Yarmouth Clippers Winter Athletes of the Year

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2009-10 Winter Male Athlete of the Year:

ETHAN GRAY, Senior-Hockey

* Class B West all-star, second team

* Senior All-Star

Ethan Gray ran the gamut of emotions during his time with the Yarmouth boys’ hockey team.

For three years, Gray and his teammates took their lumps, losing much more often then they won. This winter, however, the Clippers enjoyed a resurgence, made it to the conference final for the first time since the glory years and Gray played a huge role, making timely saves and serving as a tremendous role model.

Clippers Pride had returned and the team’s goalie was a big reason why.

For persevering and for coming up big time and again, Ethan Gray gets The Forecaster’s nod as Yarmouth’s 2009-10 Winter Male Athlete of the Year.

Gray grew up in Yarmouth, well aware of the Clippers legacy. He started playing hockey at a young age and became a goalie in middle school. He joined the varsity team as an undersized freshman, got thrown right into the fire and was part of a squad which made it to the semifinals. His sophomore and junior years were quite different, as Yarmouth won just seven of 38 games.

This winter, Gray and his teammates said enough is enough and became the feel-good story of the season. The Clippers won four of their first five games to earn confidence, then shook off a stretch of one win in nine contests and captured their final four games to earn a playoff spot.

Along the way, Gray had 20 saves versus Westbrook, 20 against defending state champion Greely, 21 against a very good South Portland squad, 40 versus York, 24 in a critical win over Greely, 27 against Portland, 54 in a rematch with York and 36 against Cape Elizabeth. In the regular season-ending four game win streak, Gray stopped 33 shots in a one-goal win over Noble, 18 against Westbrook, 26 versus Leavitt and 14 against Gardiner.

The third-ranked Clippers weren’t given much of a chance against No. 2 Camden Hills in the Western B semifinals, but Gray held the Windjammers at bay for two periods (allowing just one goal) and Yarmouth erupted for three unanswered goals in the third to pull off a stunning upset. Gray finished with 17 saves.

In the regional final versus powerhouse York, the Clippers fell behind 5-1, but Gray didn’t allow a goal from the latter portion of the second period on and Yarmouth rallied to within a goal before falling, 5-4. Gray bowed out with 23 saves.

Gray will play baseball this spring. He’s a member of National Honors Society, is a Boy Scout, soon to be an Eagle Scout, and is weighing his college options.

All is right in Clippers Nation again. A huge reason for the program’s resurgence was the tenacity and ability to rise to the occasion of Ethan Gray, Yarmouth’s 2009-10 Winter Male Athlete of the Year.

Coach Marc Halsted’s comment: “Ethan gets no publicity. He’s not a kid you’d think of as a dominant athlete, but he has a tremendous sense of pride. He was 5-2, 110 pounds as a freshman and started 15 games. He’s not even 130 pounds now. He’s a good student, quiet and respectful. He wanted to finish the right way and he certainly did. He made some big saves. He’s a great character kid.”

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)

2009-10 Winter Female Athlete of the Year:

BECCA BELL, Junior-Skiing

* Class B skimeister state champion

* WMC Nordic All-Star

The Yarmouth girls’ ski program has produced no shortage of standouts (see list below). Few have been as multi-skilled as Becca Bell, who managed to impress both in downhill and cross-country.

This winter, while the Clippers were winning yet another Alpine and combined Class B championship, Bell earned her own unique honor, becoming the Class B skimeister champion as the top skier in all combined Alpine and Nordic races.

She works hard, was solid throughout and really dazzled in the crucible of the championships. For all her accomplishments, as well as her sportsmanship, Becca Bell is The Forecaster’s selection for Yarmouth’s 2009-10 Winter Female Athlete of the Year.

Bell grew up in Yarmouth, a longtime skiing hotbed, and began skiing at a young age. Early on, she focused more on downhill, but soon took to Nordic as well. She trains year-round and while she’s made her mark on the soccer pitch and lacrosse field, her greatest glory to date came this winter on snow.

After a strong regular season, Bell turned her attention to the top opposition in Class B. She was superb in Nordic, finishing second in both the classic and freestyle races at states. Downhill, she came in sixth in the giant slalom and was 11th in the slalom, locking up the skimesiter title.

Bell went on to compete at the Eastern High School championships, coming in 11th in the classic, 15th in the freestyle and 15th in the sprint.

Bell is the founder of Build On and spent time in Africa building a school. She hopes to compete in Nordic skiing or lacrosse in college and should have plenty of suitors.

She has one more season to make her mark, however. Becca Bell, Yarmouth’s 2009-10 Winter Female Athlete of the Year, figures to have a memorable closing act.

Coach Bob Morse’s comment: “Becca is a blast to coach. She’s so focused. She set her goals high and skied hard to obtain them. She has energy, tons of energy and knows when to up her tempo. She’s one of the top skiers in all classes. She’s respected by the skiers on the team for her energy, enthusiasm and expertise. We’re very happy to have such an ace on our team.”

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.