Friday, September 13, 2019

American Legion Baseball: A great summer activity

By Matt Pascarella

It is well-known that Windham has baseball teams during the spring season, but Windham recently finished its American Legion team summer season. Service to the community has always been a core value of the American Legion. From its beginnings in 1925-1926, Legion baseball aims to teach sportsmanship, good health and active citizenship. On Wednesday, August 4, the American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 in Windham presented Legion coach Cody Dube with a check for $500 to help cover expenses for his team. It takes $3600 to cover all expenses for the Field-Allen Post 148 Legion team.

Coach Cody Dube (right) accepts a check for $500
from 1st Vice-Commander, Eric Bickford,
to help with Legion baseball expenses Matt
“It’s a great program,” stated Mel Greenier, Commander of Maine American Legion, Field-Allen Post 148.when you look back through the ages - the kids that have played Legion baseball include Johnny Bench, Cal Ripken Jr., Carlton Fisk, - they all attributed their experience with Legion baseball to help them progress with not only their talent, but to help them become better men,”

Dube explained that pretty much the same team that played high school baseball came back for Legion. They were still hungry and wanted to play more. Dube went on to say, “they had a solid regular season for Legion. Finished two or three seed in their division.” This put them into the state tournament, as the top eight teams in their division go to state. During the tournament, they lost their first game, won their second, and were, unfortunately, eliminated in the third game by Oxford Hills.

“It was a cool experience,” said Dube. “American Legion does an extremely good job at structing the league for one, but their state tournament for two. They really put the kids on display...it’s a cool thing for the players to go out on the baselines and get recognized for their season. It was everything we were expecting. The parents are thankful and I’m very excited.”

Legion baseball matters to Dube because he played it growing up. As he describes, “Legion was a second chance at your high school season. The other benefit is we played together since we were eight, all the way up through.”

In 2013, Dube’s last year of Legion, his team won the state championship. Student athletes from both the JV and varsity teams get to play together during Legion baseball and that comradery is important.
“Legion is another opportunity for people to come together, show pride in Windham, which is ultimately how a community becomes close,” Dube states.

Although the season recently ended, the team is looking for sponsors for the 2020 team. If you are interested in sponsoring the team, please contact Cody at codydube10@gmail.com or Mel Greenier at mgreenier@myfairpoint.net.



Soccer: Good effort by girls First Team against Gorham

By Matt Pascarella

The girls First Team played Gorham on Monday, September 9th at Gorham High School.
Windham was aggressive right from the start. Their defense was solid; the Lady Eagles moved the ball nicely with strong communication. Windham worked hard to be first to the ball and did well. Goalie Riley Russell had several great saves in the first half.

Amelia Poulin
Half: 1-0, Gorham

Windham started the second half with nice passing and intense defense. The Lady Eagles continued to talk it up which helped them get and keep the ball on the Gorham side of the field. Partway through the half, Amelia Poulin, #21, scored after an assist from Kylie Garrison, #2. Now the game is tied at one. Although, a short time later Gorham scored and are now up 2 to 1. The Lady Eagles were really pressuring and worked to be first to the ball and stay with the ball. Windham gave it their all and left it all on the field, but at the buzzer Gorham took this one 3-1.

“They were trying to find people on the field to pass to; I thought they were playing with their heads up in order to make the right passes,” stated coach Lisa Hodge. “There was a lot of communication in the back field with defense. My sweeper, Caroline [Bolk] did a really nice job directing traffic back there. Morgan Hammond played stopper and she really had to help pass people off and make sure people had somebody to mark. Communication was key today.”  

Varsity golf gets second consecutive win

By Matt Pascarella

After starting their season with wins against Thornton Academy and Bonny Eagle and a loss against Gorham, the varsity golf team traveled to Sunset Ridge in Westbrook (a par 35 course) on Tuesday, September 10th to take on Westbrook.

As I watched the players tee off, there was focus and concentration in their eyes. They took the time
Drew Mathieu
to get their swings just right. Multiple players hit long drives and got close or on to the green. More than once, I saw players who got putts close to the hole. The Eagles worked hard and during this match it paid off. Each player had strong focus on their game.

Specific to Tuesday’s match, high scorers were: Drew Mathieu who shot a 47, Zach Loftis who shot a 48, Ryan Silva who shot a 49 and Brady Bowen who shot a 50. Windham beat Westbrook in strokes 250-274. At the end of the match, Windham came out ahead with a score of 9-4.

To be very honest, we didn’t play well at all today,” remarked coach Adam Manzo. “Which is unfortunate because we are coming off a match against Bonny Eagle where we had our best team totals (198) in years. We have to play better if we want to compete for a team state championship.” 







Friday, September 6, 2019

Varsity volleyball shows promising start

Maya Gaudet
By Matt Pascarella

The varsity volleyball team traveled to Falmouth to participate in Falmouth Play Day on Saturday, August 31st. Falmouth Play Day featured volleyball teams from around the state that played in scrimmages followed by tournament play. The teams played in matches for 25 minutes or to 25 points, whichever happened first.

In a day filled with spikes and cheers from the volleyball courts, Windham played very well. A tough competitor, the Lady Eagles were aggressive in every game. They scrimmaged Falmouth, South Portland and York in the morning. Windham had high intensity in every match they played. They volleyed well as a team and individually. In two of the three games they were neck and neck with their opponents.

When it came time for the single elimination playoff rounds, Windham took on South Portland first. The Lady Eagle’s intensity never wavered, as there was high energy on and off the court. Windham took an early lead and shortly the two teams were neck and neck. The Lady Eagles blocked well during this match. It wasn’t long before Windham had a significant lead. Windham advanced to the second round after a score of 25-13.

York was the Lady Eagles’ next competitor. York took an early lead, but Windham was not far
http://www.theroofdoc.com/
behind. They caught up to York quickly and tied the game at 12. The Lady Eagles battled hard and didn’t let York get too far ahead, but in the end, couldn’t catch them. Final 25-17, York.

“It was a fun day,” stated Coach Christ Cloutier. “It got better as the day went on, I’m pretty happy about that. We have some good matches coming and we have the talent. Now we have to come together as a team.”

Varsity football begins with a win


By Matt Pascarella

The Windham High School varsity football team had their exhibition opener against Mount Blue on Friday, August 30th at Windham. Windham football recently moved from the Class A division to the Class B division in the Maine Principals’ Association.

The game began with a lot of energy in Windham’s stands, on their sideline and on the field. The Eagles showed strong defense from the start with several take downs against Mount Blue in the first quarter.

Mount Blue scored their one and only touchdown early in the game. A short time later, after a Mount Blue punt falls short, Windham gains possession. Windham completed several passes which resulted in yardage for the Eagles. Ben Elliot, #27, makes it to Mount Blue’s 23-yard line; Windham then gets the ball just inside the ten-yard line for first and goal. Matty Babb, #13, drives the ball in for Windham’s first touchdown.

http://windhampowersports.com/Windham’s defense did not slow down in the second quarter. The Eagles recovered a fumble on first and ten from their 14-yard line. They then get to just inside their 40-yard line. A pass from Will Ledbetter, #2, to Nick Garrison, #16, and it’s six and goal. Ledbetter gets the ball in the endzone for another Windham touchdown. Windham intercepts a possible touchdown pass from Mount Blue before the end of the second quarter.

Half: 12-7, Windham

After a scoreless third quarter, Windham gains possession after a Mount Blue fumble on their 19-yard line. Harrison Boyle, #9, lands the ball in the endzone and Windham wins 18-7.

“They played awesome; I’m really impressed. When Mount Blue got inside our thirty, [Windham] buckled down and made plays; caused turnovers,” stated Coach Matt Perkins. “The first quarter [Mount Blue] just gouged us, we made quick adjustments...really pleased with the kids. It speaks volumes of them.”



Friday, August 30, 2019

Girls varsity soccer dominate against York

Riley Beem
By Matt Pascarella

The girls’ varsity soccer team played York in an extended preseason game on Saturday, August 24th at Windham.

Windham had a solid start and pressured their opponent right away. The Lady Eagles were aggressive, as they moved the ball around well and took multiple shots on York’s goal. Windham intercepted several passes from York players. The Lady Eagles had great communication and their intensity did not waiver even a little in the first half.

Half: 0-0

In the second half, Windham kicked it up a notched (or two) and really put the pressure on York. There were several shots on York’s goal in the first few minutes of the half. Windham capitalized on any misstep and continued to pressure. As the shots on York’s goal kept coming, Julia McKenna scored.

End of second half: 1-0, Windham

http://windhampowersports.com/An extra half was played in this extended game. The Lady Eagles did not let up. They continued to command the game, as the Lady Eagles kept the ball flying at York’s goal. Abby Thornton scored on a corner kick and then Riley Beem gets one by the goalie. Windham’s strong defense prevented York from scoring and Windham takes this preseason game, 3-0.

 “I think they’re starting to come together really nicely,” said coach Deb Lebel. “They’ve been communicating really well, which I think is laying the foundation for a great season ahead.”

Field hockey off to a good start before regular season

Casey Downing
By Matt Pascarella

The Varsity and JV field hockey teams traveled to Thornton Academy to take on the Trojans in a preseason game Friday, August 23rd.

This game was played a little differently. Varsity and JV athletes alternated playing halves.
Game 1:

Windham varsity came out strong, communicating well, aggressive and ready to show Thornton who’s boss. Windham had solid offense and defense. They were working to be first to the ball and succeeded. Amanda Foss, #2, scored twice. The Lady Eagles moved the ball around nicely and had high intensity individually and as a team.

The JV Lady Eagles also came out strong. Windham had great offense and defense, intercepting several passes from Thornton players. Windham communicated well and had several shots on goal.
Final: 2-1, Windham

Game 2:
http://www.hallimplementco.com/Varsity player’s intensity did not lessen. Windham continued to move the ball around well and was first to the ball. They kept up their offense and defense. Windham took multiple shots on goal. Chloe Desmond, #7, scored.

The JV Lady Eagles didn’t let up. They primarily kept the ball toward Thornton’s side of the field for a large part of the half; Windham communicated well. Casey Downing, #29, scored.

Final: 2-1, Windham

“The athletes played great in their halves, because basically the whole team returned,” remarked varsity coach Cory DiDonato. “They’ve been working together for a few years...they know where each other’s going to be, they know how to back each other up, they are extremely good at communicating. Looking forward to this season, we’re going to win a lot more games, the kids are confident, they’re ready...they want people to realize Windham is a force to be reckoned with. I’m just really excited.”

I am really excited for this season, too” added Tiff Theriault, JV coach. “This is a great group of girls who work hard together and I believe their hard work will pay off for them.”



Friday, August 16, 2019

Middle School summer track team does well in state tournament

Jacoby Burton
By Matt Pascarella

Thirty-nine athletes competed in the state track meet held at Brewer Community School on Saturday, August 10th. In order to qualify, athletes had to place in the top four in their event at the qualifier meet within their division. During states, the top six in each division for each event are recognized for their achievement with a medal as they compete against towns from all over the state.

Over the summer, athletes from kindergarten through eighth grade competed in a series of developmental track meets each week to gain experience in their events, to get the chance to compete against kids from different towns in southern Maine. There were 70 athletes on the roster, making this was one of the largest teams in recent years. This year’s team was twice the size of last year’s team.

The meet itself was packed with athletes from everywhere in Maine. As I watched Windham athletes compete in the various events, I saw determination and focus. The heat couldn’t stop these Eagles from giving 100%. The Windham team had been working hard all summer and it showed. Here are some of the results:
https://www.theplayhousekids.com/
Annalynne Goodwin finished first in the girl's eight and under shot put and sixth in the high jump.
Katie Martin finished fifth in the girl's nine and ten 200-meter race
Ava Gerrity finished second in the 11 to 12 girl's high jump, fifth in the girl's 11 to 12 grade 200-meter race, and fourth in the 11to 12 grade girl's long jump.
The boy's eight and under 4x100 relay of Cody Ruth, Callum Crockett, Jacoby Burton, and Landyn Crossman came in first place.
Cooper Dickson placed fifth in the eight and under boy's race walk.
Jalen Stephens placed fourth in the nine and ten boy's shot put.
Paris Knight placed sixth in the boy's nine and ten race walk.
Lukas Hammond placed fourth in the 11and 12 80-meter hurdles and second in the 11and 12 boy's long jump.
Daniel Hancock placed sixth in the 80-meter hurdles.
The 11 and 12 boy's 4x100 relay team of Marek Slomczynski, Nick Verrill, Karl Longstreth, and Jason Marsh placed fourth.
Jason Marsh placed fifth in the 11 and 12 boy's race walk.
The 13 and 14 boy's 4x400 relay team of Garrett Crossman, Jackson Kingsley, Creighty Dickson, and Nick Marion placed third and took almost 11 seconds off their seed time.
http://www.hallimplementco.com/The 11 and 12 coed relay team of Daniel Hancock, Demi Nicholas, Meg Kingsley, and Dylan Crockett placed sixth. 
The 13 and 14 coed team of Adriyanna Edge, DJ Stephens, Garrett Crossman, and Caitlyn Marsh placed fifth.

“The goal of the summer track program was to develop interest and enjoyment in the sport of track and field through the use of instruction on event basics, work outs, games, and activities. We also stress the importance of sportsmanship and team work,” remarked coach Philip Jackson. “This was a very hard working group of athletes who used what they learned in practice and applied it to the meets. As a coaching staff, we stressed the importance and belonging of each athlete on the team and had the belief that everyone has something to contribute to the team. The kids really enjoyed the aspects of competition, making progress in their events, and the friendships that are developed with teammates and kids from other towns.”


Friday, August 9, 2019

Coach Spotlight: Nick Caiazzo wants his players to develop a true love of the game

Nick Caiazzo
By Matt Pascarella

Nick Caiazzo has been coaching for almost twenty years. Originally from Portland, he grew up playing baseball, playing professionally for a short time. Eventually, he found his way to Windham where he’s been involved with Windham Little League coaching softball.

“I’ve always been around the baseball game, so as a young kid growing up in Portland, I had really influential people that made any sport I played very fun,” stated Caiazzo. “I can still remember my nine-year-old little league baseball coach, Rick Hanson - he made an absolutely enjoyable experience for me to go out and play.”

As Caiazzo progressed through middle and high school, his coaches continued to inspire him. His football coach, Bill LeRoy and basketball coach David Brenner were good role models and these coaches were the foundation for Caiazzo’s later interest in coaching.

In 1993, Caiazzo was drafted by the Texas Rangers to play professional baseball but turned it down to go to the University of Maine to play baseball on a full scholarship.

At the University of Maine, he was coached for three years by Dr. John Winkin. “He was probably the best baseball coach ever in the state of Maine,” Caiazzo comments. In school he studied elementary education with a minor in kinesiology and exercise physiology. Using his educational background, he enjoyed working in high school as well as in baseball and basketball camps with young kids.
http://windhampowersports.com/
Caiazzo was drafted junior year of college by the Arizona Diamondbacks, but that option wasn’t enough to miss his senior year. From 1997-2001 he played for the Milwaukee Brewers. “I was in AA [ball], like a Portland Seadogs guy. I was a pretty good athlete and could play multiple positions on the field; there was a year I hit 300,” added Caiazzo.

He was drafted as a catcher but played other positions such as right and left field, first base and was a designated hitter. “To me, baseball has been a wonderful tool for me to learn not just about myself, but this world and what else is out there and dealing with people.”

Once Caiazzo finished playing professional ball in 2001, he got a job at South Portland High School as a long-term substitute. That led to him teaching fourth  and fifth grade classes.

Caiazzo became involved in Windham Little League because he didn’t want to be the parent on the outside who complains about the game, he wanted to jump in and make it better. “I don’t teach every kid the same way, everyone is a little bit different,” he began. “Half the battle of being a coach is having quality coaches to back him up.” Caiazzo stated that he has been fortunate to be surrounded by all the great coaches involved in the softball program.

http://betheinfluencewrw.org/index.htmlWhenever he pulls a player aside, he always kneels on the ground. Caiazzo stated it’s important to be at their level and empower them into taking ownership of the game. “I’m 6’ 4”. I try to give those girls as much power as possible and we’re all the same here; the last thing I want is to be an intimidating figure over nine and ten-year-old girls.”

It’s important for Caiazzo to make sure his girls have fun, know that they’re players and coaches have their back, making sure they have the necessary tools needed to tackle situations that might arise in the game. “Keep it simple, over analysis causes paralysis.”

Those moments where mistakes are made are important, “so you can learn from it, because at the end of the day, it’s a game. We’re representing this town and Windham is all of us. All we’re trying to do here is create those moments where the kids say, ‘I want more of it, I want more of it.’’

Caiazzo lives in Windham with his wife of twelve years and his two daughters. They have chickens, dogs and bunnies.

Slot car racing is a favored pastime for many

By Matt Pascarella

Hank Gagnon first got interested in slot car racing when he was 17 or 18. While he did stop racing for a short time, he got back into it when his stepson, Jesse Jordan, became interested in racing slot cars. Jordan’s friend brought him to a slot car track to see what it was about, and Jesse bought two slot cars and he and Gagnon started racing after that. “When I got back into it, we got into it pretty heavy,” Gagnon said.

Briefly, slot car racing the racing of powered miniature autos that are guided by grooves or slots in the track on which they run.

“I like the cars and I like the racing; it takes quite a bit of practice to get good at,” replied Jordan.
Gagnon is the owner of Rev It Up Raceway and Black Bear Auto Care, both located in Windham.

Roughly three years ago, Gagnon bought a couple slot car tracks, and designed an oval shaped track called the ‘Maine Monster Mile’ which, end to end is 24 feet long. Gagnon races 1/24 scale slot cars. He has been doing weekly races for seven to eight years. Some cars can reach the speeds of 15 to 20-plus miles per hour.

Gagnon races with other slot car enthusiasts every week where ten to 20 people bring their wooden compartment cases that hold their various slot cars, along with supplies and the necessary tools to do any repairs. Slot car aficionados travel from all over the state to race on Gagnon’s track including the towns of Poland, Auburn, Brunswick and Greene; “There was even one guy who came up from Massachusetts,” Gagnon said.

Casco resident Butch Belanger described how he got interested in slot car racing. “My dad raced in the late ‘60s, early ‘70s in Westbrook. We got into it 20 years ago when the track opened down here.

We then got out of it. When I went to work for NAPA Auto Parts I met up with Hank and he kept trying to get me to come race. I finally showed up and I’ve been here ever since. It’s been almost four years. What keeps me coming back is the enjoyment of going around in a circle having fun and an inexpensive good time.”

George Allen discovered slot cars at the Auburn Mall. “I was racing real cars and I was going to start racing remote controlled cars and I walking into the Auburn Mall and saw a slot car track. I said, ‘I got to check this out,’ so we went down to the Auburn Mall on a Wednesday night and the rest is history. Me and my boy, we’ve been racing ever since – met all these great people...it’s a lot of fun.”
Allen started the Minot Mountain Speedway after buying some track from a guy in Massachusetts. “My garage is my track and these guys all come to my house and...it’s a blast.”

On the smaller side of slot car racing, Windham resident Jim Hoar started the Maine HO Slot Car Racing Club in 1999. HO scale is 1/64 which is the size of a matchbox. Hoar enjoys the comradery of the sport and likes getting new racers involved.

He describes his club as an ‘eating club with a racing problem’ “When we take a portable track out to car shows in Portland or Bonny Eagle, people will say ‘I used to do that when I was a kid.’ Now their kids come and play on our track and they say, ‘hey mister, this is better than video games.’”

Hoar has two large tracks and a dragstrip, the only dragstrip in Maine, for racing HO slot cars, in his basement. Participants come from all around New England, and a lot of the club members, donate their time and energy; members like Mario Bosse who donated Poland Spring water to the club as well as was willing to offer any help.

HO racer, Brian Valle described racing as ‘therapeutic.’ It’s a five to six hour escape, where every month the club does a race with roughly 12 to 22 people. When people of all ages see the tracks, it brings out the kid in them. A lot of the guys involved in HO racing, are to some degree former car guys or ex car racers. “From the community standpoint, we would love to see anybody that just enjoys this as their hobby; that they remember what it was years ago...they can get in touch with us, and we’ll help them,” added Hoar.

Anyone interested in learning more or joining the HO club can contact Jim Hoar at 894-5289 or mainehoracing@hotmail.com. You can also join their Facebook page: Maine HO Slot Car Racing Club.

Anyone interested in learning more or racing the 1/24 or ‘O’ scale slot cars can join the Rev It Up Raceway group on Facebook and contact Hank Gagnon through that page.






Raymond man plays on the winning team of the Southern Maine men’s baseball 35-plus league

Jim Beers from Raymond takes home.
By Matt Pascarella

On Friday night, August 2, the Southern Maine Men’s Baseball League (SMMBL), age 35+, known as the Arizona Diamondbacks, played the Washington Nationals at The Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach.

The SMMBL is a wooden bat league that has 25-plus and 35-plus age divisions. They feature players from all over the Greater Portland area. On the Diamondbacks, Windham/Raymond is well represented by Jim Beers of Raymond, who joined the team in 2017. Beers describes playing on the team as ‘pure heaven.’

The game had a slow start for the Diamondbacks. They got things going in the fourth inning after John Massey, #26, and Bret Urban, #29, both walked. They made it home and scored two runs.

Fast forward to the sixth inning where Urban walked and scored again, now it’s 5 to 3, Washington Nationals. The Diamondbacks kept the Nationals from scoring for three innings as they headed into the bottom of the ninth. Three runs are needed to win and two to tie. Kevin Cashman, #50, and Beers, #9, each got on base and made it home to tie the game at five.

The Diamondbacks held off the Nationals in the top of the tenth and now all the Diamondbacks needed was one run. Steve Cascio, #3, walked and Massey singled. Urban walked and now the bases were loaded, with the winning run on third. Eddie Simmons, #24, sent the ball into the outfield and Cascio scored. Diamondbacks took this game 6 to 5 and remain undefeated with a record of 9 to 0.

“It was a great game tonight. It took us a little while to get back into it - we just had to be patient...swing at strikes and good things will happen,”stated Coach Steve Casio. “This is a good group. This team has been together for a few years now and everybody comes to play...it’s a lot of fun.”
https://www.egcu.org/auto

Friday, August 2, 2019

Varsity girls’ soccer win Northern New England Challenge Cup 2019

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham Lady Eagles won the Northern New England Challenge Cup, which was held Saturday, July 27th and Sunday, July 28th. This tournament is hosted every year at the end of July and was held in Yarmouth. Sixteen teams entered from Maine and Massachusetts. During the playoffs, Windham started the day by beating Gorham 3-0. They then beat Bonny Eagle in penalty kicks. In the finals they beat Scarborough 1-0.

“It’s a great way to wrap up the summer season and it’s a fun way to start seeing where younger players might find a role on the team. We were excited about the outcome because we only had 5 returning varsity players participate,” commented coach Deb Lebel. 

Congratulations! We’re looking forward to seeing you play this season!

http://windhampowersports.com/

Another successful year for the Sonic Three-On-Three tournament

By Matt Pascarella

In its seventh year, the Sonic Three-on-Three basketball tournament continues to be a fun activity Windham, Raymond and other surrounding communities enjoy.

The tournament is organized by Windham Youth Basketball and began after organizer Pat Moody’s teammate, Dan Giguere, nicknamed Sonic because he was fast, was killed in a car accident. “A bunch of us got together and wanted to do something in his memory and it’s also a great opportunity for the community to come together...and have a good time,” began Moody. 

“We created the tournament in his memory with the focus of bringing the community together.”

https://jobs.spectrum.com/The proceeds go to benefit the town in some way. This year, the funds (estimated at roughly $2,000-$3,000) will go to the Windham High School basketball teams. They will receive a software program called Huddle that takes video footage of each of the team’s games and breaks it down so that the coaches can evaluate everything the kids are doing and bring it in to film sessions and practices to help develop the players and program.

Soon to be sixth graders Mason Arbour, Bradley Muse and Marley Jarvais spoke of why they keep coming back to the tournament. “It’s good for our community; it helps out everyone” said Muse. “I like basketball and it’s for the community,” added Arbour. “It’s really fun,” agreed Jarvais.

“I went to Windham schools and my son plays, so I get to play with him as well,” said Kati Morrell who’s been coming to the tournament since the beginning.

 “It’s so fun. The turnout has grown a little every year...people don’t want to miss it, because it’s a great time,” observed Moody.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Gorham/Windham fundraising events benefit Special Olympics of Maine


The participants in this year's fundraiser
A huge thank you to everyone who came on Friday, July 12 and Saturday, July 13 to the Special Olympics of Maine fundraising events in Gorham and Windham. Because of their generosity and support, the Tip-A-Cop and Boot Camp-Cruiser Pull events were a huge success. The two events raised over $2000. Members from the Windham and the Gorham Police Departments, and the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office teamed up and held these two fundraising events.  The first event was held at Sebago Brew Pub and the other at New England Fitness and Athletics (NEFA).

On Friday a Tip-A-Cop event was held for the first time at Sebago Brewing Restaurant on Main St. in Gorham. This event raised over $1200 for Special Olympics of Maine. Those same officers did another first-time event at 8 a.m. on Saturday at NEFA on Commons Avenue in Windham. This fundraiser was a Fitness Boot Camp followed by a cruiser pull. 

http://betheinfluencewrw.org/index.html
The Free Boot Camp class was attended by 20-30 participants and ranged in ages from five years old and up! From the donations for the class, the raffles and the business sponsors, another $1000 was raised for Special Olympics of Maine. 

We would like to give a special thanks to: New England Fitness and Athletics, Sebago Brew Pub and Restaurant, State Farm Agent Nick Jobin, Casco Federal Credit Union, Cumberland County Federal Credit Union, SOS Towing for the use of cruiser pull equipment, Winter Kids, Hannaford Supermarkets for the fresh fruit, Naples Marina, Tractor Supply and Rave-X. 

These two successful fundraising events would not have been possible without the hard work of Tiff, the Events and Tour Manager at Sebago, and Nick and Travis of NEFA.

Locals participate in New Hampshire Motor Speedway

By Lori Jo Rich

Maine native and Windham High School graduate, Brett Morell, hustles around the No. 10 Smithfield Ford driven by Aric Almirola during a pit stop on Sunday during the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301. Morrell, who grew up in Windham before moving to North Carolina in 2003, is the jackman for the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford.
Brett Morell
Photo credit: Lori Jo Rich - The Racing Connection

Windham's Derek Kneeland is shown here before the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 Sunday at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Kneeland is the spotter for the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet driven by Kyle Larson. Larson ended up 33rd after being involved in an incident on lap 264. 

Derek Kneeland
Photo Credit: Lori Jo Rich - The Racing Connection


Braxton Cassidy chosen to play in 30th Annual Lobster Bowl


Braxton Cassidy
By Matt Pascarella

In my 20 years of coaching, Braxton is one of the most unique kids that I’ve ever coached,” stated coach Matt Perkins’ letter recommending Braxton Cassidy to play in the 30th Annual Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic. The game took place on Saturday, July 20 at Thornton Academy.

According to the Kora Shriner website, “This High School Senior All-Star football game is a Kora Shrine sponsored event where 100% of the net proceeds from the game are for the benefit of the 22 Shrine Hospitals for Children across the US, Canada, and Mexico. This East vs. West match-up brings over 150 student athletes and coaches from all over the state together to help produce what is considered the premier high school sporting event held in Maine. All participants fundraise and commit to a week-long training camp, where they make new friends and more importantly learn why we play the game, ‘Strong Legs Run...So that Weak Legs May Walk’.” Players are nominated to play in this game by their coaches.

http://windhampowersports.com/Perkins’ letter goes on to say “Braxton is an extreme worker who leads by example. Braxton never showed frustration. In fact, he showed up every day motivated with a smile on his face and words of encouragement for his teammates. [He] has a strong moral compass and isn’t afraid to go against the grain. I’m beyond proud to say that I had the privilege to coach and watch Braxton grow.”

The West took a commanding lead from the start, scoring 21 points in the first quarter. The East, Cassidy’s team, answered in the second quarter by scoring a 64-yard touchdown and then a 68-yard touchdown, with a two-point conversion. At the half, it was 48-14, West. The West scored a few more times in the second half. Final: 60-14, West.

“It was an honor to play in the game, it didn’t end the way I wanted it to, but it was for a good cause. I got to play one more football game and that’s what I really enjoy,” explained Cassidy, who was also chosen to be a co-captain for his team.

http://www.mwamconcerts.com/Cassidy has been playing football since he was in second grade. He remembers watching it with his dad and wanting to play himself. Next year, Cassidy will attend Bridgton Academy and after that he plans to attend the University of Maine at Orono to play Division 1 football. Cassidy is interested in Zoology and wants to study animals.

His parents are very proud that Braxton was selected to participate in this year’s Lobster Bowl. “The past two years we have seen such a great improvement in regard to his education and focus on being a team leader/captain for the football team,” stated his mother, Francine.

“In the end there will be no losers, the winners are all the people that are helped by the money that is collected by all the players that will go to the Shriners Hospital.”




Windham basketball camp teaches fun and learning

By Matt Pascarella

For five years, boys head varsity coach Chad Pulkkinen and girls head varsity coach Brody Artes along with their players from the high school have been putting on the kindergarten through eighth grade summer basketball camp. The camp, which is open to a variety of residents, not just Windham, began Monday, July 22 and will run until Friday, July 26 at the Windham Middle school gymnasium.

“Throughout my life I was a part of these camps, here in Windham and I was also part of what the high school boys and girls are doing right now, I was a counselor,” explained Pulkkinen.

The camp is set up for players of all abilities, those just learning and those who already know the game. The goal of the camp is for the kids to have fun with the sport of basketball, not take it too seriously, but also learn about it, make friends, set goals and build confidence.

The week focuses on the fundamentals: how to dribble a basketball, how to properly shoot a basketball, the right pass to make, what defense means, etc., but participants also plays games to put those skills to use.

Second grader Robbie Sanicola has been participating in the camp for four to five years and said his favorite part is shooting baskets. He wants to play on the varsity team when he’s older, and eventually play college ball.

https://www.theplayhousekids.com/Third grader Zoe Barney has been participating in the camp for four years and her favorite part is playing the game ‘knockout.’ She wants to play on the varsity level when she’s older.
“It’s a lot of fun to full circle it back to giving back,” adds Pulkkinen. “It’s a lot of fun for our players to give back too and they’ll remember these days helping out the little guys.”






Friday, July 19, 2019

A Maine tradition for many: The Beach to Beacon

Kristina Clarke
By Matt Pascarella

It’s almost here. The Beach to Beacon 10K race from Crescent Beach State Park in Cape Elizabeth to Fort Williams next to Portland Head Light is a must for experienced and novice runners the first Saturday in August every year. The Beach to Beacon website states, ‘the TD Bank Beach to Beacon attracts more than 6,500 runners making it the largest road race in Maine.’ A couple Windham runners have made the race a yearly must and love the challenge it presents.

Joan Benoit Samuelson, a Cape Elizabeth native was winner of the first ever women’s Marathon at the 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles. According to the Beach to Beacon website, Samuelson started the race in 1998 as the People’s Beach to Beacon to benefit children’s charities in Maine.
“I’ve always wanted to create a race that brings runners to some of my most favorite training grounds,” explained Samuelson “so that they can enjoy the same beautiful environment, sense of community and rich history that has played such an important role in my life.”

TD Bank helped skyrocket Samuelson’s efforts, making the Beach to Beacon a race that appeals to New Englanders and those around the globe.

http://windhampowersports.com/This will be the fifth year Windham resident Kristina Clarke has run the Beach to Beacon. The registration process is an intense and aggressive process. You must be on right at 7 a.m. and the organizers only let a certain number of participants in. It sells out in four minutes. There is a lottery where those who don’t get in are picked later. Clarke said registration has gotten better, but the first three years were scary and hectic.

She runs the race with her brother-in-law, her niece, a friend of hers and a bunch of friends from her work. “There are people cheering the entire race which is not normal for a lot of the races that we do.”

Clarke stated that running is good therapy and something that makes her happy. It’s also something she can do with her son.

Jen VanDerburgh, a South Windham resident, will be running the Beach to Beacon for the seventh time.

Jen VanDerBurghwill 
In 2012, VanDerburgh started running; she’d never been a runner before. A coworker offered her a bib to run the Beach to Beacon, but VanDerburgh was hesitant. She didn’t do it and regretted it. 

Then, the first year she ran the Beach to Beacon, she was amazed. “There’s a big crowd, you feel like you’re doing this bigtime race, everyone’s cheering for you. It was awesome to cross that finish line.”

VanDerburgh wanted to run the Beach to Beacon better from year to year and the race eventually became a tradition. Her kids would do the fun run the night before.

Every year, it is something VanDerburgh doesn’t want to miss out on. She runs races all year long. She said running is something she does for herself; it keeps her in shape and feeling good. She likes to be an example for her kids and be healthy. “It’s a Maine tradition…it’s a good time” stated VanDerburgh.

“The energy is really crazy. It’s just fun, it’s one of the best races in Maine,” added Clarke.
Good luck to everyone running the Beach to Beacon this year!

Softball All-Stars leave it all on the field

Addison Caiazzo
By Matt Pascarella

This series started with twelve teams and Windham was one of the final two. In this double elimination tournament, the 9- and 10-year-old softball all-stars had lost one game. On Tuesday, July 9 in a tied game against South Portland, in the bottom of the ninth inning, Windham was able to hold off South Portland to win 5-4.

The Lady Eagles beat Westbrook 7-2 in the seventh inning to force a winner-take-all game for the championship. Windham played Westbrook at the South Portland Little League field on Monday, July 15th.

The first inning the teams were evenly matched to start, with strong defense on Windham’s part. The Lady Eagles had quick hands and made smart plays to nab runners at first base. They were scoreless after one inning. Then scoreless after two innings.

In the bottom of the third, Westbrook managed to score a run, and Windham ended that inning with multiple Westbrook runners on base.

In the top of the fourth, Sarah Smyth, #16, got a triple and then Addison Caiazzo, #15, got a base hit; Smyth scored. Caiazzo stole her way to third and scored on a passed ball. 2-1, Windham.

http://www.windhammaine.us/Westbrook scored several runs in the bottom of the fourth and took a 6-2 lead.

The girls left it all on the field but weren’t able to catch Westbrook.

“The kids were fantastic,” replied coach Nick Caiazzo. “Throwing all kinds of different concepts at them this season. There was a lot of stuff that might have been uncomfortable for them, but they did not second guess or hesitate. They always did what the coaches asked and I’m proud of them. 

They’re a good group of kids. They are resilient kids; they try hard and that’s all that matters.”
Congratulations to Addison Caiazzo, Evelyn Anderson, Kiley Card, Cami Casserly, Ashley Cloutier, Liliana Gallagher, Lacie Higgins, Eliana Kostopolous, Neve Ledbetter, Kaylee Napolitano, Lucy Rich and Sarah Smyth on a fantastic all-star season.

The whole town is very proud and look forward to seeing you play in the future!