Spring Previews: Gorham

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Grace McGouldrick - let's call her "Grace the Ace" - returns to the circle for Gorham this spring.

Baseball
Coach: Chuck Nadeau
Last year’s record: 11-7, fell to Scarborough in the postseason second round
Key returners: Logan Drouin (sr., P); Jason Komulainen (sr., C); Ben Nelson (jr., IF); Kyle King (jr., 3B)
Key matchups: 5/16 vs. Thornton Academy, 5/26 vs. Portland
Outlook: Nadeau and Co. will take a tried-and-true approach onto the diamond this spring: “Like most teams,” Nadeau says, “we will be looking to establish pitching depth early, particularly with the implementation of the new pitch count rules. We will need to throw strikes and limit extra baserunners to stay out of big innings and keep pitch counts down. Offensively, we hope to pressure opposing defenses with quality at-bats and aggressive baserunning.” Luckily, Gorham has the personnel to potentially realize these goals. Drouin was a First-Team Conference All-Star on the mound last year, and Nelson was a First-Team infielder – not to mention the league batting champion. “Ultimately, success in the SMAA comes from athletic kids who love to compete,” Nadeau says. “Our kids love to compete. They are excited for the challenge ahead.” Expected another strong season from the Rams.

Boys Lacrosse
Coach: Dan Soule (sixth season)
Last year’s record: 12-3
Key players lost: Tristan Brunet, Joe Gallant
Key returners: Carter Landry (sr., G); Mat Anderson (sr., D); Cam Wright (sr., A); Alex York (sr., A)
Key newcomers: Sam Burghardt (jr., LSM)
Key matchups: Scarborough, Cheverus, Windham, TA
Outlook: The Gentlemen Rams have only gotten better in recent years, despite each season saying goodbye to one or more outstanding athletes. This year, they possess both the talent and the experience to drive deep – very deep – into the playoffs. Landry is one of the best keepers around, Anderson leads a stalwart defense, and Wright and York can score in an eye blink. Expect big things from this squad.

Girls Lacrosse
Coach: Mary Guimond
Last year’s record: 7-6, fell 11-10 to South Portland in the first round of playoffs
Key players lost: Jen Darasz (D), Allison Sinnett (G)
Key returners: Marina Pappalardo (A), Audrey Perreault (M), Brooke Greatorex (D), Athena Pappalardo (D)
Key matchups: South Portland, Massabesic, TA, Marshwood
Outlook: Guimond is optimistic about the coming weeks, in part because her crew of talented returners is matched by a very promising crop of underclassmen – including a solid, motivated freshman class. “We’re really encouraged by the underclassmen!” she says. “We should have a great season.”

Boys Outdoor Track
Coach: Jason Tanguay
Last year’s record: Fifth at SMAAs, 10th at States
Key returners: James Benson (sr., jumps); Ethan Orach (sr., middle distance); Jason Catoggio (jr., pole vault); Anthony Chase (jr., distance); Luke Gowen (jr., sprints); Garrett Higgins (jr., jumps); Carlos Monsen (jr., racewalk/distance); Alex Ousback (jr., hurdles/middle distance); Wil Rossignol (jr., distance); Zack Brown-Davis (so., middle distance); Dylan Lamont (so., racewalk)
Key newcomers: Stefan Street (jr., pole vault); Wes Brinegar (fr., hurdles/sprints/jumps)
Key matchups: Cumberland County Meet, SMAAs
Outlook: “Gorham is a relatively young team with many new faces,” Tanguay says. “The handful of returning scorers will be asked to step up to fill the spots left by a large graduating class. We are excited for the upcoming season with lots of room for improvement.”

Girls Outdoor Track
Coach:  John Caterina
Last year’s record: 11th at SMAAs, 22nd at States
Key returners: Erin Esty (sr., jumps); Emily Hayward (sr., throws); Sarah Lorello, (sr., throws); Sarah Johnson (jr., middle distance); Maddie Rossignol (jr., sprints); Hayley Bickford (jr., racewalk); Meadow Fortier (jr., middle distance); Anna Slager (jr., distance); Alexis Fotter (jr., sprints/hurdles); Lauren Barden (so., pole vault); Avery Germond (so., sprints); Evelyn Kitchen (so., throws/jumps); Sarah Stevens (so., jumps/hurdles)
Key newcomers: Brittany Desjardin (so., sprints); Iris Kitchen (fr., distance); Kate Tugman (fr., distance); Quinn Young (fr., jumps)
Key matchups: SMAAs, States
Outlook: “Gorham is a relatively young team but has a lot of returning talent,” says Caterina. “With Anna Slager and Meadow Fortier, both returning from injuries that sidelined them last spring, and a talented group of underclassmen, Gorham will be very competitive in the SMAA and Class A this spring.”

Softball
Coach: Renee Whipkey
Last year’s record: 8-10, fell to Sanford in the postseason second round
Key players lost: Shortstop and pitcher Lindsey Wilcox
Key returners: Noelle DiBiase (sr., IF); Grace McGouldrick (jr., P/SS); Shay Harris (jr., IF)
Key matchups: Scarborough, Biddeford, Windham, TA
Outlook: Whipkey & Co. are looking forward to their upcoming season, in part because they return a substantial contingent of experienced players. “We are very excited for this year as we have a lot of returning starters,” Whipkey says. “Our team is very athletic, so we’re looking to use that to our advantage on the bases. Defensively, we have several girls who are talented in multiple positions which gives us a lot of options as our season gets underway.” The Lady Rams put together a solid season in 2016; the potential exists for them to perform even better in 2017.

Boys Tennis
Coach: Aaron Landry
Last year’s record: 8-4, fell in the playoff quarters
Key players lost: Thomas Brent (now playing for Endicott College)
Key returners: Ryan Firmin (sr.), Thomas Matthews (sr.), Connor Sweat (sr.)
Key newcomers: Jayden Gaudreau (so.)
Key matchups: Portland, TA, Deering
Outlook: “So far, we have done a lot of shoveling,” Landry jests. “Our core fitness should be great.” With little time remaining before the season kicks into high gear, the Gentlemen Rams are finally getting onto the courts. Thankfully, snow is a problem many of their opponents will have recently faced, too. “Despite losing Thomas Brent we will have some steady singles play with Matthews, Sweat and Gaudreau,” says Landry. “We are tinkering with doubles lineups and will have a better idea by the end of the week.” 

Girls Tennis
Coach: Nicole Bergeron
Last year’s record: 12-2, fell to Scarborough in the tournament semis
Key players lost: Molly vanLuling, Lizzie Kutzer, Lauren Poirier
Key returners: Whitney King, Jenna Cowan, Avery Arena
Key newcomers: Jocelyn Bolt
Key matchups: TA, Scarborough
Outlook: Predictions for the Lady Rams’ upcoming spring are difficult to make. “With the loss of our key players, this team could be an entirely different team,” Bergeron says. “It’s hard to say. Our line-up will most likely change and each player is going to have to use their individual strengths and adjust to their roles, new or old, once they’re established. We’re always looking to win one more match each year. Last year, we were looking to improve by one win and improved by two wins instead, with a nearly flawless record. I anticipate a very successful season.”

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

Grace McGouldrick – let’s call her “Grace the Ace” – returns to the circle for Gorham this spring.

If you’re every going to be marooned on a desert island and you’re only allowed to bring one lacrosse goalie, bring Carter Landry.

Marina Pappalardo will, no doubt, continue piling up Gorham goals this season.

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