Alpine Skiing (Bonny Eagle and Massabesic ski with Gorham)
Coach: Sean Munkacsi
Key athletes returning: Owen Smith, Victor Popov, Derek Kuusela, Jacob Polchies, Sam Cousins, Maggie Munkacsi, Estelle Ballard
Outlook: “This year our depth has increased considerably and we are focused on putting solid runs together more consistently than last year,” Coach Munkacsi says. “We have increased the number of athletes from Bonny Eagle and welcome a racer from Massabesic. The competition and camaraderie between schools makes us all better athletes.” Smith and Maggie Munkacsi are the team’s Captains, and will need to focus their teammates for each trip down the slopes. “Shawnee Peak will provide outstanding course conditions and we look forward to cold and snow,” Coach Munkacsi says. “We are currently dryland training and look to get on the hill as soon as conditions allow.”
Coach: Mike Francoeur
Last year’s record: 6-12, fell to Scarborough in postseason
Key players returning: Connor Sirois, Casey Maturo, Nick Thorne, Christian Napolitano, Will Hendrix, Jackson Bean, Zach Maturo, Logan Fogg
Outlook: “This year, we’ll look to play up-tempo,” says Francoeur. “Not having a team with much inside presence, we’ll look to exploit things with our perimeter play. I feel we have the potential to be an above-average team in February. Playoffs is one of our main goals again this year.” Among the most important foci for the Scots is defense: They’ll need to control the paint and their opponents’ second-shot opportunities, and to thereby limit the points they give up. “I really like our guys this year,” Francoeur says; “they’ve put in the time and energy in the off-season and hopefully we’ll see dividends this winter.” BE fans have several reasons—i.e., the team’s key players—to be optimistic. In particular, Zach Maturo is a dynamo, capable of tripping up defenses and scoring from anywhere.
Coach: Scott Regan
Last year’s record: 8-10, missed playoffs
Key players lost: Natalie Bushey, Tracie Townsend, Lauryn Fagan
Key players returning: Mia Ferrante (sr., F); Deirdre Sanborn (sr., G/F); Mackenzie Emery (jr., G); Sam Averill (jr., G)
Key newcomers: Lindsay Frazier (jr., G); Taylor Johnson (jr., G); Makala Greene (jr., F); Emma Abbott (so., G)
Key matchups: Dec. 8 @ South Portland, Dec. 12 vs. Massabesic, Dec. 15 @ Scarborough, Dec. 19 @ Cheverus
Outlook: “The start of the season will show where we stand as a team,” Regan says, referring to his stretch of key matchups, “with three very tough road games and a home game against a much improved team we double with…Opening at South Portland will be a true test, as it has traditionally been a very tough place for us.” Regan is happy with the chemistry his girls have developed. “I think we have multiple combinations of players that can really be some key matchup problems on the offensive end, and can bring pressure with multiple defenses.” Last year’s Lady Scots assembled a solid run: Despite what their sub-.500 record might indicate, they played well against top teams, and three of their losses came by a combined nine points. Moreover, they finished strong, taking two of their last three bouts. The team did say goodbye to six seniors, come graduation last June, but their returners nevertheless form an impressive core. Expect another strong winter from BE.
Boys Hockey (a co-op with Massabesic and OOB)
Coach: Loren Blair
Last year’s record: 11-5-2
Key players returning: Cam Roy (sr., F); Kurtis Morin (so., D); Alex Demers (so., D)
Outlook: The MOB this year will be a pretty green squad. “We need to find a new goal-scorer,” Blair says, adding that “goaltending is very young, with a returning sophomore that played in only three games, and a freshman.” On the upside, the program features a large crop of incoming freshmen (11, total) and Blair is “hoping some can step up in the varsity lineup.” The MOB put together an excellent run in 2016-17; the odds are stacked against their doing the same this winter—but of course, no team should ever be counted out before they actually step on the ice.
Boys Indoor Track
Coach: Mike Burleson
Last year’s record: 7-6, sixth at SMAAs, eighth at States
Key athletes returning: Derek Cole (sr., sprints); Max Harris (sr., sprints); Zach Allocca (jr., LJ/TJ); Aiden Willey (so., distance)
Key matchups: Scarborough, Deering, Westbrook, Falmouth
Outlook: Willey is arguably the Gentlemen Scots’ leading standout, as he’s coming off his second impressive cross country season (one in which he qualified for New Englands, no less) and has two superb seasons of high school track to his name as well. His current indoor personal bests— 2:09 in the 800, 4:41 in the Mile and 10:37 in the Two Mile—put him among the State’s top competitors. That being said, Allocca is also one to watch: outdoor track 2016 was his rookie season, and he’s already reached 20-00.25 in the Long Jump. That result places him high in the Maine ranks, too. Similarly, Cole, who transitioned to the 400 last spring, has logged a PR of 52.75, good enough for third place at SMAAs, making him another serious threat to all comers. Harris, the team’s No. 1 sprinter, sat on the sidelines through most of last year, recuperating from an injury. His PRs—6.96 in the 55 and 23.70 in the 200—are excellent, and if he’s firing on all cylinders when competition time arrives, he should rake in plenty of points. Burleson adds that “The Scots also have a large group of underclassmen and first-time track athletes who look to make their mark in the League this season.”
Girls Indoor Track
Coaches: Khabir Edwards (head), Ryan Dyer (asst.), Ben Davis (asst.)
Key athletes lost: Holly Thomas
Key athletes returning: Aayisha Connell (sr., jumps/hurdles/55); Samirah Connell (sr., jumps/hurdles/55); Emily Beaulieu (sr., 55); Journey Barnes (sr., distance); Ami Beaumier (distance); Amelia Alexander (jr., distance); Abigail Nelson (jr., distance); Kayla Raymond (jr., distance); Sarah Dube (jr., sprints); Lauren Bearor (jr., 55); Kanani Lopes (jr., sprints); Lucy Weyland (jr,. high jump/200)
Key newcomers: Chara Sterline (fr.), Hannah Kaspereen (fr.), Mackenzie Bradley (fr.), Lakadi Reid (fr.)
Key matchups: Biddeford, TA, Noble, Portland
Outlook: “The season looks great,” says Edwards, new to the head coach’s slot. “We have experienced distance runners who have great chemistry and are aiming to challenge themselves against the best the State has to offer. Kayla Raymond is returning and is poised to be quite competitive in her events, along with Ami Beaumier, who is also quite competitive in her events. With Amelia Alexander, Journey Barnes and Abigail Nelson, we could have a fairly competitive relay team. For the sprinters, we have a group of ladies returning who’ve improved their overall strength and conditioning and are squarely focused on improving their running mechanics and maintaining top-end velocity. The team has recruited some talented freshman this season, who should make their mark in the track junior division this season and there are other returning athletes that could prove to be more competitive than even they realize.”
Coaches: Amanda Branch (head, first year); Boomer Druchniak (asst., first year)
Key athletes lost: Wade Blanchette, Meagan Roy
Key athletes returning: Josiah Sleeper (sr., Captain); Emily Gryskwicz (sr., Captain)
Key matchups: Dec. 13 vs. Westbrook, Southwesterns
Outlook: Branch, new to the program this year (she’s a BE alum, it’s worth noting), has high hopes for her squad. “I have a small team, but see major potential in all my swimmers,” she says, “and look forward to their growth as individuals–but also their growth as a team.” Branch stresses that all meets are critical, but chooses the Westbrook contest as especially important; teams tend to value their early bouts as measuring sticks, so they can check where they’re at, development-wise, and where they need to head.
Wrestling coach Greg Gonyea and girls hockey coach Nat Germond could not be reached.
Adam Birt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.
Zach Maturo, seen here skirting Westbrooker Bailey Sawyer last year, is perhaps the Gentlemen Scots’ chief weapon.
Mackenzie Emery is a young powerhouse for the Lady Scots.