Senior Milo Belleau will be one of the top players in the Western Maine Conference this winter and looks to lead Waynflete deep into the postseason once more.
More photos below.
COACH: Rich Henry (12th year, 131-75 overall record)
2014-15 record: 16-2 (Lost, 58-36, to Dirigo in Western C semifinals)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Abel Alemayo (Senior), Milo Belleau (Senior), Willy Burdick (Senior), Will Nelligan (Senior), Tom Silk (Senior), Yai Deng (Junior), Abdul Mohammed (Junior), Christian Brooks (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 11 YARMOUTH, Dec. 17 NYA, Dec. 19 WELLS, Jan. 2 @ OOB, Jan. 7 @ Fryeburg Academy, Jan. 12 @ NYA, Jan. 15 FALMOUTH, Jan. 18 OOB, Jan. 21 @ Lake Region, Jan. 23 @ Poland, Jan. 26 @ Traip, Jan. 30 GRAY-NG, Feb. 1 TRAIP
COACH’S COMMENT: “I can honestly say that this looks to be the most daunting schedule we’ve had in my time at Waynflete and we’re looking forward to the challenge of playing some really, really strong teams. We’ve been struggling a bit in the first few weeks of the season with some injuries and illness that has reduced the number of active players, but it has also provided an opportunity for some of the younger players to get experience in our scrimmages. We talk a lot about the stages of the basketball season and how important it is to try to play your best basketball in January so that you’re going into the tournament (hopefully) with some momentum. Given the quality opponents we’ll have, I know that we will have been tested. We’ve got a good group of young men, fun to work with.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Waynflete’s quest to return to the state final (and win it) was derailed in the semifinals a year ago. While the ending was disappointing, the Flyers did post double digit victories and reach at least the semifinals for the fifth consecutive season. While Western Maine Conference all-star Harry Baker-Connick graduated, Waynflete returns a lot and should be in the hunt in the new-look Class C South.
The Flyers will be led by returning league all-star (and reigning Winter Male Athlete of the Year) Belleau, who averaged 17.9 points a game (fourth in the conference) in 2014-15. He has a sweet shot and won’t hesitate to defer to his teammates when need be. The backcourt’s excellence doesn’t end with Belleau. There’s also Alemayo (9 points per game last winter), Nelligan (7 ppg), Burdick (4 ppg) and Mohammed. Alemayo and Burdick will serve as point guards. In the frontcourt, Waynflete is also in good shape behind Deng (10 points per game in 2014-15), Silk (6 ppg) and Brooks. Four newcomers make the team even deeper and stronger. Sophomore Abdi Mohammed joins the guard rotation. Freshmen Burr Rhoads and Alex Saade can play both guard and forward, while freshman freshman Charlie Ngoal wil be heard from down low. This is a team that can get the job done inside and outside and will create plenty of offense off of its defensive pressure.
Waynflete’s schedule is daunting and it includes foes from several classes, including Falmouth and Fryeburg Academy from Class A, Gray-New Gloucester, Lake Region, Poland, Wells and Yarmouth from Class B and traditional Class C rivals North Yarmouth Academy, Old Orchard Beach and Traip Academy. As a result, the Flyers won’t have many easy games, but they have the pieces in place to compete with everyone. This is a squad which will only get better and once again should be at its best in February. If Waynflete hits its potential, it once again will be on the short list of teams to beat in Augusta.
COACH: Mike Jefferds (first year)
2014-15 record: 12-6 (Lost, 48-41, to Madison in Western C preliminary round)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS:, Arianna Giguere (Senior), Annika Brooks (Junior), Ali Pope (Junior), Izzy Burdick (Sophomore), Ava Farrar (Sophomore), Lydia Giguere (Sophomore)
PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 11 @ Yarmouth, Dec. 17 NYA, Jan. 2 OOB, Jan. 7 FRYEBURG, Jan. 12 @ NYA, Jan. 15 @ Falmouth, Jan. 18 @ OOB, Jan. 21 LAKE REGION, Jan. 23 POLAND, Jan. 27 TRAIP, Jan. 29 @ Gray-NG
COACH’S COMMENT: “It’s going great. The kids are great. They’re taking what we’re trying to teach and are running with it. The learning curve is pretty big right now. We have a pretty tough schedule. Every game will be a challenge for us. We want to make the tournament and make a gradual improvement. We hope to win enough games to get in to the tournament and peak when we get there.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: After overseeing a golden era for the program, highlighted by a first-ever Class C state championship in 2013, Brandon Salway stepped down as coach. He’s replaced by Jefferds, who played at Westbrook and at the NAIA level in college. He previously assisted at Scarborough with legendary coaches Ron Cote and Tom Maines. He inherits a team with some question marks, but one that could be quite dangerous by the end of the season.
Waynflete did graduate league all-stars and sparkplugs Helen Gray-Bauer and Julianna Harwood, but return second-team all-star Lydia Giguere, who impressed as a freshman and should only be better this time around. She’ll be a threat on the wing. Arianna Giguere, who missed last winter with a back injury, is healthy again and after a tremendous soccer season (she was named Waynflete’s Fall Female Athlete of the Year), she’ll do a little of everything to help her squad win. Burdick and Farrar are up-and-coming stars who will see time at guard. Brooks and Pope are forces down low. Sophomore LZ Olney, who saw some time last winter, will produce at guard and forward. Perhaps the biggest news is the return of senior Anne Veroneau, the youngest of four star basketball playing sisters, who was a Flyer her freshman year, transferred to Cheverus for her sophomore and junior seasons, then returned for her seinor year. She’ll be a guard and forward and could be a difference maker. The potential is there for a strong defense and a skilled offense. If the Flyers can hit their shots, look out.
It won’t come easily this season as Waynflete has to battle a lot of strong teams in several classes, but don’t be surprised if the Flyers are playing at a high level by February. After falling in the preliminary round last winter, Waynflete wants to get back to Augusta. If that happens, the Flyers might just stick around for awhile.
COACH: Steve Withers (second year)
(BOYS) 13th @ Class B state meet
(GIRLS) 13th @ Class B state meet
(BOYS) Caleb Lavine (Junior), PD Silk (Junior)
(GIRLS) Hulan Bikales (Senior), Grace Bukowski-Thall (Senior), Kiera MacWhinnie (Junior), Molly McNutt (Sophomore), Luna Soley (Sophomore)
COACH’S COMMENT: “Despite our size, we had a commendable showing at states last year and we hope to keep that momentum moving forward this season. We’re continuing to grow the program. We’ve focused our efforts thus far on work with stroke technique and conditioning, which should pay dividends later in the year. We look to remain competitive in numerous meets. What we lack in depth, we make-up for in heart and character. Our hope is to remain healthy and improve throughout the course of the season, culminating in a strong showing at Southwesterns and states.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Waynflete lost some key swimmers to graduation, but should again be in contention this winter.
The boys return state meet scorer Levine (sixth last year in the 100 butterfly). The captain will also swim the individual medley this season. Silk, another captain, will be a threat in the backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle. Three newcomers add depth. Junior Amas Krutkis, an exchange student from Lithuania (freestyle, breaststroke), sophomores Colin LeBihan (freestyle) and Shuhao Liu (freestyle, backstroke) and freshman Blake Bondellio (breaststroke) will all be heard from in the weeks to come. Don’t be surprised if this group returns to the top 10 at the state meet.
The girls return MacWhinnie, who was fifth in both the fly and 500 free a year ago. She’ll be very dangerous again. Also returning are Bikales (freestyle/fly), Bukowski-Thall (freestyle), McNutt (backstroke/freestyle) and Soley (breaststroke). Junior Chloe Daikh (freestyle) and freshmen Lily Fanburg (freestyle, breaststroke) and Chloe Fisher (freestyle) arrive to provide depth. After four straight top five finishes at states, the Flyers dropped to 13th a year ago. Don’t be surprised if this group moves back up the ladder in February.
COACH: Ian Tovell (first year)
(BOYS) 4th @ Class C state meet
(GIRLS) 2nd @ Class C state meet
(BOYS) Peter Michalakes (Senior), Wilson Moore (Junior), Julian Abbott (Sophomore)
(GIRLS) Gail Johnson (Senior), Marijke Rowse (Senior), Ellie Chidsey (Junior), Elizabeth Ralston (Junior), Claire DuBois (Sophomore), Abby Pipkin (Sophomore), Emily Tabb (Sophomore)
COACH’S COMMENT: “I think we have a strong team. I think both teams can be in the top three at the state championship. We have a relatively young team, so I’m excited to see the underclassmen grow and accomplish their long-term goals. I’m mainly looking forward to a fun year and to be working with such a great group of students.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Both Waynflete teams had strong seasons in 2014-15 and look to continue that theme this winter under a new coach in Tovell, who skied at the University of Vermont on the club team.
The girls were state runners-up last year and hope to ascend to the top spot this year. Rowse is the top returner. She was ninth in the freestyle and 13th in the classical last season. Chidsey (12th in the classic, 15th in the freestyle) and Pipkin (26th in the classic, 31st in the freestyle) are also back. Johnson and Ralston have experience and DuBois and Tabb hope to play bigger roles. Junior Elisabeth Lualdi is new to the team and make it even stronger. The Flyers will be very good in both the regular season and in February.
The boys’ squad welcomes back Moore (who was fourth in both the classical and freestyle a year ago) and Michalakes (39th in the classic, 41st in the freestyle). Abbott hopes to play a bigger role this season. Freshman Liam Feeney is a newcomer to watch. This group should steadily improve and be a force to be reckoned with in the postseason.
Senior Abel Alemayo is a top returning scoring threat for the Flyers.
Senior Tom Silk will be a matchup nightmare for Waynflete’s opponents.
Junior Annika Brooks will be a threat to score down low.
Sophomore Ava Farrar is coming off a strong soccer season and hopes to make noise on the basketball court.
Lydia Giguere turned heads as a freshman and figures to be a key contributor for Waynflete this season.
Sophomore LZ Olney is an up-and-coming player for the Flyers.
Junior Ali Pope will be a threat in the post.
Senior Anne Veroneau returns to Waynflete this winter and is a key addition for a dangerous team.