Winter Sports Preview: Fryeburg girls eye deep playoff run

By Lloyd Jones

FRYEBURG — "Tougher, Faster, Smarter" — that's the mantra of the Fryeburg Academy girls basketball team this season.

With no seniors on last year's team, the Raiders return a full cast of characters from last year's playoff team, and are out to make their mark on the hardwood this winter.

Coach Sean Watson is looking forward to his season and eager to see his troops play to their potential.

"I think we may have played the most competitive preseason schedule in the state," he said. "We played all Class AA teams that are all playoff contenders and three might be legitimate State Class AA championship contenders. We lost to South Portland by three, beat Portland by 15, lost to Catherine McAuley by six and got blown out by Cheverus.

"It has been a really good preseason," Watson continued. "We have been dealing with a lot of sickness but hopefully we can put that behind us once we get going on Tuesday."

If the Raiders play as a team good things should happen

"The key to the season will be us playing as a team," Watson said. "We didn't do a very good job of that last year. We need to put the needs of the team first, second, and third. Everyone associated with the program has to be willing to that. That includes players, coaches, and anyone peripherally associated with the program.

"Our motto for the preseason has been 'Tougher, Faster, Smarter.' In order for us to have success we need to be tougher, both physically and mentally, than we were last year. We need to play faster than we did last year. We need to play smarter than we did last year. We also need to be tougher, faster, and smarter than each of our opponents."

In terms of strengths and weaknesses, Coach Watson said there are always areas that can be improved upon, but he likes the fact he has an athletic squad. Many of the Raiders play multiple sports at the Academy.

"The team's strengths would have to include our athleticism and willingness to play at a fast pace," he said. "Our experience should also help. We have a lot of kids that have logged a lot of varsity minutes in their careers.

"Every team has areas where they need to improve and we are no different," he continued. "We need to improve on our full-court defense. We need to be more focused in our transition offense and make sure we run our secondary numbered break off makes and make sure we respond appropriately when we create turnovers and get defensive rebounds."

Fryeburg will unveil a new defense this season.

"We are running a little bit of a more sophisticated defensive scheme this year and we really need to improve our defensive rotations," Watson said. "I am confident we can get to where we need to be."

Fryeburg has a number of talented players, who are not only capable of putting the ball in the basket, but also capable of playing in your face defense and getting on the glass to rebound.

"We have a lot of good players on the team," Watson said. "Some were recognized as all-conference and all-conference honorable mention selections last year (Julia Quinn Second Team, Mackenzie Buzzell Third Team, Alexis L'Heureux-Carland Honorable Mention). But in reality, this is a new season and I hope people focus on our team and what we do together and how we play together. For me, I hope the spectators watch the whole team, one through 11, and keep an eye on how the role players fill their roles. That is the mark of any really good team. I hope that the whole team can be appreciated for their efforts and their value to the team."

Coach Watson will be joined on the sideline this winter by former Fryeburg standout Coreen (Hennessy) Eccleston, who was the varsity assistant last year and returns in that role, in addition to adding the responsibility of being the junior varsity coach. Chris Dutton has joined the staff as a varsity assistant.

The Raiders have one immediate goal, according to Coach Watson.

"Our only goal right now is to play as a team and to play well," he said. "We want to focus on the process and not on the results."

Watson has been impressed by the commitment from his athletes.

"We had a great summer season," he said. "The kids were a joy to coach. We had some really difficult discussions to start the preseason in an effort to avoid some of the unmet expectations from last year. The coaching staff was really happy with the outcome of those discussions. Every single player has agreed to put the team first, second, and third. Every single player has agreed to sacrifice their own individual wants for the benefit of the team. If the players are true to their word, then it will be one heck of a season. I really like every preseason, but I have loved this preseason with this group of committed kids.

"I want to see how we respond to the adversity that every game and season brings," Watson continued. "I want to see if our kids can be true to their words and if we can stick together. I want to see how this all plays out. They have a chance to make this a special season."

 

  • Category: Sports

Lacrosse Eagles can clinch playoff spot

By Lloyd Jones

CONWAY — Currently sitting in 11th place in the Division II standings, the Kennett High boys lacrosse team can clinch a playoff berth with a victory on Tuesday (4 p.m.) when it hosts Oyster River in Gary Millen Stadium.

The top 12 teams in Division II qualify for the post-season.

KHS went 1-1 last week to raise it record to 5-8. The Eagles completed a regular-season sweep of arch-rival Kingswood in Redstone on Wednesday, winning 11-2. Unfortunately, the team couldn't carry that momentum to Bow on Friday. KHS lost 9-2 to the Falcons (4-9), who jumped in 12th place with the win.

Coach Ross Emery was pleased with how his troops played against Kingswood, especially after halftime. The two teams played through a scoreless first quarter. The Eagles got the offense on track in the second period to lead 3-2 at the half.

Kennett outscored the Knights 4-0 in the third and fourth quarters in a stellar second half.

"I was very pleased to see the team ramp up the offensive pressure in the second half," Emery said. "We entered halftime only up 3-2. So it was a tight game until then. Our defense did a great job shutting down Kingswood offense. We put defenseman Robby Moody on their top scorer and closed him off."

Captain Kherry Rober, Brian Baker and Hunter LeBeuf all scored hat-tricks in the win while Dan Nusbaum added a pair of goals.

"It's great to know that we have good depth this year and don't need to rely on any one player to get the job done," Emery said. "We came off a tough game with St. Thomas on Monday having trouble with our clearing transitions but that was all straightened out for the Kingswood game.Tristan Andreani once again had a great game but he told me that he did not feel like he was very tested."

Oyster River (6-6) is ranked ninth in Division II coming into Tuesday's game. The Bobcats beat Kennett 9-7 in Durham on April 28 in a close match. Tuesday is also Senior Day for the Eagles with this year's cast of seniors being recognized prior to game.

"We are hoping for a playoff position," Emery said.

 

  • Category: Sports

MWV Career & Technical Center December Student Spotlight

CONWAY — The Mount Washington Valley Career and Technical Center Student Spotlight recognizes students for achievement in Career & Technical Education programs. These students have demonstrated high levels of technical skill, program involvement through Career and Technical Student Organizations and solid employability skills.

Logan Hagerty

Grade: Sophomore.

Town: Jackson.

Program: Drafting/CAD.

Instructor: Joseph Riddensdale

Instructor recommendation: "I have known Logan Hagerty for the past two years, having served as his drafting teacher and his SkillsUSA Program advisor. Logan is an intelligent, capable, and dedicated young man. Logan is very competitive and shows excellent drafting skills. He is an extremely quick learner that can accomplish any task given to him. Most recently, Logan worked on a class assignment where students were to create a preliminary design of the new White Mountain Aquatic Center for review by the WMAF board. The students presented their design to the board during class. Logan, along with two other students, was chosen to take the recommendations from the board and continue the design process. They will eventually work with the Architect on the final designs for approval."

Maddie Glavin

Grade: Junior.

Town: Freedom.

Program: Graphic Arts.

Instructor: Theresa Sires

Instructor recommendation: "Maddie Glavin is in her second year of photography and video production at the MWV CTC, and in addition to her regularly scheduled class, she is an instructional assistant in another. She is an eager learner and a hard working student with a great attitude. She checks out equipment often to practice outside of class time and has created award winning photographs. She shows up to class with a smile and is always helpful to peers and instructors alike."

Madison Cardillo

Grade: Senior.

Town: Conway.

Program: Marketing.

Instructor: Deirdre Lorway.

Instructor recommendation: "Madison Cardillo works hard in all of her academic classes.  She truly is a role model for her peers.  She is hardworking and caring and this is apparent in everything she does.  She is always positive and willing to help out.  It is a pleasure to have Madison in class and I look forward to hearing about her future success."

Danielle Vizard

Grade: Senior.

Town: Albany.

Program: Hospitality.

Instructor: Deirdre Lorway

Instructor recommendation: "Danielle Vizard is a positive and hardworking student. She is actively involved in school and participates in many extracurricular activities. She is thoughtful, caring, and has an excellent rapport with students and teachers alike. She is always willing to give a hand and has a great attitude. Danielle will be off to college in the fall and I know that she will do great things."

The Mount Washington Valley Career and Technical Center provides relevant, real-life educational experiences to prepare students for entry into post-secondary programs or the workforce. With 11 programs representing local industry employment opportunities students can choose from a wide variety of career paths and training opportunities. For more information visit their website at http://mwvctc.com.

 

  • Category: Sports

DJ Shaw finishes 16th in problematic season-opener

ANDERSON, S.C. – DJ Shaw and the No. 60 Precision JLM Racing team got their 2015 season kicked off at Anderson Motor Speedway in Anderson, S.C. March 22. The "Peach Blossom Special" was the start of the Pro All Stars Series National schedule. The team faced plenty of adversity — they swapped cars twice, and fought through mechanical failures before calling it a night early in the 150 lap event after the brakes failed and ended the race in the 16th position.

The weekend started with the primary car's engine smoking in the first practice. The team turned around quick and rolled out the backup car, and showed plenty of speed throughout practice. However, the team found more engine issues with the backup car and went back to the primary car during the final practices of the day.

After practice the team had to change radiators and turn it around quickly before qualifying. Shaw, who lives in Center Conway, was only able to qualify 16th, but felt like he had a good piece to run the race with.

After just 20 laps, Shaw stormed through the field and cracked into the top five. As soon as he did though, the brakes failed on the 60 Precision JLM car, and Shaw fought brake fade for the rest of the night before bringing the car in for good with 15 laps remaining, finishing in the 16th position.

"We learned a lot about the car this weekend, and I'm glad we were able to get the issues of the way now rather than when we are points racing in the north," Shaw said after the race, "Still it's disappointing because we had a really good car and were just saving our stuff, but we know we were fast and we will be ready for the next one."

The No. 60 Precision JLM Racing car with DJ Shaw will begin their title defense at Oxford Plains Speedway on April 18 for the season-opener of the PASS North Series.

Shaw has had mixed results at Oxford Plains in recent years, but finished second there to secure the championship last fall.

You can follow DJ Shaw and the Precision JLM Racing team at DJShaw60.com, liking Precision JLM Racing on Facebook or by following @djshaw60 on Twitter.

 

  • Category: Sports

Plenty of on ice activity planned for Ham Arena this weekend

CONWAY — There is an exciting weekend in store at the Ham Arena, Jan. 23-25. In cooperation with Conway's 250th Anniversary Winter Carnival celebration, the Ham Arena will be host to several events dedicated to celebrating Conway's history as a winter playground.

First up, this Friday (Jan. 23), from 7:10-9:10 p.m. the Ham Arena will be hosting the Wooden Stick Old Tyme Hockey Game to benefit "End 68 Hours of Hunger" program. Players who want to take to the ice need to raise $25 that will be donated to the local "End 68 hours of Hunger" program. This program sends quality food stuff home with children in need, to bridge the 68 hour gap the weekend poses, to ensure they have sufficient food at home to be healthy and well nourished.

Anyone interested in participating should call the rink at 447-5888 to get on the ice.

"Feed your hockey hunger and feed the hungry at the same time," Chris Perley, general manager of the Ham Ice Arena, said, smiling. "A wooden stick is recommended to harken back to the old days of old time hockey but the game is about raising money for the less fortunate."

On Saturday (Jan. 24), from 12:30-2:30 p.m. the Ham Arena will host a Vintage Public Skate Session. Anyone arriving in a vintage costume will receive a $1 off their public skating admission price. In addition the Mount Washington Valley Skating Club will present a 20-minute show at center ice at 1:10 p.m. Come on down and see the Valley's best skaters and enjoy the ice as well!

Also on Saturday, the Kennett High hockey team will host ConVal at 3 p.m. in its annual Business Appreciation Day beforehand when the Eagles will recognize community members for their continued support. Following the game, the Fifth Annual Skate With the Eagles will take center ice with everyone having the opportunity to skate with the hometown ice hockey team.

Saturday is also Movie Night at the Ham. From 6:10-9:10 p.m., the arena will present one of the finest feel good hockey movies of all time — Disney's "The Mighty Ducks." Folks will be able to glide across the ice while watching a rag-tag group of hockey players overcome adversity and learn all about teamwork. You can watch this hockey classic on the big screen and in full surround sound. This free showing of the The Mighty Ducks comes with a paid admission to the public skate.

"Come enjoy public skating like you've never seen it before," Perley said.

On Sunday (Jan. 25) from 9:30-11 a.m., the Mount Washington Valley Curling Club will present a curling demo at the Ham Arena.

"This unique sport was around when Conway was founded," Perley said. "Come watch and what has been described as 'the most intriguing sport on ice!' All these activities are in honor of Conway's winter heritage. Sports that turn cold and snow into fun for all!"

 

  • Category: Sports