Spring Previews: Windham

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Windham's Eliza Palow returns to the field this spring.

Baseball
Coach
: Brody Artes (fifth year)
Last year’s record: 5-11
Key players lost: Tyler Johnson, Mitch Eskilson, Dylan Koza
Key returners: Tim Greenlaw, Tanner Bernier, Zack Skillings, Cam McCartney, Evan Millett, Blake Houser, Mike Gilman
Key newcomers: Bryce Afthim
Key matchups: South Portland, Biddeford, Portland, Deering, Cheverus, Gorham, Bonny Eagle
Outlook: The 2017 Eagles look to improve upon their sub-.500 record from last year; having lost just three players to graduation in June, they’re in a decent position to do so. The team returns its entire pitching staff – including leaders Skillings and Bernier – and most of their position players in the field. Batting will be their biggest challenge, as last spring they struggled to tally runs. “If the Eagles can improve their offensive woes from a year ago,” says Artes, “they can contend with anyone on any given night.”

Boys Lacrosse
Coach: Peter Small
Last year’s record: 8-4, lost to Brunswick in Regional Final
Key players lost: Alec Emerson (D), Jake Segal (D), Jacob Dionne (G), Zach Hough (A), Zack Callahan (A), Jason Nielsen (M)
Key returners: Tyler Woolston (A), Chris Lekousi (faceoff/get-off), Connor McInnis (D), Tommy Lekousi (M), Liam McCusker (M), Griffin McVane (M), Josh Mora (D)
Key newcomers: Matt Babb (M), Seth Well (M), George Butts (LSM), Braxton Cassidy (D), Josh Labrecque (D), Grant Jacobson (A)
Key matchups: Gorham, Scarborough, Deering, Westbrook
Outlook: The Eagles, with just one senior this year, will be young; happily, the team should nevertheless prove skillful, strong and hardworking. “With skilled players at every position, the team will establish a new approach at both ends of the field,” says Small. “One key to the season will be how well the team gels as they begin to play together at a varsity level for the first time.”

Girls Lacrosse
Coach: Matt Perkins
Last year’s record: 10-2, lost to Lewiston in second round of the playoffs
Key returners: Mya Mannette (sr., D); Lyndsey Arsenault (sr., D); Eliza Palow (M); Holly Spencer (M)
Key matchups: Marshwood, Massabesic, Portland, Cheverus
Outlook: The Lady Eagles piled wins on wins last year, and should be at least as strong this year. “After having our best regular-season record in program history,” says Perkins, “we’re looking for a deep run in the playoffs …We have a lot of returning players and are building depth in the program. Our stick skills have improved (as well).” Windham faces a challenging schedule, but the team is determined to take the next step and earn a place among the State’s elite programs. Marshwood and Massabesic had best watch out!

Boys Outdoor Track
Coaches: Paula Pock (head), Dan Jackson (asst.), Mike Martin (asst.)
Last year’s record: 34-15 regular season
Key athletes lost: Ernie Ruby (sprints/jumps), Eric Webb (sprints/jumps), Thomas Sappier (throws)
Key returners: Ben Breton (sr., distance); Jeremy Bennett (sr., distance); Alex Wilkins (sprints/jumps); Callean Frechette (sprints/jumps); Zach Harris (sprints/jumps); Kevin Ingals (sprints/jumps); Connor Abbotoni (sprints/jumps); Sam Cole (sprints/jumps); Louis Geller (400); Dalton McClure (400); James Mannette (400); Evan Coughlin (throws); Nick Brackett (throws); Rohoullah Habibzai (throws)
Key newcomers: Orion Beers (sprints/jumps), Isiah Dandy (sprints/jumps), Stuart Salom (sprints/jumps)
Key matchups: Cumberland County Meet
Outlook: The loss of Ruby is a particularly painful blow to the Eagles. Still, their returners are all regular scorers and Breton is especially dangerous in the two mile. Moreover, the team’s influx of new talent – Beers, Dandy and Salom – are all, according to Pock, “very, very versatile.” Expect them to pile on some points.

Girls Outdoor Track
Coaches: Jeff Riddle (head); Tom Noonan (asst., sprints/middle distance/disatnce); Dana Burbank (asst., high jump/hurdles); Sabrina Sodders (asst., throws); Vanessa Rallis (asst., hurdles); Eric O’Connor (asst., pole vault); George McCrillis (asst., javelin)
Last year’s record: 15th at SMAAs, 19th at States; Alexis Wintle and Amanda Turner continued on to compete at New Englands
Key athletes lost: Alexis Wintle, Eliza Bennett, Meghan Knights, Justice Gaston, Kayleigh Clinch, Julia Linevitch, Beatriz Lorenzo-Bazquez; McKenzie Pepin, Maria Arreghini, Joelle Bockus
Key returners: Sarah Packard (sr., Captain); Cassidy Mullins (sr., Captain); Emily Skvorak (sr., Captain); Amanda Turner (sr., Captain); Danielle Meader (jr., Captain)
Key matchups: “Every matchup, every meet, is a key moment in time, an opportunity for each athlete to progress and to try to qualify for the Southwestern Championship and the State of Maine Track and Field meet,” says Riddle.
Outlook: Riddle is enthusiastic about the upcoming season, and the pieces seem to be in place for Windham to post some excellent performances. “Our roster is the expected size of a Class A school,” Riddle says. “With just under 50 Lady Eagle student-athletes making up the team, including a large and committed freshman group and several athletes who are brand new to outdoor track and field, the team is prepping to earn some stellar results in all 19 events.”

Softball
Coach: Travis Demmons
Last year’s record: 13-6, lost in semifinals to Scarborough 2-0
Key players lost: Sadie Nelson, Katie Hunter, Christina Mooradian
Key returners: Danielle Tardiff (sr., P); Olivia Mora (sr., 1B); Taylor Tibbetts (sr., 2B); Katelyn Troiano (jr., OF); Megan Joy (jr., C/OF); Lauren Talbot (jr., IF/OF); Alex Morang (jr., SS/3B); Erin Elder (so., P/OF/1B)
Key newcomers: Taylah Piazza (Jr., 3B/SS); Chloe Wilcox (fr., C/3B/OF); Whitney Wilson (fr., P/IF/OF)
Key matchups: 4/24 vs. Biddeford, 5/1 @ Massabesic, 5/5 vs. Scarborough, 5/22 vs. TA, 5/24 @ Portland
Outlook: After logging a superb 2016, the Lady Eagles look to swoop straightaway into continued success. “Assuming we can stay healthy, we should be able to pick up right where we left off last season and advance even further,” Demmons says. “The program has never been this deep … I hesitated even putting positions by the players’ names, as they are all so flexible we should be able to plug-and-play quite often.” Windham returns six All-Conference athletes this spring, and added a high-caliber transfer from out-of-state. The team was a powerhouse across the field last year, posting impressive numbers at the plate and showing savvy in the field, and can be expected to do look at least as sharp this time around. “Our offense should be even more dynamic than it was last season and our defense should play very clean,” Demmons says. Windham does, however, have a tough schedule ahead of them. They open with reigning state champs Biddeford and face mighty Scarborough not long after. “We have high expectations, but we are willing to grind it out with the hopes of playing deep into June and winning the last one,” Demmons says.

Boys Tennis
Coach: Gavin Glider
Last year’s record: 3-9
Key players lost: David Sepulveda, Greg Meader, Pierce Ernst
Key returners: Trevor Crowley, Stephen Sepulveda
Key newcomers: Vireak Tray
Key matchups: TA, Portland
Outlook: “This is a young team in a building phase,” Glider says simply. “I hope to grow on what we did last season and return to the playoffs this year.”

Girls Tennis
Coach: Jenna Willey
Last year’s record: 10-5; fell 4-1 to Thornton Academy in the tournament second round
Key players lost: Sarah Rich, Maelah Nadeau
Key returners: Paige Laferriere, Gabby Smith, Anna Cancelarich, Shelby Sampson
Key newcomers: Delia Inman
Outlook: The Lady Eagles performed admirably in 2016, and look to perform at least as admirably this time around. “We’ve had a snowy start,” Willey says, “but with a good group of athletic girls, I see WHS having a strong season!”

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

Windham’s Eliza Palow returns to the field this spring.

Windham’s Chris Lekousi – seen here battling fellow faceoff man Noah Oliver of Westbrook last year – returns to a key spot on the field this spring.

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