Friday, May 20, 2022

Windham High track team continues excellence

Windham senior Matthew Fix clears the high jump bar at
5 feet 10 inches during a track meet with Bonny Eagle,
Marshwood and Gorham at Bonny Eagle in Standish
on Thursday, May 12. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA 
By Matt Pascarella

It was a hot day, but Windham’s outdoor track and field boys’ and girls’ teams were ready to compete. The girls remain undefeated, 3-0, as they finished first with a score of 99 against Gorham, Marshwood and Bonny Eagle in a dual meet at Bonny Eagle High School in Standish on Thursday, May 12.

The boys’ team had several athletes finish in the top five at the meet. Windham senior Matthew Fox finished first in the high jump with a height of 5 feet, 10 inches. He has already qualified for states.

“It feels good,” said Fox. “The main goal now is I want to win out states. It’s fun to be up here, but I think the main job is winning that.”

The boys finished with a score of 56; Gorham finished first with 79.50, Marshwood 70 and Bonny Eagle 59.

Girls

Freshman Tayla Pelletier finished first in the high jump with a distance of 4-11.00. She finished first in the triple jump with a distance of 35-04.00; she finished second in the 300 hurdles, with a time of 51.15 seconds. She qualified for states in all these events.

Pelletier said it was a good day. She felt like the heat didn’t impede her performance and she got several personal records. She said it’s nice to have teammates cheering you on.

In the pole vault, senior Isabel Dionne finished first and qualified for states with a height of 7-06.00.

Sophomore Jasmynne Heath finished first in the 1600 racewalk with a time of 11:17.23 minutes and qualified for states.

Freshman Ava Gerrity finished second in the long jump with a distance of 15-08.75 and the triple jump with a distance of 32. She qualified for states in both events.

“The Lady Eagles track and field team is showcasing excellence. These ladies ... bring the fun to the ‘game’ daily; they set goals, they are building self-confidence and belief in themselves ... as an all-in and incredibly motivated team.”   

Boys

Windham junior Max Arbour finished second in the shot put with a distance 38-03.25.

Senior Josh Guite finished second in the javelin throw with a distance of 132-00.

Junior Owen Weatherby finished third in the 400 with a time of 56.75.

Senior Wyatt Flibbert came in second in the long jump with a distance of 18-10.00.

Windham boys coach Paula Pock said the athletes had a lot of personal bests in the sprints, jumping and throwing events. The weather was a motivator; the team was looking forward to this and the nice weather helped with performances. <

Windham Youth Lacrosse turns in solid defensive effort

Windham Youth Lacrosse Organization's Ivan Arsenault,
right, a sixth-grader, gets by  a Cape Elizabeth opponent
on Sunday, May 15 at Twin Brooks Recreation Area in
Cumberland. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
By Matt Pascarella

Windham Youth Lacrosse Organization’s fifth and sixth-grade team played back-to-back games with Cape Elizabeth and Marshwood at Twin Brooks Recreation Area in Cumberland on Sunday, May 15 and looked sharp defensively.

Cape came out strong and scored several goals early on in the game. In the second half, Windham came back and got close to tying the game. Unfortunately, Cape scored a flurry of goals before the final whistle and won.

In the Marshwood game, the Hawks scored a bunch early on, but Windham worked hard to close the gap. Despite a great effort by Windham, Marshwood overtook this game.

Windham fifth-grader Kaleb Fitch thought the team played pretty well but could have done better. He said they had good passing, had some nice chances and their defense did well.

During the game with Cape Elizabeth, Windham had solid defense early on and blocked several opportunities for Cape Elizabeth before the end of the first half. Sixth-grader Josh Arbour scored first for the Eagles. Windham fifth-grader Carson Richard put the ball between the posts ahead of the first whistle.

In the second half, Windham kicked it up a few notches when Fitch, fifth-grader Bryce Rogers, Richard and sixth-grader Ivan Arsenault all scored.

Cape fired several goals in goal before the last whistle.

In Windham’s game with Marshwood, Windham defense held off Marshwood early on and Windham took several shots at goal. Richard found the back of the net three times in the first half.

In the second half, Windham’s Arbour scored. He was followed by Richard, who scored back-to-back goals, then Fitch. Windham scored two more times.

Richard said he thought they did well passing-wise and spreading out was decent. As the season has progressed, he’s seen their spacing, when to cut and where to be improve.

Windham fought Marshwood up to the last seconds and never wavered in intensity.

“The passing was better this game than the last,” said Windham Youth Lacrosse Organization’s fifth and sixth-grade boys’ coach Joe Somma. “The kids need to work on spreading the ball around doing cuts toward the goal, but overall, they did a pretty good job.”

Somma said that Windham continues to show improvement. 

“It depends on where the kids are playing; I want to get the kids in as many positions as possible. Some kids are better at other positions ... but they should all play those positions. Depending on who’s where, you’ll get different effort,” Somma said. <

Friday, May 13, 2022

Windham girls’ tennis team shuts out Sanford

Windham senior Lauren DeLuca focuses on returning the ball
during a girls' prep tennis match against Sanford at Windham
High School on Monday, May 9.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
By Matt Pascarella

In their second shutout victory of the season, the Windham High girls’ tennis team defeated Sanford 5-0 and earned their fifth win of the season to bring their record to a sparkling 5-1 overall.

Earlier this month, Windham shut out Westbrook 5-0 as well.

During this match against Sanford at home on Monday, May 9, Windham had to adjust its playing style mid-match in order to defeat the Spartans.

The Lady Eagles persevered, then adjusted when they were down, as they played a different style of play, to come back and secure the win.

“It was rough at first, off to a slow start, but after I got into it, it went well,” said Windham sophomore Alyssa Conley. “I wasn’t in a very good spot at the beginning. [Later on] I got more aggressive with my shots and took more chances.”

Conley won her matches 6-3 and 6-0 and said her placement was good. She got her opponent to move around the court, which made it more difficult for Sanford. She hopes Windham has a good rest of the season.

Windham’s doubles team of junior Sarah Bell and sophomore Madeline Dumont won their matches, 6-2 and 6-0.

“Things went well,” said Windham girls’ tennis coach Katy Dresnok. “[Windham] started off a little shaky, took a little time to warm up. They are smart players, they take instruction really well, they think about their placement and are enthusiastic along with some natural athletic abilities.”

Windham singles junior Grace Paiement won her matches, 6-2 and 6-2.

Windham’s doubles team of sophomore Samantha Bell and freshman Katelyn Cotter beat their opponents, 7-6 and 6-1.

Windham senior Lauren DeLuca said she thought the match went very well. She was having a bit of a hard time in the beginning, but said it was a mental game. DeLuca had to pull it together and dig deep down to believe she was going to win and in the end, she got by with 6-2 and 6-4 victories.

“I had to take some deep breaths and couldn’t overthink it, because overthinking it is going to make it worse,” DeLuca said.

She took simple shots, placement, with no need to overdo it or try to go overboard. She said her placement and cross-court shots helped her get the win.<

Windham’s Estella Inman what every coach wants in an athlete

Estella Inman, center, joins her parents, Kristen and Hal
Inman, during a ceremony at Windham High School in
which Inman signed a Letter of Intent to attend the 
University of Maine Orono and compete on that school's
track and field team. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA 
By Matt Pascarella

Estella Inman began competing in track and field her sophomore year at Windham High, but COVID-19 and then an injury delayed her advancement. She made up for it through intense training and her strong efforts have her presently ranked No. 1 overall in shotput and discus in the state and No. 2 overall in javelin and signed her letter of intent on Thursday, May 5 to attend the University of Maine Orono and participate in the women’s track and field program.

Inman is ranked third in her high school class academically and also competes in cross-country, indoor track and recently began powerlifting.

She’s wanted to sign her letter of intent for four years ever since she saw a friend of hers do it, and she said she wanted to be a part of collegiate athletics.

Windham cross-country and girls’ outdoor track and field coach Jeff Riddle said Stella is the definition of excellence. She is a positive teammate, and her dedication is exemplified by her progression. Inman has a relentless pursuit to progress and achieve the excellence she expects of herself.

Riddle said she brings her team along every day in that pursuit.

Inman recently broke Windham High School’s discus and javelin records set in 1992. Her new discus record is 119 feet, and her new javelin record is 118-07.00.

In indoor track last season, she became a shotput state champion when she threw a distance of 37-10.75.

Inman is close to breaking the school’s shotput record and plans to do so this season.

“Stella has always been that kind of teammate who works hard every single day in practice,” said teammate and Windham junior Elise Schultz. “She’s that kind of person who you want to walk in the room and see and seek her out. She’s definitely a model athlete.”

Inman has been running cross-country since she was a freshman and began competing in outdoor track her sophomore year. Unfortunately, it was canceled because of COVID-19. Inman was going to compete in indoor track her junior year but was not able to because of an injury.

Once recovered from this injury, Inman began powerlifting her senior year. In March, she placed first in her division during a powerlifting competition.

In the spring season of her junior year, she began competing in outdoor track and field. She went to states for javelin and shotput but did not compete well. Inman trained all summer and began getting more competitive in outdoor track and field. That competitiveness has led up to where she is now.

“In my over 20 years of coaching track and field I can’t remember having a young lady who had greater potential to be an outstanding thrower than Stella,” said Windham javelin coach George McCrillis. “I have not coached someone who has worked so hard to fulfill that potential. I have no doubt she has paved the way for more young ladies to feel comfortable doing the same.”

Inman said to get to this point has taken a lot of training and consistency. She’s had to push herself to work out when she might not feel like it.

“Having teammates there to support you is what makes everything worth it,” she said.

Inman would like to thank Coach Riddle who has been pushing her to be a better athlete since she began cross-country. <

Raymond softball overachieves in first game against Old Orchard Beach

Raymond eighth-grader Caitlyn Bergsen
bats during Jordan-Small Middle School
softball's opening game of the season
against Old Orchard Beach.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
By Matt Pascarella

Raymond’s Jordan-Small Middle School played their first home game of the season against Old Orchard Beach on Tuesday, May 10 and did a spectacular job.

Raymond has been practicing since before April vacation and the team had a very nice first showing; Raymond battled up until the last out. Old Orchard Beach won 17-10.

Eighth-grader Audrey Getchell hit two in-the-park home runs with everyone on the team doing a great job on the field, offensively and defensively.

“I did alright throwing and catching, and I was hitting pretty good,” said eighth-grader Katie Plummer.

Plummer said that they’ve come a long way since that first practice.

In the first inning, OOB scored five runs.

Raymond answered when eighth-grader Briella Beers walked. Sixth-grader Kylie Gervais doubled, and Beers scored. Gervais then stole home.

In the second inning, Raymond defense nabbed a runner at home. OOB scored five runs.

Raymond brought force in the second inning after eighth-grader Caitlyn Bergsen walked. Plummer was hit by the pitch, then seventh-grader Karla Rodriguez singled and bases are loaded. Bergsen scored.

Beers walked; Plummer scored. Gervais walked and Rodriguez scored. Getchell walked and a run came in. Beers scored. After two innings OOB led 10-7.

In the fifth inning, Getchell ripped the ball deep into the outfield, rounded the bases and made it home.

In the sixth inning, Raymond sixth-grader Phinlee Afthim singled. So did eighth-grader Sarah Penna; Afthim scored.

Getchell hit another in-the-park home run in the seventh inning. Bergsen doubled.

Bergensen said overall she thought the team did very well. There were a couple things she thought they could improve on, but she was pleased with how they played.

“Our teamwork went really well, knowing that we were actually a team,” said Getchell.

Getchell has seen improvement with defense and offense. It felt really nice for her to hit two in-the-park-homeruns.

“We overachieved today,” said Raymond softball coach Jim Beers. “We haven’t had a lot of practices ... our first week of games got rained out. We’re mixing in a lot of inexperienced with some experience on our team.”

Beers said he couldn’t be happier with the outcome and is pleased they can build on that. There are little things to iron out now, little intricacies of the game; if they get those ironed out, they should be fine. <

Friday, May 6, 2022

Windham Little League season opener reflects community support for baseball

Dairy Queen fifth-grader Cody Ruth slides across home plate
during a Windham Little League Opening Day game against
CR Tandberg on Saturday, April 30 at Ciccerone Field at
Lowell Farm in Windham.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA 
By Matt Pascarella

It’s officially baseball season and Saturday, April 30 began with an incredible showing of support for Windham Little League with many community members and a variety of teams who came to Ciccerone Field at Lowell Farm in Windham to celebrate opening day.

First to play were Majors Division teams CR Tandberg and Dairy Queen. Both teams played well, but in the end, CR Tandberg won 15-9.

Opening Day 2022 was extra special. The 2021 Windham Little League softball state champs were honored as the entire team was called to the field and wished good luck to all players as they continue their softball careers.

A new parking lot and road for umpire parking was recently added to the area around Ciccerone Field. This road will be called “Ciccerone Way” after Bill Ciccerone who works tirelessly to make sure Windham Little League has a nice field to play on.

Ciccerone is in his 22nd year of maintaining this field. He started when his grandson was playing and after his grandson left, Ciccerone stayed.

“My payment is seeing the kids enjoy themselves on this field, having their names announced – they love it” said Ciccerone.

Ciccerone was also presented with two bats, one signed by Windham Little League baseball and one Windham Little League softball.

“It’s one huge honor and I thank them,” he said.

In the first inning, fifth-grader Brady Legere stole his way around the diamond and put CR Tandberg on the map.

CR Tandberg’s sixth-grader Ryder Lopes singled in the second inning. After six-grader Rocco DiDonato got on base, Lopes stole home.

Lopes said they all worked really hard which contributed to the win.

CR Tandberg sixth-grader Zach Gaudet walked in the third inning. Fifth-grader Ryan Manning doubled on a fly ball to left field; Gaudet scored. After two walks, Manning scored on a wild pitch. Lopes walked and the bases are loaded.

DiDonato walked and CR Tandberg led 5-0. Third-grader Cody Devoid walked and CR Tandberg scored.

But this game was far from over.

In the third inning, Dairy Queen sixth-grader Collin Lombard walked. Fifth-grader Troy Cunningham singled. Sixth-grader Jordan Tom walked, and Dairy Queen brought in two runs.

Dairy Queen Sixth-grader Jacob Burke hit a fly ball to center field and Tom scored. Burke scored after sixth-grader Beckett Bragnon got on base. It’s now 6-4, CR Tandberg.

The fourth inning brought a couple walks for CR Tandberg and a hit by Manning to drive in a run. CR Tandberg sixth-grader Chase Gagnon singled and fifth-grader Sullivan Nappi scored. Before the end of the inning, Manning crossed home plate.

Dairy Queen was not finished. After three walks in the fourth inning, sixth-grader Nick Wilden scored on a wild pitch and third-grader Jackson Zinchuk scored on a passed ball. Cunningham singled and Lombard scored; 9-7 CR Tandberg.

The fifth inning brought several runners across the plate for CR Tandberg.

Dairy Queen kept going; Burke and Bragnon both singled. Jacob scored. Bragnon scored.

“I think it was just a team effort,” said CR Tandberg coach Mike Manning. “We had a solid pitching performance behind Gaudet today. And for the most part, the team just played together. The kids are having fun, that’s the biggest part.” <

Windham’s Dylan Crockett ‘King of the Ring’ for second time

Dylan Crockett is shown after winning the
'King of the Ring' championship fight in
Lynn, Massachusetts on April 23.
PHOTO BY ERIN YOUNG 
By Matt Pascarella

Windham’s Dylan Crockett began boxing when he was 10 and now at age 14, he has accomplished so much in those four years. He’s won the Northern New England Junior Golden Gloves, New England Silver Gloves twice and New England Junior Olympics three times while boxing in multiple tournaments in and out of New England.

Crockett recently won his second “King of the Ring” championship on April 23 in Massachusetts after winning his first “King of the Ring” title in 2019.

This recent “King of the Ring” championship featured boxers from Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico and the United States. Over 300 people registered for this tournament.

“I was so proud of that kid,” said coach Glenn Cugno of Cugno Boxing in Lewiston. “I love watching him bring what we do in the gym, out in front of the crowd.”

Crockett’s interest in boxing stemmed from his grandfather, Peter Conley, who was a boxer while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Conley went to the Lady of the Lake Camp at Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester in the early 1950s. There was an outdoor ring where campers had bouts every night.

He continued boxing up to when he enlisted in the Marine Corps at 17. On the ships there were “smokers,” or opportunities for inter-service boxing.

After Vietnam in 1968, Conley was stationed in Wisconsin as a Marine recruiter. During that time, he was involved with the Eau Claire Boxing Club and fought throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota in the Golden Gloves tournaments. Conley won the title of Golden Gloves champion in 1968.

Conley said he is very impressed with Crockett’s hard work, dedication and perseverance and tells Crockett that he is the “Man in the Arena,” which is reflected in the poem by Theodore Roosevelt.

“I am beyond humbled, and I am proud that he is participating in an activity that I consider a great sport,” said Conley.

In 2018 Crockett was introduced to the Cugno Boxing Club where he was instantly enamored by the community and ‘hard work beats talent’ mentality promoted there.  

“Once I got to the gym, I realized that it is a very hard-working sport that I wanted to be a part of,” said Crockett.

Cugno described Crockett as someone with a real passion for the sport. If the two work on something at the gym, Crockett tries to perfect it at home before their next session and he’s  always thinking and asking Cugno who he should be watching online and how he can perfect his body shot.

The young boxer wants to get better every day and even during COVID, Cugno and Crockett did ZOOM workouts.

Crockett has always been one of the younger kids in the gym, but that has only motivated him. It’s the dedicated consistency over time that creates advancement. Crockett has stayed consistent and continues to put in the work, even on days he cannot make it to the gym.

“He’s a really athletic, gifted kid,” said Cugno. “He picks up stuff really easy, he took to boxing really easy. His road to all of it started the day he walked in the gym.”

Cugno has dedicated much of his time helping Crockett succeed. Crockett said Cugno’s extra time and being prepared helps prevent poor performance.

He has driven Crockett to different gyms for extra sparing. Cugno supports all his fighters and Crockett considers himself lucky to be able to learn from him.

“Glenn has given me a lot of his attention and has always supported me through my career,” said Crockett. “He motivates me to be a better fighter and a better person because I see first-hand how his dedication brings me confidence. Glenn has taught me everything I know, and I couldn't do it without him.”

During this second “King of the Ring” victory, Crockett had already beaten his opponent before, but the opponent really pressured him and expected Crockett would fight in a similar style to their first fight.

Cugno said Crockett can adapt to pretty much anything, so it was great for him to watch Crockett change up his style on the fly to get the win.

According to Cugno, Crockett is a confident kid with a high ring IQ. Crockett works a lot in the gym with bigger kids, because he’s too skilled for kids his own age and size.

He’s even spared with pros and done well, and Cugno said he’s an elusive kid who prides himself on defense as well as having a good offense.

If he keeps working the way he works, Cugno says Crockett has a really bright future in boxing; he’d be No. 1 in the country in amateurs.

Crockett plans to keep working hard in the gym and at home. He also plans to fight in more tournaments and work toward any opportunities Cugno gives him.

“It really does feel good knowing that hard work does pay off with a lot of dedication.  I remember being the only kid at school having to eat healthy foods and now that commitment was worth it,” said Crockett. <