Friday, February 25, 2022

Windham/Westbrook/Gray New-Gloucester wrestling competes in Class A state championships

Windham High freshman Ayden Cofone, center, receives
congratulations from Coach John Nicolas, left, and Assistant
Coach Nick Buckley after Cofone won the Class A
state championship during a meet at Mount Ararat on Feb. 19.
By Matt Pascarella

The Windham/Westbrook/Gray New-Gloucester wrestling team enjoyed some considerable moments during the Class A state championship at Mount Ararat in Topsham on Saturday, Feb. 19. This younger team with minimal postseason exposure came to wrestle and got it done.

Windham freshman Ayden Cofone become the program’s first state champion after he beat Massabesic 6-2 in three periods in the 113-weight class.

Cofone said he was confident going into the state championship round and had wrestled his Massabesic opponent twice before, so he knew how to counter him. He waited for his opponent to shoot in and Cofone circled around, got his six points and rode him out.

“It felt really good,” said Cofone. “This [win] is for my great-grandmother and for Windham.”

GNG senior Owen McDuffie achieved his 100th career win early in the tournament.

In the 152-weight class, McDuffie went up against Kennebunk. McDuffie went right for his legs and brought Kennebunk to the mat. Although Kennebunk tried to bring McDuffie to the mat, he was able to get out of Kennebunk’s grip. McDuffie got the win.

McDuffie said it meant a lot to him to get his 100th win.  He’s put a lot of hard work in over the years at camps and tournaments and even though he lost some time because of the pandemic, finishing this strong means a lot to him.

“To get a hundred wins is quite an accomplishment,” said Windham/Westbrook/GNG coach John Nicholas. “You got to really persevere through all the ups and downs we’ve had the last two years.”

Windham junior Scott Ingalls had a win against Massabesic in the 170-weight class and although he lost in the consolation finals to Sanford, Ingalls lasted seven periods against his Spartan opponent.

Windham sophomore Griffin Moreau battled hard in the 285-weight class but lost to Sanford and Kennnebunk.

Westbrook senior Zach Davis had a super close match against Bonny Eagle in the 160-weight class in the consolation round, but after tremendous effort by Davis, Bonny Eagle got by.

In the 182-weight class, Westbrook sophomore Gavin Tanner revenged two earlier losses to Kennebunk and Massabesic and finished in fourth place.

Nicholas said he’s impressed by the way the team stuck together through a tough season.

“Now they can see what you can accomplish if you stick it out and keep working hard so I’m super proud of the team today,” said Nicholas. “Only positives are going to come out of today. I’m hoping this team seeing the first state champ will set the bar for next year.” < 

Windham indoor track squads end season with multiple impressive showings

Windham senior Estella Inman is shown moments before her
throw topped all competitors and she became the state shot

By Matt Pascarella

Windham High School’s indoor boys’ and girls’ track teams showed their increased abilities against schools from all over the state in the Class A Maine indoor track state meet on Monday, Feb. 21 at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.

Both Windham teams finished 10th overall with the boys scoring 14 and the girls scoring 16.

Windham senior Estella Inman became a shot put state champion when she threw a distance of 37-10.75 feet.

“It feels pretty good,” said Inman. “I’m proud of myself and how far I’ve come.”

Inman added the team has become really close and she enjoyed seeing her teammates improve over the season. Inman is hoping to break Windham’s shot-put record of a little over 38 feet during the outdoor track season.

Windham junior Connor Langstaff placed in the high jump, the triple jump and the long jump.


Langstaff finished second in the high jump with a height of 5-10.00. He finished fourth in the triple jump, soaring 41-01.25. He placed sixth in the long jump with a distance of 20-02.00.

Langstaff was pleased with how he did. He got personal records in the long jump and triple jump.

Windham senior Will Stewart finished 10th in the triple jump with a distance of 38-10.25. In the 55-meter dash, Stewart finished 18th with a time of 6.97 seconds. This was a personal record for him.

In the 4x200, Windham’s team of Stewart, sophomores Jinqu Li, Aiden Hanson and senior Colby Conolly finished top 20 with a time of 1:44.05.

“Overall, I’m really pleased with the team,” said Windham boys’ indoor track coach Paula Pock. “Our goal was to focus on individual personal records, and I think that paid off.”


In the high jump, Windham freshman Ava Gerrity finished sixth with a height of 4-10.00.

Windham senior Isabel Dionne got a personal record and finished sixth in the pole vault with a height of 7-06.00.

Windham sophomore Khalysia Hammith finished 11th in the 55-meter dash with a time of 7.73. Hammith finished 12th in the 200-meter dash with a time of 28.25.

Windham senior Mckenzie Crossman placed 12th in the long jump with a distance of 14-08.00.

“I feel great ... definitely their practice and workouts have paid off,” said Windham girls’ indoor track coach Denise Curry. “That’s our first state champion ... in the last five years.”

Curry said that she knew the girls could get some points and they did; Dionne placed in the pole vault, Gerrity in the high jump and they moved up a spot in the 4 x 800 relay. <

Friday, February 18, 2022

Windham varsity boys’ basketball advance with win in playoffs

Windham senior Will Mannette holds on to the ball and then
takes a shot during a preliminary playoff round boys' 
basketball game against Hampden Academy at Windham
High School on Saturday, Feb. 12.
By Matt Pascarella

When Windham took the court against Hampden Academy in the preliminary playoff round at home on Feb. 12, it was a completely different game from the last time these two teams met and Hampden had walked away with a 20-point victory.

Eighth-seeded Windham jumped to an early lead and was aggressive for 32 minutes. Ninth-seeded Hampden Academy began to catch up as the clock ran out, but it was too late for them. The Eagles won 45-40 and advanced to the regional quarterfinals against top-seeded Edward Little on Feb. 16.

“[Hampden Academy] came out and they proved something that first time, they smacked us,” said Windham senior Matthew Fox who had 15 rebounds, four blocks and 17 points. “We weren’t going to let that happen again. Everyone stepped up; everyone was ready for the moment.”

Fox wasted no time as he put Windham in it with a three-pointer. A little while later the game was tied at 12. Windham pulled away and stayed ahead of the Broncos.

Windham’s aggressiveness gave them a 32-21 lead at the half.

“It was a fun experience out there,” said Windham senior Nick Garrison who scored 13 points. “I thought we moved the ball really well, especially ball control toward the end of the game. We had some good baskets toward the end, so I thought it was a good overall effort.”

In the second half, the Eagles showed this was their game. Fox had a block right away to emphasize that point.

Hampden Academy gained on Windham with only five points separating the two teams after three quarters. Hampden Academy underlined the shot clock debate when they stood there dribbling for over a minute as the clock wound down in the fourth quarter.

“We took away their shots ... our defense was great, and our offensive movement was some of the best we’ve seen,” said Fox.

With 16.3 seconds left, Windham led by six. Windham remained ahead as the clock ran out.

“We executed,” said Windham varsity boys basketball coach Chad Pulkkinen. “Kids believed in each other and that’s all we talked about before this game.”

Pulkkinen added effort and rebounding went well during the game. It helped to have the league-leader in rebounding and blocked shots, Matthew Fox, in the paint; it was good to have him back in the lineup and guys fed off that. <

Tremendous effort shown by Windham girls’ basketball in final home games of season

Senior Sarah Talon leaps to get off a shot during Windham
High School's final girls' basketball varsity home game of
the season on Thursday, Feb. 10 against Cheverus High. 
By Matt Pascarella                           

It was senior night during Windham girls’ basketball final home game against Cheverus on Thursday, Feb. 10 and Kayla Flanders, Kelsey Gerry, Carly Morey, Altanzul Naranbaatar, Riley Shaw and Sarah Talon were each presented with a small gift as a thank you for their dedication to Windham Athletics throughout their high school careers.

Talon received the Windham Youth Basketball Little Eyes Upon You Award presented by Maine Optometry. This award goes to a senior who demonstrates commitment to the youth in their community.

For Talon, knowing the younger athletes look up to her is a very good feeling. Leadership and community involvement is important to her.

Although the varsity team picked up the pace in the second half, Cheverus had pulled ahead and took this one 54-38.

The junior varsity girls battled and gained to the end, but Cheverus kept its distance and won 50-25.


Cheverus took a lead in the first quarter as Windham pushed forward and moved the ball well. Windham sophomore Brooke Gerry hit a three-pointer in the second quarter. At the half, Cheverus led 34-18.

Talon said they adjusted at halftime to Cheverus’ defense. She said they knew they had to keep their heads up and keep going.

The Lady Eagles turned up the defense in the second half and prevented Cheverus from scoring as much as they had in the previous half.

Windham’s effort was there, but shots weren’t falling. With three minutes left, 11 points separated the teams.

Windham did not stop trying, but the Stags got away.

“We had a bad start ... little unorganized the first 12 minutes or so of the game,” said Windham varsity girls’ basketball coach Brody Artes. “We put some more pressure on them in the second half, but they made some shots early that really killed us.”

Artes said they’ve had a good, competitive year with big wins against Bangor and Thornton Academy. The team has improved from start to finish which is what they’re looking for.  

Junior Varsity

“I think we’ve had great success in getting the foundation of this program started,” said Windham girls’ JV coach Gretchen Anderson. “This is a great group of kids ... and they are keeping a positive attitude regardless of score. I’m really proud of them.”

Windham opened the game with a three-pointer by freshman Afomiya Timerga. Windham had an early lead, but the game soon turned close. Cheverus pulled ahead.

Windham remained aggressive and grabbed rebounds. Sophomore Hannah Peterson hit two three-pointers. Halfway through, Stags led 39-19.

Windham worked hard to be first to the ball and went after rebounds. Although Windham’s third quarter was scoreless, the Lady Eagles only allowed Cheverus to score four points during that quarter.

They kept up the intensity for the remainder of the game.

Freshmen Chloe Edwards and Alexis Redmon said Windham played well as a team. Edwards said passing and rebounding went well. Redmon said shooting went well in the first half. <

Windham’s swim team outstanding during Southwesterns meet

Windham senior Chloe Desmond competes in the backstroke
race during the Southwesterns South Division swim meet
at St. Joseph's College  on Friday, Feb. 11.
By Matt Pascarella

Windham swim team gave it their all during the Southwesterns South Division virtual meet against Biddeford, Bonny Eagle, Freeport, Gorham, Kennebunk, Massabesic, Sanford, Thornton Academy, Waynflete, Wells and Yarmouth.

It was exciting for Windham to get to compete in a championship format with other schools for the first time since 2019. The Windham girls placed sixth overall with a score of 120. Windham boys finished 11th with a score of 12.

Windham raced in-person with Bonny Eagle, Freeport and Yarmouth at St. Joseph’s College on Friday, Feb. 11.

After the remaining schools had completed their meets, they were all scored together.

“For us we haven’t been in a meet where we’ve had this energy,” said Windham swim team coach Peter Small. “What you saw was people were so overjoyed to have it – cheering each other on – I think it motivated everybody to go.”

Windham senior Chloe Desmond got a personal record in the 50-freestyle with a time of 29.41. Desmond also received a scholarship based on community involvement and academic success.

“I was so excited to see everybody swim, everyone did so good,” said Desmond. “Everyone all across the board got personal records. We have such a great bond and it’s just like a big family.”

Windham freshman Sarah Inman finished sixth in the girls’ 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2:09.61 minutes. Not far behind her was sophomore teammate Grace Theriault with a time of 2:11.32. Theriault also finished with a time of 5:55.39 in the 500-yard freestyle.

“It was definitely tough, tough competition; a lot of fast swimmers,” said Theriault. “I think the team did really good; there were definitely some best times set.”

Windham junior Hannah Heanssler finished third in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 26.42 seconds. She also finished fourth in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 1:00.60.

Windham junior Ella Wilcox finished top 10 in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 1:06.16.

Windham senior Nate Fitzgerald finished with a time of 28.17 in the 50-yard freestyle and senior teammate Ryan Bowden followed with a 28.76 time.

Fitzgerald finished in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 1:03.51.

Windham senior Nour Humaid finished with a time of 1:38.28.

Bowden finished seventh in the 100-yard breaststroke with a 1:25.80 time.

Bowden said he thought the team did great. He said the season has gone well and said this team will always have a big part of his heart. <

Friday, February 11, 2022

Windham cheerleading competes in Regional Championships

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham cheerleading team competes during the 
Class A North regional Championships at Lewiston High
School on Feb. 5. Front from left are Chloe Fitts, Talia
Campobasso, Natalie Adams, and Hailey Jenness. Back
from left are Dakota McLeod, Ella Roberts, Elle
Archibald and Vanessa Berry.

During a season scattered with difficulties, the Windham cheerleading team did a great job during the Class A North Regional Championships against several other schools from all around the state.

Although the team was hit hard because of COVID-19, quarantining and injuries, everyone on the team is very happy to be able to cheer and compete.

Windham’s appearance and performance at the Regional Championships was a culmination of the season’s hard work. Although they did not receive a medal, Windham’s talent, athleticism and high energy showed during this Regional Championship held at Lewiston High School on Saturday, Feb. 5.

Windham’s routine featured several well-coordinated motions. Windham performed tumbles as well as stunts which are maneuvers that have flyers freshmen Ella Roberts and Vanessa Berry supported in the air. They performed jumps, where their arms and legs left the ground simultaneously. They also performed several handsprings.

“I think we did pretty good today,” said Windham junior Natalie Adams. “We’ve only learned our routine two weeks ago due to Covid and injuries and setbacks. So, for only learning our routine two weeks ago ... I think we did good.”

Adams said it felt amazing to compete and especially after not being able to last year, it felt really good to get back out there. Adams said everyone has put in a lot of hard work, and they can tell that hard work paid off.

“It’s pretty fun being here,” said Roberts.

Roberts thought they had some minor bumps in their routine, and they may have psyched themselves out a bit. However, Roberts said at the state meet they are going to do their best and show everyone Windham can cheer. (We already know they can).

“We have a lot to work on, but we didn’t start practicing with a full team until two weeks ago, so they have done incredibly well,” said Windham varsity cheering coach Bari Campobasso. “They are a young team; I’m very proud of them because it’s a lot. It’s not just cheering on the sidelines, the competition piece is a whole separate thing.”

Campobasso said she doesn’t want the obstacles the team has gone through to overshadow them. The fact that Windham overcame so much in such a small amount of time is a testament to them and their capabilities.

She thought the energy was good and they stuck together as a team. Campobasso is also proud of their attitude and enthusiasm.

“They wanted to kill it; so the attitude matters more to me than if they get a medal.” <

Windham unified basketball team gets skilled win over South Portland

Windham junior AJ Mains pauses a moment before shooting a
basket during the Eagles' Unified basketball victory on the
road against South Portland High School on Feb. 3.
By Matt Pascarella

The Windham unified basketball team traveled to South Portland on Thursday, Feb. 3 for their third game of the season as Windham looked to continue its success this year.

The Eagles had a very strong start as they scored over 30 points in the first half. After four powerhouse quarters where everyone on the Windham team contributed, the Eagles walked off the court with an impressive 65-44 win over the Red Riots.

Windham sophomore Jacob Smith got things started when he scored early in the game. Windham senior Cameron Malone put up 12 points in the first half.

Windham was quick to rebound early on, too. Senior Austin Rice scored. Windham freshman Colby Schmid hit a three-pointer in the first quarter. Windham senior Kayla Fillinger had multiple baskets in the first half.

Junior Dani Iaconeta scored with a great shot for the Eagles.

“I really love basketball so much,” said Iaconeta. “I just want to thank my friends and my two coaches.”

She said that she had fun during the game.

Windham’s offense and defense were spectacular. For most of the first half, Windham had a comfortable lead over South Portland. As the half wound down, South Portland began to catch up.

Windham had nice hustle and strong passes. At the half, the Eagles led 31-20.

There was no lack of effort or intensity as the second half began. Windham continued to put point after point on the scoreboard as they pulled away and gained a more substantial lead. Windham senior Jayden Kilpatrick scored. So did junior AJ Mains from just inside the three-point line.

Mains said the team had good shooting and defense. He also had fun during the game.

Windham kept up the good work until the clock ran out.

“We have a great team this year,” said Windham unified basketball coach Anne Blake. “They are playing like they are a team; they have learned to pass; they have learned how to rebound and to share the ball. We’re very, very proud of them; they are a great team.”

Blake added the team is progressing on all fronts: offense, defense, everything. They are really working hard and together during their games.  <

Friday, February 4, 2022

Windham boys’ basketball progresses since last game with Portland

Windham varsity senior Will Mannette shoots a three-pointer
early in Windham's home game against Portland on Monday,
By Matt Pascarella

After tough losses to Portland on the road late last month the Windham High School boys’ varsity and junior varsity basketball teams had much better games at home against Portland on Jan. 31.

The Windham varsity team lost by 12 at Portland previously. Windham fought hard, but the Bulldogs slipped by with a razor thin 45-44 win.

The JV team lost by over 40 points at Portland previously, but this home game was much closer, and Portland won 54-42.


After the end of the first quarter, Portland led by five points. Windham senior Will Mannette hit several three-pointers in the first half. At the end of the half, Portland led 25-16. 

Mannette said they could have gotten more rebounds, but their defense and energy on the bench kept them going throughout the game. Overall, he thought they played well.

Early on in the second half, only three points separated the teams.

With 12 seconds left in the third quarter, Windham sophomore Blake McPherson tied the game at 36.

At the start of the fourth quarter, Windham led, then Portland was up by two.

The game was tied at 43 with less than two minutes on the clock.

With 57 seconds left, Windham was up by one.

With three seconds remaining, Windham senior Nick Garrison made a last-ditch shot and while some questionable calls may have been made, time ran out.

“We’ve fought adversity all year,” said Windham boys’ varsity basketball coach Chad Pulkkinen. “These guys can’t catch a break, but they are fighting every day and they are realizing the team they have to become to be able to compete at this level. Tonight, was a perfect example of these guys coming together and fighting the No. 2 team in our league.”

Pulkkinen added this was a hard loss, but because of factors like less players on the bench, in-game injuries along with guys stepping up into new roles, this was an internal win for the team.

Junior Varsity

Windham junior Sonny Elder started the game with a three-pointer. The game was tied at five.

The teams traded off the lead throughout the game. Windham moved the ball well. As the Eagles gained momentum, Windham tied the game at 22. Then the game was tied at 24.

At the half, Portland led 32-24.

Windham sophomore Beni Ninziza said movement, ball movement, defense and communication went really well during the game.

“It might be the best game we played all year ... that’s a team that last week beat us by 40 points,” said Windham boys’ JV basketball coach Geoff Grigsby. “We ran our offense and got open shots better than we have all year. We really trusted each other to ... turn down bad shots and get great shots. They just didn’t fall.”

Windham snagged rebounds and minimized turnovers for Portland in the second half. At one point Portland had more than a 10-point lead. The Eagles worked to close the gap.

Nine points separated the teams going into the fourth quarter. Windham was aggressive and gave a strong effort. Portland had the lead and stayed ahead as the clock ran out.

Grigsby added Windham made Portland work harder during the game. Windham was much more focused, disciplined and believed they could win. <

Raymond shows Durham they are strong teams

By Matt Pascarella

As the season winds down, the Jordan-Small Middle School Raymond Roadrunner boys’ and girls’ basketball teams hit the court in a home game against the Durham Tigers on Wednesday, Jan 26 and showed their competitors they have skills and strength.

Raymond seventh-grader Isabella Vassoler keeps the ball
close as she drives by an opponent to get a better shot during a
middle school basketball game against Durham at Jordan-Small
Middle School on Jan. 26. Despite a strong effort, the
Roadrunners ' girls' team fell to Durham, 42-11.
The boys pulled ahead early and remained there. They left Durham in the dust 27-12.

The girls fought hard during their game, but Durham won 42-11.


The Roadrunners started strong and stayed in front of Durham the entire game.

Raymond eighth-grader Braedyn Elwell put them on the scoreboard.

From that point on, Raymond got rebounds, got in front of the ball and had strong defense to keep Durham from getting ahead. Raymond was hungry for the ball and capitalized on any Durham errors.

The Roadrunners moved the ball well and snagged a few turnovers. At the half, Raymond led 12-4.

In the second half, Raymond defense prevented Durham scoring opportunities by blocking shots and grabbing rebounds. In the third quarter, the Roadrunners led by 10 and remained hungry.

The Tigers began to make a comeback, but time was not on their side.

Raymond eighth-grader Benjamin Bancroft was glad they won and said they had a size advantage over Durham which was a contributing factor to the win.

“Durham is a scrappy bunch,” said Raymond boys’ basketball coach Andrew Wing. “Going into the fourth quarter it was only a six-point game ... we brought it in the fourth quarter.”

Wing added he was impressed by Raymond defense which was really good the whole game.


Durham jumped out to a large lead as they grabbed every turnover chance they could.

Raymond kept their heads up and did not get discouraged. Eighth-grader Jada Stewart put some points up for the Roadrunners.

Raymond was hungry too and grabbed rebounds. They took multiple shots at the hoop, but not everything was falling. At the half, Durham had a 23-6 lead.

Raymond fought the entire game. They scored more in the second half. Raymond’s effort was there, but Durham had a big lead.

Raymond did capitalize on any Durham mistakes. The Roadrunner hunger remained until the final buzzer.

“I feel like we did better than the last time we played them,” said Raymond seventh-grader Isabella Vassoler. “We could have moved more, and got better shots, but we did okay. At the end we started dribbling better, we were passing better and moving.”

Vassoler said they played better in the second half than in the beginning.

“In a game like that we knew weren’t going to come out with a ‘W’, so I needed them to chip away as the game goes on and just try to get better in every facet,” said Raymond girls’ basketball coach Jim Beers. “[Raymond] got a little more aggressive after halftime; didn’t make it any easier for [Durham].

Beers said Raymond is not a team that gives up and they always want to get better. <

Windham alpine ski team continues strong showing with postseason nearing

Windham senior Sarah Hare rushes down the mountain  in the
alpine ski team slalom race at Shawnee Peak in Bridgton on
Jan. 28 against Chevrus, Gorham, Marshwood, Falmouth and
Kennebunk. Hare finished second overall among girls with
a time of 1:47.05. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
By Matt Pascarella

The Windham alpine ski team continued to stand out in their meet against Cheverus, Gorham, Marshwood, Falmouth and Kennebunk on Friday, Jan. 28. Windham had five skiers place in the top 15 for the boys and three skiers place in the top 15 for girls during the Slalom race at the Shawnee Peak event.

The Windham boys team finished second with a score of 37.

Windham junior Cody Taylor finished seventh overall for the boys and first for Windham with a final time of 1:55.66 minutes.

The Windham girls team finished fourth with a score of 73.

Windham senior Sarah Hare finished second overall for the girls and first for Windham with a final time of 1:47.05.

“The kids are progressing great,” said Windham alpine ski coach Lucas Hare. “Our girls’ team has won three in a row. The boys are doing a great job, a number of them are pushing that top 10. The kids have done a great job this year so far.”


Shortly behind Taylor was Windham junior Nolan Dries who placed eighth overall with a combined time of 1:57.02.

Windham junior Sam Plummer placed 10th with a final time of 1:58.59.

Windham freshman Caleb Lavalle, who finished with a combined time of 3:48.84 has gotten better as the season has progressed. He said he’s noticed his teammates have as well, improving on the basic fundamentals.

“We had some good races tonight,” said Windham sophomore Nathan Jordan who finished with a time of 2:39.96. “The course was a little bit of a challenging course ... conditions were pretty icy. I think we did pretty good, lots of effort.”

Jordan added he and the team have had a big change in effort and are going a lot harder during races.


Windham sophomore Lilly McLean finished second for her team and ninth overall with a time of 2:10.02.

“All of us have been able to be really consistent, which is super nice,” said McLean. “We’ve been consistently placing first for our team which is fabulous ... and super exciting.”

McLean said the course was hard, but everyone on her team handled things really well. They kept a positive attitude and carved on their edges.

Windham junior Grace Paiement finished 14th overall and third for her team with a final time of 2:19.41.

Although Windham senior Nela Nemcova did not finish, her first race was fast with a time of 55.36 seconds.

Windham sophomore Annie Jackson also did not finish, but her first run was 1:09.75. <