Sunday, June 29, 2014

Athlete of the week - Tanner Laberge

Tanner Laberge is The Windham Eagle athlete of the week. This junior is a two sport athlete playing football and baseball for Windham High School. 

“Tanner carried the team on his back to the State Class A championship baseball game against Bangor.  In the Western Maine Final he threw a no hitter and it was one of the most dominating single performances in Windham Baseball history,” said coach Brody Artes.

Laberge would like to attend a four-year university and continue to play baseball.       
His favorite way to unwind after competition is to “go to Pat’s Pizza and hang out with my friends,” he said.

Laberge is the son of Carol and Marty Laberge.           

Windham Varsity baseball loses a heartbreaker to Bangor - By Jim Beers

The Windham High School baseball team had their Cinderella-type run through the playoffs ended by the number one seed from the East, the Bangor Rams, 8-0 in the Class A State Championship game at Saint Joseph’s College, in Standish, last Saturday. 

The Eagles faced off against Bangor's number one pitcher, Justin Courtney, (6-1), and he set the tone for the game right from the start. Cushioned with a first inning, 2-run lead by the Rams' offense, Courtney went on to allow only one hit, while striking out 10 Windham hitters the rest of the day. The Eagles hit some balls hard, but right at Bangor defensemen and couldn't put anything together against Courtney. 
Bangor jumped out to that 2-0 advantage in the first, as their lead-off hitter, Jordan Derrah, cranked the second pitch he saw from Windham starter Spencer Hodge to the left centerfield gap for a double. That was followed by a single to center by Trevor Delhaite and another single by Courtney to score the first run. The Rams added another run after Windham's defense rolled a double play. . A grounder to shortstop Tyler Johnson kicked off the heel of his glove and the throw was late to first, allowing Delhaite to score, making it 2-0. 

That would prove to be all the runs Courtney would need as he settled in and cruised to the seventh inning, not allowing a hit. Windham's Ethan Petty slapped a single through the shortstop hole for the Eagle's only hit, in the  seventh.  "He, (Courtney), was in more of a rhythm than Labell, (Jake Labell of Marshwood), in the Western Maine game," said Windham coach Brody Artes. "We aren't a great curveball hitting team to begin with, and he was able to be in the mid-80s with his fastball and come with that great curve to keep us really off balance," he added. 

Bangor added two more runs in the third inning, both with two outs. Courtney again hit a laser to left for a single. Next hitter, Andrew Flair, ripped a double past third base and into the left field corner, putting runners at second and third. Bangor's Sam Houston then blasted a triple to deep right center field to score Courtney and Flair. 

Windham threatened in the fifth inning, loading the bases with no outs. After two walks and an infield error by Bangor, the Eagles were on the verge of getting on the board. Windham left fielder Josh Dugas hit a tapper back to Courtney, who came home on the force play, one out. Eagle second baseman Alex Loftis tapped to third base, and the drawn-in infield made the play easy, another force out at home, two outs. Next hitter Zack Conley struck out looking on the curve. 

Bangor tacked on three more runs in the sixth to put the game away and give the Rams the State title. "We had a great season to get to this point, we were just never able to break through today," Artes said. "I didn’t feel we played terrible at all, we just didn’t catch the breaks we needed."

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Eagles Varsity Girls Lacrosse dominate in the Eastern Class A Quarterfinals - By Stephanie Coffin

#4 Windham Eagles - Varsity Girls Lacrosse take on #5 Lewiston Blue Devils in the Eastern Class A Quarterfinals
The Lady Eagles were on their game Wednesday evening as they geared up to play the Lewiston Blue Devils. Emily Gilman was relentless in her desire to win the draws, taking the advantage away from the Blue Devils. With the speed of Mya Mannette, the ball saw more time at the Lewiston’s end of the field then it did Windham’s. 

Windham’s defense held strong throughout the game with some key plays made by Katie Herzig, Haley Batchelder and Macy Mannette. Goalie Erin Malloy made 12 saves for Windham. 

Sam Greenlaw led the offence with four goals and Holly Spencer added another goal for the team. Emily Gilman scored the winning goal and added three assists as the Eagles outplayed the Blue Devils to win the Easter Class A Quarterfinals.

WHS boys baseball head to State Championship game - By Jim Beers

Two weeks ago the Windham High School baseball team was dreaming about post-season play. Tuesday night the Windham High School Eagles baseball team was no longer dreaming as it faced fourth seeded Marshwood at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish. Before that game the Eagles successfully knocked off Portland, Biddeford and Falmouth, all on the road. Number 11 seed Windham blew into the Western Maine Championship game on a serious roll. 

Junior Tanner Laberge and the Eagles took on the challenge, and did they ever respond. After a shaky first inning, Laberge settled in on the mound over the middle innings to keep the Marshwood bats silent.

"Tanner's a competitor, he wanted the ball tonight, and to feed off that energy the crowd provided for us," said coach Brody Artes. 

Marshwood starter, Jake Labell was equal to the task, limiting the Eagle offense to two singles thru seven innings, both by Zach Alpern. Labell and Laberge were locked in pitcher's duel, with both defenses treating the capacity crowd to several great plays. 

"Our defense gobbled everything up behind Tanner, that's a great hitting team over there, maybe the best in the league," Artes said. With no runs for either side, it was not decided after seven innings, the game went into extra baseball in the western Maine title game. 

To the top of the ninth, the Eagles had been knocking at the door all game long, and looked poised to kick it in. Alpern led off with his third single, a laser past third base. Insert senior Jack Herzig to pinch run, as Spencer Hodge dug in at the plate. On a 2-1 count, Herzig stole second base, narrowly missing the tag by the Marshwood shortstop. Hodge then ripped a fastball off the third baseman's glove and into left field. Herzig came all the way around to score giving Windham the 1-0 lead, which threw the Eagle crowd into a frenzy. On the throw home, Hodge smartly took second base. Next up Ethan Petty slammed the first pitch he saw up the middle for a run-scoring single, plating Hodge, making it 2-0 Windham. 

To the bottom of the ninth, Laberge attempted to finish the game, but walked the first two hitters he faced. Coach Artes immediately brought in third baseman Zack Conley to quell the uprising. 

"Tanner was losing his velocity, and had thrown a lot to this point," said Artes. Conley immediately struggled a bit with getting a curve over, and there were no outs and runners on first and second. Marshwood attempted a steal, but Hodge gunned him down at third for a first out. Another walk issued, then a hit batsmen loaded the bases for Marshwood. Laberge returned to the mound from third base, and he took care of business by striking out the next two hitters to seal the 2-0, (first-ever for Windham), Western Maine title victory. He and Conley combined for keeping the Hawks hit-less and score-less.. 

The Eagles (11-9) advance to Saturday's State Championship, against Bangor. The game will be played at Saint Joseph’s College at 1 p.m. 

"It’s the character of these kids, year in and year out, they keep their nose to the grindstone," added Artes. "We will see what happens. We've had great pitching performances in these playoffs, taking down the number two, three and four seeds. Everyone will be available to go. We've had one goal in mind all season long and here we are," said Artes, obviously proud of his team. It really has been a storybook run for the Eagles, with one more chapter to write. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Deadlift vs. squat - By Travis Guerrette

Both deadlifting and squatting are great lower kinetic chain exercises that can be utilized in strength building programs.

Deadlifting is an exercise that requires the weight being lifted to start on the ground. The hips stay as high as possible forcing there to be a high degree of hinging between the upper and lower body at the hips. Arms are locked out, back stays flat, scapulas are retracted, and the hips come forward at the same time as the back and shoulders come up making the transition to the upright position. Squatting is an exercise that requires the weight being lifted to start in the air being held by the participant of the exercise. Now that the weight is being held by the participant they must drop their hips down as if they were sitting into a chair until the knee is bent at 90 degrees. The upper body should stay as upright as possible keeping the back flat and the chest up. Once this 90 degree bend in the knee has been achieved the participant may now stand back up the original upright position pushing upward through the heels.
When discussing the differences between deadlifts and squats, the first major difference between the two, that is the most obvious to point out, is that deadlifts start with the weight on the ground and require the weight to be lifted up then put back down and squats are the opposite. 

Squatting involves having the hips go up and down just like sitting in a chair, but deadlifts involve much less up and down movement of the hips. Instead the hips reach back, causing the upper and lower body to hinge, and then come back through to center as the weight is lifted.

Squatting and deadlifting are very much different from each other, but they still have some similarities as well. Both exercises should be performed with the weight being driven through the heels to limit as much stress at the knees as possible. There should also be an emphasis on controlling the back, bracing the core, and activating the glutes while performing both exercises. Controlling the back means that the scapulas should be retracted and protracted which will keep the upper back tight and strong. Bracing the core involves tightening the abdominal muscles, but still being able to breathe normally. This keeps the core as rigid as possible which will keep the lumbar spine neutral and this is important for reducing the risk of lower back injuries. Activating the glutes is important because they are some of the strongest muscles on the body and not utilizing them can cause weaknesses in other areas. By activating and engaging the glutes, form and technique will improve as well as overall strength and power. 

Certain variations of deadlifts and squats are designed to make the exercise easier for beginners and other variations are designed to make it more challenging.

Variations that are used to make squatting a little easier for beginners would be goblet squats or even body weight squats. Goblet squats involve holding a dumbbell or kettlebell under the chin in such a way that the weight rests on the palms while the fingers face out in opposite directions. This puts the weight closer to the participant’s center of mass which will make it easier to maintain balance and lift the weight.

When first trying these exercises start small and work up. It would also be beneficial to utilize the variations that are there to make the exercise less challenging. If anyone is serious about increasing strength in their lower body then incorporating deadlifts and squats is a great way to accomplish this.