Coach: Matt Reid (first year)
Last year’s record: 2-16
Key players: Brendan Qualls (sr.), Jack Davenport (jr.)
Key games: Poland
Outlook: Reid looks to turn around a team that’s struggled for the past couple seasons. He certainly believes progress can be made, but says, “Everyone will need to bring their maximum effort, intensity and focus on a day-to-day basis for us to be successful.” Qualls and Davenport have been strong scorers for the Falcons in their respective tenures on the court, and can be expected to continue draining baskets this year as well.
Coach: Mike Hart (first year)
Last year’s record: 8-10
Key players: Kayla Belanger, Jess Wall, Lauren Cormier
Key games: “We approach every game the same way,” Hart says, “so no game is more important than the others.”
Outlook: Hart steps in as head coach following the departure of Jim Seavey after last season. Despite his newness to the program and the players, as well as some key losses – namely, that of standout Nina Davenport – to graduation, Hart is confident in the squad he’s assembled. “We’re looking to get better every day, and should be battling for a playoff spot by the end of the year,” he said.
The Falcons battled last year for a berth in the postseason as well, but finished two slots outside the bracketing, so Hart’s optimism should encourage fans of the team nervous about the shakeups it’s undergone.
Coach: Jessica Duplisea
Last year’s record: Third at WMCs, sixth at Regionals, 12th at States
Key meets: Western Maine Conference championship, Regionals
Outlook: “We’re hoping to continue the momentum of the 2013-14 season,” Duplisea says. “Our placements at Western Maines and Regionals were the highest in Freeport history, and our season concluded with a first-ever bid to States.”
The Falcons’ chances to improve this year look good: Duplisea reports that her squad is stronger, more confident, and packing the determination they’ll need.
Coach: Jay Thomas (head), Scott Cushing (asst.)
Last year’s record: Class B boys runners-up
Key athletes: Ryder Bennell (sr.), Blake Enrico (sr.), Caleb Abbott (sr.), Charlie Zachau (sr.)
Key meets: “It’s all training for the State meet,” says Thomas.
Outlook: Thomas won’t make grand pronouncements yet – “It’s ski racing, so we’ll have to wait and see” – but he is confident in his group: “We’re looking forward to a strong year with our returning seniors.” That optimism is no doubt justified, since these are the same boys, just with another year’s growth and know-how on board, who led the Falcons to second at last year’s States, the team’s first in Class B. “We’re grateful to have Lost Valley up and running,” Thomas says of the Auburn ski area.
Coach: Dan Smith (head), Joel Hinshaw (asst.)
Last year’s record: Girls second at States, boys third
Key athletes: Elizabeth Martin (sr.), Lily Johnston (jr.), Bennett High (so.), Kyle Dorsey (so.)
Key meets: WMCs, States
Outlook: Smith takes over head-coaching duties this year, but Hinshaw has been with the program for some time now, and will surely help smooth the transition to new leadership for the athletes.
On the girls’ side, Martin and Johnston provide leadership, developed skills and experience on the podium, having finished second in Freestyle and second in Classic at last year’s States, respectively. Smith expects his and Hinshaw’s girls to vie for a State title again come February 2015.
Graduation claimed a number of top boys from last year’s team, but a cadre of talented sophomores – Hight and Dorsey both performed well at States last year – are ready to continue the program’s success, without missing a stride.
“The teams to beat, as always, are Yarmouth, Gray-New Gloucester and Maranacook,” says Smith.
Coach: Brian Berkemeyer
Last year’s record: Girls fourth at States, boys 10th
Key athletes: Nick Wilson (sr.), Ramsey Dodge (sr.), Chandler Vincent (jr.), Eric Brobst (jr.), Courtney Broderick (jr.), Maddie Squibb (jr.), Chloe Hight (jr.), Ella Russell (jr.), Hanna Schnyder (jr.), Chandler Wyman (so.), Henry Jaques (so.), Max Heathco (so.)
Outlook: While Berkemeyer has swollen the indoor track contingent to its largest-ever size – that’s 27 boys and 27 girls, 54 athletes total – the group is decidedly young, with just seven seniors. Freshmen largely comprise the influx of new faces.
Graduation claimed many of Berkemeyer’s top female runners, “but we look to do well at the relays and maintain our fourth place finish at States,” he says.
His boys battalion looks “to improve on the distance side with top juniors,” he adds.
The Falcons add a throwing/field coach this year, who, Berkemeyer is hopeful, will pay points dividends.
“Our goal is to get as many State qualifiers as possible, and to continue to send a few individuals to New Englands,” he says, adding that “As usual, York and Cape look to be the top competition.”