Friday, February 16, 2018

Coach spotlight on Olivia Latham by Matt Pascarella

Coach Olivia Latham, a 2013 Windham High graduate who recently graduated from Saint Joseph’s College with a BS in Elementary Education with a special education emphasis, is no stranger to cheering. Latham was part of the cheering team throughout her time at Windham High and she has returned to her alma mater, not only as a cheering coach, but as a kindergarten teacher at Windham Primary School.
Latham, who grew up in Raymond, has always been interested in cheering. “Cheering has a lot of sportsmanship to it,” she says. “I love the idea of going to games and getting the crowd really pumped up and having fun during those games.” This attitude and love of the sport is what made her want to become a coach.

“It’s nice being back. It was always a dream of mine to teach in this town as well as coach,” emphasized Latham.

This is Latham’s first year as a cheering coach. She coached in the fall and enjoyed it so much she decided to return for the winter season. When it comes to coaching, her philosophies run parallel to her teaching values. She’s working on building character with both her younger students and is working on the same thing with her student athletes. She also works on the importance of having fun with the sport of cheering.

There are multiple lessons Latham hopes her student athletes will learn throughout the season. Coming together as a team is important. Her student athletes are positive and willing to work through whatever challenges are thrown their way. Equally as important is knowing what it means to be a team. “It doesn’t take just one person, it takes multiple individuals working together to achieve the outcomes they are looking for,” Latham states. a team, they’ve come together and improved a lot. According to Latham, their regional championship, which took place late last month, was their best competition so far. “The girls had so much fun together and you could tell that there was a lot of spirit.” 

Latham is excited to see what happens for upcoming seasons. It takes more than just one year to make your mark and she is looking forward to seeing how seasons go and how the improvements progress over the years.

“It’s important they have fun and enjoy what they’re doing,” reiterates Latham.

Seniors honored at last home game of the season by Matt Pascarella

Senior boys
The boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball teams played their last home games of their seasons last week; with the girls playing Gorham and the boys playing rival Bonny Eagle. Each of the outgoing senior athletes, #33 Taylor Files, #14 Mitch Budroe, #3 Nick Curtis, #11 Hunter Coffin, #24 Mike Gilman, #10 Nazari Henderson, #31 Cory Hutchinson and #5 Nathan Watson were honored and presented with flowers and a small gift. 

Nick Curtis was the recipient of the first-ever, Maine Optometry Little Eyes Award, presented by the Windham Youth Basketball Association. This award goes to a senior that demonstrates commitment to the youth in their community. Curtis and his team helped kids from pre-k to first grade with their basketball skills and ran drills with them on Saturday mornings.

The boys beat Bonny Eagle 53-43. After a good effort, the Lady Eagles lost 53-33 to Gorham.
Coach Brody Artes commented on working with Taylor Files over the seasons.

“Taylor [Files] has been a phenomenal student-athlete to coach over the course of her career at Windham High School. She has brought leadership, passionate, and commitment to the program. Taylor has left a mark on the program that will be felt for years to come. She has a great attitude and has been an absolute pleasure to work with on and off the basketball court.  We will miss her enthusiasm and her willingness to do whatever it takes to help the team.” 

Coach Chad Pulkkinen is pleased with the work his seniors have done.

“Just a . . . real special group of seven guys, [who] are going to be very successful after high school. I’m excited to see what they do when they leave here. As far as a program side, they’ve done everything I’ve asked and more. They’ve taken the program to a really high level and you cannot do that without great kids and we’re lucky to have great kids.” 

What advice do they give to the incoming seniors for next season? Don’t take it for granted; it goes by really fast.

Another Windham student hits the thousand-point mark by Matt Pascarella

Lightning has struck twice on the boys Windham High School basketball varsity team. Mike Gilman is the third member in Windham High School history to join the Thousand Point Club. He did so during a playoff game against Bangor this Tuesday night, February 6 at Windham, in which the Eagles beat Bangor 78-62 to advance to the next round of the tournament.
Gilman came out strong in the first quarter, making shots and hitting three pointers, bringing him closer and closer to the thousand-point mark. It happened in the second half after he sunk a shot; the crowd began chanting “One more! One more!” You could feel the excitement rising in the gymnasium; at this point it was going to happen. 

When he made the basket that brought him to a thousand points, everyone was on their feet, clapping and cheering. As a spectator, to see this happen once in a season is pretty exciting, but to see it happen again less than two weeks later is a level of excitement hard to describe. Gilman has been working towards this for a while and was taken aback when the big moment happened.

“It’s something I’ve wanted since I was a little kid,” says Gilman. “I never thought I would make it there. Especially this year, I started pretty slow and didn’t score as much as I did the past two years, but I just kept [working at it]. It feels unreal; I didn’t even think it was real when it happened. To do it in front of the home crowd makes it way better.”

Coach Chad Pulkkinen is more than impressed with Gilman’s efforts and work ethic.

“Michael . . . is just a great competitor; one of the best competitors I’ve ever been around. He stepped up tonight. He’s one of those players I’ve trusted for three straight years . . . he . . . stays the course; he has a motor that just doesn’t stop. It’s a real privilege to coach him; he’s just an outstanding kid and a hell of a basketball player.”

Gilman believes none of this would have been possible if not for the support of his friends, family and his team.“I have my whole team to thank; every time they helped with offense, every pass they ever made; everything they’ve ever done has got me here. I don’t think I could have done it on any other team,” Gilman said.

Windham High Track update by Matt Pascarella

On Saturday, February 10, Windham Track and the collection of schools in the Southern Maine Activities Association (SMAA) competed in the Southwestern Meet at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham. Athletes from Falmouth High School all the way to Noble High School were there to challenge their opponents by showing what they could do. 
The 4 x 800 Meter Relay team of Hailey Applebee, Abigail Clinch, Morgan Colangelo & Samantha Phinney took another 9 seconds off their time, lowering the Windham High School record to 10:41.9 seconds.

Coach Todd Guite with Sierra Guite
Sierra Guite threw a huge PR (personal record or personal best) of 7 ft to win the Junior Shot-put Division. Guite also won the Junior High Jump, clearing 4'10". She qualified for states in the Triple Jump with a distance of 30.06 inches.

Molly Skvorak qualified for states in the 55m Dash by finishing with a time of 7.98 seconds.
The state meet will be held Saturday, February 19th at The University of Southern Maine.

Boys and Girls swim teams exceed expectations

On Friday February 9th the Windham Boys swim team traveled to Cape Elizabeth on Friday, February 9 for the Southwestern South Swim Meet. The energy was high, and the Windham boys exceeded everyone’s expectations placing 5th overall.

There were some outstanding events, and everyone had time drops. To kick off the meet, the 200-Yard Medley Relay team came in 4th place. Congratulations to that team which consisted of Evan Desmond (sophomore), Michael Ryan (Junior), Simon Gabaree (freshman) and Dominic Agneta (senior). 

In the 200-Free event, Dylan Palmer came in 8th, dropping 5 seconds and Griffin Black followed closely in 9th. Michael Ryan placed 6th in the 200-IM. 

The 50-Free Event is always fast and exciting. Dominic Agneta placed 6th overall with an amazing time of 25.09. Nathan Plummer, Jamie Louko and Lucas Howard each dropped time in the swim event, as well. 

Dominic Agneta set a personal best for the 100 Yard Free of 56.80 and both Nathan Plummer and Michael Ryan added points for the team with their 200 Freestyle Swims. Then came the grueling 500 Free Event where Evan Desmond qualified for states with a time of 5:48.89 crushing the qualifying time of 6:05. Dylan Palmer placed 6th overall with a stunning time drop of almost 20 seconds. 

The 400-Free Relay team of Dylan Palmer (senior), Jamie Louko (sophomore), Griffin Black (freshman) and Lyden Fogg (freshman) wrapped up the meet in 5th place with a time drop of 42 seconds. 

The next day, Saturday, February 10 was the girls turn. The energy of the team was high given the boys performance the day before. The girls were seeded tenth, but the girls would have nothing of that and finished an amazing 6th place. The best results for the girls in over five years. 

The meet started off with a great swim by the 200-Medley Relay team of Julia Hills (junior), Katharyn Lucas (sophomore), Hannah Maurais (sophomore) and Sophie Simonson (senior) placing ninth overall. the 200-Free, Elizabeth Lucas placed eleventh overall, with a four second time drop and Sophie Simonson, Chloe Wilcox and Julia Hills all had time drops in their heats. Katharyn Lucas placed 5th in the 200 IM, with a time drop of two seconds. Hannah Maurais gave Windham girls more points
with a great swim as well.

After the diving competition, Haley Theberge placed 5th in the 100-Freestyle and both Hannah Maurais and Chloe Wilcox added more points and dropped time. The 500-Free Race saw Elizabeth Lucas drop 13 seconds and place 7th overall with a personal best time of 6:21.04. The spectators were on their feet and the noise deafening when the 200-Free Relay took place. The Windham team of Julia Hills, Katharyn Lucas, Hannah Maurais and Sophie Simonson rocked the building with a 4th-place finish, breaking the two minute barrier with a time of 1:59.21. 

Katharyn Lucas then swam the 100-Breast Stroke Event and finished 6th with a fourth second time drop to a personal best of 1:19.33. Finally, the meet was wrapping up with the 400-Free Relay left. The Windham team of Elizabeth Lucas, Sophie Simonson, Chloe Wilcox and Haley Theberge won their heat and placed 5th overall to a standing ovation. 

Congratulations to Elizabeth Lucas (senior), for being awarded with the Southwestern Maine Swim Officials Scholarship for 2018 for Outstanding Achievement.

The states swim meet is being held this year at UMaine Orono. The boys swim is on Saturday, February 17 and the girls will swim on Monday, February 19.

Congratulations to the swimmers who have qualified to swim and good luck to each of them.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Tough compettion for boys’ basketball against Lewiston by Matt Pascarella

Windham High School was the host in last Saturday, February 3 boys’ basketball game against Lewiston. It was a tough one for freshman and JV but varsity showed Lewiston who was boss.
Nuar Bol

Windham gains possession immediately, taking a shot at Lewiston’s basket. The boys were aggressive, moving the ball around, taking advantage of turnover opportunities.
Hayden Bilodeau
Half: 16-10, Lewiston
The team picked up the pace in the second half and continued until the end. The Eagles were controlling the ball. Nuar Bol #40, Kaleb Cidre #45 and Hayden Bilodeau #23, were top scorers. With 55 seconds left in the third quarter, the score was tied at 28. Windham pulled ahead toward the end of the fourth quarter.
Kaleb Cidre

Final 44-34, Windham
“They started focusing in the 2nd quarter on the way that we play basketball versus allowing Lewiston to play their type of basketball,” said Coach Matt Noel. “The first half was Lewiston’s game; settling for shots, rather than making shots happen; letting us play defense versus letting them play their offense. We played our game in the second half and that made the difference.”
Eric Weisse

The Eagles hit the court with enthusiasm. They were assertive; taking shots on basket. Lewiston had pulled ahead, but Windham closed the gap, with the game tied at 11 late in the first quarter.
Windham had great teamwork and communication; they were neck and neck with Lewiston for a lot of the first half. Noel Redlon #22 and Ivan Kaffel #42 sunk three pointers.
Ivan Kaffe
Half: 31-23, Lewiston
The Eagles were adamant to turn the score around. They were working to move the ball around, but Lewiston was capitalizing on mistakes. Eric Weisser #20 gets a three pointer. Windham was aggressive getting their hands up to block scoring opportunities for Lewiston but couldn’t pull into the lead.
Noel Redlon

Final: 63-39, Lewiston
“We dug ourselves a hole and tried to work ourselves out of it too quickly and just compounded our mistakes,” stated Coach James Clark. “Lewiston ended up getting all our loose balls and rebounds and things just steamrolled after that. What the team can take away from this is to focus on the things we need to for our . . . games coming up.”
Mike Gilma

The Eagles start strong, blocking Lewiston from scoring early on. Windham didn’t let up, keeping Lewiston scoreless throughout the entire first quarter. Nick Curtis #3 and Mike Gilman #24 were steadily putting points on the scoreboard. Windham was capitalizing on any Lewiston mistakes.
Despite Windham’s lead, they were showing Lewiston they were a team not to be messed with.
Nick Curti

Half: 37-12, Windham

Windham began the second half with force. Nick Curtis became the second player to hit a thousand points in his high school career. Windham continued to pressure and was up by 30 at one point in the third quarter. The Eagles were showing Lewiston no mercy.
In the fourth quarter, Windham kept it going. Then they were up by 40 with a little over 2 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

At the buzzer, the final was: 75-33, Windham.

“Our guys came in pretty focused and ready to go,” said Coach Chad Pulkkinen. “As a Windham alumni and a Windham resident, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Windham team keep a team scoreless in a quarter; that was impressive by our guys. They took the challenge to really step up their defense and did a good job there. Nick had a special moment joining the 1,000 Point Club and he really deserves it.”