Fall Previews: Gorham

Brooke Greatorex will play a linchpin role for the Lady Rams in their bid to return to States this fall.

Cross Country
Coach: Jason Tanguay
Last year’s record: Boys 7-9, girls 11-5
Key runners returning: Anthony Chase (sr.), Carlos Monsen (sr.), Will Rossignol (sr.), Anna Slager (sr.), Meadow Fortier (sr.), Sarah Johnson (sr.), Jacob Sladen (jr.), Iris Kitchen (so.), Kate Tugman (so.)
Key newcomers: Sierra Lumbert (sr.), Carson Battaglia (so.)
Key matchups: Southern Maine Classic, Festival of Champions, Regionals
Outlook: Both Tanguay’s boys and his girls logged good mileage this summer, but that fact has slightly different ramifications for each squad. In Tanguay’s words, the boys hope to be “more competitive in the league this year”; the Gentlemen Rams battled admirably in 2016, but finished a few notches below .500, meaning they’ve got more headway to make against the field than do their Lady counterparts, who “are excited to see if they can be a top contender in the League this season.” While the boys’ goal is to qualify for States in the top half of the Regionals standings, the girls need only stay healthy to have a respectable shot at the podium.

Field Hockey
Coach: Becky Manson-Rioux
Last year’s record: 10-4-2
Key players lost: Erin Esty, Mary Adams, Jenna Webster, Karen Stemm, Jamie Juskiewicz
Key players returning: Grace DeWitt, Vanessa Berrill, Grace McGouldrick, Jessica Dussuealt, Sarah Stevens, Isis Adams, Molly Bar
Key newcomers: Faith Dillon, Hailey Morrill, Haley Lowell
Key matchups: Marshwood, Falmouth, Biddeford, Cheverus
Outlook: The Lady Rams may have lost several key, skilled athletes to graduation in June, but an even longer list of talent will step in to fill the void. “Gorham varsity field hockey looks to reload this season with 13 returning players from last year, including nine seniors,” says Manson-Rioux. “With speed and depth, the Rams look to consistently play at a high level.” Expect another good season from this squad, which has turned into one of Southern Maine’s most competitive.

Coach: Andy Hager
Last year’s record: 0-8
Key players returning: Jack Niles (QB/DB), Ben Eichner (WR/DB), Hunter Poitras (RB/LB), Matt McKenny (RB/DB), Devin McCaffrey (DE/TE), Cam Caron (TE/DE)
Key newcomers: Ethan Stump (C/LB), Nate Burchill (OL/DL), Zach Davis-Brown (RB/DE), Petyon True (TE/DE)
Key Matchups: Mt. Ararat, Noble, Medomak Valley
Outlook: Gorham has struggled on the gridiron in recent years, but they’re hardly about to take their eyes off the prize. “The Rams return a number of three-year starters who look to help Gorham reestablish its football roots in Southern Maine,” Hager says.

Coach: Scott Nevers (first year)
Last year’s record: 7-3, Class A State Champions
Key players lost: Brandon Desjardin, Marc Yankowsky, Cam Stevens, Jordan Allen
Key players returning: Lucas Roop, Ryan Kaczmarek
Key newcomers: Tyler Haines, Jayden Gaudreau, Peter Boswell, Henry O’Neill, Trevor Loubier
Key matchups: Greely, TA
Outlook: Gorham returns just two starters from last year, but Roop is a true standout, the Maine Junior Champion, which bodes well. And, as Nevers adds, “We have a talented group of juniors behind [Roop and Kaczmarek] who can make an immediate impact this year and next. We will look to compete every match, win our division and qualify for the State Championship at Natanis. If we can be consistent and play to our strengths, we will have a great year.”

Boys Soccer
Coach: Tim King (18th year)
Last year’s record: 16-1-1, lost on penalty kicks to Bangor in State Final
Key players returning: Kyle King (sr., F); Sam Burghardt (sr., F); Garrett Higgins (sr., B); Nick Sturtevant (sr., M); Aaron Farr (sr., D); Andrew Rent (so., M)
Key matchups: Westbrook, Deering, South Portland, Portland, Scarborough, Falmouth
Outlook: “We will look to follow up on a great 2016 season,” says Coach King. Gorham graduated several important contributors in June, but have long been deep; the experience younger Rams gained last year should keep the team very much in the running as this season unfolds. Kyle King returns as the squad’s top scorer, having logged nine goals in 2016; King is a two-time Conference All-Star and an intimidating physical presence. Burghardt moves to forward after playing wing these past two years; Higgins is a skillful back with a knack for shutting down opponents and kicking off counterattacks; Sturtevant is a playmaker, and defends at midfield impressively; Farr will orchestrate the defense for the second straight year; and Rent – well, Rent is a rising star: He earned First-Team All-Conference honors as a freshman last autumn, and this go-round, he makes the jump to middie, giving him the chance to exert his substantial influence across the entire field. Rent is the most notable member of a notable sophomore contingent: “A deep sophomore class will push the upperclassmen and create needed competition during practice sessions,” Coach King says. As always, senior leadership will prove crucial, especially as the fall gets underway: “We’ll be tested by a touch early-season schedule,” Coach King says, “with Westbrook, Deering, SP, Portland and Scarborough.”

Girls Soccer
Coach: Jeanne Zarilli
Last year’s record: 17-1-1; fell to Bangor in OT in State Finals
Key players lost: Emma Smith, Jenna Cowan, Narissa Libby
Key players returning: Michelle Rowe, Avergy Germond, Maddie Hincher, Caitlin Callahan, Brooke Greatorex, Hallie Shiers, Emma Forgues
Key matchups: Scarborough, Windham, Falmouth, Kennebunk
Outlook: “We’re currently a work-in-progress,” says Zarilli, “and hope to compete at the highest level.” Zarilli points especially to Scarborough as the team to beat in 2017, as the Storm lost only one starter to graduation in June. Windham, of course, is always tough, and Falmouth and Kennebunk join the Rams’ conference – the Southwestern Maine Activities Association – this year, making for some fun and interesting new competition. “Playoffs,” Zarilli says, “will be challenging all around – many teams will be contending for titles.” Expect another outstanding run from the Lady Rams.

Coach: Emma Tirrell (first year)
Last year’s record: 10-6
Key players lost: Diana Kolb, Kristen Curley
Key players returning: Meg Perry, Katie O’Donnell, Isabelle Kolb
Key newcomers: Evelyn Kitchen, Haley Burns, Colette Romatis
Key matchups: Scarborough, Biddeford, Deering
Outlook: “This team is so strong and energetic!” Tirrell says. “They have so much potential and team pride. The season has a very positive outlook with lots of success.”

Adam Birt can be reached at abirt@keepmecurrent.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.

Brooke Greatorex will play a linchpin role for the Lady Rams in their bid to return to States this fall.

Hallie Shiers provides a good deal of Gorham’s offensive firepower.