Monday, March 30, 2015

Ending a high school basketball career in style - By Stephanie Coffin

Basketball is a sport that originated in 1891 when a future Presbyterian minister named James Naismith (1861-1939) was assigned to teach a physical education class at a Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) training school in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The sport has come a long way since 1891 and has given a lot of young boys and girls alike a sense of belonging to a team that works together to get the job done. A sport for many where records are broken and champions are made. A game where fancy footwork and precision aimed at a round rim with a net. Where young strive to excel where the competition is strong and many compete.

That’s just what Kevin Weisser has done in the last four years and hopes to continue to do as he moves onto college. Kevin is the second child of four children. His parents, Mike and Bridget Weisser, are the patriarchs of this basketball family, where Kevin had a role model and is a role model.

The following is a summary of Kevin’s high school accomplishments:

2011-2012 season- SMAA All-Rookie Team selection. During this season he averaged almost 9 points per game.
2012-2013 – Kevin had some early season injuries.
2013-2014 - SMAA Honorable Mention selection. Kevin averaged just under 10 points per game. Given Windham High School Coaches Award.
2014-2015 - SMAA Player of the Year, Kevin averaged over 20 points per game, which was third in the conference. Second in the league in 3-point shots made. Also, Kevin had 60 blocked shots on defense. Kevin was Maine Sunday Telegram All-State Team Selection.

Kevin has scored 854 total points which makes him the all-time leading scorer in the Class A era.

Coach Millington has been Kevin’s coach through his high school career. “He is extremely coachable, meaning he listened and took what he could from all the people that have been a part of his journey. He is also a great student which is a real lesson on the importance of balancing academic and athletic responsibilities,” said Millington. 

Kevin had successes and failures throughout his career, he dealt with them maturely, he learned from his mistakes. Coach Millington goes further, “You never heard excuses from him. He set personal goals and worked extremely hard to achieve them. He did accomplish many of his goals. He was a great teammate and he never put personal successes above team success. Kevin was a real pleasure to coach.”

When asked, Kevin was very ‘humble’ in his responses: 
What was it like playing on the varsity team with your older brother? “It was a good experience for me, because being the youngest player on the team I found his support and encouragement helpful. If one of us was having a bad game we were there for each other. Also I was able to pick up tips from a more experienced player and former Windham MVP.”

How did you feel getting co-MVP this year? “It felt good to receive the co-MVP award because it shows that hard work pays off. Also I could not have done it without the help of my teammates.”
Making the All-State team must be exciting? “I was surprised. It was nice to be recognized for what I had done over the course of my senior season. All of the individual accomplishments were great but I would have rather won a gold ball with my teammates.”

Do u plan to play basketball in college? “I plan to play college basketball, as for which college it is my options are open at this point.”

Kevin’s parents, Mike and Bridget Weisser couldn’t be more proud of Kevin. The Windham Eagle asked them what they would like to look back on when they think of their son’s high school days. Their response, “Kevin’s dedication and perseverance. At one point after his sophomore year he was going to quit basketball. But after he took the time to talk and listen to his AAU coach Mike “Woody” Woodbury from MBNation, Kevin decided to work hard and make good decisions while maintaining honor roll status,” his parents said.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Athlete of the Week - Connor Abbotoni

The Windham Eagle athlete of the week is Connor Abbotoni, an eighth-grader at Windham Middle School. Son of Todd and Krista Abbotoni, he enjoys soccer and track. 

“Connor's work ethic has translated to his success in his races.  He's always seeking ways to improve.  He shows integrity and dedication on and off the playing surfaces,” said coach Philip Jackson.

One day he would like to professionally compete in track and field. Connor’s best way to unwind after a competition is to “Sit on the couch and eat something.”   

Windham's own Samm Frank - a National wrestling champion - By Stephanie Coffin

“My daughter Samm, a lady of heart, a lady of character and a little lady with a lot of spunk!” said Ed Frank. This dad has a lot to brag about. This past weekend, Samm Frank wrestled in the NCWA Collegiate National Championship down in Allen, TX, as a freshman for the University of Maine at Orono. She walked away with the title National Champion in her weight division. By pinning the reigning two-time National champion from Southwestern Oregon College, Samm earned UMaine’s recognition for being the first girl to ever win a National title in wrestling.

Samm didn’t go off to college intending to continue her wrestling career instead choosing to focus on her field of study which is nursing. However, after much thought, encouragement of friends and the passion for the sport, Samm decided to give college wrestling a go. And what a go it has been. Samm has gone undefeated this season, qualified for Nationals, won gold in Canada, took the National Champion title in Texas and has been voted "Most Outstanding Wrestler" by all the coaches.

Right after she won, Samm ran up in the stands to give her dad, a person in her life who has not missed a match since she was in the seventh grade, a celebratory hug. While on her way up the stands Samm was congratulated by a little girl at the end of one of the rows with her hand out waiting for her to come by so she could get a high 5. After Samm hugged her dad, the little girl’s father stopped and asked if Samm would take a picture with his daughter. “After that I realized how many girls out there look up to people who place highly among others. Knowing that I am that person is still humbling,” said Samm. 

When Samm was asked how she prepared herself, after deciding to join the team, her reply was, “Becoming a national champion was my goal for this season. So I set that goal and worked at it. I didn't let it slip away from me. I broke it down piece by piece just taking it one match at a time. I set short goals to win every match I was in, knowing this would eventually lead me to my bigger goal. I was really taken by surprise when I was awarded most outstanding wrestler. That was the cherry on top of everything. I'm still at a loss for words to describe how it feels. It's a feeling like no other.” 

When thinking about this past weekend, Samm said, “Lining up for the All-American march in was when my adrenaline kicked in. I started thinking about how hard I worked all season, how hard my coach worked to get my matches and get me the practice that I needed. I thought about all of the people who knew that I was at Nationals and in the finals. In my mind, I just thought of so many things, and all of the people who look up to me. I didn't want to let anyone down, especially myself. I knew it would be my last match of the season so no matter how tired I got, I needed to leave it on the mat. Give it everything I had.” 

When talking about her school and her coaches, Samm said, “I am proud to wear that 'M' on my chest representing UMaine. I love the team that I am a part of. We really are just like one big family and that's what makes it even better. We go to practice and we all push each other, we go to a meet and we all support each other. Our coaches are amazing. Coach Aaron James goes out of his way to do what's best for us. Winning a national title representing UMaine is probably one of the best things that could have happened.” 

“Being a person that young girls and even boys look up to only makes me want to work harder. I want to be the best role model I can be. I want to represent myself positively. I want to represent the school positively and I want to show everyone that it doesn't matter girl or boy, you're still capable of achieving anything you set your mind to.”

Though Samm’s mother, Jennifer, hates the sport of wrestling she is extremely proud of her daughter. It’s hard for a mother to bring herself to watch her daughter be thrown around on the ground by both other girls and boys, but that didn’t stop her from supporting Samm, she said. Andrew, Samm’s brother is one of her biggest fans.

Windham's groundskeeping crew hard at work for spring - By Stephanie Coffin

The first day of spring is this Friday, March 20th but with the record breaking snowfall this year how will the school department have the fields and courts ready to start the spring sports season? That’s where Head Groundskeeper Michael DiDonato comes in. DiDonato along with his crew members have set in motion a series of steps that help nudge Mother Nature along in her process of cleaning up winter’s mess.

The fields of importance at this time are the both the softball and baseball fields, along with the tennis courts and lacrosse field 10. When the process of the snow removal started the height of the snow pack was 34”. Warm and rainy days have helped clear some of the snow build up, but DiDonato has other ways to help clear these surfaces. 

The softball field is 90 percent clear at this point. What remains on the tennis courts at this time will melt in the next week or two with the courts’ coloring aiding the sun. They have cleared an L shaped area on Field 10 where the snow typically remains the longest due to the tree shading. The grounds crew is currently working on the baseball field and they have cleared both the pitchers and catchers mounds and placed tarps over both of them. These tarps are used throughout the season to keep the home plate and pitcher’s mound dry from irrigation and rain. 

More clearing would have been done but Mother Nature threw in some warm days and started softening the fields. Once the softening started they were unable to put heavy equipment on the fields, which would have created ruts on the playing surfaces. Tarps have been placed over the plates, thus keeping them warm and dry as they absorb the sunlight which helps heat up the clay underneath. The snow has been cleared around the parameter of the field as far as the snow blowers could through it over the fenced area. 

It’s a tricky situation for the DiDonato and workers to remove the snow because though the weather has been nice on and off, the crew can only work on the fields while the soil temperature is 29 degrees because once the sun comes out the soil temperature can rise to 32 degrees at which point they need to stay off. At this point what has been done has caused minimal damage. 

DiDonato has been in the grounds keeping field of work for 15 years and with the Windham School Department for the last 8 years. Mike says “In my 15 years, I don’t believe one day has ever been the same as the last. In my opinion, you can’t ask for much more than that.” Mike enjoys his job immensely, stating “I get to be outside every day, I get to see instant gratification in the work we are doing, and every day is a new challenge.” When asked “What has been the biggest challenge this season has brought?” Mike said, “We ran out of time and the weather is warmer, just not warm enough to make our efforts really noticeable.” 

Mike has been looking into a product call Black Sand. This product is something that both Saint Joseph’s College has used for the past six years and something that Fenway Park is currently using to help melt the snow faster without damage to the fields. Instead of shoveling or plowing the snow off the fields, they would spread the Black Sand product onto them. The sand’s dark color traps the heat from the sun, melting the surrounding snow, even on days when the temperature lingers around freezing. Mike will be looking further into this product and talking with fellow sports field managers at both the professional and college levels to see what challenges they faced. 

As spring approaches, warm weather arrives and we step out onto those playing surfaces, let’s remember those who have put all their time and effort into making them useable and clean for the athletes.

Monday, March 16, 2015

5 Metabolism myths - BUSTED! - By Glenn Hutchinson

Sometimes, your metabolism works against you even when you think you’re doing everything right. It’s time you took a good, hard look at how your metabolism really works.
Check out the metabolism myths below and then use your new knowledge to put your metabolism to work…

Myth 1: Metabolism works from 9 to 5
Difficult as it may be to believe, your body’s metabolism does not stop working when you do. In fact, your metabolism works all day, every day. If it didn’t, you wouldn’t even have the energy to get out of bed in order to read this article. (You are out of bed, aren’t you?) Also the time of day that you eat isn’t what makes you gain pounds. It’s what you eat. So if you think you can get away with eating that quarter-pounder with cheese, bacon, mayo and bun; a large order of greasy fries; and a 32-ounce milkshake without any consequences—just because you ate it at lunch and not late at night—think again! Eat smart all day long, have a healthy snack at night if necessary, and then sleep well, knowing your metabolism is doing its thing even while you’re catching some Zzzzs.

Myth 2: It can’t be controlled
You’ve probably met someone who seems to be able to eat anything they want without gaining weight. You may have even dreamed of having such a metabolism. Well, there’s good news. You may not have the metabolism that lets you do that just yet, but you can work toward it. Help boost your metabolism by lifting weights, getting a good night of sleep, eating enough protein to power you through the day, and drinking plenty of water. Want something more than water? Here’s another smidgen of good news: A little caffeine in your daily intake will help you get rid of calories faster than going without. Just make sure your caffeine isn’t bathed in sugar and unnecessary calories.

Myth 3: Skinny folks have higher metabolism
Yes, a high metabolism can help you burn more calories than a low metabolism. But don’t let that fool you into thinking the skinniest people around have the highest metabolism. Quite the contrary. If the thinnest individuals had the highest metabolism, they would likely be dangerously underweight. As it is, when you are very thin, your metabolism will likely be lower, as there’s not much of you to burn away safely.
However, you shouldn’t grab the ice cream carton in order to put on extra pounds to up your metabolism. Instead, focus on adding muscle pounds via the weight room.

Myth 4: Getting old makes your metabolism go bye-bye
There is a bit of truth to this myth. As you age, your metabolism will drop a tiny bit. Not enough to make a meaningful difference, but it does drop. Much of this decrease (again—it is almost negligible) is due to the typical muscle loss that accompanies aging.
Want to curb your body’s age-related drop in metabolism? Include resistance training in your exercise routine. As you age, keep up the weight training and you’ll keep your metabolism strong and steady throughout all the stages of life. In the event it does drop a little, you’ll be in such good shape you won’t notice.

Myth 5: You can eat your way to higher metabolism
Occasionally, the world is taken by a weight-loss idea that is so simple you’d be a moron not to give it a try. One of these recent ideas is that you can eat or drink certain things to boost your metabolism and lose weight with greater ease.
While eating peppers on a regular basis and drinking gallons of green tea each week offers some health benefits, it won’t do more than temporarily boost your metabolism. Approximately half an hour after consuming these supposed metabolism mega-boosters, the boost is over and you’re back to your normal metabolism. A normal, well-balanced diet is a much better option.

Glenn Hutchinson is a fitness, lifestyle trainer in Raymond and online.

Fall and winter sports results for the 2014-2015 season - By Stephanie Coffin

We can’t wait for the spring sports season to begin! The warm weather, the crack of the bat, the swish of the racquet and the joy of watching the athletes and teams compete is in the near future. However, let’s take one last look at the Fall/Winter sports seasons and what these teams accomplished, what these athletes were awarded and what we will look forward to see happen next school year. 
The girls cross country team won the Class A Girls Sportsmanship Banner from the Maine Principals Association. The team finished ninth in the states for Class A. 

Varsity girls soccer team was the 2014 SMAA champions and they also were the Western Maine champions and the Class A state champions. Seniors Jenna Soucy and Cassie Symonds made All State for the Portland Press Herald with Cassie Symonds being named the Player of the Year in Girls Soccer. Cassie has also won the Gatorade Player of the Year in Girls Soccer for the state of Maine for the second year in a row. 

The boys cross country team advanced to compete at the New England level for the first time in school history and finished in fourth place in the state for Class A. 

This year’s football team was the 2014 State Runner up along with being crowned the 2014 Eastern Maine Champions. Senior Zach Davis was honored with the Gaziano award. Coach Matt Perkins was named as Coach of the Year for Eastern A football and his assistant Phil Rossetti was named as assistant Coach of the Year for Eastern A football. 

The volleyball team advanced to post season play for the second time in four years. 

Bryce Rolfe qualified for the individual State Championship in golf which was held at Natanis. 
The ice hockey team made the playoffs for the first time in school history! A huge statement for a new and young program! Watch out for them next year. 

Indoor track had 24 athletes qualify for states and Ali Wintle went to New Englands for the high jump. 

Nine alpine skiers qualified for states along with three Nordic skiers. Jonathan Bland qualified for New Englands in Nordic. 

Wrestling had four wrestlers qualify for states from this year’s team. 

Both boys and girls basketball teams qualified for post-season play and made it to the Portland Expo in the quarterfinal rounds. Kevin Weisser was named as the SMAA Co-MVP for the league. 

The boys swim team finished fifth in states with our girls swim team placed 22nd

Field Hockey - despite not qualifying for post season play had a growing year. 

Cheering - put in a lot of time and effort to supporting the teams and showcased their talents with an entertaining performance at this year's competitions.