(Ed. Note: The basketball season was recapped in last week’s edition)
Sports excitement came in many forms this winter. There were dramatic finishes on the ice and transcendent individual and team performances in swimming, skiing and indoor track.
In boys’ hockey, Falmouth was its usual dominant self, but for the second year in a row, couldn’t solve Scarborough in the playoffs. Yarmouth put together its best season in 14 years, earning the top seed in Class B South, then winning the regional title for the first time since 2002. The Clippers hoped to add a state title too, but dropped a double-overtime heartbreaker to Waterville. North Yarmouth Academy enjoyed a terrific Prep season, reaching the Holt Conference championship game.
On the girls’ side, Falmouth, Greely and Yarmouth/Freeport/Gray-New Gloucester all made the playoffs. Yarmouth/Freeport/GNG was ousted in the North Region quarterfinals. The Yachtsmen hoped to get back to the state game, but lost to Scarborough in the South Region Final. The Rangers went undefeated during the regular season and were the favorites to go all the way, but they were shocked by eventual champion St. Dom’s in the North Region Final.
Skiing again was the sport that produced the most hardware, as six different teams and four individuals brought home championships.
Greely’s girls’ swim team continued to set the bar, winning a Class B title. Several individuals produced February greatness as well.
While there were no team championships this winter, the usual indoor track and field suspects excelled from start to finish.
Here’s a last look back at the winter excitement that was.
Falmouth Yachtsmen boys’ basketball, Class A
Falmouth Yachtsmen girls’ Alpine skiing, Class A
Freeport Falcons boys’ Nordic skiing, Class B
Greely Rangers girls’ swimming, Class B
Maine Coast Waldorf boys’ Nordic skiing, Class C
Maine Coast Waldorf girls’ Nordic skiing, Class C
Yarmouth Clippers girls’ Alpine skiing, Class B
Yarmouth Clippers girls’ Nordic skiing, Class B
Yarmouth Clippers boys’ hockey, Class B South
Matt Polewaczyk, Falmouth, Class A boys’ 200
Alyssa Coyne, Greely, Class B girls’ shot put
Henry Quesada, NYA, Class B boys’ 800
Emma Egan, Yarmouth, Class B girls’ 55
Emma Egan, Yarmouth, Class B girls’ high jump
Luke Laverdiere, Yarmouth, Class B boys’ mile
Charlotte Janelle, Falmouth, Class A girls’ diving
Sonia Lin, NYA, Class B girls’ breaststroke
Gabby Farrell, Falmouth, Class A girls Nordic skate
Alex Shapiro, Falmouth, Class A girls’ Alpine giant slalom
Fiona Ahearne, Maine Coast Waldorf School, Class C girls’ Nordic classical
Fiona Ahearne, Maine Coast Waldorf School, Class C girls’ Nordic skate
Tucker Pierce, Maine Coast Waldorf School, Class C boys’ Nordic classical
Tucker Pierce, Maine Coast Waldorf School, Class C boys’ Nordic skate
5) Falmouth boys frustrated by Scarborough again
After its two-year reign as Class A state champion came to an end in the 2015 Western A Final, Falmouth looked to return to the pinnacle and came close. The Yachtsmen stumbled four times in the regular season, but still earned the No. 2 seed in the newfangled Class A South division. Falmouth had no trouble with No. 7 South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport (9-2) in the quarterfinals, then held off third-ranked Thornton Academy (3-2) in the semifinals. The Yachtsmen had a chance to avenge last year’s loss when they met top-ranked Scarborough in the regional final, but Falmouth couldn’t solve Red Storm goalie Ross LeBlond and the season ended with a frustrating 1-0 defeat. With most of this team returning, the Yachtsmen will be one of the favorites in 2016-17.
4) Falmouth, Greely girls’ hockey stopped just shy of states
For much of the season, the Falmouth and Greely girls’ hockey teams were on a collision course in the state final. Until they suddenly weren’t. The Yachtsmen were their usual high-scoring selves, producing 116 regular season goals. They earned the No. 2 seed in the South Region behind Scarborough and put up 11 more goals in a semifinal round win over Cheverus, but unlike a year ago, this time, Falmouth couldn’t solve the Red Storm in the regional final, falling, 5-2. The Rangers were unstoppable in the regular season, winning all 18 games and appeared destined for another state title, but as the top seed in the North Region, after beating Edward Little/Leavitt in the semifinals, Greely couldn’t beat St. Dom’s for a third time, dropping a 5-4 heartbreaker.
3) Another celebratory bath for the Rangers
A Greely girls’ team that did finish the job was swimming, which won Class B for the second year in a row and the seventh time since 1997-98. Again, the Rangers’ depth proved to be the difference, as the 200 freestyle relay team placed first, the 400 free and medley relay teams were runners-up and eight different girls scored in the top eight. There’s no end in sight for this powerhouse.
2) No skiers finer
Every year, Forecaster Country Alpine and Nordic skiers bring home titles in abundance and this winter, there was almost too much to count. In Class A, Falmouth’s girls won the Alpine title, while Alex Shapiro was first in the giant slalom. Falmouth’s Gabby Farrell took the Class A girls’ Nordic skate individual championship. In Class B, Freeport’s boys were first in Nordic, while Yarmouth’s girls swept the Alpine and Nordic titles. In Class C, Maine Coast Waldorf School, formerly known as Merriconeag, continued to excel, sweeping the Nordic championships, while Fiona Ahearne (girls) and Tucker Pierce (boys) won individual crowns in both disciplines. Several local skiers went to compete for the Maine team against top foes from the region.
1) Yarmouth boys’ hockey restores the pride
For 13 seasons, Yarmouth’s proud boys’ hockey team sought to reach the pinnacle that seven Clippers squads managed to reach from 1987 through 2002. Yarmouth almost got back on top last winter, but dropped an overtime heartbreaker to Gorham in the semifinals. This season, the Clippers were special from the first drop of the puck, winning their first seven games, and they would earn the top seed in Class B South. Yarmouth wasn’t about to be stopped in the regional tournament, handling Kennebunk and Gardiner with ease to get to states for the first time since the 2002 squad beat Gardiner in double overtime to bring home its last piece of hardware. The Clippers almost did it again, getting early goals from Patrick Grant and Walter Conrad, but Waterville rallied to tie and in the second overtime, the Purple Panthers broke through and Yarmouth’s championship hopes were dashed in the most agonizing way possible. Fret not, however, the Clippers will get that elusive title and soon.
Yarmouth’s boys’ hockey team celebrated into March this season, ultimately falling just one goal shy of the Class B state title.
Freeport’s boys’ Nordic ski team won the Class B state title last month.
From left: John Giddens, Perrin Davidson, John Smail, Bennett Hight, Kyle Dorsey and Finn Johnston.
Lying down: Nathan Smail.
Sittting: Yacob Olins.
Danita Storey and her Greely girls’ hockey teammates were unbeatable until a stunning and painful loss in the North Region Final.
Falmouth’s girls’ indoor track team won the Class A Sportsmanship Award this winter.