Friday, May 17, 2024

Windham’s Trainor scores 100th goal in girls’ lacrosse win over Bonny Eagle

By Matt Pascarella

Windham sophomore Abby Trainor was just four goals away from scoring her 100th high school career at home on Saturday, May 11 during a home girls’ lacrosse game against Bonny Eagle. She became the third player to accomplish this milestone in Windham’s history and the Lady Eagles commanded the field and earned a solid 18-3 win over the Scots.

Windham sophomore Abby Trainor scores her 100th goal
during a girls' lacrosse game against Bonny Eagle at
Windham High School on Saturday, May 11. Trainor is
the third athlete in the program's history to achieve this
distinction. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA    
“It feels really good, but the main focus today was just winning,” said Trainor. “I’m really proud of myself, I know my teammates are proud. I wasn’t focused on the achievement as much ... I was like ‘let’s win, let’s ... hustle’ the accomplishment came along the way. This [happened] because of the incredible coaching and all the teammates around me that helped with some of these goals, because a goal is the end of a good play. It’s great to do it with this team, my 100th goal was assisted, and I think that shows teamwork. I’m really hard working, people around me are hardworking. When we all come together, so many people can achieve so many different things.”

Windham came out aggressive from the very start; senior Mallory Muse scored in the first 25 seconds. Sophomore Neve Ledbetter scored next. The Lady Eagle offense then began crushing it in this game.

“It’s really just a time to grow as a team and at these times we can focus in on the littlest thing so when it comes to big, big games, we’re ready,” said Ledbetter. “Having a team like this and being able to play with each other is one of the most rewarding things ever. Hustle, defense [went well]. Everyone was playing together and passing to each other. It was such a team contribution to the whole game and it was so impressive to watch. I think we still need to work hard and hustle, but overall, I think we are extremely talented.”

Windham junior Grace Joly scored next, followed by Trainor who was only three goals away from 100. Trainor then scored back-to-back goals. With 3:46 left in the first quarter, Trainor scored her 100th goal, assisted by Ledbetter.

“The thing about Abby that really is impressive to me is this year she has really elevated her game in not just how she scores, but how she drives and draws attention, dishes and gets assists,” said Windham varsity girls’ lacrosse coach Matt Perkins. “Her creativity on offense is creating pockets for everybody. She does an awesome job of passing the ball, getting her teammates open, their teammates do a great job finding her. She does a phenomenal job causing turnovers. She’s a full all-around player; she’s not just a scorer. She brings so much to the team.”

Trainor scored twice more along with Ledbetter and senior Marlie Ennis before the first buzzer. Windham led 13-1 at the half.

Muse scored in the first minute of the second half. Lady Eagle defense remained intense as Bonny Eagle had a very hard time scoring. Windham sophomore Brianna Duarte scored her first varsity goal, easily sending the ball past the goalie.

“It was a big rush for me and that was like my biggest, crazy moment that I’ve ever really had and I’m working to get the next one,” said Duarte. “We worked really well getting the ball around and running our offense, working together as a team. We’ve been getting that one percent better at practice and we’re going to continue to push ourselves to get better. We need to work on our ground balls and obviously defense a little bit, on transition, everything, and getting the ride. We need to use our aggression and teamwork and push ourselves to continue winning games and pushing each other to get better.”

Windham stayed with the ball and sophomore Mady Donnelly scored before the last buzzer.

“Practice contributed to this win,” said Perkins. “The girls showing up ready to go, not wasting time, but buying into what we’re doing and us working on what our weaknesses are ... them getting after it in drills and focusing on those things has helped us improve as a whole. Today we saw a much better job of driving [Bonny Eagle] out of the eight [meter arc], controlling the eight, making sure they didn’t have free shots in front of our goalie – that was huge. Continuing to work on passes and putting the right amount of zip on them, that’s just something that’s a work-in-progress.” <

Windham unified bocce team making progress in second season

By Matt Pascarella

In just its second season, Windham High School’s varsity unified bocce team played Fryeburg Academy at home on Thursday, May 9 and put in a great effort but eventually fell to Fryeburg, 3-1.

Windham sophomore Mary Jean gives a strong toss toward
the pallina in a Unified Bocce match against Fryeburg 
Academy at Windham High School on Thursday, May 9. 
“I think bocce is the most inclusive of the unified sports,” said Windham unified bocce assistant coach Connor McNeil. “It doesn’t require a lot of physical exertion, but it requires a lot of thinking and different strategies. The best part about bocce is we’re able to recruit some players who wouldn’t otherwise play sports. Our team is really independent; they play by themselves, and they strategize by themselves; as coaches, we’re able to step back and let them play and have fun and I think that went really well today. Our team has shown growth in taking charge of themselves and doing things on their own without needing the support of an adult which is really the focus of unified sports.”

In bocce, one team throws a small white ball called the pallina, and the goal is to throw larger balls, called bocce, to get as close to the pallina as possible. Only the team closest to the pallina scores points. Each match consists of two 30-minute games with the winner being the first to reach 16, or whomever has the most points when time is up.

Although the score is kept, the object of the unified bocce game is more geared toward having fun and being part of a team.

Everyone on the Windham team played very well including senior Dani Iaconeta, sophomore Mary Jean, senior TJ McAllister, sophomore Zachary O’Brion, junior Colby Schmid, sophomore Jack Shirley, and senior Jacob Smith.

Windham players were high-fiving each other, focusing on their throws and celebrating their wins. Many Windham players had at least one throw where they got close to the pallina.

“We did pretty good, but we still need to focus on throwing the ball [closer to the pallina],” said Iaconeta. “We did really awesome; I got to hold the scoreboard that was awesome too. [Bocce] is really fun, and I get to see my friends and it teaches me teamwork.”

Iaconeta said that she had fun during the match and was eagerly awaiting the next bocce match.

“What went well was in the first year we were a little bit worse at throwing the balls and this year we got a lot better,” said Smith. “Our teammates were getting along a lot better. What needs work was we were struggling with sportsmanship because we had never met this team before. I like that we get to be outside, we get to have fresh air, and I get to see Ms. Blake a lot more. I had a ton of fun and I can’t wait until our next game.” <

Friday, May 10, 2024

Varsity softball extends win streak by shutting down Westbrook

By Matt Pascarella

Windham High School’s varsity softball team showed they remain strong as the season approaches its halfway point. The Lady Eagles crushed Westbrook with a 10-0 win on Monday, May 6 at home. Junior Kennedy Kimball was in the circle for Windham and struck out 14 over six innings. She threw 57 strikes of her 76 pitches.

Windham sophomore Lacie Higgins slides into home plate
during a varsity softball game against Westbrook on 
Monday, May 6 at Windham High School.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
“We didn’t completely know Westbrook,” said Kimball. “We figured our way throughout the game. Stella [Jarvais] did a great job calling behind the plate, figuring it out from batter to batter and it felt really good today. We all did a great job making adjustments at the plate; we didn’t all have the same at-bat ... we did good getting runs across and did really good base-running today. We were all really aggressive; we didn’t have our best at-bats today; we were a little out in front of it – we all know we need to pay more attention and get our pitch, work a little deeper in counts to get our pitch.”

Kimball sent the first three batters back to the dugout in the first inning. Then, senior Brooke Gerry walked. A fly out and a ground out brought Gerry across home plate. Kimball hit a grounder and reached first base on an error. Sophomore Oakley walked, as did sophomore Nola Bryant. After sophomore Lacie Higgins walked, pinch-runner junior Dakota Small scored. McLeod scored on a wild pitch and Windham led 3-0 after one inning.

Kimball, along with Lady Eagle defense didn’t give Westbrook many opportunities to get on base.

Gerry walked again in the bottom of the second inning, then sophomore Addison Caiazzo walked. Junior Stella Jarvais grounded into a fielder’s choice, but Gerry scored.

In the bottom of the third inning, McLeod hit a homerun to left field. Higgins singled, as did junior Chloe Edwards. Higgins scored on a wild pitch, then Edwards did the same.

“It felt pretty good [to hit that homerun], said McLeod. “As a team we had pretty good energy. We just want to do our thing, not press in the box. We had very good energy, we were putting the bat on the ball, we had good defense and pitching/catching.”

Keeping the energy up, despite a big lead, is something McLeod said they need to work on.

In the bottom of the sixth, Windham led 8-0. Senior Jaydn Kimball singled. Junior Lydia Marden walked. Freshman Evelyn Anderson walked. Small walked and pinch runner Bryant scored. Gerry grounded into a fielder’s choice and Marden scored.

“[Windham] comes here every day with a focus, with a set, with a goal and that is one run at a time,” said WHS varsity softball coach Darcey Gardiner. “I think we really do a good job at accomplishing that. I see them being able to make those adjustments when they are up to bat – or at their next at-bat – timing up the pitcher, that’s big moving forward for us as we see the second half of our season. Top to bottom it was a really good team win; I would have liked to see more base hits, but that’s just me being picky. Kennedy threw awesome; I thought her fastball had a little more movement on it, she’s got enough speed on it to control a game. I still think the adjustments [need work]. One through nine, we’re a really fast lineup, so if we can put the ball in play, we have a chance to put a runner on.”

Windham (9-0) defeated Portland, 15-0, on Tuesday, May 7 to remain unbeaten on the season. <

Outdoor track and field team soars in early season meet

By Matt Pascarella

Windham High School’s outdoor track and field team headed to Massabesic High School in Waterboro on Wednesday, May 1 for a meet against Gorham, Massabesic and Sanford and both Windham squads did well, with the girls finishing first with a score of 127.5, and the boys finishing third with a score of 66.

Windham sophomore Josephine Sibley clears the high jump
bar on Wednesday, May 1 at Massabesic High School during
an outdoor track and field meet against Gorham, Sanford,
and Massabesic. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA 
Girls

In the first section of the 100-meter dash, senior Khalysa Hammith finished first with a 13.00-second time. Sophomore Myla Vercoe finished third with a time of 14.02.

In the 200, sophomore Kendra Eubanks finished first with a time of 31.54, freshman Annabelle Harris finished in second place with a 34.31 time. In the second section, freshman Leana Robbins finished first with a 33.70 time.

In the 3200, sophomore Emma Fox finished second with a time of 14:23.22 minutes.

Junior Tayla Pelletier finished first in the 100-hurdles with a 15.28 time and broke a school record set in 1997. She also finished first in the triple jump with a distance of 36-08.25.

“I think the day went great ... it was definitely overwhelming, but I think I made the most of it and the team made the most of it,” said Pelletier. “Everyone on the team was supporting, everyone was helping each other out. Getting my mindset in the right place has helped me ... I need to focus on my technique a lot and trust in my speed.”

In the high jump, sophomore Josephine Sibley finished first with a height of 4-08.00.

Hammith finished first in the long jump with a 16-06.00 distance, junior Ava Gerrity finished second with a distance of 15-02.50; Vercoe was third with a 14-09.00 distance.

Junior Marina Schwartz finished first in the discus with a throw of 82-05 and second in the shot put with a 26-07.50 distance.

“We witnessed massive efforts by all in the meet in all 19 events which offered us this dominant win,” said Windham girls’ outdoor track and field coach Jeff Riddle. “What went well was ... skilling-up the players, asking them to try new things to best determine what events best suit them and support our program plan, and then having them respond to the opportunity in front of them. We have to sustain the dedication to shelf self-doubt. We have to keep introducing players to new events when they are strong enough physically and mentally to take it on; we need to never be complacent in thinking there is not more work to do ...”

Boys


In the first section of the 100-dash, senior Marcus Tillery finished second with an 11.33 time; sophomore Karl Longstreth was third with an 11.39 time, a personal record for him.

“Everyone has had a great meet,” said Longstreth. “A lot of personal records; I’m very confident in what we have as a team. I had a really good block start which I’ve been dawning over for the past year. Everyone as a whole has been really good and locked in the past couple practices. We need more commitment from the guys ... and we need to stay more focused in the classroom and on the track.”

In the second section of the 100, senior Ezra Foster finished first with a 12.09 time. In the third section, sophomore Sam Hutchinson finished first with a time of 12.44. Senior Jinqi Li was second at 12.46. In the fifth section, freshman Gabriel Bois finished first at 13.25.

In the 200, sophomore Ronan Mace finished first in the first section with a 27.22 time. In the third section, junior Dylan Fillinger finished first at 28.10. In the fifth section sophomore Connor Witham was first with a 24.58 time; junior Jacob Gagne was second place at 25.67.

Junior Andrew Young finished fourth in the 1600 with a 5:17.84 time.

In the 110 hurdles, junior Carter Engelman finished second with a 16.69 time. Junior Rory Good was third at 17.63

Engelman was first in the pole vault with a 13-00 height.

Sophomore Mason Arbour finished first in the triple jump with a 40-04.00 distance and third in the high jump with a 5-06.00 height.

In the shot put, senior Teddy Sanborn finished second and threw a 38-03.00 distance.

Witham finished seventh in the javelin with a throw of 116-10. Freshman Emmett Hutchinson threw 105-02.

“We had many athletes building on earlier performances and were able to get season best,” said Windham boys’ outdoor track and field coach Paula Pock. “Our goal is to continue to improve week to week and get athletes qualified for the SMAA Championships and the State Meet.” <

Friday, May 3, 2024

WHS grad Gugliuzza continues to succeed following college football career

By Matt Pascarella

Windham High School 2020 graduate Anthony Gugliuzza has always been a dedicated hard worker. In high school, he was senior class president, vice president of the National Honor Society, a Maine Youth Leadership Representative for Windham High School, a Maine Varsity Club inductee and won the Team’s Coach’s award – just to name a few accolades. Now he’s a senior at Endicott College in Massachusetts working on his master’s degree in exercise science.

Windham High graduate Anthony Gugliuzza
has wrapped up his college football career at
Endicott College and will serve as an intern
athletic trainer for the Harvard University
college football team this fall.
COURTESY PHOTO 
After college, he says he would like to do something in the medical field that would allow him to help others.

“I chose Endicott College because of the close-knit family community ... the chance to play football at the collegiate level, the chance to be a part of something bigger than myself,” said Gugliuzza. “I was also drawn to Endicott due to their amazing internship program. During my time here I have done an internship with Boston College Football Strength and Conditioning and will be completing an internship with NASA this summer at the Kennedy Space Center down in Florida.”

Ever since he was a baby, he remembers watching football with his father. When Gugliuzza was old enough to play, he loved the game immediately. He got the chance to be coached by his father in middle school and that is something he’ll never forget.

Football, whether watching or playing, is where Gugliuzza says he has met his best friends and to escape all stressors; on the field, nothing else mattered.

In 2022, Gugliuzza was on Leadership Council for Endicott football and through his leadership, helped his team win the Commonwealth Coast Conference. The council is about holding players accountable, not just on the field, but in life. The council discusses what goes on behind the scenes and recognizes hard workers, continuing to build team comradery. This past season Endicott’s football team had a strong season, finishing 9-2.

“Anthony is the quintessential leader by example,” said senior and teammate Josh Vecchio. “He has a reputation for discipline, effort, and good decision making on and off the field, which our teammates admire and respect. He is also a fiery competitor, and always gave the defense a run for their money as a scout player, which in turn prepared them for other opponents. But his greatest contribution is his character, which makes for a great example for others to emulate.”

Playing for Windham Highm School prepared Gugliuzza to play collegiately because he says that Windham Coach Matt Perkins does an excellent job of instilling strong principles in his players. It doesn’t matter what grade you are in, Gugliuzza says the decisions that Perkins makes are always focused on what is right for the team. Perkins preaches hard work and challenges his players to be their best – and he always had their back.

According to Gugliuzza, Perkins develops his players into well-respected young men who grow up to be unbelievable husbands, fathers, and coworkers. It’s not just about football, it’s about life beyond football and teaching athletes how to not just be the best in their sport, but in everything they do.

Gugliuzza has now exhausted his collegiate football eligibility after having been on the team at Endicott College as a wide receiver. He will intern with NASA this summer and has agreed to serve as an athletic trainer intern for Harvard University’s football team this fall.

“Anthony was an asset to the team as a silent leader,” said Endicott College Head Football Coach Paul McGonagle. “He was someone the younger players could look up to. He never complained, but showed up every day and went to work. He was an absolute pleasure to coach and very smart on and off the field. His biggest improvement was being more vocal which helped him gain more confidence each year.”

Anthony’s advice to players who want to play a college sport is to keep working hard, believe in yourself and never give up. Bet on yourself and follow your dreams because life is too short for regret.

Gugliuzza remains very active off the field; he participated in college student government, was selected as a Presidential Ambassador, went to Florida to meet with trustees and advocate for the school the last three years and helped to provide money to various clubs and organizations on campus through his role in the finance committee. He says that Endicott College has allowed him to grow as a student and as a person.

“When it comes to sports, I have achieved everything I could have imagined and more,” said Gugliuzza. “Playing the game I love, being coached by my dad, playing in college, winning championships, meeting lifelong friends, and learning from individuals like Coach McGonagle, Coach Perkins, and Coach Ledbetter, I could not have asked for a better experience.” <

Windham varsity girls’ tennis crushes Marshwood

By Matt Pascarella

In its season home opening matches, Windham High’s varsity girls’ tennis team took the court against Marshwood on Friday, April 26 and in a total team effort, WHS earned its first win of 2024 by defeating the Hawks, 4-1.

Windham senior Madeline Dumont returns a serve during
a girls' prep tennis match against Marshwood at Windham
High School on Friday, April 26.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
“Windham was moving their opponents around and drop shotting went really well,” said Windham varsity girls’ assistant coach Natalie Egbert. “They need to work more on their serves and just consistency, rallying. Overall, it was a good first match.”

In singles matches, Windham senior Alyssa Conley won her first set 6-4, lost the second, 4-6 and then won the tiebreaker 12-10. Windham senior Taylor Juhase lost the first set 5-7, won the second set, 6-4, but lost the tiebreaker, 6-10.

Windham sophomore Jasmine Lucas defeated her Marshwood opponent, 6-4 and 6-2. In doubles matches, Windham senior Alejandra Hidell and junior Afomyia Timerga won, 6-2 and 6-1. Windham seniors Madeline Dumont and Samantha Bell forced a tiebreaker after winning, 6-2, and losing 4-6; they won their hard-fought final match, 11-9.

“Sam [Bell] is a really great partner and I think we work really well together,” said Dumont. “Marshwood were definitely reasonable opponents and I’m really happy with how we pulled through at the end. We just looked at each other and said, ‘we got to do this; we know it’s late, we know we’re tired ... we locked in and got it done.’ We had a lot of really good alley shots as well as really good serving. Considering it’s the first match of the season, I think it went pretty well, but just communicating on the court needs work.”

Windham had been able to get roughly three weeks of practice in and their abilities on the court showed it. Players in all matches kept their focus on the ball and moved their feet fast and frequently. Everyone put in a strong effort.

According to Juhase, Marshwood did a good job of making her run for the ball. Juhase was able to hit it pretty far back and her placement was ok, but not the best. She threw her shoulder out in the first set; and in the second game and it messed up her serves; she got in her head a little and had to switch to doing softy serves instead of hard ones. She was pleased with how she played and said the games were really close.

"It was really good,” said Lucas. “Once I kind of got in a rhythm, I did well. I won the first four games of the first set and lost the next four. After that I got in a good rhythm and won the next second. Consistency still needs work, and I could improve my serve a bit.” <

Friday, April 26, 2024

Windham varsity baseball falls to Marshwood in home opener

By Matt Pascarella

Windham’s varsity baseball team took the field against Marshwood for their season home opener on Wednesday, April 17 but fell to Marshwood, 8-2.

Windham senior Login Desrochers runs to first base after
hitting the ball to the outfield during the prep baseball
season-opener against Marshwood on Wednesday, April 17
at Windham High School. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA  
The Eagles had kept it a scoreless game for four innings, but a few key hits by the Hawks in the top of the fifth inning gave them a big lead and Windham struggled to recover. Although Windham did cross the plate and have a few hits, Marshwood’s fifth-inning boost was too much to overcome.

“We definitely need to do a better job of handling that,” said Windham senior Login Desrochers. “It’s rough but we played really well the rest of the game ... we just got to focus on limiting the damage when we get in situations like that. I think the first half of the game we swung the bats well; we did pretty good in the field. We got to string our hits together, they were a little spread out. We had too many strikeouts today, way too many swings and misses. Guys need to get together and rally in big moments, but other than that, we’re looking pretty good.”

Windham defense really limited Marshwood’s opportunities in the first four innings. Senior Brady Harvie was on the mound and struck out eight and only let up three hits.

Desrochers singled in the first inning, but unfortunately was left on base.

“That’s the type of situation where they just got five or six runs; there’s no reason we can’t get five or six runs,” said Windham varsity baseball coach Chris Doughty. “That’s baseball – aside from that big inning, I thought we played pretty even. Their starter is arguably the best pitcher in the state. I felt like we were prepared – a couple times I felt like we didn’t take advantage of opportunities we had; our energy was a bit deflated after that [fifth] inning. You can have a big inning at any time ... especially with the talent we have on the team. Once we get on base we have a ton of speed. Still feel really good about the team, we’re going to have a great season.”

Harvie doubled in the bottom of the fifth inning. Sophomore Ethan Clapp singled and brought Harvie home.

“Felt good going into that fifth inning,” said Harvie. “I had been pitching good that other four, kind of lost a couple of my pitches and couldn’t throw them for strikes. Hit a couple batters and had a rough inning but powered through. We made some good plays in the field; we need to get our bats going some more ... we got to be able to hit through our order and at least get the ball in play; we got to avoid that blow up inning and try to play seven solid innings of baseball.”

In the bottom of the sixth inning, senior Erik Bowen was hit by a pitch; he quickly stole second base and crossed home plate after Desrochers hit a line drive to center field.

Windham battled in the bottom of the seventh inning but could not make up the difference.

“We were good in our own individual ways for the first few innings,” said senior Ryan Smyth who pitched the final inning. “We got to collect as a team ... we got to get that timely hitting down and score runs. You can’t just take that one inning and be like, ‘the game’s over.’ It’s something we got to work on as a team and we’ll definitely be able to get there by the first couple games. That was a great pitcher we faced today – it’s not easy to face someone like him; we’ll adjust and get there.”

According to Smyth, Windham was very aggressive in the count, solid in the field and defense was great.

Windham has already made improvements in just their second regular season game on Monday, April 22 when sophomore Wyatt Washburn pitched a no-hitter against Cheverus at Cheverus High School in Portland and the Eagles won that game, 11-0. <