FRYEBURG — Kevin McDonald will take over the Fryeburg Academy outdoor track program this spring from longtime head coach Bill Reilly.
McDonald has coached at the Academy for four years, and has been the indoor track coach for the past two years, so Reilly is handing the reigns over to an experienced leader who has worked with most of the track athletes on the team. The successful Fryeburg Academy track tradition should continue, and the Raiders should continue to produce state caliber performances.
The 2013 Raiders will look to overcome some key personnel losses from their 2012 edition. Corrin Bedell, the Western Maine Conference 200/400 champion, as well as the state champion in the 400, scored a lot of points for the Raiders at the State Meet last year. Sage Hennessey placed in the 100 and 200 at the states, and Laura Pulito was a member, along with Hennessey and Bedell, of the 1,600 relay.
On the boys' side, Scott Pelkie, who placed fourth in the WMC in the shot put, is lost to graduation, while Silas Eastman, state champion in the 1,600, has decided not to pursue his senior year in outdoor track.
Nonetheless, the Raiders still have a host of talented returning athletes. For the girls, Jamie Gullickson returns after placing second in the pole vault at the state meet. Bailey Friedman placed seventh in the shot put at the states, and she also placed in the javelin and discus at the Western Maine Conference meet. Liz Grzyb earned a fifth place in the state in the javelin. Together they should earn the Raiders points at all meets.
For the boys, Forest Stearns placed in the 200 and 400 at WMC meet and sixth in 400 at the State Meet. He also throws the javelin. Eric Hannes will look to continue his rapid improvement in the middle distances, and TJ Rose will lead the Raiders in long distance events. Bright Amaoko represents the Raiders in the triple and high jump, while Walker Mallory will compete in the high jump and throw the discuss. Will Price placed sixth in WMC in the shot put. Andrew Lyman covered all the field events. According to McDonald, all these athletes should be on the podium at State Meet.
McDonald and the Raider coaching staff will also look to develop new talent. McDonald looks to Sage Boivin, Juliet Fink, Sarah Welch, Oriagna Inirio, Anna Lastra, and Emily McDermoth to make an impact this season for the girls. He also believes that Nicolas Maur, Felix Oldin, Winston Richards, Luka Tesan, Elijah Thompson and Patrick Carty will earn points for the boys.
Never one to complicate the matter, McDonald shared his goals for the season, "We want all athletes to improve throughout the year, and we want to advance as many athletes as possible to the State Meet."
Equally as simple, he feels the key to Raider track success this season is to stay injury free. If healthy, McDonald feels that they have a good solid team with most events covered. He enters the season looking for help in the hurdles, but he feels that a number of the 62 members of the talented and young team could emerge this year. He does not believe that it is beyond the Raiders' grasp to qualify twenty or more athletes for the state meet.
McDonald's optimism is apparent in his summative statement regarding the upcoming season, "The athletes are working very hard and fitness is improving. Time will tell, but the coaching staff is very pleased right now."
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 April 2013 00:37
The Eagles opened the season against the iron of Division III lacrosse, traveling to Derryfield School, who went 14-0 last spring and reached the DIII finals, in a match that was moved south because the fields at the high school remain unplayable. For Derryfield, who was not only playing its second match of the season, but the hosts have been on their field since the start of spring sports last month, it ran its record to 2-0 with an 18-3 victory.
Kennett had been scheduled to open the season in Gilford, who went 10-4 last season and won the championship in 2011, two days earlier but weather postponed the contest to May 1.
It's been a rough preseason for the Eagles who have been relegated to training in school parking lots due to the lack of available fields because of the late spring. Late last week marked the first time off paving when the team was able to train on a quarter of a regulation sized field.
"It's been tough for the guys," Jared Doherty, Eagles' head coach, said. "We haven't been able to scrimmage or do a lot. We were supposed to scrimmage with Fryeburg Academy last week but their field was still under snow. It would be nice if we had a few more days to get ready, but we don't."
Doherty, a Kennett alumni, is now in his third year at the helm of the Eagles. Doherty was a standout player and former two-year captain of the UMass lacrosse team. He was an outstanding defenseman for the Minutemen.
Doherty will have help on the sidelines this spring from assistant coach Garrett Meador and Ross Emery, who will coach the junior varsity, too.
"I'm lucky with the help we have," Doherty said. "Both know a ton about the sport and are invested in the program, they'll be a big help."
Coaches welcomed 36 players out for the program last month. It's a little down from 45 last year, but a number of players opted to play in the Mount Washington Valley Lacrosse Club's U-15 program. The Eagles lost 10 seniors from last year's 4-10 club in Matt Kelly, Matt Halupowski, Kevin Murphy, Mikey Emanuelson, Jesse Wheeler, Gabe Lee, Ryan Cottrell, Ben Emery, Chris King and Tucker Paven.
"We lost a lot of people," Doherty said, "but we also have a lot of good young players coming up through the system."
Doherty is looking for two freshmen to contribute significantly this spring in Kherry Rober, who can play anywhere on the field; and Tristan Andreani, who play goalie and could be a four year starter in that position for KHS.
"I'm really excited about both of them," Doherty said.
Doherty also believes the Kennett defense will be solid with senior Conor McDonald anchoring the squad along with defensive captain Mitchell Yanha, who has had a strong preseason for the Eagles.
In the midfield, captains Gabe DeFeo and Alex Fauver provide experience, speed and solid leadership.
Up front, senior Anthony LaRusso, also a captain, is expected to lead the Eagles in scoring and has a real nose for the net.
"We're counting on him to show the younger kids how to run the offense and to be a leader on the field," Doherty said.
Cal Bennett, who was the junior varsity captain for two years, has been named an assistant captain in this his junior year. He will also play in attack with LaRusso.
As for a team strength, Coach Doherty likes what he sees. "I think it's our heart," he said. "All of our kids know what they have going against them like not having a field this preseason and being so young, but they're overlooking those things and concentrating on the task at hand which is getting ready for (Derryfield)."
Doherty has a passion for the sport.
"I've been looking forward to this season since last year after the final game," he said, smiling. "...For the season outlook, we have a few team goals that we look to achieve. The most important part of playing is having fun. By the team having fun together the game will become more of a instinct than a thinking game and this will translate into better team unity and also will increase team wins which makes the game that more fun.
"Secondly, we want everyone to improve their skills from last season," he continued. "I think we can continue to build the program from a wins standpoint. I wouldn't be surprised to see us win seven or eight games. Above all I want our kids to be betty players at the end of the season than when they started."
The final team goal is sportsmanship.
"It's important to be good sports," Doherty said. "I do not take or accept any unsportsmanlike behavior and have stressed the importance of sportsmanship. Every time we take to the field I want us to do it with class and respect. I really want to see us win the sportsmanship award."
Lacrosse has taken off in the Mount Washington Valley with youth programs drawing large numbers. It's something that bodes well for the sport at the high school level.
"We have a great youth program in Mount Washington Valley Lacrosse Club," Doherty said. "Everyone is doing a great job of getting on the same page at the lower levels. By the time they come to us as freshman they're ready to go; it's only going to help strengthen the program."
Next up for the Eagles is a scheduled home match this Friday (4 p.m.) against arch-rival Kingswood.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 April 2013 00:28
"It's not what we hoped for," Peter Ames, Eagles' head coach, said. "I would have thought we'd have been out on our field by now, but there's still ice on it and frost in the ground. It's not been a lot of fun practicing in the gym and parking lots every day. ... It's not just here at the school, we haven't been able to find a field around here that we could get on. In the past, there's always been something open up early, but not this year."
The Eagles played just one exhibition game, down at Moultonborough, and it marked the lone time they'd been on a diamond this spring.
"We were pretty shaky in the first couple of innings, but I think we played better the last few innings," Ames said. "We ended up in a 9-9 tie. It was okay, we were able to get some people at-bats. Defensively we struggled early — we threw the ball around a little bit and missed some grounders, otherwise we were okay, we just weren't as aggressive as I would have liked.. We got to face a pitcher who throws fairly hard, it was just good to be outside and on a field."
Kennett opened the regular season last week with a 5-4 loss in Dover to St. Thomas. The Eagles followed that setback up with a 7-2 victory on the road at Oyster River on Monday. The girls from Conway, who played at Kingswood on Wednesday (results not known as of press time), will close out the week on the road at Plymouth on Friday, weather-permitting.
It's the first time KHS has opened a season with four straight road contests. Kennett is slated to play its fifth game away from the friendly confines on Monday with a trek to Berlin.
The Eagles will play their home opener on Wednesday (April 24 at 4 p.m.) when arch-rival Kingswood is slated to come to town. The game, of course, is weather-dependent.
The Eagles, who were among the youngest teams in the state last year, took their fans on a great ride all the way to the state championship game in which they fell 1-0. They ought to once again be a force to reckon with as a number of veterans return to the nest.
Ames, who is just eight victories away from the 400 win milestone, believes the Eagles will be solid this spring.
"I think we'll get better as everyone kind of gets experience," he said. " I think we'll be okay. It's hard to judge at this point because some of it depends on the people who we play. White Mountain, St. Thomas, Plymouth, Portsmouth and Merrimack Valley all figure to be pretty good. If we can get some bounces to go our way we should win our share of games. ...We're a lot like we were last year, we're not head and shoulders better than anyone, but we'll be competitive."
The Eagles should be in good shape in the pitching department with the return of senior Shelby Hill and junior Vonde Saunders who handled those duties last year and got better and better as the season went on. Saunders threw four innings of no-hit ball while striking out six in the scrimmage last week.
"I think they push each other to get better which is good for us," Ames said.
The pitchers will have a new target to throw to this spring. Senior co-captain Jordyn Moore is making the move from the hot corner at third base to behind the plate as the new catcher.
"It's an adjustment, but Jordyn is doing well," Ames said. "She blocked balls well in the scrimmage. I think she'll come along as the season progresses."
Fellow co-captain Lauren White, who just got medical clearance on Friday from a concussion sustained during basketball season, should be among the top if not the most feared power hitters in Division II this season. The four-year starter returns to first base.
Sophomore Gwynn McGinley opened at second base after playing a utility role last year while freshman Caroline Jaeger is could also see action there.
Fellow sophomore Erin Milford is back at shortstop and the sure-handed fielder is expected to create havoc on the base paths with her speed.
Third base had two freshmen — Victoria Burns and Jaeger — vying for the spot and Coach Ames has been pleased with the play of both. They each had a hit at Moultonborough.
The outfield looks solid with all three starters returning. The speedy Jordan Murphy will be in left-field with Alyssa Tetreault in right and Kaylin Samia, who led Division II in batting average and on-base percentage last year as a sophomore, roaming in centerfield. Rachel Samia is capable of playing any of the outfield spots as well as in the infield, providing versatility that Ames likes.
"I think defensively we'll be pretty good," Ames said. "... We should score some runs, too. Lauren, Jordyn and Kaylin are all very good hitters and Jordan, Erin and Alyssa give us a lot of speed which I think will help us manufacture runs if we need to."
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 April 2013 00:25
FRYEBURG — As one of the premier softball programs in the state, Fryeburg Academy has earned the reputation as a team that simply reloads and does not ever have to rebuild. When you win five straight Western Maine Championships and three state championships in five years, the means by which you measure success is different than it is for most teams.
Fred Apt, architect of the Raiders' success, is now in his 13th season, and he knows that the Raiders enter the season as the team in everyone's sights again.
The 2012 season ended with the Raiders losing to Old Town in the state championship game 4-1. Their 15-1 regular season and 18-2 overall record reflect the Raiders' dominance. The Raiders will have to fill some positions due to graduation at second and third base, as well as right field, but they have another strong nucleus returning. Not many schools – if any – return the number of honored players that the Raiders will put on the field.
Carla Tripp, a first team WMC and all-state catcher, as well the WMC Player of the Year, is among the best players in Maine. Centerfielder Maddie Pearson and pitcher Sarah Harriman were both first team Western Maine Conference selections, and there is no reason to suspect that they will not repeat their performances. Harriman, in a sport where pitching is the key to success, can be dominant, and she instantly makes the Raiders a contender for a state championship. Together Tripp and Harriman likely combine to make up the strongest battery in the state.
The Raiders will also return first baseman Kylie Locke, shortstop Sydney Charles, and left fielder Ellen Bacchiocchi, who are all strong varsity players, but whose contributions may be overlooked at times beside their highly honored teammates. Their consistent and strong performances will be key to the Raiders' success.
Apt will look to work newcomers Kristen Chipman, Elle Burbank, and Makayla Frost into the mix this year. Chapman will play third, while Burbank and Frost will play utility roles depending on where their services are needed.
Apt knows that the Raiders have a strong returning cast and some potentially key newcomers, but he also knows that last year's success only puts a bull's eye on them.
Last year's performance will not get them where they want to go this year. The Raider lineup will have less experience in places than Apt is used to having on his club, but he feels that the team will grow and find their own identity. The simply stated brand of this successful program is captured in his statement of the team's goal this year.
Apt summed up his hopes. "We want to get better each and every day we are on the field."
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 April 2013 00:04
FRYEBURG — The Fryeburg Academy boys' tennis team enters this season having gone winless last year, but it does not faze coach Justin Chaffee. Now entering his third year as head coach of the boys' varsity tennis program, Chaffee made his outlook on last year clear immediately.
"Every year is a fresh start," he said, "and this year we have a great blend of new additions and returning players."
In addition to being winless last year, the Raiders lost their No. 1 singles player, Barrett Wilson. Nevertheless, three newcomers to the program will dramatically change the Raider fortunes according to Chaffee. Knowing how quickly his team could turn their fortunes around, Chaffee is optimistic.
"We have potentially the best singles lineup since I have been coaching," he said. "I think our singles can challenge any team."
Jamie Berned earned the No. 1 singles position this spring. Pavle Bulatovic will start in the No. 2 slot, and Alex Lazic will be in the third singles spot. Chaffee feels their games are very similar, both in their strengths and their areas where they need to improve.
"My singles players have strong serves and forehands," he said. "Their backhands we will try to get more solid, and they need to be able to hit with more topspin. They have good first serves, but need to work on second serves."
Jonathan Burke and Milos Mitic will combine in the first doubles pairing, and seniors Kevin Yeh and Brandt Xiang will be strong in the No. 2 doubles lineup. Chaffee feels his doubles pairings will provide strength for them in team play.
"Our depth has improved a lot, and with the return of Kevin Yeh and Brandt Xiang at doubles, along with the new pairing of athletic duo of Milos and Jonathan, I think we can rise to the challenges that the season will present us."
Although all the singles team members are newcomers, which can sometimes create problems with chemistry, Chaffee likes the makeup of the group.
"We have a great group of kids," he said, "they get along well, and are passionate about the game. Everyone on the team has the desire to improve. This with their desire to be out here is a huge strength and something that is great to see."
The route to achieving their goals as a team is to improve individually according to Chaffee. So he makes the goals for the team pretty individualistic in nature.
"I'd like to help every player on the team learn how to improve a stroke, whether it's getting a weaker stroke better, or making a strong stroke stronger," he said. "Secondly, I think the mental aspect of the game is huge, so I would like to teach the team to have a game plan when going out on the court. I also want them to learn how to change their game plan during the match if something isn't going well. It's not always an easy thing to do, and it comes with experience, but when they are able to capitalize on this and take it into action, it's a thing of beauty."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 April 2013 23:46