Fall Previews: Windham

Carlee Richmond will play a crucial defensive role for Windham this fall.

Cross Country
Coach: Jeff Riddle
Last year’s results: Boys fourth at States, girls narrowly missed States
Key runners returning: Kevin Ingalls (sr.), Wyatt Yost (sr.), Hunter Dionne (sr.), Jaren Preston (sr.), Callean Frechette (sr.), Mitch Budroe (sr.), Mason Rosborough (jr.), Connor Abbotoni (jr.), Zach Harris (jr.), Morgan Colangelo (jr.), Abigail Clinch (jr.), Mikayla Baiguy (jr.), Calry Witherow (jr.), Jordan Piechowski (so.), Hailey Applebee (so.), Hannah Langstaff (so.), Anna Foster (so.)
Key matchups/meets: Wilkinson Memorial Two-Miler, Lake Region Invitational, Southern Maine Classic, Festival of Champions, SMAA Second Seven, Regionals
Outlook: Riddle describes his staff’s approach to training the Eagles: “As XC Coaches, our goals are to progress our student-athletes to meet or exceed our pre-season outlook hopes. We offer an opportunity for each runner to progress on their timeline, get mentally and physically strong, stay injury free, and compete with everything they learn and earn. The kids know that each of the top 10 spots on the team are coveted and fully earned positions, and that these positions can be interchanged weekly as all improve and get stronger by the day. We train to race negative splits within a race, topography dependent, and we forward run our races to the finish which is no easy skill to conquer. We will implement our progressive training plan and support our athletes as they compete weekly to best perform for WHSXC.” On the boys side of things, graduation in June claimed two critical runners from Windham’s lineup – namely, Ben Breton and Jeremy Bennett, who led the team all the way to New Englands in 2016. That means the remaining Gentlemen Eagles will have some big running shoes to fill this fall. Among the Lady Eagles, Applebee is the true standout; she qualified for States in 2016 (as a freshman!) and finished eighth in Class A. She then moved on to New Englands, where she placed 16th. In short, she can be expected to turn in excellent times throughout 2017 as well.

Field Hockey
Coaches: Cory DiDonato (head), Kate Griffin, Kassie Skvorak
Last year’s record: 6-1-7
Key players returning: Grace Sawyer (G), Lauren Talbot (M), Julia Libby (M), Chloe Wilcox (D), Carlee Richmond (D), Jessica Meyer (D)
Key newcomers: Whitney Wilson (M), Callie Fielding (F), Shyler Fielding (F)
Key matchups: Gorham, Westbrook
Outlook: DiDonato is optimistic following a spate of promising practices and scrimmages leading into the regular season, and suspects her girls’ fire might burn all the way through to playoffs. “We look really strong coming off preseason,” she says. “We have a young, hungry team which will hopefully propel us further into the postseason. All players on the team play a vital role and are ready to show what they’re made of. I’m excited to see where we go!”

Coach: Matt Perkins
Last year’s record: 6-4
Key players lost: Ben McDonald, Desmond Leslie, Kyle Houser, Griffen Hebert
Key players returning: Tanner Bernier, Nate Watson, Justin Labrecque, Tanner Grover, Connor McInnis, Anthony Kilgallon, Marcus Canty, Nazari Henderson
Key matchups: Bonny Eagle, Portland, Scarborough
Outlook: “We’ve been to the Northern Maine Final three years in a row and think we have the players to compete again for the conference,” Perkins says. “We’re excited about our team’s work ethic and commitment.” Perkins and Co. are always tough; 2017 should prove no exception. The team has standing rivalries with both Bonny Eagle and Portland; fans should be sure to get out and catch those bouts.

Coach: Adam Manzo
Last year’s record: 2-8
Key players returning: Evan Millett (sr., Captain)
Key newcomers: Ryan Walker (jr.), Evan Glicos (so.)
Key matchups: Gorham, Greely, TA
Outlook: “This team will be looking to make some noise in a highly competitive division that features perennial state-tourney-bound teams such as Gorham, Greely, and TA,” says Manzon, “and certainly has the potential to be highly competitive (themselves) after a down year last season.” Millett, who garnered Second-Team All-Conference laurels in 2016, is the lone player remaining from the Eagles squad that qualified for States two years back; he finished strong last season as a junior, shooting 85 at the States Qualifier. Walker is a transplant from Lake Region and a solid golfer as well; he brings to the Eagles additional postseason experience at the States level. 2017 could be a respectable year for Windham; fans should keep their eyes peeled for happy results.

Boys Soccer
Coach: Wally Leblanc
Last year’s record: 2-12
Key players lost: Jaden Petty, Isaiah Connors, James Mannette, Zach DeFosse, Jacob Frost
Key players returning: Nick Rose, Alex Wilkins, Tyler Woolston, Andrew Sawyer
Key matchups: Bonny Eagle, Noble, Westbrook, Massabesic, Sanford
Outlook: “As always, we look to learn from last year’s failures and build on last year’s successes,” says Leblanc. “Our goal is to qualify for playoffs, something we haven’t achieved in a few years.” Leblanc identifies the Scots, the Knights, the Blazes, the Mustangs and the Spartans as the real outfits his boys will need to triumph over to reach the postseason.

Girls Soccer
Coach: Deb Lebel
Last year’s record: 11-3-3
Key players returning: Maggie Symonds (sr., F); Sara Barrett (sr., D); Kaitlyn Roberts (sr., G); Bell Skvorak (jr., D), Allison Kirby (jr., M)
Key matchups: Gorham, Scarborough, Falmouth
Outlook: The Lady Eagles bowed out, somewhat surprisingly, in the tourney semifinals last year, falling to longtime rivals Scarborough. Naturally, the team – which won back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014 – is looking to climb back atop the heap. “We’re still putting the puzzles pieces together to build off all of our player strengths,” says Lebel. “We hope to be in the playoff mix again this year.” To that end, Lebel highlights Symonds and Barrett as standouts – both earned All-Conference honors in 2016 – and her incoming crop of freshmen, who’ll “bring speed and add depth to the team,” thus rounding them out.

Coach: Chris Cloutier
Last year’s record: 7-7
Key players returning: Megan Fleck, Morgan Proulx, Samantha Gosselin, Sierre Guite
Key newcomers: Alexis Budroe, Lydia Budroe
Key matchups: Scarborough, Gorham, Cape Elizabeth, Yarmouth
Outlook: The MPA has rejiggered its volleyball class structure for 2017, and Cloutier figures the Lady Eagles will fare well under the new setup. The team is young, but sporting “tons of talent,” per Cloutier’s words. “With few returning seniors,” he says, “Windham will rely on its young players for a successful season.”

Due to technical complications, cross country coach Jeff Riddle could not respond with information about the boys team in time. 

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

Carlee Richmond will play a crucial defensive role for Windham this fall.

Maggie Symonds, seen here in a 2016 bout vs. Cheverus, returns this fall to help keep her girls atop the Southern Maine heap.