GORHAM—The Rams’ winter seasons are over, but their spring seasons are still several weeks out. In the interim, a look back at their recent accomplishments – and there have been many – seems in order.
Mark Karter’s boys finished 7-12, entering the postseason ranked fifth in AA South but bouncing in the first round following a loss to four-seed Bonny Eagle.
The Rams kicked off their winter with a 70-60 win over Massabesic; they then dropped a pair of games before besting Sanford. Gorham also picked up Ws over Noble (eighth in AA South), Cheverus (seventh in AA North), Lewiston (eighth in AA North), Oxford Hills (third in AA North) and the Scots (whom they beat by 20 points). Notably, the Rams twice played eventual State Runners-up Scarborough tough, losing by just six points each time.
Just three seniors leave Gorham behind, come June: Sean Pocock, Will Prescott and Stephen Klatt. Gorham returns good talent next winter, and some size as well – Ryan Reno, for instance, stands 6-foot-6, and Bryce Womack 6-foot-4.
“Overall, I thought the season was successful,” Karter said. “We had a couple of injuries at a tough time of the year and couldn’t recover. I thought the boys played hard and competed all season, they also had great attitudes and never quit. I think the program is in a good spot; we have some players coming back and some younger players coming up through the system – with hard work in the offseason I look forward to what this group can achieve in the future.”
Laughn Berthiaume’s girls proved once again this year why they are one of the most respected and feared outfits on the AA courts. The team finished 14-8 overall, but – as has been dutifully observed time and again – they surged after a mid-season skid, offing the top-seeded Red Riots and the second-seeded Red Storm in the playoffs to ultimately reach the State Final.
There, the Lady Rams, faced with the Lady Eddies, played one of the all-time great games, only falling by one point – and only in the last three-tenths of the last second. Mighty Mackenzie Holmes, even after suffering a painful-looking knee injury early in the last quarter, led her teammates in assembling a huge comeback, and their eventual loss came on a controverseial, unlucky call.
“Obviously the sting of losing in the State Championship is still pretty fresh,” said Berthiaume, “but the amount of growth that our team made this year is undeniable. Our team learned a lot about camaraderie and the power of playing together. They bought into the idea that we were all in it together and we were going to play for one another at all times.”
“Our upperclassmen recognized the talent and value of our underclassmen,” Berthiaume continued, “and they were instrumental in the development of their confidence. I think our group this year found an identity by supporting each other through our rough times and created lasting memories by getting themselves so close to the ultimate goal. I believe the experience will carry over to next season because the group is very motivated to continue to grow.”
Holmes tallied 464 pts, 292 rebounds, 111 blocks and 62 steals on the year – a remarkable feat that averages out to 21.1 ppg, 13.3 rpg, 5.05 bpg and 2.8 spg.
“This is the most dominant single-season stat line since I took over the program,” Berthiaume said.
But Holmes wasn’t the team’s only contributor. Senior Michelle Rowe – the lone player saying goodbye this year – regularly scored, as did a number of other girls, from freshmen like Adele Nadeau and Olivia Michaud to juniors like Brittany Desjardin and Bourtney Brent, all of whom return next winter.
Rowe is planning to play in college, though she has not settled on a school yet.
Jon Portwine’s boys finished their season at 9-10. The Rams began their schedule on a slide, going 2-7 through the first half of the winter. Then they found their verve, though, going 7-2 through their last nine games and entering the bracketing fifth in B South.
Gorham opened their schedule at 0-4, losing to Cape Elizabeth, Edward Little, Scarborough and Yarmouth. Then, however, they managed a 3-2 triumph over Greely, who eventually compiled a 15-2-1 record to reach the postseason ranked first.
The Rams followed their W over the Rangers with one over the Tigers, of Gardiner (seventh in B South). They later picked up victories vs. Marswhood/Traip/Sanford (eighth in A South), Windham/Westbrook (eighth in A North), Kennebunk/Wells (twice; eighth in B South), Poland/Gray-New Gloucester/Oak Hill/Leavitt (sixth in A North), Massabesic/Bonny Eagle/Old Orchard Beach (ninth in A South) and Marancook/Winthrop/Madison (ninth in B South).
Gorham graduates six seniors in June: Holden Edwards, Ben Eichner, Jack Niles, Lucas Roop, Jack Richards and Garrett Babineau. Their current crop of juniors is sizable, though – nine strong – and contains solid talent.
The Gorham girls compete as a co-op; Bonny Eagle and Massabesic contribute athletes to the team as well. The squad didn’t fare all that well in the past couple months, going 0-18 and missing the postseason cut. Bonny Eagle/Gorham/Massabesic came close against York/Traip/Marshwood, Mt. Ararat/Morse and Yarmouth/Freeport, in each case losing by just one or two goals, but they could never quite get over the hump.
Five seniors depart the team: Megan Polchies, Sadie Denico, Emily Chapin, Kaitlyn Jodoin and Haley Keefe.
“Gorham/Bonny Eagle/Massabesic Girls Ice Hockey went 0-18 this season, but still had some wins,” Chapin said. “Despite having several first-time hockey players on the roster, every girl on the team got varsity playing time, which is key experience for the coming years. Head Captain and junior defenseman Isis Adams missed the entire season due to injury, we lost some goal scorers to transfers and had several injuries resulting in missed games. So, just being competitive in games was a victory in itself. If you watched our last game of the season, which we lost 5-2, you would not have guessed our season record, judging by the spirit and attitude displayed by these girls.”
Boys Indoor Track
Jason Tanguay’s boys went 15-5 this winter, collecting a seventh-place finish at Southwesterns and a 12th-place finish at States. A small squad then repped for the team at New Englands: David Drew (in the 55), Anthony Chase (in the Two Mile) and the foursome of Drew, Luke Gowen, Wil Rossignol and Tyler Rollins (in the 4×200).
“This season was a successful season, with many new faces stepping up to be point-scorers for our team,” Tanguay said. “This was a very coachable group who made great strides over the course of the season. Although we graduate many seniors, we have a large group of returning scorers so I am hopeful that we will continue to move in a positive direction over the next few years.
11 seniors graduate in June: Chase, Drew, Gowen, Rossignol, Clayton Bassingthwaite, Jason Catoggio, Garrett Higgins, Carlos Monsen, Stefan Street, Keltan Tanguay and Simeon Willey.
Girls Indoor Track
John Caterina’s Lady Rams looked strong once again this winter, finishing 14-7, and claiming fifth at Southwesterns and third at States. Evelyn Kitchen (Long Jump), Irish Kitchen (1000), Meadow Fortier (1000) and Anna Slager (Two Mile) all repped for the team at New Englands, and Slager, Fortier, and Iris Kitchen hooked up with Kate Tugman as a 4×800 quartet. The four went on to compete at the New Balance Nationals in New York City, though they DQed there.
Gorham set a number of new records this winter: Evelyn Kitchen set new school records in the senior Long Jump and senior Triple Jump; Iris Kitchen set a new school record in the junior 800; Fortier, Iris Kitchen, Peyton Morton and Sarah Johnson set a new school record in the 4×400; Fortier, Tugman, Slager and Iris Kitchen logged a new school record in the Distance Medley, and the 4×800 foursome mentioned above – well, they didn’t just set a new school record, they set a new state record.
Five seniors – who Caterina refers to as “incredibly valuable” – leave their high school years behind in June. Hayley Bickford, who’ll run at Goshen College in Indiana; Slager, who’ll run at Tufts; Fortier, who plans to compete in college, but is undecided as to where; Bridget Rossignol, who’ll actually be playing lacrosse at Springfield College; and Sarah Johnson, who’ll spend a couple years on a missionary trip before furthering her education.
“The girls indoor team had an incredibly successful season,” Caterina said. “Each and every week the girls were setting new PRs and gaining confidence. It was apparent when we were getting near the end of the regular season that we had one of the top teams in the State and the girls put together a great effort at both the SMAA Championship and the State Meet…While we will be graduating some talented and valuable leaders, the program is in good shape with several underclasswomen who will continue to challenge for state and league honors.”
A number of Adam Cyr’s kids ventured to States this winter. Patrick Bishop, Babou Gatete, Max Harvey and Cody Smith teamed up to compete in the 200 Medley Relay; Bishop and Gatete took on the 50 Free; Sam Prichard tried his hand at the 100 Butterfly; Harvey, Smith, Prichard and Gatete competed in the 200 Free Relay.
Further, Prichard took a stab at the 100 Backstroke; Gatete at the 100 Breaststroke; and Bishop, Smith, Harvey and Prichard at the 400 Free Relay.
Over on the girls’ side of things, Gabriella Fisher, Caitlin Randall, Sierra Lumbert and Saoirse Herlihy combined to vie in the 200 Medley Relay; Herlihy and Bolduc both dipped their toes in the 200 Free; Lumbert in the 200 IM; Haley McCullough, Ava Pitman and Kali Perry in the 50 Free; Kasey Jiang in the dives; Pitman, Jiang and Caelyn Smith (who finished sixth) in the 100 Butterfly; Bolduc and Lumbert in the 100 Free; Smith, McCullough, Perry and Bolduc in the 200 Free Relay; Smith and McCullough in the 100 Backstroke; and Smith, McCullough, Lumbert and Bolduc in the 400 Free Relay.
All told, the girls took 11th at the meet.
Of special note, Smith set a new school record in the 100 Butterfly, hitting 1:05.74 in a meet vs. Scarborough on Jan. 12. (Smith won the event that day.) Current Assistant Coach Lindsey Thomsen previously held the record.
Harvey and Gatete are both seniors, as are Fisher, Herlihy, Lumbert, Perry, Lindsey Boylen, Sarah Shields and Lindsey Boylen.
Adam Birt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @CurrentSportsME.
Emily Chapin scoots up-ice in a mid-season matchup.
Drew Meader attacks for Gorham in a mid-season matchup with visiting Greely.
Gorham’s Caelyn Smith (left) poses with Assistant Coach Lindsey Thomsen, whose school record in the 100 Butterfly Smith has just bested.
Photo courtesy of Mark Andrews.