Sunday, April 19, 2015

Adult Education takes its classes to the outdoors - By Michelle Libby

For the first time, the Outdoor Discovery Program at LL Bean traveled to Raymond to lead a Maine Guide course, giving students the information they need to be certified as a Maine Guide to lead people on treks into the woods and other outdoor experiences. The program was offered through Windham-Raymond Adult Education.

“We provide skills to be a Maine Guide and at the end you should have information you need to go take the state exam,” said Emily Smaha, who runs the Outdoor Discovery Program. As a perk of the class, she reserved a day for the students to take the exam together. 

The class covers recreation guide work, map and compass work, lost person drills and scenarios and general information about the state so guides can identify plants and animals. They also work on risk management, group dynamics (how to manage everyone’ personalities in a group), leave no trace principals and camp kitchens. 
The license the students get from the state, if they choose to take the test, allows them to receive payment to take people into the woods. From guided hiking to recreational camping or winter camping and snowmobiling, Maine and Alaska require certification for this. “It’s a long and proud program in Maine,” said Smaha. 

WRAE continually seeks out valuable job training and retraining opportunities such as this for adults in the Sebago Lakes Region. It is our mission and goal to provide a variety of lifelong learning options. We will continue to seek out input from the community on the types of programs and course we should provide. We are also looking to provide greater programming in the Raymond area,” said director of adult education Tom Nash. 

The attendees were all over 18 and had outdoor experience, which is a prerequisite. The instructors for this course were Mike Henry and Steve Custer. 
“The more people we can educate in this way, the better off we all are,” said Smaha. 

“WRAE will continue to offer a wide variety of outdoor-related classes, including Maine Guide training; map, compass and GPS courses; introduction to recreational kayaking, as well as garden tours, and travel programs,” said Tina Christophersen, Careers Pathways coordinator at WARE.  

In March, participants in the Maine Guide program ran a “lost person” scenario at Jordan-Small Middle School in Raymond. Pictured are:
Karen Johnson
Martha Page
Sparky Hurgin (only male)
Maci Jo Libby

A preview of the 2015 high school spring sports season - By Stephanie Coffin

As warm weather finally arrives to the Maine area, so does the 2015 spring sports season which brings out all our student/athletes trying out for teams. The coaches are making every effort to find warm, dry places to host practices, which is not an easy effort with snow still on the ground in areas.
For some students who are seniors this year this will be the last sport they participate in during their high school career. Some players will continue to play in college and others will hold the memories close as they move in to adulthood. Either way let’s come out and support our local teams and encourage these kids as they put their best feet forward.

Varsity Softball – Coached by Travis Demmons.
Coach Demmons has all but one player returning from last season. The team will be led by senior captains Madison Elliott and Anita Mooradian. Other key players this year will be senior Miranda Richards, juniors Sadie Nelson, Christina Mooradian, Katie Hunter and Sierra Pattershall, as well as sophomores Oliva Mora and Danielle Tardiff. While all the teams the girls face will be challenges, Demmons believes Scarborough and defending champs Thornton Academy will be extremely tough games. Demmons stated, “The team will take one game at a time and one inning at a time. We anticipate having a strong freshman class which will likely push the upperclassmen for playing time. The present and future for Windham Softball is a bright one.”
Senior night for softball will be on May 29th against Noble at 4 p.m. Softball will be hosting a Home Run Derby fundraiser on May 30th at 12 p.m. on the Windham High varsity softball field. The derby will be open to the first 20 registrants. Keep your eyes open for flyers advertising this event.

Varsity Baseball – Coached by Brody Artes
This is Coach Artes’ third year with the baseball team. The team’s record last year was 11-9 where the team made it to, but ended up losing in the Class A State Championship game against Bangor. A few members who will have key roles on the team are seniors Tanner Laberge (Pitcher/2nd baseman), Zach Alpern (Catcher) and Josh Dugas (Outfielder). Sophomore Timmy Greenlaw (1st baseman) will be returning. Great additions to the roster this season are freshman Tanner Bernier (Pitcher/3rd baseman) and Mike Gilman (Pitcher/shortstop).
The Eagles are coming off a 2014 campaign that included barely making the playoffs as an 11-seed, to an unprecedented run to the state championship game. After winning the Class A West title last year, they are looking to move forward with aspirations that anything can happen at any time, as long as hard work, dedication, persistence, and dealing with adversity are consistent themes throughout the course of the spring, said Artes. Senior Tanner Laberge will lead a young pitching staff consisting of freshman Mike Gilman and Tanner Bernier on the mound for Windham. Zach Alpern will be doing the catching for the Eagles and sophomore Timmy Greenlaw will be looked at as a regular at first base. The 2015 Eagles have a great mix of veteran senior leaders and young talent and hope to make another playoff run again this year. Marshwood, South Portland, Biddeford and Gorham will be games where the boys will put their talent to the forefront early on in the game.

Girls Varsity Lacrosse – Coached by Matt Perkins
Coach Perkins takes on his role for the second year and the team will be represented by seniors Hannah Haskell, Brianna Fullarton, Macy Mannette, Louisa Sbardella, Jenna Soucy, Erin Malloy and Emily Gagne.
The girls lacrosse team will have a challenging schedule with some key games being Cheverus, Massabesic, Scarborough and Marshwood. Last season Windham Lady Eagles hosted their first playoff game and advanced to the second round. Coach Perkins expects the team to have another exciting year.
Senior night will be May 28th against McAuley.

Boys Varsity Lacrosse – Coached by Peter Small
Coach Small has seniors Matt Roy, Drew Bernier, Jake Wall and Hunter Bowen returning for the season.
Though the team will not take any game for granted since all teams will be a challenge, Scarborough, Gardiner and Gorham are considered the highest ranked teams that the Windham boys will be facing.
Senior night will be Tuesday June, 2nd against Massabesic which will also be the last regular home game. Boys lacrosse will be looking to hold a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project at their game on Friday, May 29th. The team will be collecting donations throughout the year culminating in a strong fundraiser on May 29th. Please reach out to any of the players or Coach Small for more details.

Girls Varsity Track – Coached by Scott Rush-Donohue
Coach Rush-Donohue expects to have a good spring season with the girls track team. Come out and support the girls and cheer them on. Senior night will be determined at a later date. States will be hosted June 6th for those members of the tract team qualifying.

Boys Varsity Track – Coaches Paula Pock, Dan Jackson and Mike Martin
The team has 2014 State scorer in the hurdles Ernie Ruby back and he is anticipated to be stronger this year. Eric Webb who scored in the 200 meters last year in states will also be an athlete to watch. Webb should also be a top contender for states in the long jump this season. Thomas Sappier and Kyle Mandel both had a great indoor track season in the throws and look to continue that success in this outdoor track season. Ben Breton, Jeremy Bennett, Aaron Graves and Reese Preston, should all be regular scorers in the distance events.
Boys track looks to improve their season record from last year (5-9) and have more potential athletes scoring at the state level this season. This team always has great performances and they look forward to their “rival” meets against - Westbrook, Scarborough and Gorham.

Girls Varsity Tennis – Coached by Wayne Martin
Coach Martin stated, “We have an experienced team that should take the next step towards being a contender in strong leadership roles which will be paramount to the team’s success. Seniors Alana Dube, Brianna Power and Julia Richardson, juniors Sarah Rich, Maelah Nadeau, Sara Webb and Alex Cirillo along with sophomore Paige Panora will represent Windham Girls Tennis this season. Matches against Scarborough, Portland and Thornton Academy should give the team some competition.
Boys Varsity Tennis – Coached by Gavin Glider
Coach Glider is looking forward to a strong season. Come out and support the boy’s tennis team and cheer them on. Senior night will be determined at a later date. SMAA Doubles will be played on Saturday May 23rd, place to be determined.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Maine Volleyball team wins NERVA II Championship - By Stephanie Coffin

Windham local 13-year-old Megan Fleck belongs to an AAU Volleyball team known as The Maine Juniors Volleyball Club 14 Gold team.  The team recently won the second New England Regional
Volleyball tournament in Merrimack, New Hampshire.  Teams from Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts competed in this tournament.  The team won five out of the six sets to get seeded first going into the finals.  The team then won all three sets in the finals and taking home the championship.
The Juniors Division of New England Region Volleyball administers to nearly 50 Boys and Girls Clubs throughout New England.  The New England region continues to grow each year with over 3.500 members, 400 teams and 500 tournament events each year.   

The 14 under age bracket consists of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders in middle school.  This is Megan’s second year playing volleyball and plans to continue as she moves to high school next year.  When Megan and her team are not competing they are acting as referees for other teams.

As parents that may be new to sports programs for their children, we tend to only focus on school sports or what is available in our communities.  However, there are programs available as our children grow and they find the desire and passion to participate in a sport and want to continue beyond what the community or schools have to offer.  These are called Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) programs.  These programs also allow your child to develop friendships that go beyond the court, the field, the diamond, the school and the community.  When the time comes during the school season to play against other schools, the friendships that developed during AAU are respected on the playing grounds in which they participate.
The AAU is one of the largest non-profit volunteer sports organizations in the United States.  AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs.  Individuals can build on their skill levels by joining an AAU club team. AAU is a nationally recognized organization, dedicated to providing young athletes with opportunities to play their sport outside of school teams. Most players decide to compete on an AAU team so they can continue to play year-round and compete against the top competition. 

AAU teams give players a great opportunity to gain exposure and possibly get in contact with college scouts and coaches. Depending on your sport you will even be able to check out which colleges were represented at certain tournaments and competitions.   Local Windham athletes past and present, such as Samm Frank (wrestling) and Kevin Weisser (basketball) have joined AAU teams to either develop themselves or to help develop others. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Athlete of the Week - Erin Elder

Eighth-grader Erin Elder is The Windham Eagle athlete of the week. Daughter of Deanna and Jason Elder, Erin plays soccer, basketball, track and softball. 

 “It has been a pleasure coaching Erin in track.  This is her third year and she made captain from all of her hard work.  She goes above and beyond at practice by helping others,” said Jarrod Fournier, WMS indoor track coach. 

Erin’s favorite way to unwind is to “sit down with my family and hang out.” In the futures she would like to help every kid succeed in sports.                                

Windham Middle School hockey brings home the trophy - By Stephanie Coffin

Monday night at the USM Ice Arena was the place to be if you wanted to enjoy some competitive kids on skates as Windham (2nd seed) faced off against Bonny Eagle (3rd seed). The chill of the arena was bearable for the fans as they bundled up to watch two outstanding teams face off for the championship trophy.

Windham came out of the gates on fire and scored immediately which set the pace of the how the game would go. It was a challenge to keep up with the puck as it ricocheted off the walls and sticks of the players. The Windham team maintained the pressure throughout the game, which ended in the final score of Windham 5 and Bonny Eagle 1. 

Bonny Eagle was able to place one puck in the net; however, their focus was on holding off Windham’s players while protecting their own net. With the concentration placed so highly on defending their net they were unable to drive down the rink as often as they would have liked. Bonny Eagle’s defense was strong, but the Windham team kept the pressure on and was able to find the gaps needed to pull off the win. 

Windham’s players skated like they were a well-oiled machine. Great job to the following players: Seventh grader; Graham Payne; sixth graders - Connor Cummings, Derek Palow, Holden Anderson, Baxter Chavonelle, Jack Foley, Liam Heckman, Robert Dogherty, Travis Brown, Ezra Smith and Cam Joyce along with the following fifth graders: Aiden Hartwell, Colin Casserly, Cam Malette and Aiden Gonzalez. The team was coached by Geoff Heckman with assistants Brian Casserly and Dave Dogherty. The game was exciting to watch and the fans look forward to next season.