestyle) and Julia Havelaar (freestyle, backstroke), sophomore Levi Lilienthal (freestyle, IM) and freshman Oscar Herrera (IM, freestyle) are new to the squad and add depth. This group could show steady growth and hopes to be at its best for the championship meets.

NORDIC SKIING

Coach: Wyatt Dumas (second year)

2017-18 results:

(BOYS) 3rd @ Class C state meet

(GIRLS) 3rd @ Class C state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Nicholas Werner (Junior)

(Girls) Clara Sandberg (Junior), Kaitlyn Bliss (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “This year, our oldest skiers are juniors. We’re hoping to have three athletes qualify for the Eastern High School state championship Maine team and two qualify for the U-16 team. Our boys and girls last year were on par with the most competitive Waynflete teams over the past decade and many skiers return. I think we have a good shot at holding or improving on our third-place standing and possibly landing one of two skiers on the podium. We also have several new athletes, whom I’m hoping will leave the season with an appreciation for cross country skiing that lasts a lifetime.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Waynflete is young, but talented this winter.

The boys’ squad returns Werner, who was seventh in both the classical and freestyle last season. He’ll look to move into the top five. Freshman Eli Schair-Rigoletti joins the team and will make a quick impact. The Flyers should be tough to contend with throughout the year.

On the girls’ side, Sandberg is coming off a season which saw her place 10th in the classical and 12th in the freestyle at the state meet. Bliss was 10th in the freestyle and 16th in the classical. Both girls will be among the top skiers in the conference this winter. Freshman Julia Werner is a nice addition. Waynflete figures to impress from start to finish.

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

Junior Diraige Dahia was an all-conference selection last winter.

Alex Saade can get open and knock down key shots.

Senior Finn Scott is another key returner for the Flyers.

Junior Emi Boedeker will be a force on both ends of the floor for Waynflete’s girls’ basketball team, which begins a new era this winter.

Junior Sophie Aronson will make her mark near the basket.

Junior Anna Wildes projects to be one of Waynflete’s top scorers this winter.

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