Yarmouth Clippers Winter Athletes of the Year

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2010-11 Winter Male Athlete of the Year:

LUKE PIERCE, Senior-Basketball

* WMC All-Star, second team

* WMC All-Academic team

* WMC Senior All-Star

* Bob Butler Award finalist

* Maine McDonald’s Senior All-Star

* Team captain

In the opinion of many, basketball is Luke Pierce’s third sport.

This winter, Pierce reminded everyone that the sport or the season doesn’t matter, he’s simply the most dynamic athlete to be found.

This winter, Pierce and his teammates took Yarmouth to the regional final for the first time since 1974. Along the way, he led by example, led vocally and most of all, showed the way with his breathtaking play on the court.

For scoring, rebounding, stealing and shotblocking the Clippers into the history books and for serving as a model student-athlete, Luke Pierce is The Forecaster’s choice for Yarmouth’s 2010-11 Winter Male Athlete of the Year.

Pierce, who also won the Fall Male Athlete of the Year award after leading the Clippers boys’ soccer team to its second Class B crown in three seasons, grew up playing basketball, along with soccer and baseball. While hoops has never been his favorite sport, his natural athleticism allowed him to enjoy great success.

Pierce joined the varsity team at the end of his freshman year and did little more than bring water to his teammates in the semifinals, Yarmouth’s first trip there in 35 years. He became a starter as a junior and played an integral role this winter as the Clippers rose from the ranks of expected also-ran to near-champion.

Pierce perhaps made his biggest impact during a timeout in the fourth quarter of a season-opening win at Poland. Yarmouth found itself in a much closer game than expected, but Pierce (who only had nine points in the contest) took over for coach Adam Smith and implored his team to improve its play. The Clippers went on to win by 13 points.

Other highlights included 17 points and 10 rebounds in a romp over Fryeburg, 21 versus Wells, 20 against Freeport, 19 points, eight boards and eight assists in a second game against Poland, 15 points in Yarmouth’s first win at Greely in memory and 18 in the regular season finale, at Gray-New Gloucester.

Perhaps Pierce’s most dazzling play came in a win at home versus Falmouth. Pierce, who only had seven points and missed several layups, raced from nowhere to make a stunning block on an attempted layup as the Yachtsmen were trying to rally late. That one play summed up his competitiveness and athleticism like nothing else.

In a quarterfinal round win over Mountain Valley, Pierce had 14 points, nine rebounds, three steals and a blocked shot. Against top-ranked Greely in the semis, Pierce keyed a comeback victory with 18 points, three boards, two steals and a block. That win sent Yarmouth to its first regional final in 37 years. There, despite the foul-plagued Pierce’s nine points, four rebounds and three steals, the Clippers were eliminated by Cape Elizabeth.

Following the season, Pierce received conference and state honors.

Not too shabby for his third sport.

Pierce, an honors student, is now gearing up for his final baseball season. He’ll play centerfield this spring in preparation for playing in college at Williams College.

Get out and check out this great talent while you can. Luke Pierce, Yarmouth’s 2010-11 Winter Male Athlete of the Year, is simply amazing.

Coach Adam Smith’s comment: “Luke brings so much intensity. He’s a huge part of our energy and effort. The kids look up to him. He’s just a natural-born leader. He’s humble and brought a lot of lessons to the kids and coaches. You talk about him as a great human being and athlete. It’s how he conducts himself on and off the court.”

2009-10 winner: Ethan Gray (Hockey)

2008-09 winner: Cam Woodworth (Skiing)

2007-08 winner: Jack Gross (Skiing)

2006-07 winner: Lucas Denning (Basketball)

2005-06 winner: Jack Gross (Skiing)

2004-05 winner: Pat Delaney (Hockey)

2003-04 winner: Ben Swardlick (Skiing)

2002-03 winner: Gunnar Hagstrom (Basketball)

2001-02 winner: Jay Fletcher (Hockey)


2010-11 Winter Female Athlete of the Year:

BECCA BELL, Senior-Skiing

* Class B skimeister state champion

* WMC Nordic All-Star

* WMC Academic All-Star

* Team captain

The powerhouse Yarmouth girls’ ski program enjoyed another sensational season this winter, winning Class B titles in Alpine, Nordic and combined.

Playing a huge role in that effort, both on the slopes and trails, was senior Becca Bell, who fittingly bowed out by parlaying her individual excellence into great heights for her team.

She has long been one of her school’s best athletes, regardless of the season, is a top-notch student and made the most of her final high school ski campaign, all of which convinced The Forecaster to select Becca Bell as Yarmouth’s 2010-11 Winter Female Athlete of the Year.

Bell, who also won the award last winter, began skiing at a young age, concentrating more on Alpine racing, but she began Nordic in middle school and has become quite a standout on the trails as well..

Bell, the Class B skimeister champion a year ago, has impressed on the soccer pitch in the fall and in lacrosse in the spring, but skiing has brought her the greatest glory.

That continued this winter as Bell was solid from start to finish, helping add to the overcrowded Yarmouth trophy case.

Bell was at her best in the postseason. At the Western Maine Conference Nordic championship meet, Bell came in second in the classic and third in the freestyle. At the WMC Alpine meet, she was 13th in the slalom and 16th in the GS and easily took conference skimeister honors.

At states, Bell was fourth in the Alpine slalom and seventh in the GS, fourth in the Nordic classic and 10th in the freestyle to roll to the skimeister title.

Bell is the vice president of the YHS senior class, founded the Build-On Club in Mali, Africa, has traveled to Honduras with her church group and is a member of Class Council and Interact Club. She plans to ski in college and is interested in pursuing medicine as a career.

There have been plenty of great skiers in our midst in recent years, but few have featured the skill on the slopes and trails, combined with academics and intangibles like Becca Bell, Yarmouth’s 2010-11 Winter Female Athlete of the Year.

Coach Bob Morse’s comment: “As I have stated many times, Becca is the perfect example of the ultimate skimeister. Becca is dedicated to skiing and she has always touched base with me to make sure that she has a practice schedule that meets her needs as well as the needs of the team. Becca has been a captain who leads by example as she generates confidence in her teammates. I will always remember Becca for saying ‘Sorry, Morse, but I think I’m going to train Alpine today’ and I would always say, ‘Becca, you never have to apologize to me.’ Why? Well, it was after Becca’s sophomore year that I realized that she was on a mission to become a state skimeister champion. Becca’s primary goal was to make sure that she spent equal time with her Alpine and Nordic teammates. I will miss the spirit and dedication and enthusiasm that she brought to the ski team.”

2009-10 winner: Becca Bell (Skiing)

2008-09 winner: Lauren Stackhouse (Skiing)

2007-08 winner: Julianna Lord (Skiing)

2006-07 winner: Molly Hallweaver (Skiing)

2005-06 winner: Meredith Shaw (Basketball)

2004-05 winner: Aylie Baker (Basketball)

2003-04 winner: Kalie Dunn (Skiing)

2002-03 winner: Emily Poole (Skiing)

2001-02 winner: Emily Erickson (Basketball)

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