Spring Previews: Windham


Coach: Brody Artes (sixth year)
Last year’s record: 7-10, fell to Scarborough in tournament semifinals
Key players lost: Tim Greenlaw, Zack Skillings
Key players returning: Tanner Bernier (sr., P/3B); Cam McCartney (sr., OF); Bryce Afthim (jr., P/3B); Chris Naylor (so., P/1B); Caleb McCartney (so., SS)
Key newcomers: Brady Afthim (fr., C)
Key matchups: Portland, TA, Cheverus, South Portland

Outlook: “This may be the most experienced baseball team that Windham has seen in years,” Artes says. “Seniors Tanner Bernier and Cam McCartney have been playing varsity baseball since they were freshman, and seniors Evan Millett and Kyle Herzig, along with junior Bryce Afthim, have seen a considerable [number] of innings in each of the last two seasons. Sophomore duo Chris Naylor and Caleb McCartney will look to improve upon what was a successful freshman year during the 2017 season. Bernier, Afthim, and Naylor will lead the charge on the mound and will provide a solid three-headed monster for the year. We will do our best to pitch to contact and allow our defense to support our starting pitching staff. When everything comes together this spring, it could be a fun season for the Eagles.”

Boys Lacrosse
Coach: Pete Small
Last year’s record: 5-7, fell to eventual State Champions Brunswick in tournament quarterfinals
Key players lost: Chris Lekousi (faceoffs/M)
Key players returning: Tommy Lekousi (M), Tyler Woolston (A), Logan Heckman (M/D), Connor McInnis (D)
Key newcomers: Nazari Henderson (M)
Key matchups: May 4 vs. Edward Little, May 19 @ Gardiner, May 29 @ Gorham

Outlook: The Gentlemen Eagles graduated only one player — Chris Lekousi — last June, meaning this year’s squad is replete with experience. Tommy Lekousi and Woolston are both looking stronger than ever, while Matt Babb at midfield has cranked his speed up considerably. “The team chemistry is strong in the first few weeks,” Small says. “The team will need to secure as many wins as possible to earn a spot in the playoffs, with EL, Gardiner and Gorham, among others, being key games.”

Girls Lacrosse
Coach: Matt Perkins
Last year’s record: 12-3
Key players lost: Mya Mannette, Lindsey Arsenault, Holly Spencer, Lisa Pallow
Key players returning: Lauren Black, Grace Sawyer, Ally Davis, Kaitlyn Roberts, Maddie Beem, Ashley Cummings
Key newcomers: Riley Beem, Emma Yale
Key matchups: Marshwood, Cheverus

Outlook: “Our depth will be key to us, as we have a very challenging schedule,” Perkins says. “We have a great core of returners and are excited with the development of our young players.” 

Boys Outdoor Track
Coach: Paula Pock
Last year’s results: 20-31
Key athletes returning: Alex Wilkins (sr., jumps/sprints); Callean Frechette (sr., sprints/relays); Wyatt Yost (sr., middle distance/distance); Anthony Sawyer (jr., middle distance/distance); Connor Abbotoni (jr., sprints/middle distance); Mason Rosborough (jr., distance); Nick Brackett (jr., throws)
Key matchups: Westbrook, Gorham

Outlook: Pock & Co. have much to be excited about, this outdoor season. For one, Wilkins has multiple state titles to his name at this point, including last year’s outdoor triple jump crown and this past winter’s indoor triple jump crown. He finished second in the long jump at that same competition and should vie again for both titles this spring. Finally, he’s among the State’s better sprinters as well. Frechette has logged a lot of work in especially the 200 and 400, and will prove an asset in the relays, while Abbotoni is a versatile athlete capable of qualifying for States in multiple events.

Rosborough, an able distance runner, is partaking of the outdoor season for the first time, having previously played baseball at this time of year. Yost and Sawyer will compete alongside Rosborough, while Brackett will lead the Eagles in the shot put, javelin and discus.

Pock highlights her freshman squad, who she says is “a very talented bunch that really has a lot of passion for the sport and great work ethic.” Indeed, she says of Windham’s overall mindset: “We are very fortunate to have an extremely hard-working group who are very dedicated to the sport. The seniors group have been great mentors to the younger teammates and they all are very supportive of each other. The athletes have all been willing to try new events, so we can compete in and cover all the different track events. This year our goal is to get more athletes qualified for the State Meet and spread out our points.”

Pock likes vying with Westbrook and Gorham in particular because towns are all neighbors, and members of each team have friends on the other teams.

Girls Outdoor Track
Coaches: Jeff Riddle (head), Dana Burbank (high jump/hurdles), Cianne Plummer (racewalk), Todd Guite (pole vault), Dr. Nick Bizier (throws), George McCrillis (javelin)
Last year’s results: Second at Scarborough Relays, first at Freshman Meet, 11th at Southwesterns, 17th at States
Key athletes lost: Amanda Turner, Cassidy Mullins, Emily Skvorak
Key athletes returning: Dani Meader (sr.), Hailey Frosiland (jr.), Abigail Clinch (jr.), Sam Phinney (jr.), Carlee Richmond (jr.), Katherine Lewis (jr.), Becca Turner (jr.), Kayley Weeks (jr.), Courtney Brown (jr.), Ainsley Mullins (jr.), Christina Kaplan (jr.), Hannah Langstaff (so.), Sierra Guite (so.), Morgan Proulx (so.), Hailey Applebee (so.), Lindsay Macdonald (so.), Kayla Potvin (so.), Kaitlyn Hill (so.), Riley Silvia (so.), Molly Skvorak (so.)
Key newcomers: Carlee Witherow, Katelyn Smith (fr.), Molly Cochrane (fr.), Haley Theberge (fr.), Rylee Pepin (fr.), Sydney Coffin (fr.), Denali Dieumegard (fr.), Telia Flores-Brown (fr.), Dianne Ingalls (fr.), Jess McLellan (fr.), Roya Zohori (fr.), Hailey Moody (fr.)

Outlook: The Lady Eagles logged an outstanding 2017, setting new school records in the triple jump, high jump and 4×400, and sending a sizable contingent to States and even several (Guite, Turner, Proulx, Langstaff and Clinch) on to New Englands. The loss of Turner, Cassidy Mullins (a very versatile competitor) and Emily Skvorak (a “truly competitive athlete” and a “true asset,” in Riddle’s words) will hit the outfit hard, but their real strength — as evidenced by their rip-roaring finish at last year’s Freshman Meet — lies arguably with their huge core of younger scorers.

“Eagle Pride is starting to flourish with these ladies,” Riddle says. “We have a great list of now much more experienced, driven and composed Lady Eagles after all they experienced and earned in the spring of 2017 … Hailey Froisland’s progression in the hurdles after tons of targeted work last spring and this winter is manifesting in positive ways. Abigail Clinch’s humble confidence is showcasing itself, and if she is willing to trust her training and push just a little bit more, kaboom, watch out. Sam Phinney, who represents an athlete’s ability to try something new to best contribute to her team, will be back and is stronger and more motivated than I have ever seen her before. Carlee Richmond is bringing her competitive attitude and will progress as a teammate and will expand her throwing skills with Coach Biz guiding her this season.”

Riddle also applauds Witherow, “an XC runner, indoor track runner and past lacrosse player,” and Katelyn Smith, who he envisions endangering a number of school records in the future. 

Coach: Travis Demmons
Last year’s record: 14-4, fell to eventual State Champs Scarborough in tournament semis
Key players lost: Olivia Mora, Dani Tardiff, Taylor Tibbetts
Key players returning: Lauren Talbot (sr., SS); Alex Morang (sr., 3B); Megan Joy (sr., C/OF); Taylah Piazza (sr., 2B); Katelyn Troiano (sr., OF); Erin Elder (jr., P/OF); Chloe Wilcox (so., C/OF); Whitney Wilson (so., P/OF)
Key newcomers: Callie Fielding (so., 3B/OF); Sarah Elder (so., U); Shyler Fielding (fr., P/SS)
Key matchups: May 14 @ Massabesic, May 18 @ Portland, May 23 @ Scarborough, May 25 @ TA

Outlook: “[2017] marked the second consecutive year we were eliminated in a semifinal game at Scarborough,” Demmons says. “While we appreciate being a top-four team, we very much desire to get over the hump now and bring home some hardware.”

It works against Windham to have lost Mora, Tardiff and Tibbetts, all top-caliber players; on the other hand, this season’s lineup features seven seniors — the most Demmons has had to work with in his four seasons at the helm. “The quality and impact of the players we lost last year will certainly be missed, but we are extremely confident in the group that we have returning,” he says. “Our pitchers are younger, but we were able to get both Wilson and Elder innings last year as underclassmen and hope to do the same with Fielding this year — they’re hungry to make a statement and those innings previously experienced will pay dividends down the road.”

The Lady Eagles’ defense should impress, and their offense will remain explosive, though they may log fewer long-gone balls this time around: “With the loss of home run queen Mora and the speed of this year’s team, we do recognize we will have to play a little more small ball, but scoring runs should not be an issue on the whole.”

Demmons’s key matchups are four of Windham’s last six games, and they’re all against top Class A contenders. “Those four games will likely determine our playoff seeding and should provide a good barometer of where we stand in the mix,” Demmons says. “Those games will also serve as great preparation for what we hope will be another deep playoff run.”

On the whole, this spring holds great potential for the Lady Eagles. “If we get the results we’ve come to expect from our seniors and Elder, Wilson and Wilcox make the next step in their progression, by the end of the season, we will be a team that nobody wants to face in the playoffs.”

Boys Tennis
Coach: Garry Stone (first year)
Key players returning: Trevor Crowley (Captain), Steven Sepulveda (Captain), Vireak Tray, Ben Smith, Andrew Wing

Outlook: Stone, new to the program this season, expects his team to vie admirably on the courts. “We have our top four players back…[and] should be a competitive team,” he says. 

Girls Tennis
Coach: Katy Dresnok (first year)
Key players returning: Gabrielle Smith, Anna Cancelarich, Delia Inman, Autumn Hill

Outlook: Dresnok seems happy with where her girls are currently at, and where they’re headed as the spring arrives. “The varsity team has key players who have been playing year-round to strengthen their skill set,” she says. “This is evident in their top-spin shots, strong serves and quick footwork. The doubles team show great communication and strategy, and the team as a whole vibe is very strong and positive.”

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

Windhamite Bryce Afthim has developed into an excellent pitcher, and can be expected to lead the Eagles from the mound this spring.