Maine Mayhem recruits new talent, sets 2017 schedule

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The Mayhem are back! Schedule courtesy of Alicia Jeffords.

GORHAM — The Maine Mayhem, the state’s only women’s football team and a proud one at that, recently released their spring 2017 schedule, and members of the organization are looking forward to another successful season.

Mayhem fans will have just one early chance to watch them play at home –  in their opening matchup, vs. the New York Knockout. That game is slated to kick off on Saturday, April 1, at 5 p.m. at Deering High School.

After that, the team will visit the New England Nightmare, the Montreal Blitz and the Connecticut Hawks. A couple of bye weeks sprinkled in the mix mean the Mayhem won’t play in Maine again until mid-May.

The Mayhem debut a batch of new recruits this spring, among them Audrey Grinnell of Scarborough. Grinnell is a rookie to the team and to football in general, but also an accomplished athlete: a Cheverus alum, she went on to play four years of Division I softball for the University of Connecticut.

Grinnell’s experiences as a college athlete, she says, cemented her love of team sports, and drove her to seek out a new challenge when her time on the diamond expired.

“I felt a void when it was over,” Grinnell says of her career as a Husky, “and missed not only the competitive nature of playing sports, but the family aspect of being part of a team as well.”

Theresa Hendrix, Grinnell’s high school best friend and the Mayhem’s quarterback, gets the credit for prodding Grinnell to turn her talents toward the gridiron.

“After talking with [Theresa] and hearing about the team,” Grinnell says, “I decided I would try out. Initially, I was pretty hesitant, since I had never played football before, but the second I stepped on the field for my first practice, I was amazed.”

“The high energy, intensity and passion for the game that my soon-to-be teammates had was astounding,” Grinnell says. “From Day One, they helped break the game down for me so that I could understand our different plays, formations and running routes.

“And, from my teammates to the coaching staff, everyone was extremely welcoming. They’ve gone above and beyond, whether hours before practice or on a day off, to make sure I understood the different elements of the game.”

Ellisha Krutuleski, another fresh face, will play on the offensive and defensive lines.

“I watched the girls preparing during preseason at Train Maine, which is where I train in Olympic weightlifting,” Krutuleski says. “After a month, I was recruited to the team. This team has drive, determination and fun, which is what attracted me to join them. I am excited to learn the game with this group of athletes and play football for the first time ever.”

The Mayhem are excited to get back on the field. Not only do they look forward to competing again, but also to simply being sisters-in-arms.

“The best part of being part of the Mayhem is the team camaraderie,” Hendrix says, “and working with a group of ladies who will push, motivate and drive you to become better on the field and off. Having common goals and working so hard to play your part, and then to see the success of the team, is amazing.”

“I’m excited to be surrounded by such amazing athletes who push each other every day to get better both on and off the field,” says Grinnell. “I’m honored to be putting on the Mayhem jersey this year and can’t wait to get down to business on April 1st.”

Jaimee Gammon, a second-year offensive and defensive lineman from Standish, concurs with her teammates. “The best part,” she says, “is meeting new friends and sharing a bond with them … [and] seeing how good we do against the other teams and improving.”

The Mayhem went 4-4 through in their inaugural season last year, and earned themselves the opportunity to participate in the IWFL’s championship weekend, held in Charlotte, North Carolina, in late July. There, the team won the Affiliate Bowl, crushing the Knoxville Lightning 48-0.

Moreover, Co-Captain Alicia Jeffords and several of her teammates also earned spots in the weekend’s all-star game. Jeffords and Paula Beaulieu took First-Team All-Star honors for their play during the season, and Hendrix, Frankie Curtis and Jessikah Lopez all took Second-Team laurels.

Also of note: the Mayhem are switching leagues this year, from the Independent Women’s Football League to the Women’s Football Alliance. Jeffords, president of the Mayhem organization and a native of Windham who now resides in Gorham, explained the simple motive behind the move:

“We switched to the WFA because there were more WFA teams in our area than there were IWFL teams. Travel would be better and easier on the team. We made the decision based on what was best for our team,” Jeffords said.

The Mayhem are online at mainemayhemfootball.com and facebook.com/mayhemfootball2016/. The team recruits from all over Maine and welcomes women from elsewhere in New England as well. The Women’s Football Alliance is online at www.wfafootball.net.

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

The Mayhem are back!

Schedule courtesy of Alicia Jeffords.

The Maine Mayhem looks forward this spring to improving on their already respectable record from last year, which was their first. 

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