Friday, April 16, 2021

Lady Eagles’ softball ready for season after North Yarmouth Academy win

Sophomore Casey Downing singles in the seventh inning during
Windham's preseason softball game against North Yarmouth
Academy on April 13. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA 
By Matt Pascarella

The Lady Eagles softball team took on North Yarmouth Academy in a preseason game on Tuesday, April 13 at Windham and this game was the literal definition of a slugfest for Windham with the Lady Eagles getting hit after hit after hit. When the dust settled, Windham had won 21-1.

As Windham entered the bottom of the third inning, they had an 8-0 lead over NYA. Windham kept the bats going when junior Amanda Foss hit a home run. Windham freshman Brooke Gerry and Sophomore Ella Willcox both singled. Gerry scored. Junior Ellie Wilson singled. After junior Kelsey Gerry also singled, Windham had loaded the bases. Seniors Ellen Files and Shyler Fielding both singled and drove in two runs. 11-0, Windham.

The bottom of the fifth inning was a repeat of the third inning with several Windham players crossing home plate. Wilson and sophomore Bella Clapp doubled. Sophomore Reilly Russell singled and Wilson scored. Fielding singled, Clapp scored. Sophomore Casey Downing singled and the bases are loaded. Sophomore Gianna West singled and Russell scored. Wilcox singled and Fielding scored. Freshman Jaydn Kimball singled and Downing scored; 16-0, Windham.

Windham Coach Fred Wilcox said the team made huge adjustments in practice this week. They worked a lot on hitting and a mental approach to putting the ball in play. The team definitely executed what they practiced which is really good he said.

Windham’s defense didn’t allow for much scoring from their opponent and Windham often ended NYA’s innings with runners on base.

In the final inning, Windham didn’t slow down, with six more hits, including a home run from Kimball and five more runs scored.

“I think everybody contributed an even amount,” said Kimball. “It was well rounded on the hitting side and the fielding side. We had few balls put in play because Ella (Wilcox) did so well pitching, but when they were put in play, we made the plays.” <

Great effort shown by Windham volleyball against Cape Elizabeth

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham varsity and junior varsity volleyball teams played their final home games of the season on Saturday, April 10 against Cape Elizabeth; but Cape secured a 3-0 win over Windham’s varsity squad and beat the Lady Eagles’ JV team, 2-0.

It was also senior night where Alexis Budroe, Lydia Budroe, Ellen Files, Rebecca Huff, Mollie Simonson and Meghan Connolly were all presented with a small gift to thank them and their parents for their years of dedication to Windham sports.

Windham senior Lydia Budroe fires the ball back over the net
during Windham's final home varsity volleyball game of the
season against Cape Elizabeth on Saturday, April 10. 
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
Varsity


In the first game, Cape took an early lead. It didn’t take Windham long to get on the scoreboard. The Lady Eagles fought as they made a comeback and got closer to Cape. Windham had great volleys and blocks as they kept their eyes on the ball. Cape pulled away and soon had game point. Windham held them off for a short time but lost 25-15.

In game two, Files had a nice block and Lydia Budroe rocketed the ball over the net several times. It was a close game. The Lady Eagles showed Cape they were worthy contenders. This exciting game had a lot of hustle and Windham rallied, but lost this one to Cape, 25-9.

Windham continued to fight hard and gave it their all in game three. Cape had an early lead. Windham played smart, communicated and kept up their intensity. Despite their 25-6 loss, Windham showed Cape the Lady Eagles had what it took.

Windham coach Chuck Fleck said Windham can hold their own with tough teams.

“Once they (Windham) are able to ignite that spark then there will be no stopping them,” he said.

Fleck said they are always improving.

“I think we could have played together better, but I think we did overall really well ... we’re always going to play our hardest no matter what,” said Windham captain and senior Connolly.
 
JV

It was a close match to start. The JV Lady Eagles worked hard with nice volleys. Although Cape pulled away a little, Windham captain and freshman Lilly McLean scored several points and Windham soon began to gain on Cape. Windham sophomore Daphne Cyr got the ball just over the net to put more points on the scoreboard for Windham. Cape continued their lead and took this game 25-11.

The Lady Eagles had an early lead in game two. Cape tied the game at eight. Windham put in a strong effort and had nice teamwork as they closed in on their opponent. Windham fought hard, and while this game was closer, Cape got the 25-17 win.

Freshman and captain McLean said they did really well as a team. She said Cape came at them hard, but the JV team did their best to come at them even harder.

"We stuck in it longer in the second set,” said Windham coach Chris Cloutier. “We spend a lot of time on rotations and positions and where to be on the floor and they showed me today that they’ve grasped onto a lot of that.” <



Friday, April 9, 2021

Middle school spring sports teams prepare for season

By Matt Pascarella

The spring sports season is already under way for Windham High School and there’s good news for Windham Middle School and Raymond’s Jordan-Small Middle School as well. Both of those schools will be able to get back out there and play this spring season.

Starting after April vacation, both middle schools will begin their spring season, which will start with skills and drills.  

However, athletic director Rich Drummond says that he’s hoping the season will contain competitive games in some fashion, probably not until closer to the end of the season. Transportation is an issue and has made getting competitive games a big challenge.

Drummond said that maybe Windham Middle School could get some scrimmages between them and Jordan-Small Middle School. He also said another option for competitive games is for Windham Middle School and Jordan-Small Middle School to host several home games with neighboring communities.

“We hope we can get to the competitive piece, not that it’s all about games, but a healthy competitive environment is always nice if you can provide that for the kids,” said Drummond.

Another good thing about the middle school spring sports season is the return of fans; masked and socially distant fans will be allowed to attend competitive games.

“Our approach to the season will be to knock the rust off as soon as possible,” said Jordan-Small Middle School baseball coach Jim Beers. “Our immediate goals are to be prepared for game one, whenever that might be. Season goals are to have fun and compete in our games, while getting better at baseball along the way. There are over 12 million possible plays in a baseball game and being prepared for each one – before they happen – is key to baseball success as an individual, and a team. It'll be great to have the boys back on the diamond again.”

Drummond will be meeting with the middle school coaches soon to review protocol and expectations. More information will be available later on this month. <

Tales from the Outdoors: Fiddleheads

By Bob Chapin

I have put away my ice fishing kit and am looking longingly at my boat in the garage. As I watch the snow recede into the shadowy areas, I am getting eager for the spring gobbler season to begin. The males have been hanging out together in small flocks all winter and you may have seen some under your bird feeders or in your dormant gardens. They will soon disperse to chase the ladies. I did my first scouting trip for them yesterday and placed a number of trail cameras in likely transit corridors.

In fact, it was while scouting turkeys one year that I stumbled upon several clusters of ferns that looked like fiddlehead ferns. I harvested a hatful and brought them home, convinced I had found a treasure trove of wonderful eating. As I cleaned them something just didn’t look right. 

I called an experienced Mainer and he described what I should look for. There are many varieties of ferns and some are not edible. Some are even poisonous. He told me to look at a cross-section of the stem and I should see a pronounced “U shape”, kind of like celery. Try as I might, the shape was not there and staring longer at them did not make it appear.

I threw out the entire batch and went in search of the popular Ostrich fern whose tightly wound heads are encased in a brown papery cover which you can either pick off as you gather them or wait til you get home and wash them off. You have only a couple of weeks to gather them as they grow quickly and get woody. They will keep in the fridge for a week or two and can be frozen for consumption later in the year. What you are looking for are the tight little spirals of the frond before it expands. You find small clusters near water—streams and rivers, marshy bogs and lakes.

They are easy to see because they are a bright green color and contrast very well with the drab brown background this time of year.  Leave at least a couple of stalks in each grouping intact so they propagate again for next year. If you don’t know where to go, ask around.

Real friends may tell you where they found them, but many hold their locations tightly to avoid over harvesting. If this sounds like too much work, you can find them in season in Hannaford’s and Shaw’s as well as Smedberg’s for $6 to $7 a pound and up. When you get them home, soak them in cool water to help remove any brown husks remaining and let any hitchhikers escape.

Cooking

Simply boil them in water for 5 to 7 minutes or steam them in a double boiler with a perforated pan on top for 10-12 minutes then saute in a sauce pan in butter and a small amount of garlic shavings for a delightful vegetable accompaniment. Try not to overcook them.

There are lots of uses and pairings for fiddleheads and you can get good ideas from cookbooks such as Fiddleheads and Fairies by Nanette Sawtelle.

For general information about gathering fiddleheads, as well as other wild consumables, look for A Forager’s Harvest by Samuel Thayer or A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants by Lee Allen Peterson. If you have any reservations about identifying the correct ferns, take an experienced harvester with you…it will be great fun. Good hunting! <

Windham’s Danielle Libby to play field hockey for Saint Joseph’s College

Windham senior Danielle Libby signs a letter
of intent to attend Saint Joseph's College and 
play field hockey for that school. She will
major in sports and recreational
management in college. 
PHOTO BY TRICIA GOUD 

By Matt Pascarella

Like many student athletes, Windham High School senior Danielle Libby has put a lot of time into her sport. She began playing field hockey in middle school and has continued through her high school career. Her hard work continues to pay off.

On March 5 at Windham High School Libby signed a letter of intent to attend and play field hockey at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish, where she will major in sports and recreational management.

Libby began playing field hockey in the seventh grade. She wanted to try a new sport, she did some field hockey clinics and fell in love with it. In the eighth grade, she joined the Maine Styx Field Hockey Club, a club team that offers programs to players of all ages and abilities. From there, her field hockey career took off.

“It has taken a lot to get to this point athletically through lots of training and work that I have put into becoming the field hockey player I am today,” said Libby.

Windham varsity field hockey coach Cory DiDonato said Libby has become a leader over the years. When situations are tough, her teammates look to Libby because they know she can handle anything. Libby wants those around her to succeed as well.

“Dani has always been a hard worker and wants to do everything she can to be the best she can be. She plays in the off season competitively and is always looking for ways to improve her skills,” said DiDonato.

Libby has played in a lot of college recruiting tournaments and traveled to many different states playing in front of a variety of college coaches.

“I picked Saint Joe’s because I felt like it was a great fit for me to further my academic and field hockey career,” said Libby.

She would like to use her degree in sports and recreational management to become an athletic director or be part of a parks and recreation program.

“It felt great being able to sign the letter of intent,” Libby said. “I am very excited to get the experience to be a part of a college team and learn all the different fundamentals it takes to be a part of a college team.”

Libby would like to thank her mom and dad for being there and supporting her every step of the way.

She said that she would also like to thank her sister, Jada who gives her endless support no matter how far away she is and her boyfriend, Noah Parks, for supporting her in every game and always being there for her. <

Friday, April 2, 2021

Windham seniors Gant, Yale commit to college athletic programs

From left are Central Maine Community College
soccer coach Rob Rodriguez, Windham senior Madi
Gant, Windham varsity girls' soccer coach Deb Lebel,
and Windham varsity girls' soccer assistant coach
Chris Aube. Gant signed a letter of intent to play
soccer for CMCC and major in nursing.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA  
By Matt Pascarella

Windham seniors Madi Gant and Emma Yale signed letters of intent at Windham High School on March 26 and will take their athletic careers to the next level.

Gant will attend Central Maine Community College to play soccer and major in nursing, while Yale will attend Tufts University to play lacrosse and major in architecture.

Madi Gant

Gant said that she chose CMCC because of its friendly atmosphere and the fact that she didn’t feel lost while on campus. For Gant, it was the perfect fit to play a sport she loves while pursuing her degree in nursing.

Gant has been playing soccer since preschool and cannot remember a time when she wasn’t playing. She transferred to Windham High School from Greater Portland Christian School this year and seamlessly fit into the varsity soccer team. Gant has a passion for the game and feels like herself when she’s on the field.

"I’ve pushed myself a lot,” said Gant. I’ve known what my weaknesses are and I’ve ... worked harder and harder.” Gant has put 110 percent into everything she has done during practices and on the field.

Windham varsity girls’ head soccer coach Deb Lebel said Gant had a fantastic attitude and would play wherever she was needed any day.

“She has a rocket of a shot, but also knew the importance of keeping opponents out of the box on defense. She has a great work ethic and I'm sure is destined for great things in the future,” said Lebel.

Gant said it felt really good to sign the letter of intent. It felt like all her hard work has finally paid off.Gant would like to thank her parents and Rich Penny, her first soccer coach, who taught her a lot about the game and how to be a smart player.

From left, Robert Yale, Windham senior Emma Yale,
Evan Yale and Danielle Yale are shown. On Friday
March 26, Emma Yale signed a letter of intent at
Windham High School to play lacrosse at Tufts
University and major in architecture.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
Emma Yale

When Yale was looking at colleges, she said that she wanted to be challenged academically and athletically. Tufts met those needs and the university’s lacrosse team is a national championship contender, which fit nicely with Yale who has been playing lacrosse since third grade.

Along with playing at the high school level for four years, Yale has been involved with Maineiax, a premier boys and girls lacrosse club in Maine since the eighth grade. Maineiax named Yale the top lacrosse player in Maine for 2020 and 2021.

“I was constantly putting myself outside of my comfort zone, and ... really elevated my game,” said Yale. 

Windham girls’ varsity lacrosse coach Matt Perkins said the two major things that really impress him about Yale are her kindness to everyone and her work ethic. In all Perkins’ years of coaching, he has never seen someone put in the work ethic and time Yale has. Her drive is unmatched.

“(Yale) is the total package; she’s a wonderful person and I’m excited to see her go to Tufts.” said Maineiax owner and coach Lauren Reid Kane.

Yale said it was really cool to have everyone that’s been a part of her journey at the intent signing; she felt so much support.

Yale would like to thank her coaches for everything they’ve done and continue to do. She is also very thankful to her family who are her biggest supporters; she said she is very lucky and grateful for everything they have done for her. <

Windham volleyball gets stronger against Scarborough

Windham sophomore Abby Cochrane returns a volley from 
Scarborough during a prep volleyball match at Windham
High School on Monday, March 29. 
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA 
By Matt Pascarella

The varsity and junior varsity Lady Eagles volleyball teams took on Scarborough on Monday, March 29 at home and despite falling 3-0, they showed Scarborough they had the hustle it took to compete.

Windham’s JV squad fell 2-0, but not before they left it all on the court as well against Scarborough.

Varsity

The Lady Eagles started strong with excellent returns and volleys. Scarborough took the lead early on in the first match. Windham wasn’t far behind and did not let up as they showed the Red Storm they had come to play. At the end of the first match, Scarborough won 25-11.

In match two, there was no lack of force on Windham’s side of the net. The Lady Eagles played strong and smart. Windham was not far behind early on. Senior and captain Ellen Files blocked the ball, got it just over the net and gave Windham the point. Scarborough pulled away to win 25-8.

Match three was different. Windham was close with the Red Storm early on and soon tied the game. It was neck and neck. Then tied again; the Lady Eagles were ahead. The game was tied at 14. Windham had nice blocks as they stayed right there with Scarborough. Windham pulled away. The game remained very close. Windham had match point; the game was then tied at 24. The winner must win by two and then it was tied at 25. Scarborough just barely got by 27-25 and got the win.

“We hung with them the second match and it just pushed us to want more the third. It pushed more than we had before ... I’m super proud of us,” said Files. She said that it was the best they’ve played all season.

Windham coach Chuck Fleck said he felt the motivation and intensity in match three. The team is continuing to improve every day and he said eventually they’ll come out on top.

JV

Scarborough took an early lead. Windham returned volleys, but Scarborough pulled away. The Lady Eagles had high energy on the court and worked hard to turn things around, but Scarborough got the 25-3 win.

In match two, Windham’s effort was there from the start. Sophomore Ashlynn Moorehead served Scarborough a volley they couldn’t return. Windham wasn’t far behind, although Scarborough eventually took a larger lead. Windham had strong volleys and played well, but Scarborough won 25-7.

“I think they started to grasp where they need to be rotationally,” said coach Chris Cloutier. “They started out a little nervous, then they started to come into it a little bit. We just needed to be a little bit more aggressive and talk to each other a little more.”

Sophomore Ashlynn Moorehead said she thought that the Windham JV team did great. She said passing, hustling and blocking have all improved since their first game.

According to Moorehead, the team is still working on communication, but they are really learning to trust each other. <

Friday, March 26, 2021

Spring sports season will look closer to normal

Now a senior, Windham's Hayden Bioldeau keeps
his eye on the ball during a boys' prep tennis
scrimmage in April 2019.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA   
By Matt Pascarella

The high school spring sports season is coming up and at the moment it resembles the closest to “normal” I’ve heard about in a while. The season, which began for pitchers and catchers on Mar. 22 and will begin for all other sports on March 29, will be a close mirror to the 2019 spring sports season. All spring sports will be able to participate with full schedules, playoffs, and the return of fans.!

Fans will be required to be masked at all times and observe social distancing. Per Governor Mills’ executive order, effective Mar. 26 Windham will be able to utilize 75 percent of its permitted occupancy in the stands and as of May 24, Windham can utilize 100 percent of its occupancy.

What an open tournament playoff would look like and how it would be seeded and ranked is still up in the air, but playoffs will happen.

Softball began with their first pitcher/catcher arm conditioning practices earlier this week and the team is ready to get back on the field.

“I have high expectations for this squad whether it’s varsity or junior varsity. The ladies showed up with some energy,” said varsity softball coach Fred Wilcox. “I think they’re just as excited as I am to get back out there with the team. We have a lot of young talent that will have an instant impact and coupled with that, we’re bringing back some talented veteran players that have great leadership and softball skills. This should be a great recipe for success this season.”

The boys lacrosse team has been preparing mentally before they take the field. They read the book “The Hard Hat: 21 Ways to be a Great Teammate” by Jon Gordon based on a Cornell lacrosse player who passed away. The team discussed the book, characteristics of successful teams and qualities that they want on their team.

Boys’ lacrosse is very excited to get back together and begin working on common goals. Coach Peter Small noticed some hesitation regarding the possibility of COVID-19 disrupting the season.

“We know that some players have been off of the field for quite a while,” said Coach Small. “We recognize the need to focus on culture, chemistry and approach. We ... intend to approach the season as we do others – work to be better every day as individuals and as a team. I think we have a great group of student-athletes on the roster, both who they are as people as well as who they are as players.”

This is an extremely positive outlook for the upcoming high school spring season. Especially after last year, I’m really looking forward to getting back out there and seeing the kids play. <

Strong effort shown by Windham unified basketball against South Portland

By Matt Pascarella

Windham’s unified basketball team was ready for their home opener against South Portland on Tuesday, March 23, and showed the Red Riots they had what it takes on the court.

Although the Eagles lost 57-44, it was a very impressive game with Windham connecting on several three-pointers including a buzzer beater at the end of the first half by Windham senior Austin Rice.

Windham senior Austin Rice prepares 
for a three-point shot nearing halftime
during a unified basketball game against
South Portland on Tuesday, March 23
at Windham High School. Windham
fell to South Portland, 57-44.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA 
Senior AJ Mains got Windham on the board early in the first half and continued to put the ball in the hoop as the game continued. Rice scored several baskets as did freshman TJ McAllister.

Windham was quick to grab rebounds and passed the ball well. At the half, South Portland led 34-19.

Windham’s intensity remained strong at the start of the second half as the Eagles made shot after shot and tried to catch up to South Portland.

Rice scored. McAllister scored. Mains scored. These guys were on fire. Rice put the ball in for two points, then backed up and sank a three-pointer. Mains scored back-to-back and helped close the gap between the teams.

At the final buzzer, Windham had put in a stellar effort, but the Red Riots remained just out of reach.

Mains said he had fun in the game and that his favorite part was shooting baskets. Rice said sinking that three-point buzzer beater was an awesome feeling.

Overall, Windham’s unified basketball team did well with their shooting said Windham coach Anne Blake.

She said overall Windham played well as a team because there were no substitutions, which made it harder, but all of the players contributed and did a fantastic job against South Portland.

This is the seventh season for unified basketball in Maine, although last year was limited and eventually scrubbed because of COVID-19 transmission concerns. <

Tales from the outdoors: Five tips to make your sporting outings more effective and fun

By Bob Chapin

For the most part, duck and goose seasons overlap each other. As a hunter, you want to be prepared for either species as you never know which will come to your decoys or which you may stumble across in a jump shooting situation. Shell belts have become very popular for storing your shells while providing ready access to them for follow-up shots or to change loads to match the species available.

They also facilitate carrying them around with you as you scour the bogs. However, once the shell is loaded into a belt loop it is near impossible to determine whether it is a duck or goose load. The manufacturers don’t give us much help either as the markings that tell us what size load it is, how many drams of powder it contains and whether it is steel or lead shot are on the sides and tend to rub off after a few outings.

In the excitement of an approaching flight in low light conditions how do you know if the round you are pulling out is what you want? One solution I have used involves painting a stripe across the metal or primer end of my goose shells with White Appliance paint…the small bottles that come with a paint brush in the cap. I know at a glance which ones to pull when the geese approach.

It seems like no matter what kind of footwear I wear on hunting outings, leather boots, knee high rubber boots, or waders my feet would always get cold when on stand and not moving much. Now, when I get ready to leave home, I tape a chemical hand warmer to my socks right under my toes with masking tape. The chemical sacks stay put until I get my foot into a boot and they are small enough not to bunch up and hurt my toes. They make triangular toe chemical warmers that come with a sticky side to do the same thing, but I find they are not large enough to remain warm for the entire outing. You may be tempted to use duct tape but I caution against that as the heat may cause the stickum to transfer to your sox and when they go through the wash they will become permanently sticky…word to the wise!

Scarves and neck gaiters, particularly the polypropylene kind, are a great contribution to your cold weather gear. They come now in various camo patterns to complement the rest of your ensemble and can be worn up or pushed down as needed. They can even replace a lost hat to keep your ears warm and as gloves in a pinch. With our recent COVID mask wearing experiences we are all used to the face being covered why not be warm as well!

Archers often save a group of arrow shafts for their hunting loads and use the rest of the dozen arrows that come in the box for target practice to minimize the variations in arrow flight. Even within the saved arrows they will number the shafts or light-colored vanes of the straightest arrows so that they are assured the highest probability of true flight.

They measure them on a straightness jig to the thousandths of an inch. Even the manufacturers have caught on and marketing materials declare what the variation in straightness they “guarantee” they will have out of the box. Do not trust these claims…measure them for yourself and mark your arrows accordingly. The measuring gauges are relatively inexpensive and the cost of failure to fly true on a costly elk hunt is immeasurable.

Most folks like a hot beverage when they are sitting in a blind or on stand in the cold of a winter morning. Many lug a 24-ounce or greater thermos with them and at the end of the hunt are still lugging half the liquid around with them. Years ago, I switched to a 10-ounce thermos and I find that it holds all the liquid I need at half the weight. It has a push button stopper in it so I can pour without fear of the liquid rushing out and overrunning the small cup lid. It makes quite a popping sound when released so when on deer stands, I unscrew the whole stopper to avoid the noise that would not be necessary in a duck blind. It makes for fewer nature calls as well. I taped the barrel of mine with camp duct tape and spray painted the ends to avoid glare.<

Friday, March 19, 2021

Lady Eagles volleyball shows strength against Falmouth

Windham senior Lydia Budroe soars into the air
to forcefully return a serve from Falmouth during
a varsity volleyball game at Windham High
School on March 10.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA 
By Matt Pascarella

In their first games of the season, the junior varsity and varsity Lady Eagles volleyball teams took on Falmouth at home on Wednesday, March 10 and showed they are worthy competitors.

Despite the JV team suffering a 2-1 defeat and varsity falling, 3-0, Windham proved to the 2019 Class A champions they are a formidable challenge.

Varsity

Windham’s varsity played best of five games and the Lady Eagles jumped to an early lead in game one, but soon the game was tied at seven. The game was close for a little while, but Falmouth nabbed a 25-12 win.

Windham came out strong in game two and scored immediately. Senior Lydia Budroe had quite a few forceful spikes that put points on the board for Windham. The Lady Eagles had great teamwork as they slowly gained on Falmouth. Unfortunately, Falmouth pulled away and won 25-14.

Despite Windham’s strong volleys and hustle in game three, Falmouth pulled away quickly and couldn’t be caught as they won game three 25-13 and the match, 3-0.

“I think they did awesome; coming out of the gate they looked strong,” said Windham Coach Chuck Fleck. “We just got a couple things we can hopefully work on and get some consistency, and (next time) I think we’ll give (Falmouth) a good run for their money.”

Senior and captain Alexis Budroe of Windham said the Lady Eagles kept fighting. Windham stayed with Falmouth for most of the games with just some little mistakes that they need to work on.

JV

The Windham JV played best of three games with Windham close to Falmouth for the first two matches. In the first game, the Lady Eagles jumped to a 4-2 lead. Then Falmouth tied the game. JV had nice volleys and returned serves well. Windham tied the game at 12. Then tied it at 20, then again at 24. Teams must win by two, and soon the game was tied again at 26. After a stellar effort from the Lady Eagles, Falmouth won, 28-26.

In game two, Windham again had good volleys and came back from behind to be one point away from Falmouth. Soon, the game was tied at 16. Then 21. It was match point and as Windham sent the ball over the net, Falmouth could not return it and Windham won, 25-21.

Game three was played to 15. Falmouth took an early lead and although Windham put in an unwavering effort, Falmouth won 15-6.

“I think it went really well and I’m proud of everyone,” said Windham sophomore and JV captain Odessa Files. “We really came together.”

Coach Chuck Fleck said the team had high energy and did great. The first set could have gone either way and he’s proud of the players and their supporters. <

Windham JV and varsity girls’ basketball are tough on GNG

By Matt Pascarella

In their final home games of the season, Windham’s junior varsity and varsity girls’ basketball teams hosted Gray New Gloucester on Friday, March 12, with the varsity girls crushing GNG 58-19 and JV narrowly falling, 44-37.

Varsity

Windham came out ready to play and play they did just that. Showing very strong defense from Windham the entire game; the Lady Eagles started with a small lead and then pulled away. Windham was capitalizing on as many rebounds as they could and at the end of the first half, Windham led 27-7.

Windham's Lexi Hirning races past several Gray New Gloucester
players on her way to score during a girls varsity basketball game
on Friday, March 12 at Windham High School. Windham won,
58-19 in the final home game of the season for the Lady Eagles.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
Windham senior Chloe Allen sunk a three-pointer close to the start of the second half. The Lady Eagles kept up the intensity for the full 32 minutes. Windham had a significant lead and could not – would not – be caught, winning 58-19.

“Our defensive intensity was fantastic,” said Windham Coach Brody Artes. “We really played good team basketball. It was a good cohesive unit from start to finish ... good way to send out our seniors at home, Lexi (Hirning) and Chloe (Allen).”

Allen said that even with the quarantine during the season, they always bounced back and played hard.

Hirning said that she thought that made the team chemistry that much better.


JV

Windham sophomore Elizabeth Talbot scored immediately to open the game against GNG. The game was very close in the first half and although GNG held a small lead, the Lady Eagles weren’t far behind.

Freshman Brooke Gerry sunk a three pointer in the second quarter and with Windham picking up momentum, getting closer to GNG they only trailed at intermission, 22-16.

In the second half, Windham had continued that momentum. Gerry sunk two more three-pointers. Windham was getting rebounds and soon had the lead; then the game was tied.

The Lady Eagles employed strong defense and with four minutes left, Windham was only down by six.

Gerry hit another three-pointer with only 20 seconds left and despite a strong effort, Windham trailed at the buzzer, 44-37, with GNG picking up the victory.

“We had a couple bad turnovers that led to other things, but overall, I think we did well as a team,” said Gerry. “My teammates did well in feeding me the ball, but I also looked for them, too.”

Windham Coach EJ Regan said Gray New Gloucester was the toughest team they played all season. For Windham to stay right on GNG and be a pain until the very last buzzer was great to see. <

Friday, March 12, 2021

Windham alpine ski team has great showing toward end of season

Sophomore Logan Marden comes to a stop during
Windham High School's alpine skiing meet against
Chevrus and Kennebunk on Friday, March 5 at
Shawnee Peak in Bridgton. Marden finished with
a combined time of 1:08:21, which earned
him second-place overall among the boys as
Windham 's boys' team beat Kennebunk and 
Chevrus by a score of 22-23-40.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA 
By Matt Pascarella

In one of the final meets of the season, the Windham High School alpine ski team faced off against Cheverus and Kennebunk on Friday, Mar. 5 at Shawnee Peak in Bridgton. Windham finished high on the scoreboard with junior Sarah Hare and sophomore Logan Marden finishing in the top two for both girls and boys.  

Hare came in first overall for the girls with a combined run time of 1:07.29. Marden came in second overall for the boys with a combined run time of 1:08.21. As a team, the Windham boys beat Kennebunk and Cheverus 22-23-40. In the girls team race, Windham beat Kennebunk 14-34; Cheverus did not meet team requirements and had no score.  

Hare finished her first run in 33.85 seconds and her second in 33.44 seconds. Windham sophomore Annie Jackson and freshman Lilly Mclean finished third and fourth among the girls. Jackson had a combined time of 1:13.38. Mclean had a combined time of 1:15.15. Windham sophomore Grace Paiement finished sixth with a combined time of 1:17.36. 

"It's definitely been different, because because we haven’t had our normal amount of races, but I think it’s gone pretty well this year,” said Windham junior Hare.

“We’ve been lucky that we get to come up (to Shawnee Peak) every day. I know a lot of teams don’t get that. It’s been really helpful getting training every single day and having good coaches that really help me do the best that I can.”

Marden finished his first run in 34.06 seconds and his second run in 34.15. Right behind him in third place was teammate and sophomore Nolan Dries with a combined time of 1:10.58. Windham sophomore Cody Taylor came in eighth among the boys with a time of 1:16.80.

“All the kids skied really well,” said Windham coach Lucas Hare. “There was a lot of ice under this snow so it was a really hard course. It’s been fun to watch the kids especially with everything happening this year; they’re having so much fun and they’re doing great.”

While Hare said that he was disappointed there will be no post season, with no seniors on the team, they can look forward and train for next season. <

Windham swimmers excel in virtual meet against Thornton Academy, Biddeford

Senior Haley Thebarge competes in Windham
High School's virtual meet against Thornton
Academy and Biddeford on Saturday, March 6
at Riverton Community Center in Portland. Each
team swam at their respective locations and then
the scores were sent in. The Windham girls' team
came in second to Biddeford and Thornton Academy,
(62-56-43). PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA    
By Matt Pascarella

Windham’s swim team got the chance to compete in a virtual meet against Thornton Academy and Biddeford on Saturday, March 6 at Riverside Community Center in Portland.

Each school swam at their respective locations and the results were compiled and scored. Windham came in second for the boys with scores of Biddeford, 62; Windham, 56; Thornton, 43. The girls also came is second with scores of Thornton, 116; Windham, 65; Biddeford, 12.

Windham had high energy, put in a lot of work and were ready and excited to compete.

In the boys 200 medley relay, seniors Lyden Fogg, Sebi Anghel, Simon Gabaree and Griffin Black finished first with a time of 2:08.49.

Senior Rosie Haibon finished second in the girls 200 freestyle with a time of 2:29.81. Junior Chloe Desmond finished second in the girls’ 100 backstroke with a time of 1:16.61.

“It was insane,” said Windham senior Haley Theberge. “It was great to be all together again and even though the season hasn’t been what we expected it to be ... it’s just having this last meet was kind of like a last hurrah all together. It felt incredible to be able to race again and to cheer for each other again.”

Gabaree finished third in the boys 50 freestyle with a time of 28.01. Black finished second in the boys 200 freestyle with a time of 2:21.16.

 “It was really fun,” said Windham coach Peter Small. “It was great to give them a chance to race. It was bittersweet (for the nine seniors); we were overjoyed to get them to a point where they could race, but sad that it’s the last race. It was nice ... glad we got to race one more time.”

Theberge added a thank you to Cach Small, assistant coach Kevin Roy and athletic director Rich Drummond for their efforts in getting the team together during this time to have a season. <

Tales from the Outdoors: Cusk at night

By Bob Chapin

Special to The Windham Eagle

Cusk, or Burbot, or Lawyer Fish, or Eel Pout, or Ling Cod or whatever you choose to call it, is an interesting fish.  It looks like a cross between a cod fish and an eel. The head is large with a wide mouth and a single barbel protruding from its lower lip. It doesn’t have scales and the dorsal fin starts in the normal place, runs the length of the spine, stops for a short tail then commences again running along the bottom of the fish up to the vent. They are equally at home in salt or fresh water. They have teeth but they are small allowing you to “lip” them like you would a bass.

Most anglers are not aware the fish lurks below them in most of the waters they fish because they are rarely caught as an incidental or by-catch on normal hooks and bait when fishing for other species preferring to remain low in the water column.

You have probably guessed that you fish for them right on the bottom with a stationary bait at night. In fact, the rule book says dusk to dawn, with your bait on the bottom, read large weight, and the line must be fixed at the reel, meaning the fish should not be able to take line off your spool. You can run off a few feet, lock down the reel with a loop of line over it, then re-spool the loose line such that should a fish hit your bait the spool will trip your trap and you will know you got a bite. Several tackle shops have clip on beacons that activate when the flag goes up signaling with a light easily seen at night.

In Maine you may have up to 5 traps down per licensed fisher person and you must check them at least once per hour, no continuous watch requirement. In New Hampshire you are limited to two lines down at once, but you only need to check them once every 24 hours. That sounds like a good deal, but when we have colder nights if you don’t check them more often you will have a difficult time getting them out of the new ice.

Where you fish on a lake can be quite varied because you can catch them anywhere from 8 to 10 feet of water to over 1,000 feet deep, some 10 to 50 feet works well on Sebago. They tend to favor the deeper water except when it is time to spawn, mid-February to late March, then they seek out shallower sandy or cobble stoned bottoms. Use anywhere from 10- to 12-pound test leader because not only do they come large but they have a habit of curling themselves around bottom structure and sometimes it is a tug ‘o war to get them loose, steady firm pressure works most times but don’t be afraid to give them some slack and they may swim away from whatever is holding them.

Virtually any bait you choose to use will work from live minnows to dead minnows, night crawlers, trout worms, even an old discarded hot dog works. They eat almost anything they can find including crayfish and smaller pan fish and perch. I’ve had good luck with live suckers fished right on the bottom. Artificial lures work well too. Out in Michigan, they do well with glowing lures, spoons and Swedish Pimples that glow in the dark but always tip them with some sort of bait as they find their food with their sense of smell.

When you pull your first one through the ice you will be hesitant to touch it because it looks and acts pre-historic. It will curl its whole body up like an eel tighter than you think it should and it will be slimy like an eel. But don’t let that fool you. You don’t have to “gut them” per se just cut down behind the head and slice the skin which has no scales and grab the skin with a pair of pliers, and it comes right off. The top half of the fish contains two nice filets of firm white flesh that cooks up like haddock or pollock and is outstanding in chowder.

An evening spent Cusk fishing can be quite pleasant if the weather cooperates. Sitting out on the ice in a blind or ice hut with an adult beverage and a space heater is fun, jigging one hole while you watch traps on the other four holes. Snacks are always welcomed by your fishing buddies and can make a slow evening go by faster. It is a great social event in Maine in the winter so dress appropriately and give it a try…you will be glad you did. <

Friday, March 5, 2021

Where Are They Now: Lauren Talbot driven in the classroom and on the field

Lauren Talbot, a 2018 Windham
High School graduate, played
softball as a freshman and field
hockey during her sophomore
year at the University of
Massachusetts Dartmouth.
COURTESY PHOTO
By Matt Pascarella

Positive. Hardworking. Dedicated. Upbeat. These were just some of the words used to describe Lauren Talbot, a current junior at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and a Windham High School alumna, class of 2018. She is a political science major with a sustainability minor and an international relations concentration.

Talbot was a star on and off the field while at Windham, becoming a member of television station WCSH’s Varsity Club and winning the Bruce Glasier Memorial Scholarship in her senior year. Talbot continued to excel while playing softball her freshman year and field hockey her sophomore year at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

In fall and spring 2020, Talbot made the Chancellor’s list by attaining a grade point average of 3.8 or better. It can be very hard to balance school and sports, but for her, school always comes first. She strives to be the best and always do her best.

“The first thing I noted about Lauren is that she is a determined and dedicated athlete,” said University of Massachusetts Dartmouth field hockey Coach Linee Mello-Frost. “She constantly has (a) ... positive attitude from the minute you first see her until she’s leaving. I believe this clearly shows in the way she progressed so quickly on our team in her first season with us and also how well she performs in the classroom.”

Talbot recently found out she has Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This revelation has been difficult, but it makes her more motivated to be the best student and person she can be.

“I want to prove to myself and others that this does not hinder me from being able to excel as a student and as an individual. It may make life more challenging, but it’s that much sweeter when achieving something like Chancellor’s List,” she said.

Through her first couple years in college, she visited the Student Transition and Achievement Resource Center, which helped students navigate college. Talbot would occasionally help students who came in. She quickly developed a love for helping others navigate college and became a peer mentor.

This semester, as a peer mentor, Talbot is gathering research regarding peer mentorship in colleges and is putting together research on ADHD in college students.

When Talbot looks back on her time at Windham High School, she is most thankful for her softball coaches Travis Demmons and Fred Wilcox. They took the time to support the team and individual players. They were all family in every sense of the word. The connection she had on the field with her teammates is something Talbot misses.

Talbot’s advice for current high school players who may be struggling because of the pandemic is to: manage your time wisely, be open to change and work as hard as possible on and off the field. It’s tough being out of normal routines. Talbot said the most important thing you can do is to prioritize your mental health. She said it’s hard, especially now with online school and being away from friends, but the more you can do things that add to your wellbeing, like physical activity, the better.

After college she would like to get her graduate degree abroad, maybe in the Netherlands, and use her knowledge to help others through teaching, researching and/or working in a non-governmental organization.

Whenever Talbot has downtime, she likes to read, do Pilates, hang out with her parents or friends at school as well as watch Netflix. <

Windham Middle School indoor track team happy to be back at it

Windham Middle School seventh-graders Camden
Patin, Tate Robinson and Ellias Jauregui run laps
around Windham High School's athletic field. The
WMS indoor track team has been practicing despite
not being able to participate in competitive meets
and working on honing skills and techniques.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA 

By Matt Pascarella

When Windham Middle School girls’ indoor track coach Jason Lanoie reached out to athletic director Rich Drummond to see if there was going to be some sort of indoor track season, the eighth-grade girls on the team were really happy to hear that there was going to be something. The whole team is glad there is something. The athletes on this indoor track team are happy to be back doing a sport they love.

While the Windham Middle School teams aren’t having competitive meets, they are working on skills and drills in preparation for a possible competitive track season in the spring. The team practices four days a week and the turnout has been great among the two cohorts.

The events the kids are training in during their skills and drills season are events they would have participated in during a regular meet, such as: distance running, sprint work, hurdles, shot put, and relays – contactless relays. The kids are excited to be on the track, or in the gym, and are putting in a lot of effort during these events.

Lanoie was excited that there could be a season, no matter what it looked like. 

“My goal is to have something, because everything is getting canceled,” he said. “I wanted to have something where they would be able to get in shape and get them out of the house; it’s getting them active and having a good time.”

One of the eighth-grade girls who was excited to hear there would be a season was Caitlyn Marsh. She has been on the team for a few years and considers track one of her biggest passions. She said it’s a fun learning experience to be with other kids running. She would love to run track in high school.

Seventh-grader Ellias Jauregui said even with COVID-19 out there, the season is a big hit. He’s glad they get to run. He was sad when he heard it might not happen, but now that it’s happening, he’s excited to be back on the track again.

“It’s creating more of a routine for them and making things a little more normal, said assistant coach Lindsey Szewczyk. “It’s bringing their positivity up.”

Szewczyk’s goal is to improve on whatever the kids need to for outdoor track and helping the kids improve for next year when hopefully they can compete.

When competitive meets return, this team will be ready. <

Junior varsity Trail Blazers record hockey win over Gorham

By Matt Pascarella

The junior varsity Windham/Westbrook/Bonny Eagle Trail Blazers hockey team took on Gorham and they led with intensity for 40 minutes, earning an 8-3 win at the Bridgton Ice Arena on Saturday, Feb. 27.

One of the changes to the 2021 hockey season is instead of the traditional three periods, the JV team played two 20-minute halves.

In the first half, the Trail Blazers were aggressive right out of the gate. Sophomore Wyatt Carpenter and Darren Haskell scored in the half. The Trail Blazers moved the puck nicely with strong defense and kept Gorham from many possession opportunities. Trail Blazers had a 2-1 lead at halftime.

The JV Trail Blazers played a great game all around, but it was the second half that brought the most action when the team scored six goals. Freshmen John Ulmer and Lucas Laforest scored back-to-back goals at the start of the second half. Gorham scored twice in the half, but they were no match for the Trail Blazers, whose momentum did not slow down until the final buzzer.

Trail Blazers seniors Jack Foley and Robert Doherty both scored in the second half. Laforest found the back of the net again. Before the final buzzer, Ulmer put one between the posts.

“I think we played a well-rounded 200 foot game” said Trail Blazers coach Ben Haskell. “We worked hard for each other and when we play as a team, good things happen. I think the players are getting more comfortable with each other and trusting each other. Once you build confidence in each other it all starts to come together.” <

Tales from the outdoors: Hunting the famous Anticosti Island

By Bob Chapin
Special to The Windham Eagle


For many of you a guided hunt on Anticosti Island, Canada, in the middle of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, is a dream come true. It is truly a remarkable place managed exclusively for whitetail hunters by SEPAQ, a Canadian government entity, motivated to have you be successful. It can be as “authentic” a hunt as you want it to be, meaning you can arrange to hunt by yourself in an approximately 3 square km area or you can drive the many roads that connect hunting areas by truck or ATV.
Deer populations can vary greatly from 40,000 to 120,000 due to harsh winter weather but you can be assured of seeing many deer and can hunt either does or bucks. You are permitted to take two deer per trip and most do. You will get your deer at the plane for the return flight to Mount Joli, boxed up and ready for further processing.
 
For most Mainers it is a six- to seven-hour drive up through Qu√ębec to Mount Joli which is the jumping off place for the short flight to the island—take your passport! The hunting trips run all fall but the trip I took was right after Thanksgiving. By that time the snow had already begun to fall. You are met at the airport by Sepaq personnel, taken by the equivalent Fish and Game office for licensing, and a small variety store for last minute items.

The island was once owned entirely by one man, a Frenchman by the name of Henri Menier. He envisioned it as his own hunting and fishing paradise and he came close to realizing it. He imported a lot of different animals including White-tailed deer, grouse, black bears, salmon, foxes, and rabbits. Over the years it became clear that the climate and the collection of animals were not always compatible. Some did very well and prospered and others had a more Darwinian fate. Oddly, one of the non-survivors were the black bears. They competed with the deer for the same food sources and there were just too many deer and they were more prolific.
With the top predator gone, the deer multiplied to match the excellent habitat they had. The island suffers from great crashes in deer populations due to the weather. In the winter when the snows come the deer “migrate” so to speak from the higher elevations to the shorelines, but it is a short trip. It is not a true migration in the normal sense of the word, but they are driven down by snowfalls which tend to cover a lot of their preferred browse. Once down at the shoreline they walk out on the flats that are revealed at low tide and feed on the kelp and grass beds that are exposed. Should there be a freezing rain at low tide and they can’t paw through the ice, they starve. The year I hunted there they had a die off of over 60,000 deer due to a prolonged ice storm. Within two years, they were back up to a population of 120,000, nature’s way of compensating. The foxes eat well and look to be as big as German Shepherds.

The hunting styles vary from sitting deer stands, to still hunting, spot and stalk, or simply driving the island roads until a deer is spotted. One style that is not done, are drive hunts. Be clear with your guide what style you prefer, understanding you can change your mind after some experience. Most guides’ first language is French and their skills in English vary from conversant to none. Make sure you have a good understanding of pick-up times and places if you are dropped off and what the ‘lost hunter’ procedures are. It is not a huge place and there are roads and ATV trails throughout the island but you don’t want to be wandering around after dark in a snowstorm.

This is a great hunt for a small group of hunters who know each other. You will mostly hunt as individuals, but it can be comforting to know your buddy is hunting next door and it is always a fun time to compare experiences around dinner or a fireplace after. Like a lot of hunts, if you get a shot opportunity early in the hunt, take it. In other words, don’t pass up a deer on day one that you would shoot on day four, you may not get a second chance. Pack goggles that you might use snowmobiling because you will get to use an ATV and if you have precipitation, they will be lifesavers. Practice shooting offhand with and without gloves. Take shooting sticks. Take a good cell phone camera for the hero shots! <

Friday, February 26, 2021

Sixth-grade Windham travel basketball teams become Maine Hoops champs


By Matt Pascarella

Two very exciting games had two very exciting results during the Maine Hoops championship tournament on Saturday, Feb. 13 at XL Sports World in Saco. After the final buzzers, both the Windham sixth-grade boys and the Windham sixth-grade girls travel basketball teams had become Maine Hoops champions.

Windham's sixth-Grade boys' and girls' travel basketball teams
won championship titles during the Maine Hoops tournament
on Feb. 13 at Sports World in Saco. Shown in top photo are
the Windham sixth-grade boys' travel team and the bottom
photo is the Windham sixth-grade girls' travel basketball team.
SUBMITTED PHOTOS 
 
For a while, it seemed like there might not be a sixth-grade travel team season and few basketball travel leagues were in operation because of Covid-19. That’s where the Maine Hoops league stepped in. During the eight-week Maine Hoops season, Windham’s opponents were a real jumble of teams from other towns. Every team in the Maine Hoops league made the final tournament where it was single elimination.

The season began in early January and it was hard to find places to practice. Windham girls’ Coach Ben Delewski held outdoors practices in his driveway. He made the practices voluntary because of the unusual circumstances but was surprised at how many of the girls showed up.

The boys ran into a similar practice problem due to school gym closures. Thankfully, Nick Pierce at New England Fitness and Athletics in Windham offered weekly classes for the boys, which Windham boys’ Coach Ryan Brown noticed made a big difference in the team’s abilities on the court.

The sixth-grade girls’ team are competitive in every game and call themselves the ‘Fierce Lady Eagles.’ They faced the Southern Maine Sting team, a team they had lost to a few times, in the championship game and came back from behind to beat them. Delewski said it was all about defense and he was proud of how well his girls played together.

“It felt amazing to play in the tournament and win,” said sixth-grader Leandra Woodman. “Our team is unstoppable together, and I owe all of our success to our coaches. I’m so proud of our team for our dedication and our hard work.”

Brown said his boys progressed all season. They played well as a team, had a role and were able to deliver. He had a great group of kids who were willing to put the work in every week.

Sixth-grader Preston Brown and teammate fourth-grader Carson Brown said they were really excited for the chance to play with their friends during Covid. They felt relieved to win it all after the hard work they put in. The team really worked together and were not selfish.

Delewski said when the Fierce Lady Eagles became Maine Hoops champs, their reaction was similar to as if they won the NBA Finals.

The boys had some big smiles on their faces when they became champions and for Brown, that was more important than the win. The team worked together and fought hard to pull off a tough win. <

Windham swim team gets together to make season work

Windham junior Sam Flibbert gets some time in the pool
with the rest of Windham High's swimming team on Saturday,
Feb. 20 at Riverton Community Center in Portland.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
By Matt Pascarella

Many prep sports teams at Windham High School have had to make adjustments when it came to the winter season. For the swim team, their season started a little later than usual, with a lot of unknowns. They were unable to return to the pool at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish because of COVID-19.

Luckily, the team was able to get some pool time two days a week at the Riverton Community Center in Portland. They have also been doing workouts in the gymnasium at Windham High School. They recently had a practice on Saturday, Feb. 20 at Riverton Community Center.

When Coach Peter Small began the season, he discovered from the start the swimmers wanted a return to something that resembled normalcy and most importantly, the team wanted to be together and compete with each other.

Even when they were unable to get together as team, these Windham Eagles were doing the virtual work to prepare for when the physical work could begin. Virtually, they brought in a nutritionist, a certified yoga instructor and even had virtual trivia nights.

“The idea of being able to come together to work out together, they’ve stuck with it from the beginning,” said Small. Most of their time has been in the gym doing drylands, which are core and strength building exercises. These exercises help get the team ready for the water.

There will be no in-person meets for the season, but Windham will participate in a virtual meet against Thornton Academy on Saturday, March 6. Each team will swim at their different locations and the results will be sent in and scored. Outside of virtual meets, there will be no regional or state championships.

Although there are no in-person meets, the team participated in an inter-squad meet on Saturday, Feb. 13 at Riverton Community Center. The team was split in two and the seniors decided who swam what events. It was run like a normal meet except it was one half of the team against the other. Small said it was awesome; it was the first time they got to race this year.

Senior Tristan Candelmo said it felt amazing to be back in the water. His goals for the season are to try and set some new personal records, but he is just very thankful to be able to get back in the water.

Small and his assistant coaches aim to provide a fun, safe work environment where the team can progress as individuals further down the road.

“It feels really good (to be back in the water) said sophomore Hannah Heanssler. “It feels ... normal again ... the coaches are doing a really good job; I enjoy it.” Heanssler said her goal was to cut down on her race times from last year and improve her strokes.

“There’s been enormous support by the community to keep us in school and competing safely,” said Small. “I think kids are thirsty to be in school and be with each other in safe environments. We’re grateful for the support of the school and community to let us do that.” <