Spring Previews: Gorham

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Baseball
Coach: Chuck Nadeau
Last year’s record: 17-3, SMAA Champions, fell to Cheverus in tournament semifinals
Key players lost: Logan Drouin (P), Jason Komulainen (C)
Key players returning: Ben Nelson (sr., SS); Kyle King (sr., 3B); Nolan Brown (sr., CF); David Drew (sr., OF); Brogan McDonald (sr., C); Will Prescott (sr., 2B); Lucas Roop (sr., LF)
Key matchups: Westbrook, Falmouth, Kennebunk

Outlook: Gorham logged a banner season last year, and though they lost some serious talent to graduation in June — Drouin and Komulainen are both freshmen on the USM roster now — they also retained great players. Nelson, King and Drew all garnered SMAA First Team honors in 2017, while Brown earned Second Team honors and McDonald Honorable Mention.

“We have a very experienced group of young men who have had success not only in baseball but in other sports at Gorham High School as well,” Nadeau says. “I expect that we will be competitive, but our ability to challenge the top teams in the SMAA and to go deep into tournament play will depend on how effectively we develop a competitive pitching staff.”

Nadeau picks his key matchups based on his love of the game: “We have scheduled a fun game for the communities of Gorham and Westbrook for Monday, May 21 at 7 p.m. at St Joseph’s College…[And] the SMAA also welcomes Falmouth and Kennebunk back this season, so it will be fun to play those programs for the first time in a few years.”

Girls Lacrosse
Coach: Mary Guimond
Last year’s record: 8-6, fell to eventual State Champions Massabesic in the tournament semifinals
Key players returning: Bridget Rossignol (sr., A); Brooke Greatorex (sr., D); Sarah Walker (jr., D); Hallie Shiers (jr., M); Hailey Morrill (jr., M); Carson Battaglia (so., M); Faith Dillon (so., A)
Key matchups: Kennebunk, Greely, Massabesic, Marshwood, TA

Outlook: Last spring, the Lady Rams won their first playoff game in six years; this time around, they look to push themselves to even higher heights. “We’ll rely on our grit, speed and athleticism to compete with the best teams in the State,” Guimond says.

With the reshuffling of the classes, Gorham sees a number of fresh opponents, this year, including heavy-hitters Kennebunk and Greely. Massabesic, Marshwood and TA, of course, are perennially tough. Happily, Gorham brings a batch of serious competitors to the turf. Rossignol earned SMAA Second Team laurels in 2017, for instance. Dillon wins many a draw and picks up many a ground ball, while Walker forces frequent turnovers. Shiers, Morrill and Battaglia are all quick and intense.

Boys Outdoor Track
Coach: Jason Tanguay (ninth year)
Last year’s results: 13th at SMAAs, 22nd at Class A States
Key athletes returning: Jason Catoggio (sr., Pole Vault); Anthony Chase (sr., distance); Luke Gowen (sr., sprints); Garrett Higgins (sr., jumps); Wil Rossignol (sr., distance); Dylan Lamont (jr., Racewalk); Simon Roussel (jr., sprints/jumps); Wes Brinegar (so., hurdles/jumps); Ryan Farr (so., sprints/jumps); Tyler Rollins (so., sprints); Andrew Tinkham (so., distance)
Key newcomers: Aidan Bell (fr., jumps/sprints); Reed Henderson (fr., distance); Nate Smith (fr., hurdles/jumps)
Key matchups: Bonny Eagle, Westbrook

Outlook: As his roster grows longer and more experienced, Tanguay grows more optimistic. “We are looking at one of our largest boys teams in the past many years, with nearly 50 athletes out so far,” he says. “Many of these competitors are new to the sport, or freshman, so our success will rely on the progress made by these inexperienced athletes. We do return many scorers from last year so I am looking for us to be somewhere in the middle of the pack in the League with hopes of moving up from there.”

Girls Outdoor Track
Coach: John Caterina (30th year)
Last year’s results: Sixth at SMAAs, 10th at Class A States
Key athletes returning: Hayley Bickford (sr., Racewalk); Meadow Fortier (sr., middle distance); Alexis Fotter (sr., hurdles/sprints); Sarah Johnson (sr., middle distance); Maddie Rossignol (sr., sprints/Pole Vault); Anna Slager (sr., distance); Lauren Barden (jr., Pole Vault); Avery Germond (jr., sprints); Evelyn Kitchen (jr., jumps/Javelin); Sara Slager (jr., Javelin); Iris Kitchen (so., distance); Stef Meacham (so., Racewalk); Kate Tugman (so., distance); Quinn Young (so., jumps)
Key newcomers: Nevaeh More (fr., sprints)
Key matchups: Scarborough

Outlook: “Gorham has a veteran team with lots of talent this year,” says Caterina. “After successful XC and indoor track seasons, Gorham should be considered a contender for both SMAA and Class A honors along with Cheverus, Scarborough and Thornton Academy.”

In fact, the Red Storm’s consistently high caliber is Caterina’s reason for selecting them as the Rams’ key opponent: “Regular season matchups with Scarborough are always a good indication of team strengths,” he says.

Anna Slager, long a team leader, returns as a constant, a scorer in the longer runs in practically every competition she enters. Fortier, Iris Kitchen and Kate Tugman likewise frequently rank well. That particular foursome set a new state record in the 4×800 during the indoor season, and are a favorite as the spring dawns, too. Bickford and Meacham should both figure prominently in the SMAA Racewalk, raking in further points for the Rams. “If Gorham can continue to improve in the sprints and hurdles, they will be a top threat at the league and State Meet levels,” Caterina says.

Softball
Coach: Renee Whipkey
Last year’s record: 10-8, fell to eventual State Champions Scarborough in the tournament quarterfinals
Key players returning: Grace McGouldrick (sr., P/SS); Shay Harris (sr., 1B/3B); Kiana Tracey (so., 3B)
Key matchups: Scarborough, Portland, Noble

Outlook: “One of our major team goals this year is to make it past the quarterfinals,” Whipkey says, “something Gorham has not accomplished in a while. To do this, we hope to be competitive in every game and stay focused throughout the whole season.”

Whipkey’s seniors are a stalwart bunch, in part because they’re battle-hardened, but also because they’re skilled. McGouldrick, for instance, is one of the top threats in the SMAA, both on the mound and in the batter’s box: She hit .645 last year with 30 runs, 22 RBIs and 10 steals, earning SMAA First Team honors and a slot on the Maine Sunday Telegram’s All-State team.

“This young lady has had an amazing softball career at GHS and will be a strong leader for this team,” Whipkey says of McGouldrick (who will be joining the UMO squad next year).

Harris hit .327 last spring, garnering SMAA Honorable Mention for herself, while Tracy swung a .294. “[Kiana’s] bat really started coming alive towards the second half of the season,” Whipkey says. “[She’ll] be a younger player I think is worth keeping an eye on.”

Whipkey looks forward to seeing Scarborough, Portland and Noble in particular, as they return some of the State’s best pitchers. “We play these teams in the first two weeks of our regular season,” she says, “so we hope we can have a strong start.”

Boys Tennis
Coach: Aaron Landry
Last year’s record: 8-4, fell in quarterfinals to TA
Key players lost: Thomas Matthews (first singles), Connor Sweat (second singles), Ryan Firmin (first doubles), Dylan Weeks (first doubles)
Key players returning: Sean Pocock (sr.), Jayden Gaudreau (jr.)
Key newcomers: Andrew Brent (fr.), Dom Garcia (fr.)
Key matchups: Falmouth, TA, Deering, Cheverus, Scarborough

Outlook: “We hope to have a similar season to last year,” Landry says. “We lost the top two on the ladder for singles. Jayden will be moving to one; we’re still trying to sort out the singles positioning at two and three. We should be competitive at doubles. After the senior doubles team of Aaron Farr and Jon Scribner, we have lots of youth and inexperience lower on the ladder, but athleticism as well. We look to improve and come on strong later in the season.”

Girls Tennis
Coach: Nicole Bergeron
Last year’s record: 12-2
Key players lost: Whitney King (third singles), Jenna Cowan (second singles), Delaney Burns (first doubles), Avery Arena (first doubles)
Key players returning: Jocelyn Bolt (so., first singles)
Key newcomers: Sarah McKnight (sr.)
Key matchups: Scarborough, TA

Outlook: The Lady Rams logged a superb 2017, and hope to extend their success into this season. The loss of King, Cowan, Burns and Arena could hit the team hard, but then, Gorham’s young talent might just step up to meet that challenge. Bergeron seems to think that’s a real possibility: “I’m encouraged by what I’ve been seeing in practice,” she says, “and by the improvement of the players. They’re competitive and they’re all looking forward to regular season play.”

Boys lacrosse coach Clayton Jones couldn’t be reached.

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

Gorham’s Carson Battaglia will play an important role on the girls lacrosse field this season.

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