Winter Previews: Gray-New Gloucester

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Alpine Skiing
Coach:
Evan Mancini (head), Kyle Mooney (asst.), Glen Mercier (asst.)
Key returners: Kyle Mercier, Lawson Dunford, Carson McEvoy, Jeremy Mazur, Jake Piela, Zach Piela, Andrew Fournier, Keegan Brooks, Alec Brooks, Sydney Garcia, Hannah Biron
Key newcomers: Jake Butler, Matt Fournier, Collin Frohlich, Jake Hall, Colin Harris
Outlook: “This season, GNGHS has the biggest alpine team the school has seen in the last four years,” Mancini says. “Leading the way for the men’s alpine team are our four seniors Carson, Kyle, Lawson and Jeremy…The team is also excited to welcome back Jacob and Zachary Piela, Andrew, Keegan and Alec, as well as new faces to the team, Jake Butler, Matthew, Collin Frohlich, Jake Hall and Colin Harris…The girls team is small and developing and currently has two extremely dedicated skiers: Sydney Garcia and Hannah Biron. We are also pleased to welcome on a new assistant coach, Kyle Mooney, a decorated alpine skier and a great asset, as well as Glen Mercier, in his fourth year of coaching.”

Boys Basketball
Coach: Ryan Deschenes (seventh year)
Last year’s results: 12-8, fell in B South semifinals
Key returners: John Martin (sr., 6-2, G); Hunter Colby (sr., 6-5, C); Ryan Lachance (sr., 6-4, F/C); Zack Pomerleau (sr., 6-3, G); Nick Pelletier (6-1, G)
Key matchups: Dec. 7 vs. Lake Region, Dec. 13 @ Freeport, Dec. 28 vs. Yarmouth, Jan. 18 vs. Wells, Jan. 29 @ Fryeburg, Feb. 5 @ Cape Elizabeth
Outlook: G-NG ought to be a powerhouse this season: The team featured few seniors last season, and still pushed deep into the playoffs. Moreover, they return all of their chief threats in players like Martin, Colby and Pelletier. “We expect to be in the mix in a strong region this year,” Deschenes says. “We return a solid nucleus and are excited about the combination of character and skill on our team. We feel we have a versatile group capable of playing multiple styles when needed. Martin is a four-year starter and one of the better players in the State. Colby will lead our front court and is a difficult matchup on the block with an expanded three-point game to help stretch out the defense. Pomerleau has the ability to play multiple positions and make plays. Lachance brings a lot of experience and offers many intangibles. Pelletier is a returning starter and has a crafty knack for scoring at all three levels. We love our depth again and look forward seeing guys develop into very important roles.”

Girls Basketball
Coach: Mike Andreasen (eighth year)
Last year’s results: 15-5, fell in B South semifinals
Key players lost: None
Key returners: Bri Jordan (sr., 10.5 PPG, 3.0 APG); Alexa Thayer (sr., 4.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG); Michaela Ryan (sr., 3.8 PPG, 1.5 APG); Chelsea Davis (sr., 38% 3P); Jordan Grant (jr., 16.7 PPG, 9.1 RPG); Eliza Hotham (jr., 5.6 PPG, 4.0 RPG); Samantha Fortin (jr., 3.1 PPG, 2.5 RPG); Mady West (jr., 1.4. PPG); Abbey Michaud (jr., 1.3 PPG, 1.4 RPG)
Key newcomers: Whitney Dwyer (sr., F)
Key matchups: Lake Region, Poland, Yarmouth, Freeport, Greely
Outlook: The Lady Patriots fell in last year’s tournament to constant rivals Lake Region, who went on to earn State Runners-Up status; G-NG returns, however, all of their firepower from that potent lineup. With another year’s experience under their collective belt, the team should be contenders yet again. Jordan and Grant are both top-tier talent, and consistently earn All-Conference honors when the time comes for the bestowing of those particular laurels. Thayer, Ryan, Davis and Dwyer bring senior leadership to the court, and can clearly pull down buckets too. Andreasen looks to run an up-tempo offense, so expect exciting play from G-NG throughout the regular season and beyond.

Cheering
Coach: Melissa Burila
Last year’s results: 1st at WMCs, Runners-Up at Regionals
Key athletes lost: Seven seniors
Outlook: A huge majority – 80%, in Burila’s estimation – of this year’s Patriots squad are freshmen and sophomores. Still, Burila is optimistic and energized for the upcoming season. “We have great leadership from our upperclassmen” she says, “and are looking forward to developing this young team.”

Boys Hockey
Coach: 
Joe Hutchinson (3rd year)
Last year’s results: 11-7, fell to St. Dom’s 4-1 in postseason
Key players lost: Connor Cyr (F), Parker Springer (D), Bailey Drouin (D), Brandon Michaud (F), Garrett Derocher (F), Garrett Haskins (F)
Key returners: Dakota Soucy (sr., G); Austin Taylor (sr., F); Trent Vaillancourt (sr., F); Andrew Topham (sr., F); Jayson Martin (sr., D); Cole Gagne (sr., D); Nate Marcotte (jr., D); Sam Boles (jr., F); Sam Tibbetts (so., D)
Key newcomers: Xavier Michaud (sr., G); Lucas Mortensen (jr., F); Spencer Berube (so., F); Bryce Doucette (so., F); Blake Springer (fr., D); Aiden Gonzalez (fr., F); Reese Collins (fr., F)
Outlook: The G-NG co-op with Oak Hill, Poland and Leavitt turned in a very good season last winter; they said goodbye, though, to a number of key players at the end of that stretch.

Girls Hockey
Coach:
Nate Guerin (9th season)
Key returners: Jayme Morrison (sr., D); Leah Walker (jr., D); Camilla Lattanzi (so., D); Maddie Pelletier (so., F)
Key newcomers: Linnea Kovisto (sr., F); Meghan Abel (jr., G); Zahria MacLean (jr., G); Kerry Roberts (fr., F)
Outlook: G-NG/Greely’s season looks up in the air; the co-op graduated 75% of their offensive firepower after last year, and are looking to Pelletier, Kovisto (an exchange student from Finald) and Roberts to put up points. The team has kicked off the season at 1-2, and will need to improve day-in and day-out to build the record they want to build. “We’ve got a large group of first year players and our goal over the course of the season will be to develop skills to a point where we can try to run some systems consistently,” Guerin says. “We expect the entire season to be filled with growing pains and new successes. Hopefully we can put together enough wins to make the playoffs and get our new girls a taste of high school hockey in February. “

Indoor Track
Coach: Todd Mercer
Key athletes lost: Jaley Martin, Erica Larrivee, Andrew Peterson, Nicole Cobb
Key returners: Nate Gendreau (sr.), Erica Schlichting (sr.), Madison Post (sr.), Megan Reynolds (sr.), Nick Cohen (jr.), Ray Woodworth (jr.), Scott Lynch (jr.), Hunter Brown (jr.), Jacob MacCallum (jr.), Lindsay Pierce (jr.), Jasmine French (jr.), Tyler Amos (so.), Caitlyn Smith (so.), Madison Soul (so.), Zoe Barnes (so.)
Key matchups: Poland
Outlook: The Gentlemen Patriots have quite a few holes to fill on the track and on the field field, especially given the departure of Peterson, a standout who’s now running for Thomas College. But, Mercer says, “We could put together a nice 4×200 relay if the season goes the way we hope.” Mercer calls Gendreau “a talented athlete who can score in several field events and running events,” while saying that Cohen “is in a position to shake things up this season” and “has put in a lot of work.” Lynch and Brown, meanwhile, “have both come a long ways in the past two years. They’re both technicians. They work had at running with speed and power, and could be impactful in the 55, 200, 400 and 4×200 relay.” Jacob MacCallum, a shot-putter and hurdler (and sometimes 4×200 relayer), is working right now to narrow his focus to two technical events. “It’s hard to put that much time into two very different events,” Mercer says. Woodworth runs distance: “Last year, things started to click for Raymond; he’s put in a lot of work, and I expect he’ll be well ahead of last year’s times.” Amos is a second-year shot-putter and pole-vaulter who’s learned a lot – and grown a few inches, “which should translate into more success in both events.” Over on the girls’ side of things, Mercer says: “We’ve lived off the girls 4×200 relay the past few seasons, but, with Nicole injured, we’re going to have to find points in other places.” (Cobb suffered an injury during soccer season, and will be out for the winter stretch. “This is a tough loss for the team,” Mercer says. “Thankfully Nicole’s still part of the family, even if she can’t compete.”) Mercer goes on: “We have a nice 4×800 relay, and a chance to score in the distance events. We have some real speed, and we have some talented throwers. We really need to find more skill athletes; we need more high jumpers, long jumpers, triple jumpers and hurdlers. If we’re going to be a threat at the State Meet, we need to fill a few more positions. Jasmine could play an important role, filling in relay space and the jumps.” Martin and Larrivee are both off at Husson this year – that’s where some of the major gaps enter the team’s lineup. Luckily, Post is a standout who’s just signed on to run for UMaine beginning next year. No doubt she’ll score big points for the Lady Patriots in this, her final season. Reynolds is “making great strides across the shot-put circle,” as Mercer says. “I know she’s looking forward to competing in the big meets at the end of the season.” Pierce “has improved each year; last year she started to beat some of our best runners,” while Smith “started last year and showed a lot of promise, [but] sustained a season-ending injury. This should be a great return season for her.” Soul is Amos’s partner in crime – another shot-putter, pole-vaulter and “great kid”; like Amos, she’s in her second year and improving apace. Schlichting had major surgery a year ago, but is tough, and has fought hard to come back. “She’s just a confidence boost away from breaking out,” Mercer says.  French is “a big meet performer. She loves the State Meet and consistently performs her best when it counts.” Finally, Barnes, another shot-putter, “went all the way to New Englands last year as a freshman. Coming into her second year, you have to know she’s looking to improve. She already looks stronger than she did.” Mercer & Co. like to face off with Poland in particular because they greatly enjoy the Route 26 rivalry.

Nordic Skiing
Coach: Jeff McEvoy
Last year’s results: No team scores
Key players lost: None
Key returners: Michael Sutherland (sr.), Will Maines (so.)
Key newcomers: Cam, Bolduc, Jake Butler, Wyatt Fessler, Mike Sweeny
Outlook: Fans should keep their eyes peeled especially for Sutherland’s and Maines’s results. 2018-19 is Sutherland’s last on the trails as a Patriot, and McEvoy says he’ll be “gunning for top-10 finishes in the WMC and Class B States”; Maines, meanwhile, may be returning for only his second high school season, but he’ll likely break into some top-20s as he builds confidence, savvy and strength.

Wrestling
G-NG wrestles alongside Windham; see the Eagles’ preview.

The Forecaster’s Mike Hoffer contributed to this story.

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

Hunter Colby is a powerful inside force for the Patriots.

Madison Post, seen here at her recent NLI signing – she’ll run for the University of Maine Orono, beginning next year – will helm another strong Lady Patriots’ squad this winter.

Photo courtesy of Scott Walker.

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