Friday, October 16, 2020

Windham Little League softball puts in great effort, but can’t hold off Standish

Catcher Evelyn Anderson tags a Standish runner
on their way to home plate in the top of  the first
inning at the Windham Little League softball
majors division game at Windham High School 
on Oct. 12. Windham played very hard, but
Standish got the 19-10 win in one of Windham's
last games of the Fall Ball season.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA  
By Matt Pascarella

Windham Little League’s softball major division team played Standish on Monday, Oct. 12 at Windham High School for one of their last games of the Fall Ball season. Standish got the win 19-10, but not without Windham leaving it all on the field and having a good time doing so.

Catcher Evelyn Anderson stopped a runner at home in the top of the first inning. Standish scored multiple runs early in the game, but that didn’t stop Windham from doing the same.

In the top of the second, Evelyn Robinson made a stellar catch – with the sun in her eyes – and everyone else’s – that drew congratulations from both teams to Robinson. 

In the bottom of the second inning, Windham got the bats swinging. Belle Pinto doubled and later scored. Robinson walked. After Joey Morin walked, Abyena James got a base hit and Robinson crossed home plate. Charlotte Nappi ripped a base hit up the middle of the field and sent the ball into the outfield; Morin scored.

Seventh-grader Belle Pinto, who got on base a lot this game and made it over the plate multiple times, began playing softball for the first time ever 13 months ago. She said a lot was going through her head when she was on base. She was hesitant about the right time to steal. She said both she and her teammates have made improvements over the season.

In Windham’s fourth inning, they batted in more runs. Nappi got a base hit and later scored on a passed
ball. Yani Kostopoulos and Pinto both got base hits. Kostopoulos scored. After a double from Robinson, Pinto scored.

Over the season, Windham coach Stephen Napolitano has seen rapid individual growth from his team. Fall Ball is about girls getting extra repetitions in a competitive environment.

“Standish is good competition for us. They are a talented group of players with great coaching. Our team is young compared to the other teams, but this fall season has allowed our girls to get extra experience against very good competition,” said Napolitano. <

Windham cross country teams show big improvement against Scarborough

By Matt Pascarella

Windham, freshman Graden Joly, left, and
Windham senior captain Tristan Candelmo take
the lead for the Eagles in their cross country
race against Scarborough on Oct. 8 at Smiling
Hill Farm in Westbrook. Although the boys lost
to Scarborough, 15-46, Candelmo and Joly
both finished first for Windham. Candelmo had a
sixth-place finish with a time of 19:37:40 and
Joly had a seventh-place finish with a time
of 19:43:50.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA 

In their third race of the season and their second time this season on Smiling Hill Farm’s course in Westbrook, Windham pushed themselves against Scarborough on Thursday, Oct. 8.

Scarborough beat Windham with team scores of 15-46 in the boys’ race and 24-31 in the girls’ race. However, Windham’s efforts produced impressive results.

All boys dropped times and ran faster than the previous week on Smiling Hill Farm’s course.

Windham senior captain Tristan Candelmo and Windham freshman Graden Joly both went sub 20 and ran this 5K race in under 20 minutes. Candelmo finished sixth with a time of 19:37.40. Joly finished seventh and set a personal record, with a time of 19.43.50.

Windham senior Diane Ingalls set a new personal record for herself and finished first in the girls’ race, with a time of 22:23.40; dropping 1:03 off her time from the previous week. Eve Schultz, Elise Schultz, Isabel Dionne, Beth Bearce and Molly Cochrane each dropped times from last week and ran faster during this meet.

“I didn’t expect to win,” said Windham senior Ingalls. “I definitely did a lot better than I expected.”

As Ingalls was headed for the finish line, her goal was to keep ahead of her competitor and listen to (Scarborough’s) footsteps get farther and farther away.

Senior Candelmo, who finished first for the boys’ team, said in past years, Windham hasn’t fared well
against Scarborough over the seasons.

Candelmo said he saw a lot of his teammates improve during this race. They did better in this race than in previous years.

“It was a proud day to be the Windham High School cross country coach,” said coach Jeff Riddle. “To think both (Windham) teams could progress this well, with only three weeks of detailed training so far, which usually would only happen after two months of base running preparation, running hundreds of miles in the summer to prepare the mind, body, lungs, and team; these kids are tough and taking advantage of each day together to progress themselves safely and effectively.” <

Passion is what drives college coach David Gonyea

Central Maine Community
College basketball coach David
Gonyea will be entering his
27th season this year. A Windham
High School alum, Gonyea started
as an athletic director at CMCC
in 1993 and began coaching the 
men's basketball team. Prior to
that he coached farm team baseball
and served two terms on the
Windham School Board.
SUBMITTED PHOTO
By Matt Pascarella

David Gonyea will be entering his 27th basketball season this year as the men’s basketball coach at Central Maine Community College (CMCC) in Auburn and although he now resides on campus, Gonyea grew up in Windham and is a Windham High School alumnus.

He started as a farm team baseball coach and coached two teams. He served on the Windham School Board at age 23 for two terms. He started as an athletic director at CMCC in 1993 where he began coaching their basketball team. For Gonyea, it’s about the kids and the game.

He was interested in sports from a young age, but admits he wasn’t a great athlete. Sports were a fun thing to do with friends in the neighborhood. He wanted to play but didn’t want to commit to being on a team. Coaching made him feel positive and helpful. He liked the kids and enjoyed working with them during the summer recreation program.

Gonyea always had an interest in the affairs of the community and at 23 ran for the Windham School Board and served two terms. He learned a lot and gained a better understanding and appreciation of how the school department was managed. He was both student-minded and athlete-minded and helped the athletic program, ensuring they had the funding needed for new facilities.

In 1993, Gonyea became the Athletic Director and Director of Housing at CMCC. The first time he watched their basketball team, he saw they needed some help. He wanted to and knew he could coach them.

“I took time to build a culture and program. By surrounding myself with the right people and kids, we have put (a) system in place that almost guarantees a successful season,” said Gonyea.

 

Gonyea was inducted to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2015. He also has hit some major milestones like an undefeated season in 2012 and his 500th win in 2018. He’s
led the Mustangs to nine league championships and three New England championships. The accolades and accomplishments are nice, but what drew Gonyea to basketball is the passion. He loves the passion his players exhibit and their emotions that make them go.

 

Gonyea said they have great assistant coaches; great managers, and a commitment from the college to be with them. Parents, alumnae and the community are their biggest supporters. He and his team just want to play, whenever that is.

 

Some lessons Gonyea teaches are to work hard and never cut corners, listen to the message from another person; not just words but intent, be the teammate you want to work with every day and be kind to the people you meet on the ladder to the top, you’ll be seeing the same people later in life on the way back down. He tries to follow CMCC alumnae as they progress to their next stage of life. Gonyea is full
of pride when they do well, and he tries to acknowledge their accomplishments. 


He describes himself as ‘a small town guy from Windham, Maine who has never (forgotten) where he came from.’ He loves his job, the kids he works with, the administration he works for and a community who holds him and his team in great regard. <

Friday, October 9, 2020

Windham girls’ varsity soccer wins in double overtime against rival; JV shows they can compete against Gorham

Windham junior Sarah Talon lunges toward the ball
between two Gorham players in the first half of
a girls' varsity soccer game on Oct. 3 at
Windham. Talon scored and Windham took a 2-1
lead. Talon scored again in double overtime and
Windham won, 3-2. 
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
By Matt Pascarella

Windham girls’ varsity and junior varsity soccer teams pressured rival Gorham in two exciting games at Windham on Saturday, Oct. 3.

Varsity player and junior Sarah Talon scored two goals in Windham’s game. The second goal more noteworthy than the first, as Talon scored in double overtime to give the Lady Eagles a 3-2 win.

JV player and freshman Alyssa Conly tied up the game for Windham in the first half, but Gorham scored in the second half giving them a 2-1 win.

Varsity

Sophomore Ashley Clark scored from the sidelines less than seven minutes into the game.  Junior Sarah Talon scored near the end of the first half.

“We need this game; Gorham’s our biggest rival,” said Talon. She had the mentality ‘we need to win this for the team, not just a single person.’ She wanted to get the ball and go. “We performed amazing; our chemistry on the team is insane. Our positivity is really good, we’re one big family.”

At the half, Windham had a 2-1 lead. The Lady Eagles began the second half as they gave Gorham’s goalie a workout. Windham took multiple shots and attempted to head the ball into Gorham’s goal. Roughly nine minutes left in the second half, Gorham tied the game at two. Talon ended it in the second overtime as she fired the ball between the posts and gave Windham the 3-2 win.

“This was a great gauge of where we are” said Windham coach Deb Lebel. “Gorham is a really good
team, so that’s a great win for us. It was fun to have some tough competition.” Lebel added there were tons of unselfish plays and it was really nice to see Windham all work as a team.

Junior Varsity

In their first game of the season, Windham tied the game after Gorham scored in the first half. After a corner kick, the ball bounced off a Windham player and Windham freshman Alyssa Conly kicked it and it bounced off a Gorham player’s head and into Gorham’s goal. Windham’s JV team had the game tied at one at the half. Windham battled hard, but Gorham scored midway through the second half and got a 2-1 win.

“I think we did pretty good,” said Conly. She said there were a couple things they need to work on, but
overall, she thought they did well.

“We’re going to have to work on the 50/50 goals,” said Windham JV girls’ soccer coach Jeff Fish.

He said they need to spread the field a little more. They tried to play it up the field a little too much where they could have played it out to the wings (more toward the sidelines of the field).

Defense was awesome in the first group of players that took the field. Fish noticed the second group was a little shaky on defense, but said they’ll get there. <

Windham varsity golf loses to Gorham, but has solid season

Windham senior Ryan Silva tees off at the first
hole in Windham's final match of the season
against Gorham at riverside Golf Course on
Oct. 1. Gorham won, 9.5 to 3.5.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA  
By Matt Pascarella

In their final match of the regular season Windham played Gorham at Riverside Golf Course, a par 36 in Portland on Thursday, Oct. 1. The Rams beat the Eagles with a team total of 196-211 and a match total of 9.5 to 3.5.

This match was the second time Windham and Gorham teed off together this season. They first met in a preseason tri-match against Westbrook on Sept. 21. Gorham won then 8-5.

Compared to the last time these teams met, both teams were competitive and similar. Four out of the six matches on Oct. 1 came down to the final hole, which shows how tight the matches were.

Windham Exchange student, senior Lukas Hradecky, shot his best round of the year during this match with a score of 37. Teammates senior Drew Mathieu shot a 39, senior Ryan Silva shot a 41, junior Will Mannette shot a 51, sophomore Logan Marden shot a 45 and senior Chase McPherson shot a 49.

“We’ve done pretty good (this season) ... we haven’t had a lot of practice, so it’s been a little bit of a struggle,” said Silva. “This season’s been my best year. I’ve improved a lot over my four years.” Silva’s improved with getting his swing down, squaring with the ball in the middle of the face, making better decisions on the course and putting better.

Marden said this has been one of the best years of golf he’s played. While the pandemic definitely
shortened their season, once they were on the course, it was very similar to previous years.

He put a lot of time in during the summer, playing in the junior tournaments, which helped his success this season.

Prior to the start of the match, Windham coach Adam Manzo told his team he knew it wasn’t the season they thought they would have, but he was glad they got to play. Seniors Mathieu, Silva and McPherson have made significant improvements since freshman year. Manzo thanked each of them and appreciates all the time they have put in over the years.

“For the hand we were given, I thought overall it was a solid season,” said coach Manzo. “I felt like the kids were bummed that it was so short, but you would never know. They showed up each day and made the best out of (a) less than (an) ideal situation. I am so happy that these kids... were able to play.”

Tournament update:  Windham’s season came to an end during the first round of postseason competition held Monday, Oct. 5 at Natanis Golf Course in Vasselboro. However, Mathieu qualified for the individual round of postseason competition, to be held on Oct. 9 at Natanis Golf Course. <

Friday, October 2, 2020

Windham boys’ soccer shuts out Westbrook in home opener

By Matt Pascarella

Windham’s varsity and junior varsity soccer teams both shutout Westbrook in the first games of the

Windham senior Ezra Smith starts to maneuver
around a Westbrook player and launch the ball
between the posts in the first half of a boys'
varsity soccer game on Sept. 26.Smith scored
Windham's only goal to give the Eagles a 1-0
win in their first home game of the season.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA   

regular season played at Windham High School on Saturday, Sept. 26.

Windham’s varsity team scored in the first half and held off Westbrook for the remainder of the game, winning 1-0. The JV team scored two goals in the first half and prevented Westbrook from scoring, to get the 2-0 win.

Varsity

The boys came out strong and ready to play. A little way into the first half, Windham senior Ezra Smith scored. When the ball did make its way near Windham’s goal, the quick hands of senior goalie, Simon Gabaree, stopped it. At the half the score was 1-0, Windham.

In response to his goal, Smith, who also came close to scoring in the second half when he fired the ball at the net and it bounced off a goal post said, “It was wicked; first time playing striker ... always good to get a goal in the back of the net.”

He was glad they were able to come out and play and have a season they weren’t sure would happen.

“We did a lot of really positive things,” said Windham coach Ben Schulz. “Conditioning for every team in Maine is going to be an issue and as coaches we need to make sure we’re doing the best thing for the kids.

“All our athletes are doing everything that’s asked of them, and we encourage the Windham community to support us by continuing to do things like wearing a mask, washing hands and staying home when sick,” Schulz said. “The more we all do these things together, the longer our kids can continue to be in school and play the games they love to play.”

Junior varsity

There was no lack of intensity when Windham’s JV team took the field. In his first high school game,
freshman Login Desrochers scored in the first half. Desrochers scored again on a deflection. At the half it was 2-0, Windham.

“It felt good (to be back on the field),” said Desrochers. He said they do need to work on a couple things, but overall, they did well as a team, and it felt good to score.

Sophomore Goalie Sam Plummer had a great save with roughly five minutes left in the second half.

“Overall they played with a lot of heart and a lot of excitement,” said Windham coach Mitch Hodge. The technical stuff will take a little more time to develop, but Hodge is excited to be back on the field, too. <

Field hockey starts season with back-to-back wins

By Matt Pascarella

Windham’s varsity and junior varsity field hockey teams prevailed and defeated the Westbrook Blue

Windham varsity field hockey senior Shyler Fielding
goes to steal the ball away from Westbrook. Windham's
varsity beat Westbrook, 3-0, on Sept. 25
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA

Blazes in their first games of the regular season at Westbook High School on Sept. 25.

The Eagles’ varsity squad scored first and kept up the intensity, winning 3-0.

Windham’s JV team secured a 3-1 win after turning up the heat in the second half.

Varsity

Windham came out ready to get the victory and within the first two minutes, junior Ellie Miller scored. Shortly before the end of the half, senior Shyler Fielding put the ball between the posts. At the half, it was 2-0, Windham.

“It felt really good to be playing with my teammates and being back playing our favorite sport,” said Fielding. She said it was weird having no fans but liked going out and having fun and doing what she and her team like to do best.

In the second half, senior Carissa O’Connell scored Windham’s final goal of the game. Westbrook wasn’t able to match Windham’s intensity and the varsity Lady Eagles got the shutout win.

“After two weeks (of practice) it’s probably the best-looking team I’ve seen this quickly in the season,” said Windham coach Cory DiDonato. “They’ve meshed really well, their passing is on point, they all have a common goal, they want it and they are working together for it. It’s amazing; I’m so proud of them.”

Junior varsity

Windham had a slow start in the first half, but Westbrook scored with roughly seven seconds left on the clock in the first half to give them the lead of 1-0.

The Lady Eagles began the second half with high intensity and took multiple shots on Westbrook’s goal
immediately.

Windham had stronger defense and offense with junior Monica Agneta scoring. Freshman ZZ Gurney scored two goals later in the second half.

“I think they did great ... we haven’t had a whole lot of time together (as a team),” said Windham JV coach Tiff Theriault.  Within minutes, they found where they needed to be; I had to put players in different positions. We really only had four days of regular practice leading up to today. To mesh and be able to go out there and win, they should be proud of that.”

Gurney said she knew she had to keep going when she was about to score her goals otherwise the other team might get the ball.

 “I think we did pretty good,” she said. <

Athletic trainer Casey Sinclair, sport task force work to get athletes back on field

By Matt Pascarella

The development of a local sport task force to meet and follow the guidelines set by the Maine

The Windham Boys' varsity soccer team listens to
Coach Ben Schulz during halftime at their game
against Westbrook on Sept. 26.  Windham's sport
task force has been working to safely get players
back on the field while adhering to the MPA's safety
guidelines. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA

Principals Association was a requirement for return to play for high school athletics.

In preparation for the fall season, the task force was made up of members of Windham High School staff including athletic trainer Casey Sinclair, athletic director Rich Drummond, nurse Karry Joly and assistant principal Phil Rossetti. Sinclair, along with other task force members have been integral in working to get athletes back on the field.

Coaches did a great job with developing virtual work outs for athletes over the summer with coaching staff members for sports from all seasons checking in on athletes and making sure they were doing ok. Sinclair and Drummond had meetings with all coaches prior to the start of the season to go over the new policies implemented by the MPA.

Sinclair updated the policies and procedures for the athletic training room to meet the new MPA standard. The task force updated their emergency action plan for every field on the Windham High School campus to include an isolation area if an athlete gets sick while playing.

“The past six months have been a whirlwind and a major learning curve as we learn to play a game in which the rules are ever changing,” said vice principal Rosetti, who noted that patience and kindness are important.


Sinclair wrote a “Things You Need to Know” flyer for the return to sports and sent it out to families and
coaches. She had Zoom meetings with teams to review the document before practices started.

Any absent athletes need a reason why they are not at practices or games. If an athlete becomes sick, Joly and Sinclair are in communication with them about the next steps needed before they return to the field.

“One of the most important things that our athletes can do is complete the self-assessment tool which is required before attending school or athletics and staying home when they are not feeling well,” said nurse Joly. “Coaches can help out by reminding their athletes to wash their hands, wear their masks, not share drinks or personal items, and maintain physical distancing when possible.”

All coaches were given extra masks, gloves, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer. All athletes must hand sanitize before practice. Coaches and staff must wear masks at all times and athletes need to wear masks when not in vigorous activity. All equipment is wiped down after practice or before a new group uses equipment. The grounds crew marked every field with dots six feet apart, so athletes have a place for their stuff when they arrive.

Drummond said being back on the field, although it looks different, resembles a sense of normalcy in kid’s lives. Kids have missed athletics and activities greatly through this time. It’s good for their mental health and he can tell in their eyes they’re happy to be out there playing.

“The athletes need to have sports to help with their physical, emotional and social health,” said Sinclair. “Athletes want to get back to their sports so bad they have been doing everything we ask of them and more.”

Playing sports at Windham is not mandatory and if a family doesn’t feel safe, they don’t have to participate this year and Sinclair said she fully respects their choice.

“I am glad the school board allowed sport(s) to happen this fall and let the parents and athletes decide if they felt safe to play,” Sinclair said. <