GRAY — The Patriots looked fiery this winter, turning in some huge performances. The headliner story in recent weeks, obviously, has been the girls basketball team, which won the Class B State Championship in a rematch of last year’s title bout with Houlton, but no less deserving of recognition is Emma MacCallum, who took the State crown in the Shot Put.
Evan Mancini’s downhillers sent a healthy contingent to States this winter: Kyle Mercier, Carson McEvoy, Noah Lessard, Jeremy Mazur, Andrew Fournier, Jacob Piela, Alex Farrington and Sydney Garcia. Mercier posted the team’s best performance in the Giant Slalom, finishing 20th; McEvoy posted their best performance in the Slalom, 12th. As a unit, the boys finished seventh overall.
Ryan Deschenes’ crew, a young squad on the upswing, turned in laudable, 10-10 season, including a postseason upset win over Lake Region – all this after going 2-16 and missing the playoffs by a mile last year.
The Gentlemen Patriots kicked off their season with a loss to Yarmouth – but of course, Yarmouth is a top-tier program, the type of program G-NG is working to match. They picked up their first W 62-35 over Sacopee Valley, then promptly hashed four more: over Lincoln, St. Dominic, Poland and Freeport.
Come tourney time, the Patriots had earned themselves the nine-seed in B South, a slot back from Lake Region, whom they lined up to face in the prelims. G-NG took the seesaw contest in the end, and moved on to a rematch with the Clippers in the quarters. Alas, Yarmouth got the better of the Patriots once again, and G-NG retired till ’17-’18.
Two seniors, Tanner Mann and John Henry Villanueva, close the book on their high school years.
Mike Andreasen’s Lady Patriots made history this year, reaching the Class B Final once again and this time emerging the victors. The team went 17-1 through the regular season, dropping just one bout – to Greely, arguably the toughest competition from a class up, Class A.
Wells, Yarmouth, Lake Region: None of the other top teams in B South could quite get it done vs. G-NG; the Clippers came closest in the regular season, falling by just four, and the Lakers put up a spectacular battle in the Regional semis, ultimately falling by four as well. The Patriots eased by Lincoln 46-32 in the Final to earn that second consecutive shot at a gold ball.
Last year, of course, Houlton got the better of G-NG; it was the third time the Patriots program had been to the State Final, and it was the third time Patriots program had fallen short of the tippity-top of the heap (the ’01 and ’02 teams went as well). This time around, however, Andreasen’s girls finally captured what they so madly desired, what they so clearly deserved: that slippery title.
Four seniors – Izzy DeTroy, Alicia Dumont, Grace Kariotis and Skye Conley – say goodbye to the team. Each of those girls was a starter, and critical to the team’s success. Still, with a cadre of impressive underclassmen remaining on the roster, the Patriots could continue raining butt-kickery to opponents next winter.
Melissa Burila’s cheering squad took seventh at the Class B South Championship; unfortunately, only the top six teams in the competition earned States berths. However, just two seniors – Tia Dyer and Kate Ferguson – put their high school careers behind them this year, meaning the team will return a heap of experienced athletes to the floor next winter.
Joe Hutchinson’s boys are a four-way co-op: G-NG, Oak Hill, Leavitt and Poland. (The outfit is properly called the Kings.) Just three Patriots dot the roster: juniors Garrett Haskins and Brandon Pelton and sophomore Andrew Topham. Still, the team compiled an excellent record in A North, 11-6-1 – good enough for the five-seed, come tournament time.
Alas, the Kings hit a wall in the bracketing, falling 4-1 in their first bout, vs. No. 4 St. Dominic. They thus hang up their skates for the year.
Todd Mercer’s Gentlemen Patriots finished 10th at WMCs and sent a small contingent on to States. There, Jaykob Sanborn tied for sixth in the High Jump. Mercer’s Lady Patriots, after taking fifth at WMCs, sent a more numerous cohort onward to the larger stage, where, of course, MacCallum delivered a blue-ribbon performance. MacCallum hurled her shot 36-03.00, besting No. 2 finisher Sarah Cox of Waterville by more than a foot.
Elsewhere, Madison Post, just a sophomore, took third in the 55 and third in the 200.
MacCallum and Post both went on to New Englands, held at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Boston on March 4. MacCallum finished 22nd in the Shot put there, throwing 34-10.75, while Post finished 18th in the 300, in 42.63.
Jeff McEvoy’s small squad sent a competitor on to States this winter: Michael Sutherland. Sutherland finished 36th in the Classical race and 36th in the Freestyle race as well.
Adam Birt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME
G-NG senior Captain Grace Kariotis jogs onto the floor during the pre-game lineup announcements at the Class B State Final earlier this month.
G-NG senior Captain John Henry Villanueva skirts Lake Region defender Tyler Breton in their teams’ playoffs contest.