Friday, March 17, 2023

WMS indoor track and field team shows a lot of promise

By Matt Pascarella

In the first meet of the season, the Windham Middle School indoor track and field team went up against Westbrook and King Middle Schools at the Portland Expo on Saturday, March 11.

Windham seventh grader Renner Gerrity soars over the
hurdles during Windham Middle School's indoor track
and field meet against King and Westbrook on Saturday,
March 11 at the Portland Expo.
Windham showed they have what it takes to compete as the boys and girls both finished second. The boys had a score of 80 and the girls had a score of 81.


“I think things went really well; we’re working well together as a team,” said Windham eighth grader Caroline Cunningham. I think we all did a good job working on our form today.”

Cunningham finished first in the 300-yard dash with a time of 49.5 seconds.

Seventh grader Morgan Clark finished first in the open 1 mile run with a 6:34.4-minute time. Eighth grader Megan Little finished fourth with a 7:27.2 time.

Little said she kept a steady pace. She has a positive outlook for the season and thinks the team will be better than last season because they have a lot of strong runners.

In the junior 40-yard dash, sixth grader Cadence Penley finished second with a time of 6.6. She finished fourth in the 440 with a 1:31.3 time.

Seventh grader Jennifer Schwarz finished first in the intermediate shot put with a distance of 22 feet.

In the senior shot put, eighth grader Shailyn Farwell finished second with a 26-foot distance.

Windham came in first in the intermediate 560-yard relay with a 1:24.7 time.

“All I expect is the athletes do the best they can,” said WMS girls’ indoor track and field coach Jason Lanoie. “As long as they try, that’s all that we care about. The sportsmanship was awesome they all cheered for everybody, and I love it when that happens.”


Seventh grader Liam Jorgensen finished first in the intermediate 40-yard dash with a time of 6.2.

Seventh grader Adam Slomcynski fished first in the intermediate 440 with a time of 1:17.8.

Sixth grader Liam Sanborn finished first in the junior shot put with a distance of 19-06.00.

In the senior 240-dash, eighth grader Zach Downs finished second with a 39.7 time.

Sixth grader Landyn Crossman finished second in the junior 40 dash with a time of 6.2. He also finished second in the senior 440 and junior 150 with 23.1 times in both events.

Crossman said the team did really good. Their form has improved, and they did a great job staying focused.

In the open 1 mile run, eighth grader Mason Bragdon finished third with a 6:20.5 time.

Seventh grader Renner Gerrity finished third in the 45-yard hurdles with an 8.1 time.

Gerrity said it went well with hurdles and relay. He liked the atmosphere and said he is looking forward to doing more relays and getting better at high jump.

“They did a lot better than I was expecting performance-wise,” said WMS boys’ indoor track and field coach Dan Flaherty. “There’s a lot of potential on this team. My main concern is that they are steadily progressing throughout the season and if they win, that’s an added bonus, my thing is they are working hard and competing.” <

Middle School swimmers triumph in meet against Westbrook

By Matt Pascarella

In just their second meet of the season, the Windham Middle School swim team showed immense skill and sportsmanship against Westbrook at St. Joseph’s College on Friday, March 10.

Windham seventh grader Rocco DiDonato shows his skill
during the 50-year freestyle event in Windham Middle
School's swim meet against Westbrook on Friday, March 10
at St. Joseph's College. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA 
Windham was victorious over the Blue Blazes. The girls won, 47-44, and the boys won, 64-34.

“After our first meet we really discussed positive sportsmanship and stepping up our game with that,” said Windham Middle School swim coach Anne Fougere. “I think they really wanted to work hard at that. As coaches, we’ve been pushing that more than the swimming; so, we were happy to see improvement there too.”

Windham began with two first-place finishes in both medley relays. The girls finished with a time of 3:04.72 minutes and the boys finished with a time of 2:27.67.


Seventh grader Peter Funk finished first in the 50-yard butterfly with a time of 34.11 seconds. He also finished first in the 100-yard backstroke with a 1:11.90 time.

Eighth grader Sullivan Scharf finished first in the 50-yard backstroke with a 29.72 time. He also finished first in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:16.84.

“I think we got some great swims in today, not just myself, I would say the whole team did great,” said Scharf. “Sportsmanship went up a whole bunch. We’re more bonded than before. Now, we’re here for everyone.”

With a time of 48.84, seventh grader Timothy Slabbinck-Unser finished second in the 50 breaststroke.

In the 50 freestyle, eighth grader Jacob Leavitt finished second with a time of 32.81, eighth grader William Blyther finished third with a time of 36.23 and seventh grader Rocco DiDonato finished fourth with a time of 45.50.

Eighth graders Mason Butterfield and Brock York both put in great efforts in the 50 freestyle. Butterfield finished with a 44.59 time and York finished with a 46.93 time.


In the 50-yard backstroke, seventh grader Mareina Lavalle finished first with a time of 46.01. Behind her was eighth-grader Allison Shardlow who finished second with a time of 49.59. Shardlow also finished fourth in the 100-breaststroke with a time of 1:51.18.

In the 50 freestyle, seventh grader Stephanie Roghelia finished first with a time of 29.46. She also finished first in the 100 breaststroke with a 1:24.28 time.

Roghelia said the team did amazing with sportsmanship and their times. She underestimated her strength, but feels she did awesome. She also received a ducky award from Coach Fougere for being an overall team player. It was unexpected to receive this and Roghelia said it felt awesome.

Sixth grader Lucy Stretch finished second in the 50 freestyle with a 48.83 time and third in the 50 breaststroke with a 1:06.36 time.

Sixth graders Zoe Varney and Bevie Yekeh both had excellent times in the 50 freestyle; Varney finished with a 52.43 time and Yekeh finished with a 1:58.85 time.

“They’ve put everything to use today that we’ve worked on during practice this week and that’s really exciting to see,” said Fougere. <

Friday, March 10, 2023

JV Trail Blazers battle hard, come up short in hockey championship

By Matt Pascarella

After reining victorious in the semifinal playoff round with a 5-2 win over Cape Elizabeth, the junior varsity Windham/Westbrook/Bonny Eagle/Sacopee Valley Trail Blazers stepped onto the ice on Thursday, March 2 at the Casco Bay Ice Arena in Falmouth ready to go head-to-head against the Mount Ararat/Lisbon/Morse/Hyde Eagles in the Wakelin Cup Championship game. Unfortunately, the Trail Blazers weren’t able to catch up in time and lost, 3-1 at the final buzzer.

Windham JV junior Trail Blazer John Ulmer goes after the 
puck at the Casco Bay Ice Arena in Falmouth in the Wakelin
Cup Championship game on Thursday, March 2 against
Mount Ararat/Lisbon/Morse/Hyde.
“We wanted to win; I think we had a good group of kids that could win,” said JV Trail Blazer assistant coach Mike Fothergill. “What killed us was the penalties, too many penalties – and now we’re wasting energy on penalties and trying to recoup from all that. When you’re in the box that much, it’s going to hurt you.”

Fothergill said aside from penalties, the team played great. They battled, skated hard and were right on top of pucks.

After both teams went scoreless in the first period, Mount Ararat/Lisbon/Morse/Hyde scored two goals on power plays and then one more goal with roughly four minutes left in the second period. After two periods, they led 3-0.

The game was not over though; less than two minutes into the third period, Windham junior Tobias Perkins fired a shot that found the back of the net.

He said he was forechecking hard, went to get a shot, got the rebound and then his shot hit the bottom of the crossbar and went right into the net.

According to Perkins, the Trail Blazers hustled, forechecked, backchecked and went after rebounds, but didn’t come out as hard as they could. He said one thing that might have turned the tables was more shots on net and better passing. All in all, he said it was a good season and the boys played well.

Goalie and Windham junior Jake Marston said he felt good going into this game. While the Trail Blazers had a lot of shots on net, they were pretty high – if they had hit the net more, the game may have been different.

Marston said morale dipped a little for him after that second goal; he said he should have been able to block that one. He fought hard until the end.

“We had some really good movement throughout the game, a lot of good defensive work in front, we just let some plays get by us,” said Windham junior John Ulmer.

The Trail Blazer coaching staff is proud of everyone. The entire team worked hard for them. They did everything asked of them and put in a great effort. <

Windham’s unified basketball closes season with strong performance

By Matt Pascarella

Surrounded by packed stands and cheering fans, Windham’s unified basketball team played their final game of the regular season against Scarborough at home on Tuesday, March 7. It was also senior night where Dani Iaconeta, Kayla Fillinger, Austin Rice and Alexandra Tetrault were each presented with a small gift to thank them and their parents for their years of dedication to Windham sports.

Windham Unified freshman Zachary O'Brion could not be
stopped as he sinks a three-pointer early in Windham's
final regular season basketball game at home against
Scarborough on Tuesday, Match 7.
Right from the very start Windham’s energy was way up and their teamwork and offensive skills were excellent. Windham kept it close with the Red Storm for the entire game, but after two halves Scarborough inched ahead, 43-40.

“We did really great,” said Iaconeta. “I’ve been passing the ball to my friends, and we’ve done really good.”

Iaconeta said she was bummed that this was her last game of her high school career. It’s been really great and exciting for Iaconeta to be on the team throughout high school.

She said passing and advice from coaches both went well during the game. She had a lot of fun.

Rice stole the ball and headed down the court and got Windham on the scoreboard.

He said the team played well and it was exciting. He’s had a lot of fun playing over the season.

Windham defense was strong. Sophomore Colby Schmid sank a layup after he grabbed a rebound and made it down the court. Freshman Zachary O’Brion sunk a three-pointer to tie the game at 9.

This game remained close. Windham junior Jacob Smith’s basket put Windham in the lead for the first time in the half.

Windham kept up their solid defense. Freshman Jack Shirley had a nice steal as Windham was neck-and-neck with Scarborough.

At the half, the game was tied at 20.

Windham freshman Katie Plummer sunk a basket early in the second half as Windham continued to work hard. Windham defense and intensity were both forceful.

Freshman Mary-Elizabeth Jean’s basket helped the Eagles stay in the lead.

Fillinger said the game was good; Windham was fast and shot big hoops. She had fun and is pleased with how the season went. It’s been really fun for her to play on the team these past four years.

“The game was tremendous; the whole team came to play,” said coach Anne Blake. “It was a great finale to a great season. The atmosphere of the game was the biggest thing. It was a very inclusive game, everyone played together as a team. The season was a challenge at times ... but we made great strides and look forward to next year.” <

Friday, March 3, 2023

JV Trail Blazers advance to hockey championship game

By Matt Pascarella

After a first round bye, the Windham/Westbrook/Bonny Eagle/Sacopee Valley junior varsity Trail Blazers hit the ice against Cape Elizabeth in the semifinal round of the playoffs at the Casco Bay Ice Arena in Falmouth on Saturday, Feb. 25. The Trail Blazers left it all on the ice and advanced to the Wakelin Cup Championship by beating Cape Elizabeth, 5-2.

Windham junior varsity sophomore Caleb McNulty works
the puck around a defender during a semifinal playoff game 
for the Trail Blazers against Cape Elizabeth at the Casco Bay
Ice Arena in Falmouth on Saturday, Feb. 25.
“I thought we were ready to play,” said JV Trail Blazer coach Ben Haskell. “I think they knew they were going to have a battle ahead of them. That’s what was mentioned in the locker room beforehand; they are a good, decent team, and this isn’t going to be a cakewalk. We were prepared.”

Haskell said the Trail Blazers kept their composure, kept working hard, had a lot of shots and spent a lot of time in the offensive zone. Once the Trail Blazers settled down and looked to other areas to make plays, that’s when it started clicking. It all came down to the last two minutes.

Haskell is looking forward to the championship game and can’t remember the last time the Trail Blazers made it this far. He said the kids deserve it and have worked hard all year.

Both teams hit the ice with intensity and their defenses kept the first period scoreless. The JV Trail Blazer offense worked hard and gave Cape Elizabeth’s goalie a workout with several shots at the goal, even one shot that nicked the goal post.

“I think we worked hard the whole game, we kept it physical; we didn’t retaliate to them,” said Sacopee Valley sophomore James Ritter. “We kept our head in the game and it worked out for us. It feels great to be going to the championship.”

There was a little over a minute left in the second half when Windham sophomore Caleb McNulty scored.

The Trail Blazers had seen Cape Elizabeth earlier in the season in a close game that the Trail Blazers won.

Cape Elizabeth was quick to answer and tied the game 1-1 by the end of the second period.

The Trail Blazers stayed aggressive as the third period began. They were giving 100 percent and continued to play like they wanted to win. With 4:55 left in the game, McNulty scored again. With two minutes left Cape answered and the game was tied at 2.

As the clock wound down, McNulty got a hat trick. Then Ritter scored. Then McNulty again on an empty net.

“I think we come into every game expecting the best team,” said McNulty. “We go out there and try our best; get up one and play like it’s 0-0. We worked our systems really well, our forecheck was amazing, it was getting chippy out there and we didn’t take any stupid penalties.”

The Wakelin Cup will be played at the Casco Bay Ice Arena in Falmouth at 6:40 p.m. on Thursday, March 2. <

Trail Blazer varsity hockey wraps up season

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham/Westbrook/Bonny Eagle Trail Blazer varsity hockey team ended their season with amazing efforts competing until the final seconds in their final regular season game at the University of Southern Maine against Edward Little on Wednesday, Feb. 22.

Trail Blazers senior and captain Wyatt Carpenter of Windham
keeps possession of the puck during a varsity ice hockey
game against Edward Little at the University of Southern
The Trail Blazers left it all on the ice and fought hard, but Edward Little won 5-0 and unfortunately, the Trail Blazers did not make post-season playoffs.

“We have a lot of things to work on,” said Windham sophomore Sam Foley. “Being man-to-man in the neutral zone and taking away passing lanes. They moved the puck quickly and every time we get caught watching the puck and there’s a good chance they’ll score.”

Edward Little took more shots at goal than the Trail Blazers in the first period that soon put them on the scoreboard. The Trail Blazers had trouble turning the puck over and after one period Edward Little led, 3-0.

The Trail Blazers came out immediately aggressive in the second period and attacked Edward Little’s net, but nothing got in. Trail Blazer defense slowed Edward Little’s offense as Westbrook senior goalie Isaac White notched almost 40 saves over the course of three periods. Edward Little led 5-0 after two periods.

“They gave me everything they had, every practice, every game, they never quit,” said Trail Blazer head coach Bobby Fothergill. “We had good leadership, and it was the right way.”

Fothergill said the Trail Blazers competed to the very last buzzer and never gave up. Even though they were outmatched by a bigger, older team, the Trail Blazers tried to make plays, doing what is asked of them. The record wasn’t there, but Fothergill is very proud of his team; he said next year will be their year.

The Trail Blazers defense held off Edward Little for a scoreless third period.

Windham senior and captain Wyatt Carpenter said they need to get to the puck faster with more energy on the bench, a lot more movement, passing on the ice and a lot more shots at goal.

It was the last game of the season, and Carpenter said that the team wanted to go out, play hard and have some fun.

White said it was tiring and he thought the Trail Blazers picked it up and got more confident toward the end. He felt like they ended the season with solid effort. He said they were able to get opportunities in the third period, but Edward Little’s defense shut them down. Team confidence in general went up toward the end of the season. <

Friday, February 24, 2023

WHS swimmers finish strong in Class A State Swimming and Diving Championships

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham High swim team competed in the Maine Girls Class A State Swimming and Diving Championships against schools from all over Maine at Bowdoin College in Brunswick on Monday, Feb. 20 and WHS ended the season with a solid 12th place finish.

Windham junior Riley Small shows her speed through the
water at Bowdoin College in Brunswick during the Maine
Class A State Swimming and Diving Championships on
Windham had several swimmers who medaled by finishing in the top eight during the events.

“With this type of a meet all the work is done – this is showtime,” said Windham swim coach Peter Small. “They’ve worked so hard ... now it’s time to, for lack of a better word, celebrate, just swim – race. I think we were kind of nervous at the beginning, it took us a little bit to get into it.”

Small said that in a lot of the first swims there wasn’t that fire in the belly, but as the meet progressed the team found it and swam really well.

Windham sophomore Sarah Inman finished fifth in the 500-yard freestyle with a 5:45.14 time. She also finished eighth in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:27.67.

Inman said she wanted to do her best and prove to herself what she can do. She medaled four times and said the team did great today. They were focused and tried not to overthink the events. The day went great.

Windham senior Hannah Heanssler finished eighth in the 50 freestyle with a time of 26.99 seconds. She also finished 14th in the 100-breaststroke with a 1:18.06 time.

“I’m proud of everyone, I’m proud of myself,” said Heanssler. “We all have worked so hard this season, the way we swam and executed today was really good. We all put everything we had into it, and we all fought with grit and swam really well.”

Heanssler said some highlights of the day were continuing to get their best times, swimming well with each other and everyone racing hard.

Windham freshman Martina Jefferson finished 19th in the backstroke with a time of 1:15.22.

In the 400-freestyle relay, Windham finished fifth with a time of 4:06.46. This team was made up of Inman, sophomore Morgan Farley, Heanssler and junior Grace Theriault.

Theriault finished 18th in the 200 with a 2:18.66 time.

Theriault said team spirits were high and Windham really showed what they are capable of. She thought the team did great altogether.

In the 200-freestyle relay of Heanssler, Theriault, Inman and senior Reagan McDougall, Windham finished with a time of 1:54.09 in seventh place.

Windham’s relay team of Jefferson, Farley, McDougall and junior Riley Small finished with a time of 2:20.10 in the 200 medley-relay, in 15th place.

While no boys on the team qualified for states, during southwesterns at Cape Elizabeth on Saturday, Feb. 11, Windham sophomore CK Kennedy finished 10th in the 50-yard freestyle with a 28.46 time. In the same event, McDougall finished 13th with a time of 30.18. McDougall finished sixth in the 500 with a time of 7:00.58. <

Windham High varsity cheerleading team showcases skills

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham cheerleading squad competed in the Cheers from the Heart competition at Oxford Hills High School on Saturday, Feb. 18, coming in fourth place overall and rising 10 points from the state competition earlier this year.

Windham High varsity cheerleaders Monica Lewis, Vanessa 
Berry, Gabi Wright, Natalie Adams and Ellie Archibald
perform a routine during the Cheers from the Heart
competition on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Oxford Hills High
School in South Paris. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA  
The charity competition featured schools and teams from a variety of skill levels from all over the state and this has been a challenging cheerleading year, from cancellations due to weather, sickness or ineligibility, Windham has continued to persevere with dedication and determination as they ended their season with an impressive routine.

“We’ve worked really hard,” said Windham senior Natalie Adams. “We’ve done several other competitions leading up to this just getting used to performing in front of people and just really connecting as a team, so we can go out there and look good as a team.”

Beginning in 1999, Cheers from the Heart was started by Wells High School cheerleaders as a way to give back to their local town communities.

The competition has donated over $300,000 to local charities and families in need. A large portion of the money raised during this competition went to Good Shepard Food Bank.

“Our goal for the competition was just to put on the best performance we could and know that we left it all out on mat and that we didn’t have any regrets,” said Windham junior Monica Lewis. “It was one of the best performances of the season. Our stunts hit like we had been doing them for years together. All jumps and tumbling looked amazing. And our dance showed all our hard work.”

Windham sophomore Talia Campobasso said the season has had its ups and downs. They pulled together, and she thought they did really well.

They had to retool their routine’s formations the night before attending Cheers from the Heart. Windham adapted quickly and effectively to the new changes, and that carried through during their routine.

Adams said it’s taken a lot of hard work and dedication to get to this point. They really came together and trusted each other more as a team to be able to come out and perform. She thought their pyramid hit really well. That’s something they’ve struggled a little bit with their beginning and stunts also went well.

“Today is more of a fun one. Our goal was to make sure everything hit, and they did just that,” said Windham varsity cheerleading coach Bari Campobasso. We still want to show that we are improving each time and that’s what we did. They performed great; I’m very proud of them.”

Coach Campobasso said even with another bump in the road, the night before Cheers from the Heart, the team’s spirits were up at practice and seemed totally unphased by this new obstacle. Windham wanted to show how far they’ve come and during Cheers from the Heart, they did.

Lewis said every time they changed the routine, Windham came back stronger than before. Windham put their minds to it and made it happen. Lewis couldn’t have asked for a better team and performance. <

Windham High School Scoreboard

Compiled by Matt Pascarella

Girls’ Basketball

No. 4 Windham worked hard in their quarterfinal game against No. 5 Hampden Academy, but while the game was razor-thin close in the second half, Hampden Academy pulled ahead late in the game to win 46-39. In the fourth quarter, Windham caught up to Hampden Academy and a point separated the teams. Hampden Academy pulled ahead, but Windham’s character really showed as they continued to battle. Sophomore Stella Jarvais and freshman Neve Ledbetter were high scorers.

Windham sophomore Ava Gerrity, junior Khalysa
Hammith, and sophomore Tayla Pelletier display
their medals during the Class A Indoor Track and
Field State Meet at the University of Southern
Maine in Gorham on Monday, Feb. 20.
Boys’ Basketball

On Thursday, Feb. 16 Windham went head-to-head with Portland in the quarterfinal game where No. 7 Windham fought No. 2 Portland in an extremely close game. In the final seconds, Portland pulled ahead to win 49-46. Windham made Portland work hard and the game was tied at 38 with 5 minutes left in the game. It could have gone either way as the clock ticked down. Windham played together and showed Portland they were definitely up to the challenge. Freshman AJ Moody and senior Owen Combes were high scorers.

Unified Basketball

Windham beat South Portland 64-47 at South Portland on Tuesday, Feb. 14.


At the University of Southern Maine in Gorham on Feb. 18, the Trail Blazers took on the combined squad representing South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete. After a great effort, the Trail Blazers lost 6-4 after three periods.

Indoor Track

The state meet was held at The University of Southern Maine on Monday, Feb. 20 against schools from all over the state. In the Boys’ competition, Windham freshman Nick Verrill came in 17th in the high jump with a height of 5-04.00 feet. In the 4x200 relay, Windham boys came in 17th with a time of 1:40.46 minutes. In the girls’ competition, Windham finished in sixth place. In the 55-meter dash, junior Khalysa Hammith finished fifth with a time of 7.53 seconds. In the triple jump, she came in sixth with a 33-09.00 feet distance. In the high jump, Ava Gerrity finished fourth with a height of 5-00.00, a new personal record. Sophomore Tayla Pelletier finished sixth in the same event with a height of 4-10.00.

Gerrity finished third in the triple jump with a distance of 34-1.00. Gerrity finished sixth in the long jump with a distance of 16-02.25. State champion Pelletier won the triple jump with a 35-06.25 distance. In the 4x800 relay Windham came in 10th with a 11.31.10 time. In the 4x200 relay they finished 14th with a time of 1:59.74.

Alpine Skiing

The state meet took place at Saddleback Mountain in Rangely on Wednesday, Feb. 15 and Thursday, Feb. 16.

In the giant slalom, Windham boys came in eighth. Senior Sam Plummer finished first for the team with a score of 1:37.34 minutes. Sophomore Preston Stretch finished second with a 1:39.14 time. In the slalom, Windham finished sixth. Plummer came in first for Windham and 13th overall with a time of 1:20.15. Senior Nolan Dries came in second for Windham and 18th overall with a 1:21.92.

Windham girls finished ninth in the giant slalom. Sophomore Lilly McLean finished first for Windham with a time of 1:36.04. Senior Grace Paiement finished second for Windham with a time of 1:45.76 In the slalom, Windham finished 17th; Paiement finished first for Windham with a 1:36.83 time. Sophomore Katelyn Cotter finished second for Windham with a 2:08.33 time.


In the state meet at Sanford High School on Saturday, Feb. 18, the Windham/Westbrook/Gray New-Gloucester Wolfpack finished in fifth place. Windham Sophomore Ayden Cofone won in the 120-weight class. In the 170-weight class Westbrook junior Gavin Tanner finished second. Windham senior Scott Ingalls finished third in the 182-weight class. <

Friday, February 17, 2023

WYBA crowns back-to-back champions in Southern Maine Hoops League

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham Youth Basketball Association’s (WYBA) fourth-grade boys and eighth-grade girls travel teams both made it to the Southern Maine Hoops League Championship played at The Maine Basketball Academy in Portland on Friday, Feb. 10 and didn’t go home disappointed.

Windham’s eighth-grade girls’ team came from behind to surpass Gardiner in the second half and won, 25-23, in a thriller. And once the Windham fourth-grade boys’ squad grabbed the lead from TGK Athletics Saco in their title game, they held on to win the championship, 22-13.

Windham fourth-grader Kody Freese holds onto the ball
as he turns toward the hoop in the Southern Maine Hoops
League Championship Game at The Maine Basketball
Academy in Portland on Friday, Feb. 10.
Eighth Grade

Windham began with intensity, but had a slow start and Gardiner took a big lead in the first half. Windham grabbed rebounds and fought, as they worked to gain on Gardiner. Gardiner led 13-10 midway through.

In the second half, Windham closed the gap and tied the game at 15. From then on, it was a very close game. Windham tied the game at 20. Denali Momot sunk a three-pointer to give Windham a one-point lead.

Momot said she tried not to get too excited as she knew the game wasn’t over until the buzzer. It felt great to get in the lead with so little time left.

Momot is proud of everyone on the team for not giving up; they worked hard all season, and this is well deserved. It feels great to be champions and Coach Ben played a big role in helping them get there.

With the clock winding down, Isabella Vassoler made the game-winning basket.

“I was so nervous,” said Vassoler. “I thought I was going to miss it, that was very scary for me.”

Vassoler said it was defense and team attitude that enabled them to come back and win it all. She said passing went well, fewer turnovers, less fouling. She’s excited to be champions.

WYBA eighth-grade girls’ Coach Ben Delewski said they did not have an easy path to get here, but Windham played a lot of strong teams in the playoffs and got past them all. Delewski said they were able to win because of defense, grit and rebounds.

Fourth Grade

"It was just a full team effort,” said WYBA fourth-grade boys’ coach Joe McLean. “They ran through the offense well and set good screens, good cuts – they really have gelled throughout the year. They did an amazing job on defense and held TGK to 5 points in the second half.”

Windham defense kept TGK Athletics scoreless. Windham grabbed rebounds and the game was close in the first half. Windham had great hustle. After being fouled, Kody Freese edged Windham ahead. At halftime, Windham remained ahead, 11-8.

There was no lack of intensity in the second half. TGK Athletics tightened the game, but Windham did not let up until that final buzzer. Windham continued to expand their lead. With 50 seconds left, Windham led by 6; TGK Athletics was unable to catch up.

“It feels really good,” said Joel Delewski. “It took a lot of effort and people working really hard. Our defense won us the game because our offense at times wasn’t the best. I’m really glad we got here.” <

WHS girls’ basketball ends regular season with intensity

By Matt Pascarella

It was Senior and Youth Basketball Night on Thursday, Feb. 9 when the varsity and junior varsity girls’ basketball teams played their final regular season games against Cheverus. Both teams kept it close with the Stags but lost momentum in the second half. The effort was there, but shots weren’t falling. Varsity lost 44-32 and JV fell 36-33.

Windham senior Elizabeth Levesque moves toward the
basket during the final varsity girls' basketball game of the
regular season against Cheverus on Thursday, Feb. 9 at
Windham High School. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA   
Seniors Natalie Adams, Chloe Fitts and Hailey Jenness from the cheerleading squad and Elizabeth Levesque, Abbey Thornton, Sarah Bell, and Kylie Garrison from the varsity team were presented with a small gift as a thank you for their dedication to Windham Athletics throughout their high school careers.

Garrison received the Windham Youth Basketball Little Eyes Upon You Award presented by Maine Optometry. This award goes to a senior that demonstrates commitment to the youth in their community.

“I wasn’t expecting it, so it was kind of a nice surprise,” said Garrison. “I’ve always enjoy working with them.”

Garrison said when she helped out during camps it was fun to see the kids and remember when she was in their spot and now it’s come full circle.


Windham started slow, but defense slowed the start for Cheverus too and the game was close going into the second quarter.

Windham fought hard for the ball and took multiple shots at the basket. Thornton sunk a three-pointer. After being fouled, Windham freshman Brianna Duarte sunk three consecutive free throws. It was 16-15, Cheverus leading at the half.

“I thought we battled pretty well the first half,” said Windham varsity girls’ basketball coach Brody Artes. “We went on a bit of a scoring drought in the third quarter, but we had a lot of determination and a lot of grit. We made a little push at the end, but it was too much to overcome against a really good team.”

Cheverus took the lead in the second half. Windham closed the gap some, but Cheverus’ lead only grew in the fourth quarter.

Artes said the team needed to rebound a little bit better and box out. They have to keep playing hard and to the best of their abilities and they’ll be fine. He’s had a great year with a great group of kids. The team has a lot of intensity and heart.

“It was really fun; team energy was great,” said Bell. “Everyone was trying their hardest – passing went well, our overall intensity was great. We’ve had a great season and I can’t wait to see what playoffs bring us.”

Garrison said communication went well and they kept their focus going into the game. Although they were unable to pull through, she said the intensity and ability to work as a team was really good. And, she’s excited for playoffs, too.

Junior Varsity

Windham grabbed rebounds, but Cheverus had several turnovers in the first half. Windham took the lead, and Cheverus tied the game at 10. Windham fought hard and kept it close midway through where the Stags led 16-15.

“We wanted to come out and set our tone in terms of good defense,” said Windham JV girls’ basketball coach Gretchen Anderson. “I’m so proud of everyone, they all contributed; that encapsulates our season; they get down and come back and everyone is cheering on the bench. It felt like a win.”

Anderson said running the offense and defensive pressure went well. Windham never backed down and had good leadership.

Freshman Jada Stewart said she was loud on the bench, hyped up teammates and was aggressive. She said the team did well passing but could have rebounded and boxed out more.

Cheverus led in the second half, but a three-pointer from freshman Nealie Morey stole that lead away. The game was really close until the fourth quarter when Cheverus pulled away a little. Morey hit another three. Windham fought until the buzzer.

“We played harder and better than before,” said freshman Chloe Delewski. “Our passing went really well and our spacing leading to that and getting open.”

Delewski said they did a good job on helping out on defense and defending their players. <

Friday, February 10, 2023

WHS boys’ basketball shows improvement against Lewiston

By Matt Pascarella

Windham’s varsity boys’ basketball stepped onto the court against Lewiston at home for the second time this season on Thursday, Feb. 2, which was Senior Night and Windham Youth Basketball Night. Windham turned in a strong effort and kept it close, but Lewiston remained a few points out of reach and won 54-47.

Windham junior Blake McPherson is aggressively first to
reach the ball during a prep basketball game against
Lewiston at Windham High on Thursday, Feb. 2.
Windham seniors Owen Combes and Chase Wescott were presented with a small gift as a thank you for their dedication to Windham Athletics throughout their high school careers.

“I’m proud of Chase and Owen and their commitment to the program,” said Windham varsity boys’ basketball coach Chad Pulkkinen. Those are two outstanding kids who are going to be successful at the next level in life and I’m looking forward to seeing what they do in the future.”

Combes received the Windham Youth Basketball Little Eyes Upon You Award presented by Maine Optometry. This award goes to a senior that demonstrates commitment to the youth in their community.

“It meant a lot from the youth,” said Combes. “I know they appreciate me helping them out playing basketball and it was a great to see I’m a good role model on and off the court.”

Right from the start, Windham showed Lewiston they came to play when Eagle defense blocked a shot. Lewiston took a small lead, but soon the game was tied at 16. Windham defense kept the game close. Windham sunk a buzzer beater before the end of the half but trailed 27-22.

In the second half, a lot of Windham players hit three-pointers including Combes, freshman AJ Moody, juniors Blake McPherson and Erik Bowen and sophomore Creighty Dickson. Every time Lewiston pulled away, Windham was right there to remind them this was not their game to walk away with.

Windham had a two to three-point deficit for most of the second half; foul shots gave Lewiston the chance to pull ahead.

“Our effort was there,” said Wescott. “I felt like we battled hard. It all comes down to rebounding and the ball going in the hoop – some shots weren’t falling. Some calls weren’t going our way, but we stayed together through it – that’s all we could do.”

Wescott said Lewiston got too many offensive rebounds. Windham turned the ball over a lot in the first half; and if you take away those, the score might be different.

“We had great effort, great defense. We just got to focus on the bigger things like rebounding and transition defense,” said Combes. “We got their two best players out of the game early and got good shots. The ball just didn’t fall for us tonight; ball movement was there, and our help side defense went really well.”

According to Combes, if Windham stopped Lewiston from getting more offensive rebounds, getting more defensive rebounds and boxing out better, maybe they could have flipped the score.

Windham improved significantly from earlier in the season when Lewiston won 82-67.

“Our guys battled really hard tonight, they did some damage in the paint, but getting back into transition was a focus and the kids battled; rebounding-wise ... today I thought we did a good job. Windham fought hard the second half – we got a lot of really good looks. Sometimes the ball doesn't drop but the guys worked their butt offs to get wide-open shots for us to have a chance.”

Pulkkinen said when you’re down one possession with just 3 minutes left, every time you turn the ball over it’s hard. Lewiston’s a good team and Windham hung in there with them.

He said he was proud of how his guys played their hearts out for Chase and Owen. <

Wolfpack wrestling team racks up wins at Duals meet

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham/Gray-New Gloucester/Westbrook Wolfpack wrestling team headed into the Maine Principals’ Association’s Duals Tournament Team Championship at Cony High School in Augusta on Saturday, Feb. 4 ready to show they could compete with a variety of teams from all over Maine. Each team was guaranteed at least two matches; with a winner’s bracket and consolation bracket.

Wolfpack wrestler Owen Pilsbury works to pin his opponent
on Saturday, Feb. 4 during the Maine Principal's Association
Duals Team Championship at Cony High School in Augusta.
In the Wolfpack’s first match against Sanford, they fought hard, but lost 51-26. During the consolation match against Mount Blue, the Wolfpack showed their strength and defeated this higher-seeded team, 54-30.

Windham senior Scott Ingalls earned his 100th win in defeating a Sanford opponent. Ingalls was in recovery from a stress fracture in his back, which he was told might not heal and there had been some question if he could get back to wrestling, so the fact that he was able to, made this victory even sweeter.

“It feels really good,” said Ingalls. “It shows I still got it. I can still compete without pain. 100 is another thing to check off.”


Westbrook junior Gavin Tanner pinned his opponent in the first round of the 170-weight class.

Ingalls wanted to wrestle smart in the 182-weight class match. He said he got caught early in the beginning but was able to fight out of it and from there he worked the mats and racked up points any way he could. He held his Sanford opponent down, worked the back with late takedowns and secured the 11-5 win.

Ingalls has worked with Wolfpack assistant Coach Nick Buckley since peewee wrestling. Head Wolfpack coach John Nicholas and assistant coach Nick Vogel have been big helps in preparing Ingalls for such an achievement.

“Scott is an amazing hard worker and a great leader,” said Buckley. “He’s a conservative wrestler never putting himself in bad positions. His defense is superb making it hard to score on him; mix in his willingness to always keep learning makes him a powerhouse wrestler.”

Ingalls said he would like to thank his family; to look up in the stands and see someone rooting for him means a lot.

Gray-New Gloucester teammate senior Brody Simpson was not surprised by Ingalls’ 100th win. He said Ingalls is a great teammate, captain and someone who leads by example.

In the 285-weight class, Windham junior Griffin Moreau pinned his opponent in the first round.

“We knew Sanford was going to be tough. We battled them hard right till the end. We needed a couple of things to fall our way and unfortunately, they didn’t, but the kids wrestled really hard,” said Nicholas.

Mount Blue

Windham junior Chris Harvey pinned his opponent in the 160-weight class.

Ingalls picked up win 101 in the 195-weight class when he pinned Mount Blue in the second round.

Windham freshman Junius Pope won in the 220-weight class in the first round.

In the 120-weight class Windham sophomore Ayden Cofone got the pin and win with less than a second left in the first round.

“The team did really great,” said Cofone. “I think we started off a little slow against Sanford but picked it up against Mount Blue; we started to hype each other up more.”

In the 132-weight class, Westbrook junior Owen Pilsbury pinned his opponent.

Windham sophomore Addison Leger said the team worked really hard and put everything they had into the meet. She’s hoping they can learn from the day and get better for regionals.

“Mount Blue is the No. 2 seed in our region, and we took it to them pretty good,” said Nicholas. “It shows that our team is better than what our seed was; we wanted to show that today and we did.”

Nicholas said they did a nice job fighting off their backs, were aggressive and did a lot of the things they worked on in practice, showing their learning and willing to try new things. <

Friday, February 3, 2023

WMS boys’ basketball splits games against St. Brigid

By Matt Pascarella

In the final games of the season, Windham eighth and seventh-grade boys’ basketball played St. Brigid Catholic School in Portland and split two high-intensity games on Thursday, Jan. 26.

Windham seventh grader Roni Anthony blows by an
opponent while keeping his eyes on the hoop during a
game against  St. Brigid School on Thursday, Jan. 26.

Windham’s eighth-grade team came out strong but let up and St. Brigid took the lead. Windham battled back the entire game, but St. Brigid got the 60-39 win.

Windham’s seventh-grade team played a close game separated by only a few points as the clock was close to running out. The Eagles held onto their lead and won 47-46.

Eighth Grade

Windham grabbed rebounds early to drive their score up quickly. Windham’s Boston Krainis hit a three-pointer.

Despite Windham’s strong abilities, St. Brigid jumped out ahead. Windham fought hard to catch their opponent.

St. Brigid grabbed several turnovers. Windham continued to snag rebounds and shooting shots at basket, but they weren’t falling. At the half, Windham trailed 36-23.

“We came out flat and they were ready to go,” said Krainis.

Krainis said if Windham rushed offensively, if they calmed down, they may have been able to turn the score around. Krainis said the season went pretty well.

In the second half, Windham had quick hands and moved the ball. Windham had closed the gap between the teams some, but St. Brigid still had a commanding lead.

Windham worked hard and did their best but wasn’t able to get ahead.

“We got off to a good start, the first four minutes,” said Windham Middle School eighth-grade boys’ coach Adam Manzo. “Then we went through a dry patch where we couldn’t put the ball in the hoop. The other hard part is the second half of the season we haven’t played a lot ... so I think it’s tough playing against competition, we had to knock a little bit of the rust off early.”

Manzo said the team competed from start to finish and he never questioned their effort, which was something they discussed in the beginning. They are a highly coachable group of kids that he enjoyed coaching all season.

Seventh Grade

Windham was aggressive with great offense and defense from the start and grabbed rebounds. Windham held St. Brigid to three baskets in the first quarter.

St. Brigid tied the game at 14 in the second quarter.

Windham continued to move the ball and inched out ahead 18-17 midway through.

“That’s probably the most exciting game we’ve had all season,” said Windham Middle School seventh-grade boys’ coach Craig Dickson. “To have it so close ... I thought we’d have an easier time, but St. Brigid played really tough defense and were double teaming; luckily, we played the eighth-graders two practices in a row; they played full-court press on us the whole time and that was helpful.”

Dickson said Windham did a good job with their full-court run and jump and created chaos on the court that resulted in a bunch of turnovers. Dickson is disappointed the season is over; he wished he had a couple years with the kids. It was a good year though.

The second half was a nail-biter. Windham’s Roni Anthony sank a three and Windham regained the lead. Their solid passing resulted in several baskets.

Intensity remained as the clock wound down and the scores were very close. The game was tied at 41 with two minutes left.

St. Brigid was not able to get by and Windham ended the season with a victory.

“I think we did really good,” said Anthony. “We played as a team, we had good passing, good shooting, good overall.”

Anthony said they played well on defense; on offense they were passing and getting assists. They were excited for this game and pleased with how the season went. <

Windham’s alpine ski team looks sharp gearing up for SMAAs and states

By Matt Pascarella

As Windham’s alpine ski team looks to the end of the season, with the Southern Maine Activities Association (SMAAs) competition and the state competition on the horizon, both Windham boys’ and girls’ teams brought their all in a meet against Falmouth, Gorham, Marshwood, Traip, York, Scarborough, Westbrook, Cheverus and Kennebunk on the giant slalom course on Monday, Jan. 30 at Pleasant Mountain in Bridgton.

Windham senior Cody Taylor finishes his second run on the
Giant Slalom course in a ski meet against Falmouth, Traip,
Gorham, Marshwood, York, Scarborough, Cheverus,and
Kennebunk at Pleasant Mountain on Monday, Jan. 30. 
A light snow, which proved to be a benefit to the team, fell for most of the race. The Windham boys’ team finished second with a score of 40. The Windham girls’ team finished third with a score of 80.

“The mood with the light snow and packed conditions changed the mood of everybody and they are looser and able to push it a little further,” said Windham alpine ski coach Mark Politano. “They did awesome; they were a lot more comfortable with the conditions today than on Friday [during the slalom race]. Watching them come down and seeing them have a blast, I think the season is going in the right direction.”


Sophomore Lilly McLean finished first for Windham and seventh overall with a two-run combined time of 1:10.13 minutes.

Senior Grace Paiement finished second for Windham and 14th overall with a combined time of 1:12.76.

Senior Annie Jackson finished third for Windham and 23rd overall with a combined time of 1:16.49.

Coming off an injury, sophomore Katelyn Cotter finished fourth for Windham with a combined time of 1:36.59. She said she took it slower to avoid further injury before states.

Her first run was nice and smooth, but the second run got a little more rutted up and harder.

Cotter said they are all very good at supporting each other. They’re cheering each other on and giving each other feedback. She loves the team and feels good about the SMAAs and states. She thinks Windham will do well.


Senior Nolan Dries finished first for Windham and eighth overall with a two-run combined total of 1:06.34.

Senior Sam Plummer finished second for Windham and ninth overall with a combined total of 1:07.60.

Senior Cody Taylor finished third for Windham and 12th overall with a combined time of 1:08.99.

“I think we all did really good, the course held up really nice,” said Taylor. “At first it was really nice and firm, there was a nice top coating on it. The headwall got pretty icy pretty quick, but that’s how it goes.”

Taylor said conditions were good, which is not always the case. The team kept it positive which was good for morale; it was a good day.

As he looks to SMMAs and states he thinks they are a solid well-rounded group who could take it all.

Sophomore Preston Stretch came in fourth for Windham and 13th overall with a 1:09.30 time.

Politano said the team is getting their footing down. While they haven’t had time to train giant slalom as much as slalom, for some of the kids, it’s their second or third time on a giant slalom course and they are killing it. <

Friday, January 27, 2023

1973 WHS basketball starters keep winning spirit alive 50 years later

By Matt Pascarella

To the five starters who were part of the 1973 Cumberland County Conference, or Triple C, championship the memories live on like it was just yesterday ... although that win was 50 years ago. Co-captain Bill Jones, co-captain Don Forbes, Dave Morton, Lee Allen and Ken Sawyer were recognized and celebrated by the community at Windham High School on Friday Jan. 20. Athletic Director Rich Drummond was presented with the championship jacket of their coach, the late John Turner.

The 1973 Windham High School Triple C championship
basketball team's starters, from left, Ken Sawyer, Lee Allen,
Dave Morton, co-captain Bill Jones and co-captain Don
Forbes celebrate the 50th anniversary of their championship
win during halftime of a WHS varsity basketball game on
Friday, Jan. 20. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA      
The Windham High School 1973 basketball team went 14-4 that season. They made history by winning the Triple C Championship and were dubbed in their yearbook to have achieved the most impressive record since 1966.

What made this team so impressive? Morton said it was the fact that they were a talented group of guys who had been playing together since they were in fifth or sixth grade.

The group first met one another when they played as part of a Saturday morning youth basketball program, not unlike the Saturday morning programs that run today. Once they reached middle and later high school, their playing abilities together became instinctive.

The Cumberland County Conference was composed of 12 teams from Class B and C combined. Windham averaged 70 points a game in a time where the three-pointer was not permitted.

When the Windham High School basketball team played Scarborough on Jan. 30, they clinched the 1973 Triple C Championship with an 89-78 win.

The 1973 Windham High School basketball team finished the regular season with a 14-4 record, a conference championship and were ranked third in the Class B heal standings.

“Everybody knew their roles. We’d been playing together so long ... everybody knew what we were supposed to do,” said Sawyer.

It was a combination of their skill levels and Coach Turner and assistant coach John Gato’s coaching

abilities that drove their successes that season. Turner was very disciplined; he pushed them and had them working hard.

Jones was the team’s leading scorer averaging 16 points a game; Allen was right behind him with 11 points a game; Forbes was the 1973 State of Maine Foul Shot champion; Morton was leading rebounder with over 9 rebounds a game and Sawyer averaged 6 points a game and 5 rebounds.

“For those who play basketball we know that it is more than a game,” said Windham resident Pat Moody. “It has a big influence in our lives and the lessons we learn and people we meet are often carried throughout our lives. It was wonderful to see some of the members of the 1973 team come together with friends and family to reminisce about the Triple C Championship. It also shed light on the fact that it has been 50 years since Windham High School basketball had a championship basketball team. The recognition of the 1973 Champions surely ignited inspiration in those that would like to make it happen again soon!”

It meant a lot to the five starters to be honored by the community and to present the school that they played for the championship jacket of their revered Coach Turner.

For classmate Donna Morton, she remembers the gym being packed for their games and said there was magic between the team. They had a real passion for the game and worked seamlessly, with no one person being the star. They were a talented group who were fun to watch and have remained there for each other all these years later. She said seeing them honored that night made it feel like no time had passed at all.

“One of the things you gain from athletics is relationships with other people,” said Allen. “You look at the five of us, we’re here tonight and those relationships have stayed with us, which is important.” <

WMS girls’ basketball splits games against Lincoln

By Matt Pascarella

On the eve of a snowstorm, the Windham Middle School eighth and seventh-grade girls’ basketball teams played home games against Lincoln on Thursday, Jan. 19 and ended up trading victories.

Windham Middle School eighth grader Kylie Card speeds 
toward the hoop during a girls' basketball game against
Lincoln at Windham on Thursday, Jan. 19.
The eighth-grade team took an early lead and while Lincoln caught up a little in the second half, Windham regained the lead and secured a 42-31 win. Windham’s seventh-grade squad was neck-and-neck with Lincoln in the first half and early in the second half but eventually Lincoln pulled away in the third quarter, defeating Windham, 29-20.

Eighth grade

Windham started out with great defense and held Lincoln to one basket. The Lady Eagles fought for the ball and the scoreboard reflected their success. They had high intensity with several steals.

“I think we did really good at getting up and getting back as a team,” said Windham’s Mackenzie Delewski. “It was a really good team game; our press and transition buckets went really well.”

At the half, Windham led 22-10.

In the second half, Lincoln tied the game at 22. From here, Windham recovered their lead and increased the space between them and their opponent’s score. Windham continued strong offense, stealing the ball every chance they got. Denali Momot sunk a three-pointer.

“I think we battled back really well,” said Windham’s Kylie Card. “We put ourselves together and set up our plays well. We had good defense and were very aggressive throughout the whole thing.”

Windham prevented Lincoln from getting close to a tie for the rest of the game.

Windham eighth-grade coach Katie Franzoni said she thought the girls came out strong from the start and forced turnovers from their press and made baskets in transition. Franzoni was pleased with their improvements as this was something that had been a recent focus during practices.

High scorers for Windham were Delewski and Leandra Woodman.

Seventh Grade

Windham won the tip-off and their quick hands kept possession in the Lady Eagles’ favor early on.

Lincoln snagged a few turnovers and the game remained close in the first half.

Windham tied the game at eight. Windham’s defense blocked several Lincoln scoring opportunities.

Midway through, the game was tied at 12.

“This was probably the toughest team we’ve seen all year” said Windham seventh-grade girls’ basketball coach Chris Aube. “We played particularly well defensively. Lincoln had some really big strong kids that we haven’t seen in a while, and I thought we did a good job ... keeping them to one-shot and done – negated some of the second chance opportunities.”

In the second half, Windham stayed right there with Lincoln. Lincoln pulled away a little, but Windham continued to get rebounds and kept Lincoln from scoring much in the fourth quarter.

“I think it was a little bit rough, but I think it helps because we can see how we can improve,” said Windham’s Sitota Hatch.

Hatch said offense, trying to communicate and staying positive all went well. She said trying to work on their defense a bit better, picking up a player is a way they could improve their game.

Eliana Kostopoulos said communication and passing went well against Lincoln.

High scorers for Windham were Hatch and Kostopoulos. <

So, you want to go ice fishing this winter?

By Stan Pauwels

This article is the first in a series on a topic close to my heart. Ice fishing is deeply interwoven in the fabric of our local culture and has been enjoyed by generations of Mainers. It is a fantastic way to appreciate the great outdoors during our long winters, create lively memories for the kids, and bring home a few fish for the frying pan.

Ice fishing is a great way to spend time outdoors during 
winter, create lively memories for the kids and bring home 
a few fish for the frying pan. COURTESY PHOTO 
With a relatively small investment, ice fishing gets folks outside without the high costs associated with more expensive winter activities, such as snowmobiling or downhill skiing.

Like all sports, ice fishing requires some basic equipment, much of which has not changed much over the last 100 years. I describe below the main pieces of gear needed to practice this activity.

· Boots: Staying warm is fundamental to enjoy ice fishing, and boots are the most critical piece of clothing needed to reach that goal! Ice-fishing footwear must be both insulated and waterproof. It is worth spending extra to obtain high-quality boots that will reliably keep your feet warm and dry. I cannot emphasize enough the need for waterproof boots: a heavy layer of snow will weigh down on the ice, causing water to seep up through cracks and causing several inches of wet slush to form on top of the ice. Cheap boots will leak, resulting in cold feet and the quick end of a trip.
· Auger: An auger drills holes through the ice. New gasoline-powered augers cost $400-plus, whereas second-hand ones go for $200 or less. These devices work well but are heavy, noisy, and smoky. Battery-operated augers are more lightweight, silent, and efficient. New ones cost as much - if not more - than gasoline-powered devices. Pay attention to the width of the auger bit. I recommend 8 inches - or even 10 inches - wide to ensure that the largest fish will fit through the hole. Manual ice augers cost between $50 and $100 and require arm juice to turn the bit. Regardless of type, protect the auger blades at all times: dull, chipped, or kinked blades will make life miserable. Manual ice chisels called "spuds" represent the cheapest alternative (under $40) but are only practical when the ice is less than a foot thick. They also require serious muscle power!

· Tip-ups: A tip-up, aka "trap", brings the bait through the ice into the water. It uses a simple trigger mechanism to release a bright orange flag at the end of a thin, spring-loaded rod to alert the angler that a fish has taken the bait. The word "FLAG!!!" is therefore the most exciting sound on the ice! New traps cost from $10 to $40 per unit, depending on model and make. Maine allows up to five tip-ups per angler. I have purchased dozens of traps over the years and have found that taller is always better. My advice is to get "stand-up" traps instead of "lay-down" traps. The lay-downs have a vertical shaft that remains visible even with a heavy blanket of snow on the ice. The latter lay flat on the ice and are difficult to impossible to see with snow. Also, pay attention to spool size. A small spool works fine for shallow-water species, such as brook trout, pickerel, or yellow perch. A larger spool is better when fishing in deep water (for example lake trout or cusk) or targeting pelagic species (for example landlocked Atlantic salmon). I use large-spool traps for all my ice fishing.

· Braided line: New tip-ups usually come without line. A good practice is to fill the spool with braided

ice fishing line. This material comes in many colors, diameters, and prices. I recommend thicker rather than thinner braid because thin braided line easily makes knots that are a pain to undo with frozen fingers… The major advantage of braid over monofilament is that it is inflexible, which is needed when setting a hook by hand with 50-plus feet of line off the spool. However, this material is quite visible to the fish below. Therefore, attach a small barrel swivel at the end of the braided line, followed by 10 feet of 12-pound monofilament line with the hook.

· Ice chip scooper: The scooper is a simple but essential piece of kit that costs less than $20. It scoops out the chunks of ice that fill the hole after drilling, or after chipping the ice that reforms in the holes after deploying the traps. Forget the scooper and you will have to use your hands to remove those chunks. Make sure to get a scooper that has both a ruler stamped into the metal shaft and an ice chipper blade at the end of that shaft. The ruler makes it easy to measure fish, whereas the blade helps chip away at the new ice that reforms in the holes.

· Bait bucket: A bait bucket transports live bait (for example, minnows, smelts, suckers). Bait buckets come in many shapes and forms, from simple plastic buckets to insulated cooler-like contraptions. My preferred model, which costs around $20, is simple, sturdy, and practical. It consists of an inner bucket with a handle, lid, and slits at the bottom, and an outer bucket to hold the water. The water sandwiched in the one-inch space between the inner and outer bucket freezes solid to form an insulating barrier that prevents the water in the inner bucket from freezing over completely. Avoid overpriced bait buckets with battery-operated air pumps. The pumps brake, the batteries quickly run out of juice, and the airlines freeze.

· Bait net: This simple and cheap ($5) but essential tool lets you grab a baitfish without the need to plunge your bare hand into the ice-cold water of the bait bucket!

· Pack basket: The pack basket is an iconic piece of ice-fishing equipment that stores your traps, food, drink, and gear. Most baskets consist of thin woven strips of wood and come with wide shoulder straps. They are surprisingly expensive ($80 to $100-plus). If you decide to purchase one, get a tall and high-quality basket. It will cost a bit more but will last for many years, whereas the cheaper ones will quickly fall apart. A 5-gallon bucket is a low-cost alternative but lacks the shoulder straps.

· Sled: Finally, a plastic sled is needed to bring all the fishing gear, plus other items (e.g., foldable seat, extra clothing, food), out on the ice. Ice-fishing sleds made from sturdy black plastic cost between $40 and $100, depending on model and size. They are designed specifically for the purpose, with high walls and a wide base to prevent tipping. Cheaper "human" plastic sleds will do the trick but are narrower. They easily tip over, thereby spilling the content of your bait bucket…

Getting geared up is only the first step to catching fish through the ice. Stay tuned for follow-up articles in this newspaper on ice-fishing tips and tricks. Meanwhile, visit my fishing blog at for more information on angling opportunities in our area. Tight lines and may many big fish bite! <

Friday, January 20, 2023

Windham indoor track and field team soars in late-season meet

By Matt Pascarella

As the end of the indoor track and field season is approaching with the Southern Maine Activities Association (SMAAs) championship and state meets on the horizon, Windham’s indoor track and field teams performed well at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham on Saturday, Jan. 14 against Marshwood, Portland and Westbrook.

The Windham girls finished second with a score of 103. The Windham boys also finished second with a score of 84.

Windham High sophomore Andrew Young gets some
distance in the long jump at the University of
Southern Maine in Gorham during a multi-school
meet on Saturday, Jan. 14.

Windham had several first-place finishes. Sophomore Tayla Pelletier finished first in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 9.68 seconds, which qualified her for SMAAs. She placed first in the high jump and set a personal record height of 5-feet. Pelletier finished first in the triple jump with a distance of 33-03.75 feet.

Pelletier said she thought everyone did really well; a lot of people gave it their all. They all pushed each other and gave each other strength.

Junior Khalysa Hammith finished first in the 55-meter dash, senior division with a 7.60 time which tied Windham High School’s record, a goal she set for herself. She also finished first in the long jump with a distance of 15-03.00 and in the triple jump with a 31-0.175 distance. She earned senior MVP of the meet.

Freshman Myla Vercoe finished first in the 55-meter dash, junior division, with a time of 8.25. Vercoe earned junior MVP of the meet.

Sophomore Ava Gerrity finished first in the long jump with a 15-05.00 distance.

Sophomore Sarah John qualified for SMAAs in the shotput when she threw 26-1.50 feet and finished second.

She said the day was great; their team dynamic was amazing.

Freshman Sydney Broadbent finished second in the 400 and qualified for SMAAs with a time of 1:09.13 minutes.

Junior Elizabeth Bearce qualified for SMAAs in the 800 with a 2:40.65 time.

“Our players implemented our team-set-goal to target and work on their meet day confidence and composure skills,” said Windham girls’ indoor track and field coach Jeff Riddle. “Our team is unified,

confident, and won’t quit. It was an amazing regular season meet with quality results.”


The boys had 16 athletes out of 20 get personal bests for the day.

Freshman Nick Verrill finished first in the high jump with a height of 5-06.00.

Verrill said the whole team did really well. He said Windham did well in the 200s and 55s. He thought the team had a really good day.

Freshman Karl Longstreth finished second in the 55-meter with a 7.17 time and in the 200-meter with a 25.01 time.

Sophomore Andrew Young finished third in the 1-mile run open division with a time of 5:19.52 and first in the long jump with a 16-06.00 distance.

Also in the long jump, freshman Samuel Hutchinson finished fourth with a distance of 13-00.75.

Senior Derrick Stephens placed fourth in the 400 with a 1:00.83 time.

Senior Roman Thomas finished fourth in the 1-mile run open division with a time of 5:40.07.

“Every week the kids are seeing some big improvements,” said Windham boys’ indoor track and field coach Paula Pock. “We hope to carry that through for the next two weeks and get a few more kids qualified for SMAAs. We have a very young team, and they are a cohesive group so they’re fun to work with.” <

Raymond Roadrunners basketball holds own against NYA

By Matt Pascarella

The Jordan-Small Middle School Raymond Roadrunners basketball team played an outstanding game with a lot of energy against North Yarmouth Academy at North Yarmouth Academy on Thursday, Jan. 12.

Raymond seventh grader Sean Lebel goes up for a layup in
a basketball game against North Yarmouth Academy on
Thursday, Jan. 12 at North Yarmouth Academy.
Raymond kept it neck-and-neck with North Yarmouth Academy matching them shot for shot in the first quarter. North Yarmouth Academy did take a small lead in the second half, but Raymond was determined to not give up without a fight.

Raymond remained aggressive in the second half as they worked to close the gap between the teams. Raymond’s effort was strong, but at the buzzer North Yarmouth Academy got the win 43-35; but Raymond definitely held their own.

“We just need to work on the little things to create better shots,” said Raymond eighth-grader Isabella Vassoler. “I think we did decent. We did really well ... passing the ball around and in the second half we played way better defense and we stayed with [North Yarmouth Academy].

Vassoler said that even if you have to compete against someone taller than you, keep sticking with it and keep your head up. She thought they did much better than she originally expected.

Early in the game, Raymond snagged several turnovers and kept it close as they also grabbed rebounds and moved the ball very well. North Yarmouth Academy tried to get a big lead, but Raymond wasn’t more than a point or two behind.

Raymond seventh-grader Sean Lebel had an incredible game as he put up 20 points over two halves.

“On offense we need to play more as a team,” said Lebel. “Boxing out was a big thing because we let up a lot of second chance points. Our defense wasn’t that bad; I think we did pretty well pressing and getting turnovers.”

Lebel said he learned to not force shots, look for teammates and pass more.

North Yarmouth Academy did have a small lead at the half, 20-15.

In the second half, Raymond remained aggressive and continued to do their best. North Yarmouth

Academy widened the lead, but it still wasn’t out of reach. Raymond took advantage of any mistakes North Yarmouth Academy made, like when they scored on their own basket.

Raymond fought for the ball and was catching up. They continued to get rebounds and sunk several baskets.

Raymond seventh-grader Brooklyn Roy said they played a really good game overall but still need to work on little things like shooting, passing and cutting around the court. She thought communication and getting open for each other went well.

Raymond seventh-grader Niko Powers said passing went well.

“We were definitely outmatched height-wise,” said Jordan- Small Middle School Raymond basketball coach Deb Lebel. “In terms of effort, I just said to them I will take that effort all day long. You don’t give up, you keep playing, you don’t hang your head; that’s what I feel like made it really fun. Raymond kept in the game.”

Coach Lebel said there are still some things they need to work on, but they’ve been working on better passing and boxing out, which really helped them in this game. <