Waynflete Flyers Winter Sports Preview

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There’s a lot of new at Waynflete this winter, but the school’s accustomed success figures to continue. Boys’ basketball should be in the hunt for a playoff spot. Despite losing its standout, the girls’ team will likely remain a top Western C contender. Nordic skiing welcomes a new coach and hopes to make noise. The biggest news is the restoration of a long dormant swim program, which has the ingredients for immediate success. If that’s not enough, seniors Erin Chang, Mary Kate Meagher and Lindsey Sinicki, juniors Roz Gray Bauer, Lucy Crane and Xu Qiao, sophomore Phoebe Suva and freshman Gretchen Stevens are playing with the Cape Elizabeth girls’ hockey team.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

COACH: Rich Henry (seventh year)

2009-10 Record: 7-9 (no postseason)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Alex Hadiaris (Senior), Joe Veroneau (Senior), Abshir Horor (Junior), Mitch Newlin (Junior)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 16 @ Falmouth, Dec. 18 (H) OOB, Jan. 4 (H) OOB, Jan. 11 @ Traip, Jan. 13 @ OOB, Jan. 21 @ Cape Elizabeth, Jan. 22 (H) TRAIP, Jan. 28 @ NYA, Feb. 8 (H) VALLEY

COACH’S COMMENT: “It’s early, but I think we’ll be competitive. The kids have picked things up quickly. Ahead of other teams I’ve had. The team has good depth. Players 1 through 9 can produce for us. We need to find the right combinations. We won’t have a 20-point per game scorer. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bunch of guys average eight to 14. We’ll play up-tempo. The whole team’s between 5-foot-11 and 6-2. The playoffs are a realistic goal.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Waynflete’s run of five successive trips to the postseason came to an end a year ago, but the Flyers won three of their final four contests and have many reasons for optimism in 2010-11. While standout John Malia has graduated and took his 16.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game with him and fellow league all-stars Bill Ngoal and Cecil Gardner (who averaged 7.5 boards a contest) are also gone, there is plenty of talent in reserve and great balance on this squad. Top scoring threats this winter include Veroneau, Newlin and Hadiaris. Junior Chris Burke, a 6-foot-2 transfer from Cape Elizabeth and sophomores Max Belleau, Jack Cutler and Paul Runyambo bring their skills sets to the team, creating matchup problems for the rest of the league. Horor will also be heard from. The Flyers got off to a stirring start Friday, rallying from an 11-point first half deficit to edge North Yarmouth Academy, 41-40 (Burke led the way with eight points). Waynflete has its hands full schedule-wise, meeting two of the best teams Western B has to offer, including Falmouth, the defending state champion, solid Western C competition in Old Orchard Beach, NYA, Traip and Sacopee and even longtime Western D powerhouse Valley. The road won’t be easy, but the Flyers should be competitive with just about everyone. If they can win more than they lose, a return trip to Augusta could be in offing. That’s a realistic outcome for this bunch.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

COACH: Brandon Salway (fourth year)

2009-10 Record: 15-4 (Lost, 37-23, to Madison in Western C Final)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Liz Lewis (Senior), Sam Oakland (Senior), Lydia Stegemann (Senior), Suzy Moore (Junior), Rhiannan Jackson (Sophomore), Catherine Veroneau (Sophomore), Martha Veroneau (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 16 (H) FALMOUTH, Dec. 18 @OOB, Jan. 4 @ OOB, Jan. 8 (H) CALAIS, Jan. 13 (H) OOB, Jan. 21 (H) CAPE ELIZABETH, Jan. 26 @ Hyde, Jan. 28 (H) NYA, Feb. 2 (H) HYDE, Feb. 8 @ Wells.

COACH’S COMMENT: “We’re a different team this year, playing a different offense. We’re changing a lot after losing Morgan (Woodhouse). The sophomores have improved a lot. If they continue, we might be in the mix at the end. The conference is wide open this year. We hope to continue our streak of winning it. If we do, we’ll be in the tournament and should be in a good position. A realistic goal for us is to get to Augusta then who knows what could happen.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The Flyers have averaged 18 wins a season the past four years and have quietly established themselves as an elite Western C contender after back-to-back trips to the regional final. This year’s team now has the daunting task of replacing the monumental production of Woodhouse, the Bob Butler Award winner, who led the Western Maine Conference with 21 points per game and added 11 boards and a league-high 5.5 steals a contest last winter. Her impact in the middle and up and down the floor can’t be replaced, but there is enough talent in reserve to get Waynflete through and allow it to remain near the top of the standings. The Flyers started well Friday with a 65-49 victory at NYA (Martha Veroneau went off for 26 points and Stegemann added 19). There is some strong upperclassmen leadership in Lewis, Stegemann and Oakland. Moore also has experience. The sophomore class saw ample time a year ago and will be pivotal. Martha Veroneau (a first-team WMC all-star) was seventh in steals (3.5 per game), eighth in scoring (14.0) and 10th in assists as a freshman. As her shot selection gets better, she’ll continue to evolve into an elite scorer. Catherine Veroneau had her moments a year ago and is another scorer for the opposition to contend with. Jackson and Amelia Mitchell (who is out with an ACL injury, but might be back later in the year) can’t be overlooked. Martha Veroneau will share point guard duties with promising freshman Leigh Fernandez. Freshman Ella Millard will see key minutes as the season goes on. The Flyers will need to win games in different fashion this year. They can’t count on Woodhouse approaching double digits in several different statistical categories. On balance, this team is capable of doing great things. By February, Waynflete should find itself back at the Augusta Civic Center, where things have gone very well the past couple seasons. Anyone thinking the Flyers won’t be a factor will be in for an unpleasant surprise.

SWIMMING

COACH: Jim Harvey (first year)

FIRST YEAR PROGRAM

SWIMMERS TO WATCH:

(BOYS) Luke Jeton (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Jaime Reagan (Senior), Sofia Canning (Freshman), Amelia Deady (Freshman), Walker Foehl (Freshman), Colby Harvey (Freshman), Ellen Silk (Freshman)

COACH’S COMMENT: “We’re really excited. We haven’t had a team in 64 years. It’ll be fun. Luke is the only boy. The girls will be very competitive. We have two seniors and 11 freshmen and sophomores. We have a chance to take a top three spot at Southwesterns. I’d like to see us win a relay or two at states.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: After being dormant for decades (although select individuals have dazzled over the years), the Waynflete swim team is back and it’s likely the Flyers will make an immediate splash (one renowned local coach predicted the girls might just win Southwesterns). Jim Harvey oversees a team that features 13 girls and one boy, almost all of whom will swim more than one year. Jeton is the lone boy. He swims the butterfly and freestyle. The girls have several potential top finishers. Reagan is the veteran. She swims the breaststroke. Five freshmen figure to become household names. That group includes Canning (freestyle and backstroke), Deady (freestyle), Foehl (freestyle and backstroke), Colby Harvey (everything but freestyle) and Silk (distance). Look for this program to make its presence known in the regular season (swimming dual meets with North Yarmouth Academy), then in the postseason where several kids figure to shine. Going forward, Waynflete swimming will be a force.

NORDIC SKIING

COACH: Sean Lena (first year)

2009-10 Results:

(BOYS) 5th @ Class C state meet

(GIRLS) 6th @ Class C state meet

TOP RETURNING SKIERS:

(BOYS) Matt Butler (Senior), Eli Sobel (Senior), Max Sobel (Senior)

(GIRLS) Emma Longcope (Senior), Chloe Rowse (Junior)

COACH’S COMMENT: “I’m very excited to take the helm of the Waynflete program and am looking forward to having an amazing season.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Waynflete’s always competitive Nordic ski program welcomes a new coach this winter in Lena. He grew up in Orono, raced for John Bapst and the Maine state ski team. He attended Middlebury College and raced the Junior Olympic and NENSA circuit. He previously instructed at Middlebury’s Nordic ski center. This year’s squad boasts 26 seniors. Last year, Rowse was 13th in the freestyle at the state meet. She and Longcope are the top returners on the girls’ side. Butler and both Sobels bring experience to the boys team. Several others will look to make an impact in the weeks to come as the Flyers battle some of the best teams around. By the time the state meet arrives, this group should be primed to make a serious run at a top finish.

Sidebar Elements


After a stellar freshman campaign, sharpshooter Martha Veroneau will look to lead Waynflete back to the playoffs in 2010-11.

Unheralded senior Lydia Stegemann provided a spark for last year’s regional finalist and will be a key contributor this winter.

The other half of Waynflete’s dynamic Veroneau twin tandem, sophomore Catherine, features a solid all-around game.

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