Friday, September 23, 2022

Windham Cross Country runners post solid performances at Southern Maine Classic

By Matt Pascarella

When the Windham cross-country team arrived at Narragansett School in Gorham on Saturday, Sept. 17 the addition of a new skate park had given the course for the Southern Maine Classic Cross-Country competition a new direction.

Windham junior Graden Joly gives himself a final push
before he crosses the finish line during the Southern
Maine Classic Cross Country event at the Narragansett
School in Gorham on Saturday, Sept. 17.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA  
The 5K race featured participants from all over southern Maine and gave Windham a chance to see how their hard work had really paid off.

The race was broken up into freshmen/sophomore boys and girls and junior/senior boys and girls.

Windham’s fastest runners were senior Elise Schultz who finished first for the junior/senior girls with a time of 22:57.99 minutes and 73rd overall. Sophomore Andrew Young set a personal record, finished first for the freshman/sophomore group and 45th overall with a time of 17:50.11.

“Everybody came out and they all improved their times that they’ve had so far,” said Windham cross-country coach Jeff Conant. “It is always rewarding to have vastly improved race results to continue to motivate our kids to bigger and better things as the season progresses.”

Conant said this is good validation that their work is paying off. It’s also about them reaching their individual goals. The team will go back, reevaluate and set higher goals for the next race.

BOYS

The Windham boys came in 14th as a team with a total time of 1:32:30.82.

“It’s great to be here with the team,” said Young. “It’s great to be running today. [The competition] was really tough ... they’ve been really training hard.”

Young said he now knows how far he can push himself, how fast he can truly go and how to act before a race.

Junior Graden Joly finished first in the junior and senior boys’ group. He finished second for Windham and 47th overall with a time of 17:54.94.

Joly said he can run much faster than he thought. He said the team’s pacing and pushing themselves back and forth was great – it was a great team effort.

Senior Caleb Young finished third for Windham and 52nd overall with a time of 18:03.34. Senior Roman Thomas finished fourth for Windham with a time of 19:05.63 and junior Jinqi Li finished fifth for Windham with a time of 19:36.80.

GIRLS

The Windham girls came in 15th as a team with a total time of 2:00:30.29 hours.

In the freshman/sophomore group of Windham runners, sophomore Abigail Dumont finished first for that group with a time of 26.00.96. She finished fifth for Windham girls.

“My team was amazing,” said Dumont. “We really did well pacing together. This race taught me how to pace myself the first mile, so I feel strong the third mile.”

Junior Monica Lewis came in second for Windham and 77th overall with a time of 23:06.97. Junior
Beth Bearce came in third for Windham with a time of 23:18.83. Junior Cate Culpovich finished fourth for Windham with a time of 25:05.54.

Schultz said the group has been working really hard, pushing each other and getting uncomfortable together. Schultz said team building was good. <

Windham High coed varsity golf falls to Greely

By Matt Pascarella

As the Windham varsity golf team looks toward the end of the season, they traveled to Val Halla Golf & Recreation, a par 36 course in Cumberland and faced Greely for the second time this season on Tuesday, Sept. 20.
Windham High sophomore Addison Profenno is shown after
driving the ball deep during a coed varsity golf match against
Greely at Val Halla Golf & Recreation in Cumberland on
Tuesday, Sept. 29. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA 

Windham was coming off back-to-back wins against Bonny Eagle (13-0) and Westbrook (7-6). Cold weather and a wet course may have been a factor in Windham’s 13-0 loss to the Rangers. Greely beat Windham in strokes 189-238.

Windham junior Brady Harvie shot a 38, senior Logan Marden shot a 47, sophomore Fiona Harmon shot a 49, sophomore Ben Shaw shot a 53, senior Nolan Dries shot a 52, sophomores Joe Donnelly and Phillip Traina both shot 52, and sophomore Addison Profenno shot a 55.

“Since I started in 2010, we have notoriously struggled at this course,” said Windham varsity golf coach Adam Manzo. “Not sure why; my hope was in the second half of the season we start to put together scores. For us if we win it’s great, but if we lose and we’re shooting good scores that’s ok because at the end of the year that’s what matters for us is the scores not the wins and losses.”

Manzo said the team’s attitudes and demeanors were good considering things weren’t going their way. He never felt like they had checked out; they competed the entire match. It says a lot about the maturity of this younger group.

“Probably one of the better days for me I was hitting all my clubs really well; overall just hitting the ball well,” said Harvie.

Harvie was only two over par for the day and Coach Manzo said his game was one of the positives of the match. Harvie birdied – one under par – on the third hole.

Harmon started off with a par, bogeyed, but bunker shots were rough and caused her to get high numbers. She said overall her tee shots were in-play and went well. She gave it her all, but it was a

rough day.

Both Harmon and Harvie agreed the team needs to work on their short game, chipping and putting specifically, in order to lower their scores.

Profenno said her drives went well and she kept a good attitude even though she wasn’t doing great. She said she needs to stay focused and relaxed and not put a lot of pressure on herself, because it is just a game.

Windham sophomore Ben Shaw said the day was kind of rough and in order to improve they need to focus every practice on getting better.

According to Coach Manzo, the last two weeks of the season are important to get into a groove where they can work to improve their shooting scores. <

Fisherman records first triple-win in Annual Sebago Lake Togue Derby

Travis Knight of Livermore Falls is the first fisherman to be a triple winner in the Annual Sebago Lake Togue Derby and he did it this Sept. 10 and Sept. 11.

Travis Knight was a triple winner during the Annual Sebago
Lake Togue Derby on Sept. 10 and Sept. 11. Knight caught
the largest fish Saturday for a $100 prize and was 
awarded the First Place Derby prize of $500 for catching
the largest fish in the tournament. Knight also was the
winner of the derby's Togue Pool Lottery for a $100 prize
making him a triple winner at the event.
SUBMITTED PHOTO   
Knight caught the largest fish on Saturday for a $100 prize. His fish, which weighed 15.67 pounds and was 34.5 inches long, remained the largest fish of the two-day derby, and he was awarded the First Place Derby prize of $500.

In addition, Travis entered all the Togue he caught into the Togue Pool Lottery and was one of the lucky winners to be drawn by lottery for $100.

So for doing a fun activity that he was probably going to do anyway, Travis walked away with $700 - not a bad return for a weekend’s work.

The weather for the derby could not have been better with a sunny and 75-degree day on Saturday and a cloudy but warm day on Sunday. Most importantly, the wind, for which Sebago Lake is famous, did not show up either day making boating most pleasant. Typically, the wind picks up in the afternoon and 3- to 4-foot rollers can make boating very unpleasant and potentially unsafe for the unprepared.

Sebago Lake Anglers’ Association President Bob Chapin said that the derby had just over 90 men and women participate in the two-day derby, and they turned in over 125 fish for the Togue Pool Lottery.

One of the objectives for Maine State Inland Fisheries and Wildlife was to remove as many togue from the lake as possible to lessen the competition for other species, such as salmon, who compete for survival and a diminishing set of forage fish.

The 125 figure is somewhat understated, said Chapin, because fishermen, who knew they did not have a

competitive fish for the Top 10 slots, simply elected to skip the weigh in and took their fish home to cook. Fish that fishermen turned in, but did not want to keep, were mostly given to an Orthodox Greek Church that was planning a big fish fry. The remainder went home with association members, also destined for the pot.

The association will use the proceeds from the derby to payout the cash prizes and fund resident Maine Youth Lifetime Licenses. A drawing will be held at the association’s October meeting to determine which kids will get the licenses which cost the association either $150 or $300 depending upon the age of the child. With such a license, children can fish in any Maine inland water for free for the rest of their lives regardless of their age or state of residency.

For those anglers who have been saying, “the lake is fished out…there are no big fish left” check again, because the top-five places in the derby were all fish over 10 pounds which is a nice-sized fish caught anywhere,” Chapin said.

According to Chapin, if this derby sounds like something you would like to try, mark your calendar for the weekend after Labor Day 2023. Registration forms will be available in area convenience stores and tackle shops in the month preceding the event.

The derby is always held the weekend after Labor Day to take advantage of the good weather, the decline in tourists, and boating is still a pleasure.

For more information about the Sebago Lake Anglers’ Association, call Chapin at 207-655-1028. < 
 


Friday, September 16, 2022

Windham varsity girls’ soccer coach Deb Lebel earns 200th win

Windham High varsity soccer seniors congratulate their
coach, Deb Lebel, for earning her 200th victory. From left
are, Kylie Garrison, Elizabeth Talbot, Abbey Thornton,
Coach Deb Lebel, Reilly Russell, Elizabeth Levesque,
and Ashley Clark. Lebel reached the milestone on Saturday,
Sept. 3 when Windham defeated Westbrook.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA    
By Matt Pascarella

Windham varsity girls’ soccer coach Deb Lebel has been coaching at Windham since 2011 and on Sept. 3 in Windham’s opening game, Lebel earned her 200th career win with a 10-0 victory over Westbrook.

Her varsity coaching career began at Falmouth in 2005 and over the years she has accomplished a lot, including being honored with a plaque marking her milestone accomplishment on Thursday, Sept. 8 at Windham.

She is a six-time state championship winner which includes Windham wins in 2013, 2014 and 2021. She won three state championships while at Falmouth and was honored as the Southern Maine Activities Association Maine Coach of the Year and New England Coach of the Year in 2021.

For someone who is so successful, Lebel is very humble and said she wasn’t focused on the number of wins she had going into the Westbrook game, it’s family that comes first for her.

“These 200 wins I feel I’ve been blessed with a ton of talent,” said Lebel. “At Falmouth I felt like this gift had been dropped in my lap. I think that in the 2013 and 2014 years [at Windham], I wouldn't have been successful if they hadn't won states. They were just so talented. This is a tiny bit me, but so much of them.”

She also credits the dedicated parents who got their kids interested in soccer early and stuck with them, helping them develop a skill set and keeping them excited about the game. Those players eventually become varsity players. 
 
Lebel began coaching at the Fay School in Southborough, Massachusetts in 1999. She taught physical education and health and coached soccer, basketball and lacrosse.

In 2005, Lebel came to Windham where she began teaching biology. She accepted her first varsity coaching position as the girls’ soccer coach at Falmouth High School where she coached for four years.

In 2009, she left Falmouth and began coaching girls’ lacrosse at Windham until 2013. In 2011, she started coaching varsity girls’ soccer in Windham.

Lebel learned from other people who had been successful. Falmouth junior varsity girls’ soccer coach Cooper Higgins taught her the importance of making sure the kids have fun at all costs. Falmouth’s varsity boys’ soccer coach Dave Halligan was a huge role model and mentor to her when she first started at Falmouth. She says she also learned a ton from her assistant varsity coach Jim Stewart about getting players motivated and connecting with every single player.

“She definitely cares about us, she cares about the team,” said Windham varsity girls’ soccer senior Ashley Clark. “She cares about our success. She’s so positive - just wants the best for us.”

Windham girls’ varsity senior Liz Levesque said Lebel trusts the team will do their best. Lebel has given Levesque self-confidence.

Both Clark and Levesque said Lebel is very driven. For them, getting that season opener win felt good.

“Deb is a very good game manger. She has an agility to manage the players, read the flow of the game and effectiveness of the players,” said Windham varsity girls’ assistant soccer coach Jim Stewart. “Deb values the players and cares about them as persons as well as soccer players. Making sure they take care of themselves physically, mentally and academically. I think the effort she puts into this has had a big impact on her success.”

Stewart said Lebel understands the entire meaning of a student athlete and works very hard to make that experience one that can be beneficial long after they stop playing soccer.

Lebel credits an enormous support system of teachers, friends and family that helped her reach 200 wins. Windham’s Jennifer Dunn and Beth Bubier played big roles in helping her juggle everything.

According to Lebel, her children are her top priority. She said she wants them to have a positive athletic experience with their sports, but it’s also important to her that they see her as a strong female role model to both students and players.

Gorham varsity girls’ soccer coach Jeanne Zarrilli has become a friend and mentor to Lebel. Thornton Academy’s Natalie Sharland is another example of a coach balancing motherhood, teaching and coaching. Sharland and Lebel have talked about how challenging this can be.

“We need more female coaches,” said Lebel. “And that's one of the reasons I feel like I stick it out. I feel like that connection, gives [her team] something to see – oh, I can do this. I want them to know that's a possibility. You can still have the family – it doesn’t have to be one or the other.”

This year Lebel said she would like to repeat last year’s state championship win. She thinks the team can come together, and it could be a really special season ahead.

“As long as the passion is still there and there is still a spark and kids are fun and make you want to come, then I'll be here,” said Lebel. <

Varsity volleyball posts first win; JV continues to improve

Windham freshman Josephine Sibley tips the ball over the net
during a varsity volleyball game on Monday, Sept. 12 in
East Waterboro against Massabesic High School.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
By Matt Pascarella 

Windham varsity volleyball and Massabesic entered their games together with recent losses, but on Monday, Sept. 12 at Massabesic Middle School in East Waterboro, the varsity Lady Eagles got their first win of the regular season when they beat the Mustangs, 3-1.

The Windham junior varsity team had three intense sets where they showed they have made progress but ended up falling, 2-1.

Varsity

The teams played a best of three sets match. In Set One, Windham jumped to a 5-0 lead with solid rallies or volleys.

Massabesic slowly gained, but Windham continued to dominate and soon it was set point. Massabesic was able to hang on for a moment but served the ball out of bounds and the set was over; Windham had won 25-21.

In Set Two, Massabesic took the lead early, but it was Windham senior Bella Lorenzatti whose serving tied up the game. Windham pulled ahead. Then Massabesic tied the game at 8. The Mustangs pulled away. Windham came close but lost this set 25-20.

In Set Three, Lorenzatti quickly put Windham on the scoreboard. Windham had the lead. Windham freshman Josephine Sibley scored multiple points for the Lady Eagles. Windham led by 10. Windham captain and senior Odessa Files got set point and secured the win, 25-11.

Set Four started with great rallies and nice serves by Windham. Files scored multiple points. Captain and Windham junior Savannah Heanssler served two aces, when a serve directly results in points. Sibley also got several aces. Lorenzatti propelled the team to be up by 10 and Windham took this set 25-10.

“This game we just upped our confidence by 100,” said Lorenzatti. “I think last time we went into it thinking Scarborough’s a really big competitor and this time Massabesic has always been a big competitor and we realized that regardless of the name of the team, we know how we can play. We walked in with straight confidence with this one.”

Lorenzatti said there was a lot more communication which was key and more consistent playing with bump, set, hit.

Windham varsity volleyball coach Chuck Fleck said the team went into the game with a much better mindset this time and played their game. This was accomplished through lots of drilling and discipline. He said the team is coming together on serve receiving, transitioning and communication on the court.

JV

JV volleyball is best two out of three sets. In Set One, Windham freshman Rowan Cummings scored four points. Massabesic caught up and tied the game at 9. Then Massabesic led. Windham servers were strong and helped Windham move ahead. Windham got set point and a 25-21 victory.

In Set Two Windham took the lead early, but Massabesic gained control. They ran away with the set from there to claim a 25-13 win.

In Set Three Jezabelle Pinto put Windham on the scoreboard. Cummings tipped the ball over the net and the game is tied at 9. Massabesic got ahead and took this set 15-9 to win the match.

“Junior varsity has come a long way,” said Windham JV coach Chuck Fleck. “They are getting better every day. Our serves are very much improved.”

Fleck said they are transitioning well, and they did have a couple of pass, set, hits which is good to run a stronger offense.

Cummings said one of the highlights of the game was winning the first of their sets; this was the first game they went out strong. Cummings has seen a lot of improvement and effort. They’ve cleaned up mistakes like hitting into the net, foot faults and not trying for the ball. While improvements can still be made, overall, she thought they did well. <

Friday, September 9, 2022

Windham varsity football shuts out Noble in season opener

Junior Ezra Foster of Windham escapes the grasp of a Noble
defender during the Eagles' varsity football season-opening
game at Windham High School on Thursday, Sept. 1.
PHOTO BY STEVE GIRARD PHOTOGRAPHY  
By Matt Pascarella

The game had not started, but Windham varsity football team’s energy in their season opener, at home with Noble on Friday, Sept. 1 was more than substantial. The Eagles’ defense did not allow the Knights to cross into the end zone and Windham’s offense scored touchdown after touchdown, securing an impressive 40-0 win and a very strong start to the season.

Windham had cleaned up some areas that needed work from a preseason matchup with Bonny Eagle and they were ready to give this first game of the season nothing less than 100 percent; and did just that.

“We needed to change our energy,” said Windham senior Max Arbour. “We were kind of dry against Bonny Eagle and had to step it up. By the scoreboard you can tell we picked it up a bit and were able to fire on all cylinders.”

Arbour said everything from special teams, offense and defense went well. Everything was clicking. He said as long as they keep looking at films and keep their energy up, they can maintain this momentum.

Noble won the coin toss and elected to receive. Windham defense stopped Noble offense quickly.

Windham gained possession at the 30-yard line. It was second down and 2. In a flash, Windham senior Haddon Boyle quickly made it into the end zone. The extra point was good, and Windham led 7-0.

Later in the first quarter, Arbour intercepted a pass intended for Noble. Windham junior Ezra Foster made an impressive run toward the end zone but was stopped at the 1-yard line, first and goal, Windham. Windham senior Alex Yeaton then ran the ball in for a touchdown. The Eagles were denied in their attempt at a two-point conversion. 

“You never know what’s going to happen coming into the first game,” said Yeaton. “I couldn't ask for anything better; I think our team played great.”

According to Yeaton, Windham’s defense stood out, and the score speaks for itself. Shutting out Noble is not an easy thing to do for most high school teams.

Yeaton said that he wants to make his last season count – for himself and everyone on the team; he’s put a lot of time into this program and he’s going to keep giving his all.

Arbour later made it to the 30-yard line for a first and 10. He scored the touchdown, but the point after was no good and Windham led, 19-0. Moments later, Boyle scored again. This time the extra point kick was good, and Windham led 26-0 at the half.

In the third quarter, Yeaton scored his second touchdown and after a successful extra-point, the Eagles led 33-0.

At the start of the fourth quarter, Yeaton ran 55 yards into the end zone to give the Eagles a commanding 40-0 advantage.

“We definitely played with more energy tonight, more confidence,” said Windham varsity football coach Matt Perkins. “We’re a young team ... and we’re learning. When you do that, guys got to figure out who’s the leader, who to look to in bad times and how to carry themselves in good times.”

Perkins said Windham’s special teams looked good, they did a good job covering. Offensively, they had some good plays and the coach said the team did a good job with adjustments.

According to Perkins, this team is super coachable, and they don’t get down on themselves. Perkins said they are going to keep building and getting reps as the season progresses.

Windham (1-0) hosts Lawrence (0-1) at 7 p.m. Friday at Windham High School. <

Windham boys’ soccer defeats Westbrook in season opener

By Matt Pascarella 

Senior Owen Gaulrapp of Windham pauses for a moment
before passing the ball during a boys' varsity soccer game
against Westbrook. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA  

The Windham High School varsity boys’ soccer team came to play in the regular season opener against Westbrook and while the Blue Blazes were a more aggressive team than they’ve been in the past, the Eagles got the early season ‘W’ and beat Westbrook 5-1 at Westbrook on Saturday, Sept. 3.

Roughly 20 minutes into the first half, Windham senior Owen Gaulrapp scored off a corner kick that sailed past the goalie. Barely seven minutes later, sophomore Luke Cunniffe sent a forceful ball at goal that found the back of the net.

Windham would find the back of the net three more times in the second half. Senior Tyler Johnsen scored on a penalty kick and a direct shot at goal. Cunniffe scored again from 15 yards away.

“We knew Westbrook was going to come in wanting to beat us, because we beat them twice last year, said Cunniffe. “It took us 20 minutes to score our first goal, but once we scored, we were different. Everyone’s confidence was up.”

Cunniffe said this Westbrook team was more intense. He knew Windham had to keep the intensity up. This win is a good start, and they will keep moving forward from here. 

Windham took the field early on with excellent communication and worked hard to be first to the ball. Defense was great with Windham sophomore goalie Lukas Hammond who made several solid saves.

Windham dominated the field in the first half. After Gualrapp scored, Windham really pressured. The Eagles came at the Westbrook goalie with multiple shots in the final minutes of the first half. Windham led 2-0 midway through.

“We worked great together,” said senior Tyler Johnsen. “Super excited for our upcoming games, the intensity was great, our finishing was great, our defense was amazing. I just think we're working great together for our first game.”

Johnsen said the win was important because the team will be able to build off this first win.

Windham’s shots on goal were immediate in the second half. About 5 minutes 30 seconds in, Johnsen scored on a penalty kick.

Windham continued to move the ball well. Cunniffe scored with a kick from the left side that got between the posts.

Westbrook was able to score, but Windham defense allowed only one goal. Johnsen scored again but Windham’s significant lead was too much for the Blue Blazes as the clock ran out.

“This was an opportunity to see us in a real live, competitive situation said Windham varsity boys’ soccer coach Jeff Neal. “We’ve been a little injured, a little dinged up throughout the preseason and today was a good opportunity and certainly the players were anxious to get out and get on it. Love the ball, possession, love the communication.”

Neal said having so many players “tickle the twine,” being able to press, dictate the flow of play, move as a unit and drop in as a unit were positives. There are some things that still need work, but for a first game, it’s a great start. <