Boys Cross Country
Coach: Claton Conrad
Last year’s results: 16th at Regionals
Key athletes returning: Jack Pecoraro (jr.)
Key newcomers: Gabe Berry (so.), Cam Bessey (fr.), Jon Delessandro (fr.)
Outlook: “Our goal as a team this year is to continue to meet our personal bests and grow as a team,” Conrad says simply.
Coach: Theresa Hendrix
Last year’s record: 14-5; toppled Falmouth, Cheverus, Massabesic and Biddeford en route to the State Final, where they fell by one goal to mighty Skowhegan
Key players lost: Maddison Lebeau
Key players returning: Avery Tucker (sr., F); Kimmie Goddard (sr., G); Abby Symbol (sr., M)
Key newcomers: Arianna St. Clair, Chloe Grosso
Key matchups: Biddeford, Cheverus, Massabesic, Marshwood
Outlook: The Lady Blazes put together a banner season in 2017, and deserved every bit of their success. They return the majority of their talent this year, but not all of it, leaving unanswered a lingering handful of questions about their trajectory. “Losing key defenders will bring a big challenge to our young defense,” Hendrix says, “but with the leadership of senior Kimberly Goddard in goal, they have shown much potential over the first weeks of preseason. Many offensive threats return from last season as well. Our key will be to work as a team and move up and down the field as one unit. Our depth and conditioning will be able to show in key games. The girls recognize that with hard work and determination they can achieve great success.”
Coach: Jeff Guerette
Last year’s record: 4-5, fell in B South quarterfinals
Key players returning: Devon Ezzy (sr., QB/S); Brayden Demers (jr., HB/CB); Matt Eugley (so., OT/DT)
Key matchups: Hampden, Gorham
Outlook: “We are a young team,” Guerette says, “with many first-year players. We’re looking to improve as the season progresses.”
Coach: Mike Connolly
Last year’s record: 0-10
Key players returning: Tyler Brackett (sr.), Drew Clark (jr.), Jacob LeBlanc (jr.)
Key newcomers: Kyle Champagne (sr.), Lucas Knapton (jr.)
Key matchups: @ Bonny Eagle on Sept. 11, Bonny Eagle on Sept. 27
Outlook: The Blazes’ numbers have doubled – from six to 12 – this year, a very happy turn of events. On the downside, very few of members of the team have tournament experience. So, the Connolly & Co.’s focus will be on day-to-day improvements, striving to be competitive and rebuilding the program. “Hopefully, with the addition of Champagne and Knapton, we can spread out the top five more competitively and pick up a win or two this season,” Connolly says.
Coach: Vincent Aceto
Last year’s record: 5-9
Key players lost: Brandt Herbert, Jean Marc Lohomboli
Key players returning: Mohamed Mohamed, Cooper Mullett, Liam Cooledge, Devin Cyr, Chris Irakoze
Key newcomers: Jakob Lynham
Key matchups: Bonny Eagle, Portland, Deering, Windham, Cheverus
Outlook: The Blazes this year may be as Blue as ever, but they’re also green – i.e., lacking substantial varsity experience. On the other hand, the team’s underclassmen contingent brings plenty of talent to the field. “The coaching staff has been thrilled with the commitment the players have shown,” Aceto says. “They are starting to realize their potential as a team and what it takes to achieve the goals they set for themselves this year.”
Coach: Mike Russell (first year)
Key players returning: Rylee Troiano (sr., M); Michaela Russell (sr., G); Hope Higgins (sr., D); Mikayla VanZandt (sr., M)
Key matchups: “It’s hard not to say every game is a key matchup,” Coach Russell says. “They truly are for us. Win or lose, it is how we measure our improvement. We are at a place where we need results and better outcomes.”
Outlook: Coach Russell is optimistic. “The 2018 team is very motivated and understands what we are trying to do as a team,” he says. “Our goal is simple: Score more goals!” To that end, the Blazes have adjusted their formation to hopefully take advantage of this lineup’s particular strengths. Michaela Russell played middie until her sophomore year, when she discovered a talent for netminding. “She has been a three-year starter and has improved every year since taking over. Her smart, aggressive play and fearless mentality keeps us in many games and also makes her a player to watch,” Coach Russell says. Meanwhile, Anjelica Johns brings a well-rounded style to the forward-midfield position. This autumn, she’ll attack more, and her scoring and assisting can be expected to increase. “She is a quiet leader on this team and has a natural ability to score goals and hand out assists,” Coach Russell says. Finally, Allison Petry is a rising star at forward who showed off her skills over the summer, scoring and assisting in numerous games. “Her ability to cross the ball on the run has proven to be one of her biggest strengths on the field. Her hard work, great attitude and dedication to the team is unmeasurable.” “Having our players more involved in the youth programs and community events around soccer helps improves our image and promotes soccer as a whole,” Coach Russell says. “We’re looking to improve our program numbers and involvement, to be creating a soccer climate for grades K-12. This group of girls is the perfect group to do that with. With the continuing support of the Westbrook Soccer Club, the future outlook of Westbrook girls soccer is getting brighter!”
Girls cross country coach Chris Strout couldn’t be reached.
Adam Birt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME
Avery Tucker logged a superb season on a superb Westbrook squad in 2017.
Westbrooker Devin Cyr races an incoming Portland opponent in a contest last autumn.