Monday, April 28, 2014

Samantha "Sam" Frank places second in the country at National girls wrestling competition in California - By Michelle Libby

Samantha “Sam” Frank didn’t know what it meant to be dedicated, to want something, and to dislike something so much, until she met wrestling. As a year-round soccer player, she was good at that sport, until one day, she didn’t want to play anymore. She signed up for wrestling in seventh grade, because her father wouldn’t let her play football, and she hasn’t looked back. 
“I like to be the outcast, to do what no one else will do. I wanted to be original,” Frank said.
This turned out to be a good gamble for her future, because with multiple state championships and a New England championship under the belt, she became eligible to compete in the National tournament in California where she finished in second place in the country in girls wrestling. 

While at Windham High School, Frank broke many school records and earned the “tough man award” from her coach. She also was the first female captain on the wrestling team. 

“When I started I was one of six girls in the State of Maine. I was too young to know what commitment was. You have to try to do well in anything,” said Frank. It was her sophomore year that it clicked for her and she began training and wrestling to her potential, she said. 

Her schedule, on top of school, is a trip to the gym from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., then practice in Scarborough from 4 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. and finally practice in Windham from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Some mornings she goes to the gym at 5 a.m. to workout in addition to her regular routine.

During her sophomore year, she won New England in the 101-pound category and was given the open invitation to attend Nationals. The wrestling association called Frank this year and asked if she would attend. Frank had already decided her wrestling career was over. She planned to go to college to study nursing and she knew that would take too much time to do wrestling as well. 
When she told her father about California, he was “all on board,” Frank said. “We’re definitely going,” said her father, Ed, who went along as her coach. Because she won New Englands at 101 pounds, she had to cut weight from her present wrestling weight of 110 pounds to wrestle in that category. 

“My teammates are so supportive,” she said, although they did rib her about her strict diet and workouts.
Wrestling is important to Frank, even as she tries to tell herself that she’s no good. When she flew to the competition she had in her carry-on bag warm up clothes, two singlets, two pairs of wrestling shoes, headphones, head gear, a water bottle and good luck notes from friends and one from herself. 

According to Frank, girls’ wrestling in California is huge. “There were a lot of teams there,” she said. “I was the only person from Maine and New England. I didn’t know anyone. I’ve never been so nervous. I kept my headphones on and walked the lines because I could not focus.”

She tried to think of the people in Maine who were rooting for her. “So many people at home know I’m where I am. That’s a lot of pressure. I have to make everyone proud,” she said. While there, she had many offers of full-ride scholarships to wrestle. 

Frank has a fan base of girl wrestlers around the state, she said. She chose to represent Windham High School over the New England region because of her high school career. All of her wins get totaled into her career record, which stands at 80 wins. 

Frank has learned life goals, self-control, self-management, respect and sportsmanship from wrestling. “It builds character,” she said. 

“I really should give God all the glory, because without him none of this would have happened. He blessed me and protected me through every match and gave me strength to push through every task that was thrown at me along the way. Also, like I said, it's just been six years of training all for that one competition that I never saw in my future. Coach Johnson spent all summer last year training me a few times every week, lifting and getting me bigger, and stronger. He spent so much of his time working on me, I will never be able to repay or thank him enough. And Coach Pelletier, he changed my life. He’s like a father figure and a role model. He teaches you how to do things yourself. He said ‘pound for pound’ I was the best wrestler on this team.’ I live up to it,” she said. 

When it’s not wrestling season, she thinks about it and watches wrestling matches, but during the season, she admits that she hates it. “No one loves everything about it. I love to win. I love to beat the boys. I hate practice. I hate spending four hours at Windham High School training. It’s a love/hate sport. It changes your outlook on life,” she said. “I think one day, girls wrestling will rule the world.”

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Local Scholastic Pistol Program teams compete Nationally - By Michelle Libby

Saturday, teens from Windham, Raymond and Gorham travelled to the SIG SAUER Academy in Epping, New Hampshire for the region’s first major SPP match for 2014, the SPP Northeast Spring Regional.
Over 90 athletes from 14 teams set a record for the largest youth action shooting competition ever held in New England. More than 25 squads competed for titles in junior, senior and college divisions. 

Crew 51, based in the Windham/Raymond area, entered four squads.

In the Senior Centerfire competition, Crew 51, squad four, made up of Anne Libby, Francis Watson, Neal Gomes and Matt Sayah, place third. 

Crew 308-1 and Crew 633, both from Maine, took first and second places respectively in the Senior Rimfire division. 

Crew 401-1 (Maine) took gold in the Junior Rimfire Division with Crew 51, squad 1, made up of Glen Vajda, Luke Tarbox, Chad Witherow and Hannah Tarbox, taking the silver and Crew 401-2 (Maine) earning the bronze.

“This is the second year the SIG SAUER Academy has hosted the SPP New England Spring Regional, and it’s our pleasure to continue our support of SPP and the great work they are doing to grow the action shooting sports,” said Adam Painchaud, director, SIG SAUER Academy.

Crew 51 is facilitated by Anne Tarbox and on Saturday the squads were coached by Boy Scout Pine Tree Council Scout Executive Eric Tarbox. Other members of the Crew who attended were Meg Demers, Rachel Gomes, Lydia March, Oriana O’Brian, David Gomes and Owen Watson.

What is a fitness boot camp?

What is a fitness boot camp? A fitness boot camp is a type of group physical training program conducted by fitness facilities, personal trainers and military personnel. These programs are designed to build strength and fitness through an assortment of exercise intervals over a specified period of time.
There are many other benefits of a fitness boot camp, which includes mental health. It’s known that regular aerobic exercise can help to reduce high blood pressure, hypertension and combat stress. Part of this is due to the release of endorphins, which act as a mood elevator. 

The term "boot camp" is currently used in the fitness industry to describe group fitness classes that promote fat loss, camaraderie and team effort. They are designed to push people further than they would normally push themselves in the gym alone. Boot camps are sometimes organized outdoors in parks using bodyweight exercises like pushups, squats and burpees, mixed together with running. The idea is that everyone involved works at their own pace as they team up and work towards one goal. 

Boot camps provide social support for those participating. This provides a different setting for those exercisers who get uninterested in a gym and find it hard to develop a habit of exercise. Participants make friends and socialize as they exercise, although how strict the trainers or drill instructors in charge can be will depend on the company running the camp. Members of fitness boot camps are usually tested for fitness on the first day and then retested at the end of the camp, which usually runs for between four and six weeks.

Fitness boot camps are often based on the military style of training, although that has started changing over the last few years. An advantage of a boot camp is that the large group dynamic will often help motivate the participants. A growing trend in fitness boot camps are the indoor locations which prove to be climate proof and provide a better workout environment for the members.

Boot camp training often starts with dynamic movements and running, followed by a variety of interval training, including lifting weights/objects, pulling rubber TRX straps, pushups/situps, plyometrics, and various types of intense explosive routines. Sessions usually finish with yoga stretching. These exercises using weights and/or body weight, are used to lose body fat, increase cardiovascular competence, increase strength, and help people get into a routine of regular exercise. It is called "boot camp" because it trains groups of people, may be outdoors, and may or may not be similar to military basic training.
PNF’s outdoor 6 week bootcamp starts May 10th! Call or stop by today to sign up. For questions about fitness contact

Local dancers featured in Portland School of Ballet production - By Elizabeth Richards

Two area residents will help bring a story based on the popular children’s book character Flat Stanley to life on stage in the Portland School of Ballet’s (PSB) production of Around the World with Flat Stanley – The Case of the Red Shoes. Maggie McGovern, a high school junior from Windham, will play the Prima Ballerina and Raymond resident James Kramlich will perform as the Postmaster.
The production is part of PSB’s Kids 4 Kids Arts in Education initiative. The show takes the audience on a tour of the globe with Google Earth projected onto the stage as the backdrop to the dancers’ story.
In the ballet, Stanley must follow clues around the world to help solve the mystery of who stole a famous ballerina’s red toe shoes. The audience is asked to participate in the production, offering assistance in decoding the clues that lead Stanley to Ireland, Africa, Brazil, Hungary, Greece, China, Russia and home. 

McGovern began dancing at the age of three. “It was the classic “mom, I want to be a ballerina” and I’ve stuck with it ever since because I love it,” she said. McGovern is in the intensive CORPS pre-professional program at PSB. She spends 15 to 18 hours per week in dance class. McGovern has completed summer intensives at Boston Ballet and Interlochen Summer Arts, and performed in PSB productions of the Victorian Nutcracker, Peter and the Wolf, La Bayadere and Swan Lake.
Playing the Prima Ballerina is McGovern’s first leading role in a dance production, which she said is very exciting. Though she doesn’t find the role too challenging, she said it’s a great show that the kids really enjoy. 

In addition to dancing, McGovern is a vocalist and actress. She spent two years in the Windham Chamber Singers before dance required so much of her time, and has performed in local theater productions. She is also a violinist, performing with the Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra and in the school orchestra. McGovern is currently exploring colleges and plans on pursuing a career in musical theatre performance, she said.

Kramlich, 28, did not begin studying dance until about six years ago. As an actor in musical theater productions, he said he decided that if he was going to continue, he needed to have some dance training.
After taking classes elsewhere, he found PSB four years ago. He began dancing with Portland Ballet Company (PBC) as a guest character artist, and then became an apprentice. Currently a Senior Apprentice, Kramlich will become a regular company dancer for the next season, which begins in August.

Kramlich toured to Canada with PBC’s Giselle. He has also appeared as a soldier in the debut of The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, and has danced in PBC’s Halloween Spooktacular, Victorian Nutcracker and Boy Meets Girl. This is his second year playing the role of the Postmaster in the Flat Stanley production.

Both McGovern and Kramlich said the show is a lot of fun to participate in. “It’s fun to get the kids in the audience to laugh and join along,” said Kramlich. And with a live performance, every show is different, he added.

“The children react much more strongly to things, which is great, said McGovern. It feels very good to be a part of it. It makes me feel like a real contributor to the community. It feels really good to make all those kids happy, and it should be a great show.”

PBS will perform for a school audience on the morning of Thursday, April 17th. Their public performance will be on Saturday, April 19 at 11 a.m. at the Westbrook Performing Arts Center at the Westbrook Middle School. Tickets are $5 for children under 12 and $10 for adults and are available at the door. For more information, please contact Portland Ballet at 207-772-9671 or visit