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. 

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.

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.


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. 

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.
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.
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. 
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.


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.


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. <