Spring Previews: Gray-New Gloucester

Haley True returns for the Lady Patriots this spring.

: Brad Smith
Last year’s record: 3-13
Key players lost: Evan Plummer (CF), Daulton Corthell (3B), Brady Darnell (1B)
Key returners: John Henry Villanueva (P/SS), Josiah Rottari (P/3B), Tanner Mann (LF), Nick McCann (C), Zack Mann (P/2B), Jake Winchester (CF/C), Nick Chandler (OF), Will Shufelt (P)
Key newcomers: Eli Winchester (P/INF), Damien Pye (P/OF), Nat Brindley (P/INF), Cam Andrews
Key matchups: Freeport, Lake Region, Fryeburg
Outlook: The 2017 Patriots return a substantial list of key contributors from last year, and thus have high hopes for the season. On the mound, Villanueva, Rottari and Zack Mann will be particularly critical, but the team’s defensive stalwarts – including Chandler, Tanner Mann and Jake Winchester – will also lead. G-NG’s offensive capabilities represent their biggest unknown; the team struggled to put up runs last spring, and will need to generate more this time around if they hope to return to the playoffs.

Outdoor Track
: Todd Mercer (boys head), Mike Griffin (girls head), Adam Zukowski (asst.), Scott Espling (asst.), Jeff Amos (asst.), Sam Miklovich (asst.) Tammie MacLean (asst.)
Last year’s record: Girls Western Maine Conference Division II Champions, multiple state medalists
Key athletes lost: Ben Garcia, Zack Haskell
Key returners: Andrew Peterson; Seth Levier; Trent Dexter; Sam Aube; Nathan Gendreau; Logan Nickerson; Ethan Ray; Parker Morse; Jaykob Sanborn; Emma MacCallum (sr., shot put); Pheobe Stritch (sr., javelin); Emily Brewer (jr., shot put); Jaley Martin (jr., sprints); Eliza Larrivee (jr., sprints); Erica Schlichting (so., middle distance, distance, relays); Abbey Chandler (so., middle distance, distance, relays); Megan Reynolds (so., shot put); Maddie Post (so., discus/sprints); Alison MacDonald (fr., middle distance, distance, relays); Maddie Garcia (fr., middle distance, distance, relays)
Key newcomers: Joe Gurney (sr., throws); Matt Cote (jr., throws)
Key matchups: York, Wells
Outlook: Mercer’s boys are hungry. Peterson, for instance, was injured through the indoor season, hampering his performances, and is thus looking for a little redemption. The 4×100 crew is also eager to make up for some past failures. “As soon as we hit the track, they’ll be practicing hand offs,” Mercer says. Levier – fast, athletic and tough – is planning to try his hand (his feet, rather) at a new event, the 300 hurdles. Aube is “coming into his own in the 400,” Mercer says. “We’re looking for him to light things up this season. He’s run some tough workouts already.” Jeremiah Gendreau is a versatile role player, capable in the triple jump and considering a relay. Dexter and Nate Gendreau are strong pole vaulters – though, again, Mercer needs to get them onto the track to really hone their skills. Sanborn is improving rapidly in the high jump, in part because he’s been hitting the weight room hard. Ray and Morse “are ready to cut time; they just need to believe and follow a solid race plan.” Logan Nickerson has also been fending off a lingering injury; hopefully he’ll be shiny as new by the time competition begins. Gurney and Cote bring a degree of potential to the boys throwing that hasn’t been there in many moons. Cote is tall and powerful, while Gurney is “the strongest guy we’ve had on the team in a long time.” Both boys will need to learn technique quickly. Over on the girls’ side of things, Griffin is optimistic. “Having had another solid indoor season,” he says, “G-NG Girls Track and Field are ready to take on the 2017 spring season … (We) return an accomplished veteran crew in all areas – throws, jumps, sprints and distance – along with a solid infusion of freshman and sophomore talent.” MacCallum was the Class B Shot Put State Champ during the indoor season, and the long list of her comrades that Griffin names are all likely to qualify for States as well. There, any number of them have the potential to medal.

: Amanda Harmon (sixth season)
Key players lost: Kaelyn Woods
Key returners: Haley True (sr., P/1B/OF); Cara Waltz (sr., OF); Grace Kariotis (sr., 3B); Hannah Dixon (sr., SS); Alie Martell (jr., P/SS); Alexa Thayer (so., C); Mikaela Ryan (so., OF); Chelsea Davis (so., IF/OF)
Key newcomers: Jordan Grant (fr.), Lydia Espling (fr.)
Key matchups: Wells, Cape, Yarmouth
Outlook: Harmon expects her girls to be “contenders for the postseason,” as her returners all fill critical positions on the field and are strong at the plate. “Our open positions will be filled with confident players who will fit in with the aggressive playing style,” she says, “making every game a great competition.”

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

Haley True returns for the Lady Patriots this spring.

Nick McCann makes a break for home last spring. McCann, a sophomore, returns to the diamond for G-NG in 2017.