Waynflete Flyers Winter Sports Preview

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BOYS’ BASKETBALL

COACH: Rich Henry (11th year, 115-73 overall record)

2013-14 record: 18-3 (Lost, 58-56, in overtime, to Houlton in Class C state final)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Harry Baker-Connick (Senior), Pace Hutchinson (Senior), Abel Alemayo (Junior), Milo Belleau (Junior), Willy Burdick (Junior), Will Nelligan (Junior), Yai Deng (Sophomore), Jack Meahl (Sophomore), Abdul Mohammed (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 12 NYA, Dec. 16 @ Traip, Dec. 19 OOB, Jan. 3 @ Wells, Jan. 6 YARMOUTH, Jan. 10 @ NYA, Jan. 13 @ Lake Region, Jan. 15 POLAND, Jan. 23 TRAIP, Jan. 24 @ OOB, Feb. 5 @ Hyde

COACH’S COMMENT: “I think we have a great deal of potential. The key will be how each player steps up to the increased expectations. Our seniors last year provided a high level of production on the court and superb leadership in all aspects. We’re fortunate to have Harry back. He’s an extension of the coaching staff on the floor and a superb athlete and I expect Milo to have a great season. We have some younger players poised for a breakout year. I think the team in general is looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity they have in front of them.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The finest season in program history fell two agonizing points shy of the ultimate prize last winter, but the thrills were unforgettable. As talented as that Serge Nyirikamba-led squad was, this year’s team could be just as good as many key players return. Now that Waynflete knows what it takes to get to the state game, don’t bet against an encore. Baker-Connick was a Western Maine Conference first-team all-star after averaging 10 points, 4.4 assists (good for third in the league) and 4.2 steals (second in the WMC) last winter and will play an even bigger role this season. Belleau averaged 11 points a year ago, hit 48 percent of his 3-pointers (and was 10th in the league in 3-pointers made) and made the second-team. He and Alemayo (6 ppg in 2013-14) figure to bury plenty of shots as well. Burdick, Meahl, Mohammed and Nelligan are primed to become bigger parts of the offense from the backcourt. Down low, Hutchinson will be a matchup nightmare. He’s aided by Deng, who will play a more prominent role in the games to come. Junior Tom Silk and freshman Christian Brooks will also be in the frontcourt mix. The Flyers will once again measure themselves against some top competition from three classes, including a showdown with reigning Western B champion Poland. That will only make this team stronger by February. Waynflete got a taste of Gold last winter, but it slipped away at the last minute. This year’s team is primed to make another run and this time, might not be denied.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

COACH: Brandon Salway (eighth year, 112-34 overall record, one state championship)

2013-14 record: 13-7 (Lost, 49-37, to eventual regional champion Carrabec in Western C quarterfinals)

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS:, Helen Gray-Bauer (Senior), Julianna Harwood (Senior), Dana Peirce (Senior), Arianna Giguere (Junior), Annika Brooks (Sophomore), Ali Pope (Sophomore)

PIVOTAL GAMES: Dec. 9 SACOPEE, Dec. 16 TRAIP, Dec. 20 @ OOB, Jan. 3 WELLS, Jan. 6 @ Yarmouth, Jan. 14 LAKE REGION, Jan. 23 @ Traip, Jan. 24 OOB, Jan. 30 @ Sacopee

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have a lot of youth. Five of our 12 varsity players are freshmen. We have our work cut out for us, but we have potential. If we stay healthy, I think we’ll be deeper than last year. The goal is always to get to Augusta. Our conference will make us battle-tested. Our seniors didn’t like how last season ended. We still have kids who have tasted success in Augusta. They’re motivated.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: While Waynflete wasn’t able to defend its state championship, the Flyers remained competitive last winter and were ultimately vanquished by the eventual regional champion. Another program stalwart, Leigh Fernandez, graduated, but there are still links to the 2012-13 powerhouse and some strong youngsters in tow as well who suggest that Waynflete will remain a top contender this winter. Gray-Bauer and Harwood are ending their run with the program. Gray-Bauer, a WMC first-teamer last winter, is the team’s engine, a tenacious defender (3.9 steals a game in 2013-14, good for fifth in the league), who isn’t afraid to take the tough shot (she made 1.6 3-pointers a game last season, good for third in the conference). Harwood, a second-teamer last season, can clean the glass (she averaged 8.4 rebounds last season, good for seventh in the league), disrupt the opposition (she was second in steals last year, 4.3 per game) and score inside and out. She’ll be the point guard. Freshmen Izzy Burdick and Lydia Giguere will also see time at the point. Waynflete could have a pretty formidable frontcourt. Arianna Giguere is a terrific athlete, but is still overcoming injuries from soccer. When she’s healthy, she’ll contribute at both ends of the floor (she made 1.2 3s a game last winter). Peirce doesn’t garner headlines, she just does what it takes to win. Brooks and Pope are both coming off strong freshman campaigns and look to play bigger roles. The Flyers should be very competitive during the regular season, even against a schedule that features some Western B contenders, but this program always measures itself on what it does in Augusta. This group should be able to get back there and might make a deeper run, which would be a fitting ending for such a special senior class.

SWIMMING

COACH: Steve Withers (first year)

2013-14 results:

(BOYS) 11th @ Class B state meet

(GIRLS) 5th @ Class B state meet

TOP RETURNERS:

(BOYS) Austin Fanberg (Senior), Caleb Lavine (Sophomore), Peterson Silk (Sophomore)

(GIRLS) Lucy Weaver (Senior), Chloe Williams (Senior), Grace Bukowski-Thall (Junior), Kiera MacWhinnie (Sophomore)

COACH’S COMMENT: “Our program continues to grow and we have a bright future ahead of us. Both teams are returning a strong core. In addition, we have new swimmers eager to improve and ready to make an impact. The team comes to the pool every day ready to work hard and we’ve already seen improvement across the board. I’m confident that as we continue to improve and come together as a team, we’ll compete in all of our meets.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Waynflete’s program has been a powerhouse in recent seasons, but graduation took its toll. This year, the team will be coached by Steve Withers, who is assisted by Paul Grazia. Withers swam at Bloomsburg University and previously coached age group teams. He teaches upper school and middle school math at Waynflete. He does inherit some talent.

The boys lost last year’s top scorer, Booway Bikales, who has transferred to Portland. This year, Fanburg (backstroke, butterfly and freestyle), Levine (fly, freestyle and individual medley) and Silk (backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle) will look to impress. Senior Sam Frederick (backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle) and sophomore Tim Clifford (sprint freestyle) hope to contribute. This team should only get better in the weeks to come.

The girls had to bid adieu to reigning Winter Female Athlete of the Year Colby Harvey, now swimming at Florida State, as well as the talented Amelia Deady and Ellen Silk, but MacWhinnie returns. She was part of a 400 relay champion last winter. Weaver (backstroke, freestyle) and Williams (sprint freestyle, breaststroke) are veteran leaders and Bukowski-Thall (breaststroke, sprint freestyle) looks to make a mark. Senior Karlina Gonzalez (sprint freestyle), new junior Hulan Bikales and freshmen Molly McNutt and Luna Soley add depth. The Flyers might not reach the heights of recent seasons, but they’ll remain a force.

NORDIC SKIING

COACH: Ben Taska (third year)

2013-14 results:

(BOYS) 9th @ Class C state meet

(GIRLS) 8th @ Class C state meet

TOP RETURNERS:

(BOYS) Nick Boulos (Senior), Julian Ireland (Senior)

(GIRLS) Phoebe Colvin-Oehmig (Senior), Marijke Rowse (Junior)

COACH’S COMMENT: “Our ultimate goal this season is to build on our girls’ success from the state meet last year, as well as aim for that level of success with the boys. To do that, we’ll need to be very competitive at the conference level. We have our biggest team in a long time, with a good mix of strong veterans and a plethora of new talent. With lots of improvement to come, we look to ski ourselves up the ranks through the course of the season.”

THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: Waynflete’s Nordic ski teams will be tested by top conference rivals, who also happen to be among the finest squads in the state.

The boys return state meet scorers Boulos (39th in the skate and 49th in the classic) and Ireland (46th in the classic and 46th in the skate). Sophomore Wilson Moore and freshman Zander Martin provide depth and round out what should be a competitive squad.

On the girls’ side, two sold scorers return. Rowse came in 13th in the skate a year ago, while Colvin-Oehmig finished 25th in the classic. Look for both to move up the standings. Sophomore Calla King-Clements is a newcomer to watch. The Flyers have some tough competition, but that should only make them stronger for February, when this squad could be very good.

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

Sophomore Peterson Silk will be a top contender for the boys’ swim team.

Senior Harry Baker-Connick is Waynflete’s floor leader. His quickness and selflessness will carry the Flyers a long way.

Junoir Abel Alemayo has the ability to put up a lot of points in the games to come.

Junior Milo Belleau averaged 11 points per game last season and made almost half of his 3-point field goals.

The indefatigable Helen Gray-Bauer is now in her senior season and will look to take the Flyers deep into the tournament before saying goodbye.

Julianna Harwood will do a little of everything this winter.

Dana Peirce is a senior leader for the Flyers.

Junior Arianna Giguere will be one of Waynflete’s top scorers this season.

Annika Brooks looks to build on her strong freshman campaign.

Ali Pope made her mark as a freshman and should play an even bigger role this winter.

Sidebar Elements


Waynflete’s boys’ basketball team reached stratospheric heights in 2013-14, falling two points shy of a first-ever state championship. Despite some key graduation losses, the Flyers expect to make another title run this winter.

File photos.

More photos below.

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