Friday, July 26, 2019

Gorham/Windham fundraising events benefit Special Olympics of Maine

The participants in this year's fundraiser
A huge thank you to everyone who came on Friday, July 12 and Saturday, July 13 to the Special Olympics of Maine fundraising events in Gorham and Windham. Because of their generosity and support, the Tip-A-Cop and Boot Camp-Cruiser Pull events were a huge success. The two events raised over $2000. Members from the Windham and the Gorham Police Departments, and the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office teamed up and held these two fundraising events.  The first event was held at Sebago Brew Pub and the other at New England Fitness and Athletics (NEFA).

On Friday a Tip-A-Cop event was held for the first time at Sebago Brewing Restaurant on Main St. in Gorham. This event raised over $1200 for Special Olympics of Maine. Those same officers did another first-time event at 8 a.m. on Saturday at NEFA on Commons Avenue in Windham. This fundraiser was a Fitness Boot Camp followed by a cruiser pull.
The Free Boot Camp class was attended by 20-30 participants and ranged in ages from five years old and up! From the donations for the class, the raffles and the business sponsors, another $1000 was raised for Special Olympics of Maine. 

We would like to give a special thanks to: New England Fitness and Athletics, Sebago Brew Pub and Restaurant, State Farm Agent Nick Jobin, Casco Federal Credit Union, Cumberland County Federal Credit Union, SOS Towing for the use of cruiser pull equipment, Winter Kids, Hannaford Supermarkets for the fresh fruit, Naples Marina, Tractor Supply and Rave-X. 

These two successful fundraising events would not have been possible without the hard work of Tiff, the Events and Tour Manager at Sebago, and Nick and Travis of NEFA.

Locals participate in New Hampshire Motor Speedway

By Lori Jo Rich

Maine native and Windham High School graduate, Brett Morell, hustles around the No. 10 Smithfield Ford driven by Aric Almirola during a pit stop on Sunday during the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301. Morrell, who grew up in Windham before moving to North Carolina in 2003, is the jackman for the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford.
Brett Morell
Photo credit: Lori Jo Rich - The Racing Connection

Windham's Derek Kneeland is shown here before the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 Sunday at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Kneeland is the spotter for the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet driven by Kyle Larson. Larson ended up 33rd after being involved in an incident on lap 264. 

Derek Kneeland
Photo Credit: Lori Jo Rich - The Racing Connection

Braxton Cassidy chosen to play in 30th Annual Lobster Bowl

Braxton Cassidy
By Matt Pascarella

In my 20 years of coaching, Braxton is one of the most unique kids that I’ve ever coached,” stated coach Matt Perkins’ letter recommending Braxton Cassidy to play in the 30th Annual Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic. The game took place on Saturday, July 20 at Thornton Academy.

According to the Kora Shriner website, “This High School Senior All-Star football game is a Kora Shrine sponsored event where 100% of the net proceeds from the game are for the benefit of the 22 Shrine Hospitals for Children across the US, Canada, and Mexico. This East vs. West match-up brings over 150 student athletes and coaches from all over the state together to help produce what is considered the premier high school sporting event held in Maine. All participants fundraise and commit to a week-long training camp, where they make new friends and more importantly learn why we play the game, ‘Strong Legs Run...So that Weak Legs May Walk’.” Players are nominated to play in this game by their coaches.’ letter goes on to say “Braxton is an extreme worker who leads by example. Braxton never showed frustration. In fact, he showed up every day motivated with a smile on his face and words of encouragement for his teammates. [He] has a strong moral compass and isn’t afraid to go against the grain. I’m beyond proud to say that I had the privilege to coach and watch Braxton grow.”

The West took a commanding lead from the start, scoring 21 points in the first quarter. The East, Cassidy’s team, answered in the second quarter by scoring a 64-yard touchdown and then a 68-yard touchdown, with a two-point conversion. At the half, it was 48-14, West. The West scored a few more times in the second half. Final: 60-14, West.

“It was an honor to play in the game, it didn’t end the way I wanted it to, but it was for a good cause. I got to play one more football game and that’s what I really enjoy,” explained Cassidy, who was also chosen to be a co-captain for his team. has been playing football since he was in second grade. He remembers watching it with his dad and wanting to play himself. Next year, Cassidy will attend Bridgton Academy and after that he plans to attend the University of Maine at Orono to play Division 1 football. Cassidy is interested in Zoology and wants to study animals.

His parents are very proud that Braxton was selected to participate in this year’s Lobster Bowl. “The past two years we have seen such a great improvement in regard to his education and focus on being a team leader/captain for the football team,” stated his mother, Francine.

“In the end there will be no losers, the winners are all the people that are helped by the money that is collected by all the players that will go to the Shriners Hospital.”

Windham basketball camp teaches fun and learning

By Matt Pascarella

For five years, boys head varsity coach Chad Pulkkinen and girls head varsity coach Brody Artes along with their players from the high school have been putting on the kindergarten through eighth grade summer basketball camp. The camp, which is open to a variety of residents, not just Windham, began Monday, July 22 and will run until Friday, July 26 at the Windham Middle school gymnasium.

“Throughout my life I was a part of these camps, here in Windham and I was also part of what the high school boys and girls are doing right now, I was a counselor,” explained Pulkkinen.

The camp is set up for players of all abilities, those just learning and those who already know the game. The goal of the camp is for the kids to have fun with the sport of basketball, not take it too seriously, but also learn about it, make friends, set goals and build confidence.

The week focuses on the fundamentals: how to dribble a basketball, how to properly shoot a basketball, the right pass to make, what defense means, etc., but participants also plays games to put those skills to use.

Second grader Robbie Sanicola has been participating in the camp for four to five years and said his favorite part is shooting baskets. He wants to play on the varsity team when he’s older, and eventually play college ball. grader Zoe Barney has been participating in the camp for four years and her favorite part is playing the game ‘knockout.’ She wants to play on the varsity level when she’s older.
“It’s a lot of fun to full circle it back to giving back,” adds Pulkkinen. “It’s a lot of fun for our players to give back too and they’ll remember these days helping out the little guys.”

Friday, July 19, 2019

A Maine tradition for many: The Beach to Beacon

Kristina Clarke
By Matt Pascarella

It’s almost here. The Beach to Beacon 10K race from Crescent Beach State Park in Cape Elizabeth to Fort Williams next to Portland Head Light is a must for experienced and novice runners the first Saturday in August every year. The Beach to Beacon website states, ‘the TD Bank Beach to Beacon attracts more than 6,500 runners making it the largest road race in Maine.’ A couple Windham runners have made the race a yearly must and love the challenge it presents.

Joan Benoit Samuelson, a Cape Elizabeth native was winner of the first ever women’s Marathon at the 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles. According to the Beach to Beacon website, Samuelson started the race in 1998 as the People’s Beach to Beacon to benefit children’s charities in Maine.
“I’ve always wanted to create a race that brings runners to some of my most favorite training grounds,” explained Samuelson “so that they can enjoy the same beautiful environment, sense of community and rich history that has played such an important role in my life.”

TD Bank helped skyrocket Samuelson’s efforts, making the Beach to Beacon a race that appeals to New Englanders and those around the globe. will be the fifth year Windham resident Kristina Clarke has run the Beach to Beacon. The registration process is an intense and aggressive process. You must be on right at 7 a.m. and the organizers only let a certain number of participants in. It sells out in four minutes. There is a lottery where those who don’t get in are picked later. Clarke said registration has gotten better, but the first three years were scary and hectic.

She runs the race with her brother-in-law, her niece, a friend of hers and a bunch of friends from her work. “There are people cheering the entire race which is not normal for a lot of the races that we do.”

Clarke stated that running is good therapy and something that makes her happy. It’s also something she can do with her son.

Jen VanDerburgh, a South Windham resident, will be running the Beach to Beacon for the seventh time.

Jen VanDerBurghwill 
In 2012, VanDerburgh started running; she’d never been a runner before. A coworker offered her a bib to run the Beach to Beacon, but VanDerburgh was hesitant. She didn’t do it and regretted it. 

Then, the first year she ran the Beach to Beacon, she was amazed. “There’s a big crowd, you feel like you’re doing this bigtime race, everyone’s cheering for you. It was awesome to cross that finish line.”

VanDerburgh wanted to run the Beach to Beacon better from year to year and the race eventually became a tradition. Her kids would do the fun run the night before.

Every year, it is something VanDerburgh doesn’t want to miss out on. She runs races all year long. She said running is something she does for herself; it keeps her in shape and feeling good. She likes to be an example for her kids and be healthy. “It’s a Maine tradition…it’s a good time” stated VanDerburgh.

“The energy is really crazy. It’s just fun, it’s one of the best races in Maine,” added Clarke.
Good luck to everyone running the Beach to Beacon this year!

Softball All-Stars leave it all on the field

Addison Caiazzo
By Matt Pascarella

This series started with twelve teams and Windham was one of the final two. In this double elimination tournament, the 9- and 10-year-old softball all-stars had lost one game. On Tuesday, July 9 in a tied game against South Portland, in the bottom of the ninth inning, Windham was able to hold off South Portland to win 5-4.

The Lady Eagles beat Westbrook 7-2 in the seventh inning to force a winner-take-all game for the championship. Windham played Westbrook at the South Portland Little League field on Monday, July 15th.

The first inning the teams were evenly matched to start, with strong defense on Windham’s part. The Lady Eagles had quick hands and made smart plays to nab runners at first base. They were scoreless after one inning. Then scoreless after two innings.

In the bottom of the third, Westbrook managed to score a run, and Windham ended that inning with multiple Westbrook runners on base.

In the top of the fourth, Sarah Smyth, #16, got a triple and then Addison Caiazzo, #15, got a base hit; Smyth scored. Caiazzo stole her way to third and scored on a passed ball. 2-1, Windham. scored several runs in the bottom of the fourth and took a 6-2 lead.

The girls left it all on the field but weren’t able to catch Westbrook.

“The kids were fantastic,” replied coach Nick Caiazzo. “Throwing all kinds of different concepts at them this season. There was a lot of stuff that might have been uncomfortable for them, but they did not second guess or hesitate. They always did what the coaches asked and I’m proud of them. 

They’re a good group of kids. They are resilient kids; they try hard and that’s all that matters.”
Congratulations to Addison Caiazzo, Evelyn Anderson, Kiley Card, Cami Casserly, Ashley Cloutier, Liliana Gallagher, Lacie Higgins, Eliana Kostopolous, Neve Ledbetter, Kaylee Napolitano, Lucy Rich and Sarah Smyth on a fantastic all-star season.

The whole town is very proud and look forward to seeing you play in the future!

Softball wallop Hermon to become state champs

By Matt Pascarella

In a summer season and a tournament that showcased nothing but talent in the eleven and twelve-year-old girls that played on Windham’s all-star team, it all came down to this game. Saturday, July 13th the team travelled to Glenburn to take on Hermon in the game to crown the Maine state softball champions.

(L to R): Back row - coaches: Shayne Bryant, Jason McLeod, Kregg Jarvais; Back row: Jaydn Kimball, Stella Jarvais, Kennedy Kimball, Hannah Lee, Lydia Marden, Sierra Sparrow; Front row: Oakley McLeod, Nola Bryant, Addison Leger, Bri Duarte, Caitlyn Marsh, Chloe Edwards, Alyssa Conley
Windham came out swinging...literally. Chloe Edwards, #14, walked and stole second, then third. Stella Jarvais, #9, got a base hit and stole her way to third. Edwards scored. Kennedy Kimball, #34, walked and immediately stole second; Jarvais stole home. Jaydn Kimball, #28, sent the ball into the outfield for a double. K. Kimball scored. Oakley McLeod, #2, walked; Hannah Lee, #10, bunted and the bases were loaded.

Caitlyn Marsh, #42, singled to left field. J. Kimball and McLeod scored. Bri Duarte, #3, bunted and took first. Edwards doubled to left field and brought in Lee and Marsh. Jarvais doubled to center and Edwards scored. K. Kimball singled and brought in Jarvais. After one inning, Windham led 9-0.

The bottom of the first brought four batters to the plate and sent three away, leaving a runner on base at the end of the inning.

The Lady Eagles kept the hits coming in the second. Lydia Marden, #11, walked. Then, Addison Leger, #99, was hit by a pitch. Pinch runner Alyssa Conley, #26, in for Leger. Edwards reached first on a passed ball/dropped third strike. Conley and Marden both scored. Jarvais singled to left field and brought in Edwards.

Windham brought three batters to the plate and sent three batters away in the bottom of the second.
There was no stopping Windham in the top of the third. Lee walked. Conley singled, Marsh got a base hit. Lee scored. Conley scored on a passed ball. Duarte singled and brought home Marsh.
Two strikeouts a walk and another strikeout and the Lady Eagles are undefeated and Maine state champions!

Final 15-0

“I almost wanted them to slow down and enjoy the moment, but they are so focused,” commented coach Kregg Jarvais. “I think that they really care for each other and they wanted to do it for themselves. The best thing about this is just being a part of it; trying to steer them in a direction that is positive, they have a good experience, and they have fun.”

The team travels to Bristol, Connecticut to play their first game of the Regional Tournament of the Little League World Series on Saturday, June 20.

Good luck ladies!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Windham shuts down Medomak early in tournament

Caitlyn Marsh
By Matt Pascarella

The District 6 11 and 12-year-old softball Maine state tournament began this week with Windham facing off against Medomak in game one. The game took place in Glenburn on Sunday, July 7th.

The Lady Eagles started strong in the first inning, with Chloe Edwards, #14, scoring after Stella Jarvais, #9, got a hit.

Medomak sent three batters to the plate in the top of the third inning, Windham sent those three batters back to the dugout.

4-0 Windham after three innings.
The Lady Eagles had the momentum going and didn’t let up. In the fourth, Caitlyn Marsh, #42, got a base hit. Windham was doing well advancing closer to home as many players stole multiple bases throughout the game. Lydia Marden, #11, got a single and Marsh scored. Edwards also singled and Marden scored again. Jarvais got a base hit and brought in Edwards. Before the inning was over, Jarvais stole her way to third and then stole home.

In the fifth, Marsh got on base on a passed ball. She stole her way to third and stole home.

Final: 9-0, Windham

Kennedy Kimball threw a perfect game – 17 strikeouts, no baserunners, no walks.

“We got some girls who had some pretty good at bats who haven’t had a lot of at bats, so I was pretty happy to see that,” commented coach Kregg Jarvais. “We’ve done a good job preparing, I think we’re ready to go.”

Softball All-Star beat South Portland in true definition of barn burner

Sarah Smyth
By Matt Pascarella

The nine and ten-year-old softball all-star team travelled on Tuesday, July 9th to play South Portland in a tournament game to determine who will play Westbrook for the District 6 championship.

Windham started strong when Cami Casserly, #8, singled in the first and stole her way to third. She stole home shortly after. 1-0 Windham.

South Portland answered back and scored in the bottom of the first tying the game at one.

Windham’s strong defense stopped several runners in scoring positions.

In the fifth inning, South Portland managed to get a run in and take the lead, 2-1.

In the sixth, Casserly bunted and got on base. She scored to tie the game at two and forced the bottom of the sixth inning.’s defense stayed solid as they brought three South Portland players to the plate in the bottom of the sixth and sent three South Portland players back to the dugout.

The game headed into extra innings and tension was palpable. The seventh inning passed and still the score remained tied.

At the start of the eighth inning, a runner was placed on second base. Windham’s defense did a stellar job and held South Portland’s runner at second; eventually they threw that runner out at third. Windham ended the inning with South Portland runners on second and third.

As tensions rose with stomachs knotted, the game headed into the ninth inning. Eliana Kostopolous, #5, was placed at second. Casserly got a base hit and Kostopolous advanced to third. Sarah Smyth, #16, got a single on a bunt. Bases loaded. Addison Caiazzo, #15, got a base hit and Kostopolous scored. 3-2, Windham.

But the Lady Eagles weren’t done. Casserly advanced to third. Smyth was at second. Casserly stole home and Smyth stole third. Caiazzo stole second. Smyth stole home. Caiazzo made it to third. 5-2, Windham. of the ninth. A runner on second – this reporter is tense just reliving the details. South Portland scored. Then the first out, then the second out. South Portland scored again. The tying run was on second. Strike one. Strike two. One strike away...and STRIKE THREE!

WINDHAM WINS!!! Final: 5-4.

“The kids showed great perseverance; they’re tough kids,” commented coach Nick Caiazzo. “It doesn’t matter what happened to them in the game previous, they do a really good job. They stayed positive, they rooted for each other, pulled for each other, which is really, really cool to see. They put in a lot of great time, energy and effort.”